Razer Kraken Ultimate review: Tournament Edition provides consumer-Polish

Razer Kraken Ultimate review: Tournament Edition offers consumers Polish

The Razer Kraken Ultimate is not new, but “new” is. What I mean is, Razer’s latest flagship headset is a significant upgrade on 2016, the Razer Kraken V2, the last real iteration of the octopus line. But the Kraken Ultimate tentpole features—THX-surround sound, better volume control, cooling gel debuted with 2018, the eSports spin-off, the Kraken-Tournament Edition.

the Kraken Ultimate brings most of the consumer edition up to parity with the cheap edition. And that’s undoubtedly necessary, but not exactly jump-out-of-your-seat exciting, for a product with the name “Ultimate.” I thought there would be more.

Still, it’s nice to have it all in one simple, elegant package, Yes?

note: This review is part of our roundup the best gaming headsets. Go there for details on competing products and how we tested this.

Small steps

this is really the Kraken Ultimate, raison d’être. The Kraken Tournament Edition is, as I wrote in our review, “a strange affair.” Sure, it has a number of long-requested features to the octopus line, but it felt cobbled together from spare parts. Redundant controls, a ridiculously long cable with options for both 3.5 mm and USB connections, a Desk mounted control box—it made good on the tournament name of the Edition, but it was hard to imagine that in a domestic environment.

The Kraken’s Ultimate is much more refined, the true heir of the Kraken V2. It has a single purpose, a PC-centric headset with a standard two-meter cable and USB-terminus. Easy.

Razer Kraken Ultimate IDG / Hayden Dingman

And to the outside, not much has changed in the last three years. No surprise, as Razer completely revised and the Kraken-line with the V2. It’s time for an overhaul yet. Still, I’m a little disappointed. The Kraken, like all of Razer’s headsets is bulky, sporty, what should I check hereinafter referred to as the “Princess Leia side bun-view” in our V2 to.

The main part serves a purpose, is that it is mostly padding. There is a solid inch of foam on each ear, and almost as much on the headband, and the Kraken Ultimate is damn comfortable as a result. I think I have the word “cushion-shaped” in the past. But there is no avoiding the fact, it makes the wearer look ridiculous, even for a gaming headset. Other headsets have, that you can do more with less./p>

Aside from the silhouette, the Kraken Ultimate is an attractive device. The combination of black leather and black aluminum is still a big improvement over the cheap toy-like Krakens, Razer before 2016.

This is Razer Kraken Ultimate also adds more RGB lighting. When I first put a Kraken V2 out of the box moved, I took the perforated grill on each ear would light up. Was not that is the case, then, but it is now. The Kraken Ultimate features, what Razer calls “underglow”, but that’s just a fancy way to say that the whole ear is lit now. I’m surprised it took this long, frankly.

Razer Kraken Ultimate IDG / Hayden Dingman

on the inside of the ears is a further change: a cooling gel. First seen on the Nari Ultimate, Razer’s gel-Infusion-cushion, the heat decrease for a while at least. The cooling effect actually lasts only 20 minutes or so, after which the octopus-Ultimate-functions the same as any other headset. But hey, it’s refreshing when you know first of all the headset and fend off heat for 20 minutes is useful for short-burst gaming sessions. (Common, you can increase the gel pads in the fridge, the duration of the ” cooling-effect.)

The most important addition, though—and no, I’m not being sarcastic—is that Razer added a built-in volume control. This is the Kraken Ultimate biggest plus point, in my opinion. The Kraken V2 had no volume buttons at all. The Tournament Edition, but they were relegated to the above-mentioned control box, a clumsy solution. But the Kraken Ultimate? The Kraken Ultimate integrates a volume control in the back of the left ear, and one that automatically adjusts the volume at the OS level. Finally.

It’s the Kraken Ultimate is a great design change, but sometimes you only need one.

Cue the THX logo

I had high expectations of the Kraken Ultimate for the first time. Razer made a big deal about the “custom-tuned” 50mm drivers, and was disappointed by the Kraken, the sound in the past, I was ready for a change.

Oh, the Kraken’s Ultimate does not sound much, if at all, better than the existing V2 and tournament editions. I described the Kraken Tournament Edition as a “good enough” and that is the case here, too. It works, and you can get decent sound from the Kraken Ultimate, with a bit of patience, but it is the immediate vibrancy of a Logitech, HyperX, or Astro headset is missing.

Razer Kraken Ultimate IDG / Hayden Dingman

There are a few things to my ears. First and foremost, a kind of dull is to listen to music. Razer is the stereo mix sounds small by modern standards—such as headphones, not speakers—the leaves of the instruments, the mess on another. The problem is less noticeable in the games, there is generally less noise-sources, in any given moment, but I don’t suppose you use the Kraken Ultimate for games 100 percent of the time.

The Kraken Ultimate, leans heavily on the upper MIDs and treble range. This is Razer preferred sound, and it makes footsteps, gunfire, and other tactical pop-noise. It is hard, after a few hours, however, and softening of the sound by adding more bass only gets you so far. Yes, so you get a better headset, but still not to a great headset. 

Razer’s saving grace is that it is one of the better software-driven surrounds, in the business. Again, either a lot has changed or nothing, depending on your frame of reference. The Kraken V2 was released directly to Razer acquisition of THX, and, therefore, having regard to a generic 7.1 profile for surround sound. Last year ‘ s Tournament Edition added support for THX-surround sound-but, and the Kraken Ultimate is it officially, by a toggle button above the volume wheel.

THX-sound-space-is still no substitute for a real 7.1 system, but it sounds pretty decent in the Battlefield V and so on. I don’t use it much, but I love the Synapse allows me to specify which programs you should select the surround and the should stay stereo. Spotify? Always stereo. Games? Probably THX. It is seamless, which is great because I hate how most of the headsets require me to manually switch on and off. In General, this means that I forget that it exists.

Razer Kraken Ultimate IDG / Hayden Dingman

Finally, the microphone. As far as I can tell, it is the same slinky boom mic used by the Kraken V2 and Tournament Edition, and it is  afine. I like that the mute function on the microphone itself, but also the bar has been raised in recent years by so-called “broadcast-quality” microphones, such as on Corsair’s Virtuoso RGB. Razer is disappointing in comparison, but hey, it works, and the Kraken Ultimate is only $130. You can’t have everything at the price.

Bottom line

The Kraken Ultimate is a solid overall package. It looks pretty good, it sounds pretty good, and the price is pretty good. There are better headphones for the money, but you will not go wrong with a Kraken Ultimate, either.

I think Razer is the Kraken of the sound but. Like, really work. The Kraken seen incremental improvements in audio fidelity over the years, but never enough to compete with in the top group. And clearly, people like Razer. You like the brand. You probably like the Kraken. But if you have a HyperX Cloud Alpha for under $100 or a Logitech G Per X,  for the same $130 price as the Kraken Ultimate, why would you choose the one that sounds worse? You don’t—or at least you would not should be.

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Released on Mon, 09 Dec 2019 11:30:00 +0000

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