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When it comes to actually using the headset, though, Razer does manage to pull things around in its favour. As the Piranhas are, of course, a Gaming Communicator I felt it only fair to test them out in a wide variety of games - it's a hard life being a Journalist. Being the old-school fellow I am (it isn't a real FPS if you don't move faster with the knife) I first jumped into a quick few rounds of Counter-Strike and was pleasantly surprised at the sound quality afforded by the Razer Piranhas. The quality of the voice communication was as good as can be expected. One small annoyance is that while there is a mute switch on the in-line control, in practice it is far too flimsy and as the volume wheel is on the opposite side to it, easily activated by mistake.
In terms of in-game audio, there were no disappointments either, with gunfire rattling as realistically as appropriate and grenade explosions packing a decent resounding bass level that many cheaper headphones sometimes struggle to achieve. Moving across to Day of Defeat: Source things were no less pleasant, and a quick blast of both Team Fortress 2 and Unreal Tournament 3 also proved an immersive experience.
Of course, contrary to popular belief, many gamers also have a life outside of their virtual ones and thus as good as a gaming headset has to be in games, any prospective buyer will want decent all-round performance as well. To that effect I fired up my preferred music player and got testing. Working through a decent range of genres the Piranhas made a good show for themselves. One area the Piranhas really shine in is volume, going to levels likely to cause complaints from the neighbours without causing any distortion - except to my ear drums.
As in games, bass response was good without becoming overpowering while more acoustic fodder was reproduced with admirable quality. Overall, while the quality wasn't breathtakingly good, especially compared to the Shure SE420 earphones I usually listen to my music on, it was nonetheless easily as good as can be expected for the money.
Assuming the comfort problems detailed aren't an issue, it's safe to say that the Piranhas would make a more than acceptable set of headphones to use every day, based on their sound quality. The padding on the earpieces themselves provides a reasonable level of noise isolation too, so if you are using the set in a noisy LAN environment you shouldn't have any trouble keeping your attention on your game where it belongs.
Gaming peripherals are always difficult to evaluate because you always get the faint impression that the very fact they're designed for gamers is supposed to excuse them faults that on a normal product would be considered near-unforgivable. Luckily for Razer, it has managed to avoid almost all of these and if you do find the Piranhas comfortable to use and like the styling then you could do worse for the money.
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