Razer has been in the headset game for a long time, one of the first out there to do practically everything when it comes to making your ears are comfy while playing games while making sure that you get to hear everything from the smallest blade of grass moving to the sound of planets exploding. Now with all the new fancy Dolby and other audio codecs coming out that promise to take things to the next level, does Razer grow along with the codecs or does Razer create a headset that is stuck in the past… Let’s find out.
Kraken Tournament Edition
Out Now MSRP: $169.95 AUD
Alrighty, let’s get down to brass tacks. Here’s all that fancy technical information that people believe they understand but really they just want to sound more knowledgeable than they really are about the product. Seriously, who really reads and understands this stuff and can translate it into something that the average consumer will understand?
At a glance
- Full Audio Controls
- THX Spatial Audio
- Game/Chat Balance
- Custom-Tuned 50 mm Drivers
- Ergonomic Design
- Cross-Platform Compatibility
- Frequency response: 12 Hz – 28 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ω @ 1 kHz
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): 109 ± 3 dB
- Input power: 30 mW (Max)
- Drivers: 50 mm, with Neodymium magnets
- Inner ear cup diameter: 54 mm x 65 mm
- Connection type: Analog 3.5 mm
- Ultra-durable Kevlar™ reinforced cable
- Cable length: 1.3 m / 4.27 ft.
- Approx. weight: 322 g / 0.71 lbs
- Oval ear cushions: Designed for full-ear coverage with cooling gel, perfect for long-wearing comfort
- Frequency response: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ω @ 1 kHz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: > 60 dB
- Sensitivity (@1 kHz): -42 ± 3 dB
- Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional ECM boom
- Analog volume control wheel
- Microphone quick mute toggle
Audio + Microphone Usage
- Devices with 3.5 mm audio + mic combined jack
- Controls: Vol up/down, Bass up/down, THX Spatial On/Off*, Mic mute, Game/Chat balance*
- Cable length: 2.0m
The Razer Kraken Tournament Edition is one of those headset that when you pull it out of the box, you can’t help but feel excited to have to play with. The first thing that impressed me was that instead of going right to USB connections for the audio like they have in the past, Razer has opted to allow the players to have a choice with this: The Kraken comes with a single 3.5mm input/output jack for all you people who have laptops or you console peasants; but then you are also given a USB powered connector that gives you a boost thanks to the THX sound chip inside the small unit. This additional unit allows for most of the fancy features of the Kraken, like balancing the difference between game audio and chat audio. This means that you can turn those loud kids down on Discord without having to mess with the program itself and just have game audio as your priority, and vice-versa.
The Kraken is also a very stealthy unit in itself, with the microphone being one of those retractable ones that you pull out from the side of the headset itself, which makes the Kraken great to use on the bus or train while gaming away on the Nintendo Switch… If you don’t mind walking around with some neon green headset on your head making you stand out from the crowd. Speaking of trips, the Kraken comes with some extremely soft ear cups so that your head doesn’t get crushed while you are traveling and you decide to rest your head against a wall or something.
The things that make the Kraken Tournament Edition stand out are also the downfall of the unit. Having the microphone being retractable sounds like a great idea, but it becomes annoying to do each time you want to use the headset. I ended up leaving the microphone out so that I didn’t need to go searching for it each time I wanted to use it. Speaking of, or more into, the microphone itself, the damn thing is WAY too sensitive. Now I’m used to having to re-calibrate my headset with each new one that I review, but for some reason no matter how high I set the automatic voice input on Discord, the microphone would pick up the smallest sound. This doesn’t even end there as any background noise gets amplified to sit with your voice, making having a movie on a TV in the same space as the computer becomes annoying to team mates. All of this gets even worse when you have the USB unit plugged in as the THX will pick up everything and amplify it even more than the standard headset.
Now if there is something I have come to expect from the bigger names in gaming tech it’s that when I’m playing a game, I expect a minimum of 7.1 surround sound. This gives me an edge in games like PUBG that I play with friends often. I need to hear exactly which way those footsteps are coming from or I’m toast. However a lot of the time, even with the THX unit plugged into the computer in a USB 3.0 slot, I was only getting 2.0 sound. In 2018 I shouldn’t be dealing with soft sound at all. Plus with the USB dongle plugged in, the computer doesn’t seem to understand which mode I want to be in, as it switches the game and chat audio streams at random, leading to dull sound in one game and decent sound in another. I shouldn’t have to adjust the sound settings every time I go to play something. I thought that the usual Razer Synapse program would help here, but the unit didn’t even register on the latest version unless the USB was plugged in, and even then the options were not helpful.
At the end of it all, I’m not too impressed with the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition. Maybe I was using it wrong with the PC or something but I just wasn’t getting the nice crisp sound that I’m used to not only from Razer products, but other headset brands I’ve been using lately. Maybe I would have been better off using these as console headset, where things like 2.0 audio are ok to hear? Or maybe with the Xbox One, which seems to know all the codecs better than my PC. Or maybe, just maybe, this is a rare fail from Razer. The Kraken Tournament Edition would be something that I would recommend to the entry level user, but not someone who wants to have full audio filling their ears at all times.
Review Disclosure Statement: Razer Kraken: Tournament Edition Headset was provided to us by Double Jump on behalf of Razer for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.