surround sound

All posts tagged surround sound

I’ve definitely got used to high quality products from the guys over at Razer, and their Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound Gaming Headset was something I was looking forward to getting my hands on. Is it going to be something that continues the long running, high quality success that gamers have come to know and love?

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The packaging for the Kraken 7.1 headset is keeping up appearances, literally.  With its eye catching black and green colour scheme, it definitely catches the eye.  Being a fan of everything green any way, this is a great start as far as keeping me interested.  The box itself shows you what to expect design wise by sporting a nice image of one of the earcups, complete with the mesh finish and the illuminated green Razer logo on the earcup.  Also included on the box is some headset related information, including the fact that it is a 7.1 virtual surround sound headset, and that it has an enhanced digital microphone.  The back of the box lists product details and specifications, as well as a detailed image of the headset.

As with all Razer packaging, getting into the box is almost as good as looking over the outer box.  The box opens from the right to left and you are instantly greeted with a full on view of the headset.  The inside of the opened flap contains a long paragraph relating to the headset.  The headset is covered by an easily removable plastic covering that slides off of the box.  Removing the headset is relatively straightforward enough – unfasten the ties that are holding it in place and take it out of the box.  The braided USB cable is neatly tucked away behind the cardboard sleeve insert beneath the headset and the Razer user manual  and stickers are located above the headset between the insert and the top of the box.

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First impressions of the headset – it feels very sturdy, well made, and comfortable.  The not overly padded, fully adjustable Razer branded headband ensures that the headset does not cause any discomfort during prolonged use, as do the extremely padded and comfortable, foldable ear cups.  The ear cups themselves have a closed cup design to help maxmise the sound.  The Razer logo can be found on the outside of both, as well as the solid, mesh type design.  On the left ear cup, you will find the retractable, enhanced digital microphone, and also the 2 meter braided gold plated USB cable.  It all fits together extremely well and is very, very easy on the eye.

Setting the headset up to get the most out of its features, requires you to download Synapse 2.0 from the Razer website as there is no software CD included.  Once installed, you are required to calibrate the virtual surround sound – this is very straightforward and only takes a few minutes.  Once you have completed the calibration process, you will notice that you have more menu tabs to choose from, including audio, mic, mixer, eq, and lighting.  Each of these menus give you the option to make additional changes to features such as bass boost, sound normalization, and voice clarity, and mic sensitivity/volume.  The EQ menu allows you to choose from a list of presets, and also gives you the option to create a custom preset.  Lastly, if you decide that the lights on the headset (Razer logos on the ear cups and the small light at the end of the mic) are too much for you, you can disable them from within the lighting menu.

While using the Kraken headset, I mostly played World of Tanks, Far Cry 3, and some Battlefield 3, while using Mumble for chatting.  I could not fault this headset at all if I am honest.  Voice chat came through crystal clear, and I was informed that my voice was also coming through clear – clearer than it did while using my previous headset.  I think that the inclusion of a digital microphone rather than a standard mic was definitely a smart move.  Also, if you don’t fancy chatting ALL the time, there is a mute switch located towards the end of the microphone itself – if you do mute it, you will be able to tell because the green light goes off when the mic is off, and on when the mic is on!  The game sounds were, in all honesty, amazing!  Being able to hear sounds coming from all around you definitely helped in identifying what directions the enemy were coming from, as well as being able to hear simple sounds that were not picked up previously.  Put all of this together and you have the perfect package!

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I didn’t only use the Kraken for playing games, though.  I also watched a few films and TV shows while using them, as well as using them for listening to music.  Being able to experience watching TV/films using the 7.1 virtual surround sound  was simply awesome!  It added so much to the overall film and actually made you feel a part of it.  Music wise, there was a lot of bass even with the bass boost turned off, and this kind of overpowered the music itself.  I think it all depends on your music taste when it comes to using this headset for music – if you like music with a lot of bass, then I doubt this will be an issue for you.

I think that anybody who picks up a Razer Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Headset will definitely not be disappointed.  With the eye catching colour scheme and the overall comfort factor, this headset would make a lot of people happy.  The crystal clear voice chat and game sounds only adds to the whole gaming experience, and it also adds a bit of a WOW factor to watching TV & films.  Being able to customise the headset to suit you using the Synapse 2.0 software is a nice touch, especially with the list of presets that you have to choose from.  If that wasn’t enough to sway you, maybe the price will?  At time of posting, you can pick this headset up for around £89.00 from Amazon UK

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Tech Specs

  • Advanced 7.1 virtual surround sound engine
  • Enhanced digital microphone
  • Designed for extended gaming comfort
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
  • Powerful drivers for highest-quality gaming audio
  • Closed ear cup design for optimal sound isolation
  • Foldable ear cups for maximum portability

Headphones

  • Drivers: 40mm neodymium magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 112dB
  • Output Power: 30mW
  • Connector: Gold plated USB
  • Cable Length: 2m / 6.56 ft braided USB cable
  • Approximate Weight: 340g

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 100Hz –12kHz
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: -40dB ± 4dB
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 63 dB
  • Pick-up pattern: Omnidirectional

System Requirements

  • PC / Mac with USB port
  • Windows® 8 / Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Mac OS X (10.6-10.9)
  • Internet connection (for driver installation)
  • At least 100MB of free hard disk space

TeckNet provide gamers with affordable, high quality gaming accessories.  Their gaming range covers every angle of peripherals that gamers could want and need to have a decent game session.  From that range, today I have the 7.1 Channel Surround Sound Gaming Headset.

My eye was instantly drawn to the packaging of the headset.  The striking red and black design on the box really does go very well with the headset colour scheme.  Also on the box, along with the image of the headset, is other information.  This includes the Multi-Function In-Line Controller, to the Ergonomic Leather Earpads.  On the side of the box is an image of the in-line control along with a list of features.  The rear of the box shows a list of product specifications.

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The headset itself is secured in a plastic inlay inside the box.  After removing it from the box, you are greeted with a view of the headset and the in-line controller.  The headset feels very sturdy and well made, as does the in-line control box.  The top of the headband is made from a rubber material and the padding on the inside of the headband is very soft and seems as if it will provide extreme comfort during use.  The rubber material that is used for the headband actually makes the headband extremely flexible which in my experience, is never a bad thing.  The earpads have a very soft padding that feels as if it will add to the comfort factor.  The outside of the earpads both sport the headset logo, as well as the SOMIC branding.  Also on each earpad is a total of 6 red lights – 3 on each side.  The rotating, noise cancelling mic is located on the left side of the headset and also feels very well made, as well as very durable.  Coming down from the left earpad is a red rubberised USB cable which houses the in-line controls, which consist of the volume controls, and two mute buttons – one for the headset, and one for the mic.  Lastly, there is the user manual, and software & driver CD.

When it comes to setting the headset up, it’s pretty straightforward.  I connected the headset up to my PC via the USB cable and installed the provided drivers and software, and was ready to go.

Firstly, I wanted to try out the mic using Mumble.  I was told that my voice was coming through loud and very clear.  In return, I could hear everybody else very clearly.  Next up, I entered a game of World of Tanks to see what the game sound quality was like.  I could instantly hear the difference in the game sound compared to my previous headset.  All sounds were coming through crisp and clear, with an ample amount of bass.  The bass was even more impressive when it came to hearing shots fired from other tanks in the game.  The in-line control box has LEDs that light up when the headset is plugged in, which I thought was a nice effect, especially when coupled with the lights on the earpads (6 on each ear).

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The bundled software gives you the ability to set up the virtual 7.1 surround sound effect by allowing you to reposition the virtual speakers so that the sound suits the action you are doing.  The software is very straightforward to use so should be able to be used by any and everyone.

This headset is not only decent for gaming.  I have used this headset for watching TV & movies, as well as listening to music.  The only slight issue I have come across is when I was watching TV using the headset.  I found the bass to be just a little bassy on select TV shows.  Aside from that, listening to music and watching movies, etc, using this headset is as much of a pleasure as it is using the headset for gaming.

Overall, I am VERY impressed with this headset, especially with the £19.99 GBP price tag.  I am not overly experienced when it comes to PC headsets, but when I compare the TeckNet 7.1 headset with the ones I have used and reviewed previously, I honestly think I would prefer to use this headset over others.  Obviously if you want to pay through the nose for a well known, branded headset, then the sound quality is more than likely going to improve, but personally, I have no issues using this £20 headset for an immersive and quality gaming session.

Below is a list of gaming peripherals that would make awesome gifts and stocking fillers!

PC Gamer:
Definitely at the top of my list would be items from Razer. A company well known for the quality and usability of their products, there will be something for everyone. Below is a list of items that would kit out any gamers set-up.

Black Widow Ultimate Keyboard – Razer.com
Vespula Mouse Mat – Razer.com
Naga 2014  Mouse – Razer.com
Kraken 7.1 Headset – Razer.com

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All of the above have excellent reviews and would suit anyone, from a hardcore gamer, to someone who plays casually, male or female!

Console Gamer:
I think that Gioteck have the console side of gaming pretty much covered. From headsets to controllers, there is something to suit most people, and with their upcoming new range release, there is even more to choose from!

EX-05 headset (EX-05S coming soon) (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) – Gioteck.com
FR-1 Racing Wheel (PS3) – Gioteck.com
SC-1 controller (PS3) – Gioteck.com

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Gioteck also have a PS4 range hitting the shelves from November 29th, onwards.  The reviews for all of the above are great, and the prices are even better!