Razer Kraken 7.1 v2

Score

Pros

  • Great gaming audio
  • Virtual surround works well
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent build quality

Cons

  • No spare earpads
  • No in-line controls
  • Not brilliant for most music
  • PC-centric features

Key Features

  • Review Price: £100
  • 7.1 virtual surround soud
  • PC, Mac and PS4 support
  • Chroma RGB support
  • Active mic noise cancellation through software
  • Weight: 346g

What is the Razer Kraken 7.1 v2?

The Kraken 7.1 v2 is Razer’s headset for surround sound aficionados, with a pair of stereo drivers that are able to accurately recreate a surround image to create an immersive gaming experience. It’s very well built, remarkably comfortable and works with PC, Mac and PS4.

There are a few niggling points that do hold it back however; with a lack of in-line controls harming usability, and a heavy reliance on PC software leaving PS4 owners a little short changed. But as an overall package – it’s very enticing indeed.

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Razer Kraken 7.1 v2 – Design, build and features

The Kraken 7.1 v2 is very well constructed; with a thick aluminium frame that sits alongside the soft leatherette earcups. The headband rests gently on your head, with a cloth covering that coats the layer of plush foam inside. The top of headset is finished in more leatherette, with ‘Razer’ neatly etched into the top too. My review sample is the black variant, though white and grey versions are also available.

The sides of the headset can be expanded to fit any sized head, and the overall comfort level is top notch. I never found myself itching to take it off, and I was happily content losing hours upon hours to Destiny 2. Having said this, the headset has a light gripping force out of the box, but this will loosen over time and may become a little slippy, as I found with the analogue Kraken Pro v2.

The sides of the Kraken side sport a metallic mesh, but don’t be fooled into thinking these are open back, as these are a strictly closed affair. The Razer logo is brightly displayed on each side too, and if you’re into RGB lighting, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of effects and colour options to choose from.

The ear pads themselves are removable, and are crafted from soft memory foam and thick leatherette. It feels more luxurious than similar headsets from HyperX, and helps to convey the sense of quality. It does get a little hotter than cloth materials though, and unfortunately Razer don’t provide a spare set of earpads – which is a big shame. My sample uses a set of oval shape pads that fit my ears very well, though circular shaped pads are also available separately.

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The microphone can be found on the right of the unit, and is both retractable and highly flexible, with the stem retracting into body when not in use. It’s pretty discrete, and is a solution that I find highly versatile. The tip has a red mute LED indicator, and a click button for muting.

If you’re wondering about in-line controls or headset buttons, you’ll be very disappointed to know that there aren’t any. Razer has opted shun these in favour of software control, which isn’t too much of a worry on the PC, but PS4 users will find themselves unable to quickly adjust settings. The included USB cable is braided, however, so it’ll be less prone to kinking.

Razer Kraken 7.1 v2 – Audio quality

I’ve been very impressed with the performance of the Kraken 7.1 throughout my testing. As you’d expect, the sound signature is almost identical to the analogue Kraken Pro, with an emphasised low end that rocks in gaming scenarios, but can overpower in music.

My gaming tests had me dust off the PS4 Pro for a spot of Destiny 2. It’s clear that the headset can cope with shooters, with a punchy sound that puts you right at the centre of the action. The nuances aren’t forgotten either though, with the artful soundtrack being delivered with real clarity. Set up is seamless, but you won’t be able to use the 7.1 audio on consoles. For that, you’ll need to plug into a PC and install the Razer Synapse software. It works very well, and after a quick calibration, you’ll be able to enjoy the surround audio smarts, which is surprisingly convincing for a stereo set. It won’t match a true home cinema, but it really does open up your games, and give your ears a sense of direction.

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As for music – it could be a bit better. Most will be very satisfied, with a strong sound that’s right at home with modern day tunes. If it’s got a heavy bassline, it’s going to sound good. For those that want a more relaxing listen, the Kraken can get a little bit loose and muddy at times.I’d be perfectly happy using these with a gaming PC, but if you’re a bit of an audiophile, these probably won’t be to your tastes.

The microphone quality is good, with clear vocals and built-in active noise cancellation when you use Razer’s PC software. There’s no pop filter though, and unlike the analogue version, there’s a slight robotic effect to recordings, and it’s clear that there is some background processing taking place. It’s not a big issue though, as the Kraken 7.1 proving absolutely fine for in-game chat and VOIP clients.

Should I buy the Razer Kraken 7.1 v2?

There’s plenty to adore on the Kraken 7.1 v2, with excellent gaming chops, high levels of comfort and convincing surround sound. It’s very well constructed too, with an attractive design that’s sure to win over many gamers.

It’s a better experience on PC than it is on the PS4, however, relying heavily on software for functionality, leaving console players without surround sound or noise cancellation. The lack of in-line controls are also a concern, and it’s more expensive than its analogue counterpart.

But if you’re after a USB gaming headset that delivers across the board for under £100 – you’d struggle to do better than the Kraken 7.1 v2.

Verdict

A PC focused headset that delivers solid gaming performance

Score