Razer Kraken Review
Pros: Comfortable, good audio qualities, great value
Cons: No detachable mic, easy to accidentally change the volume
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Our Analysis and Test Results
However, we did find that there are just a few flaws with the headset. It makes an audible noise for other players when you mute, it's easy to accidentally adjust the volume, and it doesn't have a detachable mic. While these can be a little vexing, they usually aren't too bad and we think this is a great option if you aren't looking to spend top dollar for a premium headset but don't want to sacrifice too much when it comes to quality.
Our first set of tests looked at how comfortable it is to wear each of these headsets, particularly when it comes to wearing them for extended sessions. This headset did quite well, earning one of the better scores of the entire group.
Our judges found this headset to be nice and comfortable, sitting well on most heads. It is a little on the larger side, so it might not sit super well if you have a dome on the smaller side.
The headband is covered in mesh fabric and has a decent amount of padding. We like that it feels light on the head and it has more than enough for just about anyone's ears in its larger ear cups. Even better, this product uses "cooling gel" to keep your ears from getting too sweaty in warm weather.
This headset does fit a little on the looser side, so it might fall off if you lean over too abruptly.
Our next series of tests focused on the sound quality of each headset, with music, voices of other players, and in-game sounds. Performance dropped a bit in this metric, but the Kraken still merited an impressive score.
Starting with in-game sound effects, we really liked how easy the Razer Kraken makes it to discern where sounds like a gunshot, footsteps, or vehicle engine noises are coming from. Our blindfolded judge could accurately identify the direction of the sound just about every time.
Voice comes across clear and sounds full, though it isn't quite as crisp as some of the best headsets we have seen but we never really had a problem understanding other players.
This headset has closed-back ear cups, so it will cut down on ambient noise a bit. However, loud background noises will still make it through. In addition to our practical testing, we also performed a series of side-by-side audio benchmarking tests to compare performance. This headset did quite well in the driver matching test and only showed small amounts of parasitic buzz in that evaluation. However, it did only do about average in the binaural benchmark test.
Finally, our last audio assessment was to see how well each headset sounded when we played music through them, focusing on the type of orchestral soundtrack typically found in games. This model did pretty well, but we did find that voice and the higher tones can sometimes get overshadowed by the amplified bass.
After assessing how well the speakers sound on the Razer Kraken, we next rated and ranked the quality of its microphone. Specifically, we looked at how our voice sounded to other players and how well the Kraken's microphone did at filtering out unwanted background noise, like side conversations or a fan. This headset did fairly well, earning a score just above average.
Other players did notice that there was a bit of feedback present in our tests. They also noted that our voice didn't sound quite as clear or realistic as you would expect with a premium model but never complained that we couldn't be understood.
The microphone doesn't usually pick up the sounds of you typing or snacking, but we weren't fans of the fact that there was an audible tone for other players whenever we muted the mic. It definitely can get irritating for other players if you are frequently muting/unmuting the mic.
The microphone would usually pick up a side conversation if they were happening close by — within 10' or so — but would filter anything out if the speakers were further away.
Ease of Use
Our last round of tests looked at how user-friendly and convenient to use each headset is. We looked for a mic sidetone function, if you could detach the mic and/or the cable, how long the cable is, and the interface. The Razer Kraken again did well, scoring just above average.
This model has inline controls for adjusting the volume and muting the mic but we did notice that it is easy to accidentally bump the switch and change the volume.
Its cord is a little longer than average — 11.1' — and is not fully detachable. It splits in two so it can be shorter but there is always some amount of cable connected to the headset. The microphone is also not detachable but can be retracted into the headset and you can enable a mic sidetone.
We think this headset is a great value, offering good — not great — performance across just about all of our tests and costs a bit less than many of its competitors.
If you are looking for an all-around headset that won't cost a ton and you don't mind the absence of a few convenient features, then we think the Razer Kraken is an excellent option.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer