Razer Kraken Ultimate Review

Razer Kraken Ultimate Review

Far from the mythical creature inspired by Scandinavian legends, the Kraken by Razer is a gaming headset or rather a range of gaming headsets. After the Tournament Edition is distributed at the beginning of the year, the manufacturer gives the cover a so-called “Ultimate” version.

PROS:

  • Very good overall design
  • Render convincing after equalization
  • Appreciable feeling of comfort
  • Flexible and retractable microphone rod
  • Finally a volume wheel
  • Its 7.1 less gadget than usual
  • Convenient and comprehensive Synapse software

CONS:

  • Quality / price ratio down
  • Bulky on the ears
  • No way to rotate the ear cups
  • Its very unbalanced
  • Microphone sensitivity can be improved

Thresher, Electra, or Navi, there is no shortage of ranges of headsets intended for Razer gamers. Again, we deliberately ignore the Hammerheads and their very particular in-ear design. However, the spearhead of the manufacturer remains in the Kraken range. The Razer Kraken Ultimate we’re testing today is the flagship. He has the certified Discord label to accompany its new microphone with “active noise cancellation” and THX certification, which should logically go well beyond the virtual surround 7.1 used by many competitors.

Razer Kraken Ultimate Datasheet

Surprisingly enough, Razer decided that its Razer Kraken Ultimate wouldn’t be as versatile as several other models in the lineup. For example, the Kraken X can run on many devices with a 3.5mm jack, and the Kraken Tournament Edition combines the best of both worlds with its 3.5mm jack connector and USB dongle. Nothing like this in the case of the Kraken Ultimate, which only works on a PC and requires an available USB port.

  • The Razer Kraken Ultimate is :
  • Driver : dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
  • Impedance: 32 ohms at 1 kHz
  • Frequency response : 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Microphone: yes, unidirectional, flexible, and retractable
  • Microphone frequency response: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
  • Connection : USB 2.0, 2 m cable
  • Spatialization: yes, THX Spatial Audio (7.1)
  • Software: no
  • Weight: 390 grams

More surprisingly, there is a certain overweight on this Razer Kraken Ultimate. In appearance, the product is very close to the other models in the range. However, let’s still compare it to its little brothers. It weighs about 70 grams more on the scale than the Kraken Tournament Edition and almost 140 grams more than the Kraken X. Fortunately. Razer is still just as good at managing the balance of a headset, and, as we’ll see, those nearly 400 grams is hardly a problem.

Design and comfort

The designers at Razer did not look far for the design of this Razer Kraken Ultimate, which takes the design of the products of the range, that of the Kraken X or Kraken Tournament Edition in particular. Nothing very exhilarating, therefore, and we find this aluminum-based structure which gives the whole a certain solidity. However, we regret a little that the manufacturer has not taken more advantage of the move upmarket by proposing, for example, improvements on the attachment of the ear cups. Thus, many competitors offer these small “pegs,” which allow the atria to rotate slightly. Razer would have been inspired to copy this feature. Fortunately, the ear cups already fall very well on the user’s pavilions.

The remarkable comfort provided by the pads is also there to reinforce the excellent impression that the Kraken Ultimate leaves when placed on the head. Flirting with the 400 grams, the headset is no more annoying/bulky than 50, 60, or even 70 gram lighter models. The balance is perfect, and while the central arch makes contact with the top of our head, it never weighs on it. We were previously talking about the aluminum design of the central arch. We must add that Razer has managed to give it a certain elasticity that allows it to be twisted without the risk of breaking it: it also allows to adjust the position of the ear cups quite precisely. Good point.

Aesthetically speaking, the Kraken Ultimate is not the most elegant and discreet of the headsets that one can have on the head. The thickness of the ear cups is no stranger to this result, but it nevertheless guarantees a quite remarkable comfort, even when the gaming sessions tend to drag on. Better still, the heating of the pavilions is not a problem, despite using a leatherette covering. Razer did use a softer material than usual. On the other hand, and even if on our Kraken 7.1, we have not encountered a problem in three years, the question of the longevity of this coating remains. Finally, note that these atria employ a very effective memory foam.

Once is not customary for Razer, we are finally entitled to a small volume control knob on the back of the left ear cup. An earpiece also has a handy button to activate/deactivate sound spatialization without going through the home software. Note that the microphone, if it is not detachable, is mounted on a very flexible and retractable rod. At this level, the Razer system is one of the best we’ve seen on gaming headsets. Finally, this microphone incorporates a mute that is activated by simply pressing the end of the microphone. A ring changes color to indicate to us that the microphone is active or deactivated.

Like a feeling of suffocation

In the past, Razer has often been criticized for the quality of rendering of its Kraken. The headphones of the mark do indeed tend to “color” the reproduced sound clearly, which is unnatural. In the case of the Kraken Ultimate, things are not fundamentally different and what can pass in the case of a mid-range helmet is more difficult to accept on a model that is in mid-range price. First of all, it is indeed impossible not to be surprised by the muffled aspect that the audio reproduction can have in its default settings. Our favorite tracks appear to be “covered,” and a particularly noticeable dip is felt around 2 kHz to 4 kHz. Conversely, the high-mids and highs are almost too present.

A sound coloring that all Razer regulars know well and appreciate in some cases. We believe that it can flatter the soundtrack of an action game by accentuating footsteps or gunshots. However, we consider that it distorts too much listening to music. The bass does well at the opposite end of the spectrum, even though the 80Hz – 100Hz range seems a bit over-represented. Fortunately, Razer has the intelligence to allow quite a few tweaks through its in-house software, Synapse. We will come back to the multiple possibilities it offers, but note that it is possible to obtain something more flattering for the music lover by playing the equalizer. The impression of suffocation that we evoked previously without succeeding in giving back all their place to the mediums. The Razer Kraken Ultimate becomes fun to use but still suffers compared to the best models in its price range.

The quality of the microphone

On the surface, the Kraken Ultimate seems to offer a microphone that is completely similar to what Razer is used to offering us on all products in the range. We have already mentioned the excellence of its flexible and retractable rod or the intelligent integration of a mute button whose effect is visible using a ring LED. In practice, there is hardly any reproach to be formulated against the manufacturer who, once again, provides the essentials here. If it is not a question of offering the quality of a professional microphone, it is more than sufficient for in-game use with precise capture and clear rendering.

Note all the same a small classic flaw at Razer: a capture volume may be a little low by default, but it is easy to improve by going through the options of the Synapse software. Increasing microphone sensitivity, activating volume normalization, or vocal clarity are all tools that can be used as needed. On the other hand, and it is, however, one of the main novelties of this Kraken Ultimate, we are a little disappointed by the rendering of the active cancellation of the microphone’s noise. Perhaps this option would be more effective with other environments, but in our case, it mainly contributed to further stifle our voice without seeing any obvious improvements.

THX Spatialization and Razer Synapse

The second real novelty of this Kraken Ultimate is replacing the gloomy Virtual Surround 7.1 with the THX Spatial Audio. We will not go back to these two solutions’ official promises and prefer to advance that the THX Spatial Audio shows itself here again far from a true environment 7.1. However, it offers an interesting emulation, and the proposed spatialization has a small effect, particularly in video games. Thus, our tests on Battlefield V or Overwatch, for example, made it possible to highlight an interesting behavior. The origin of the gunshots is determined fairly precisely, and the footfall sounds are found convincingly.

The activation/deactivation of THX Spatial Audio can also be done via the Synapse software, the in-house configuration program that Razer has the good taste to deploy for all of its ranges: we thus benefit from a very similar interface to configure his keyboard, mouse, or headset. Via Synapse, it is also possible to integrate the lighting of the Razer Kraken Ultimate earpieces into the Chroma environment. However, we prefer to focus on the multiple audio settings that are available. For example, THX calibration options are available, but their impact remains quite slight. It is less the case for the options “improvement” of the sound: alas, bass boost, normalization, or vocal clarity have an effect that does not convince us. It is quite different for the equalization, which, as we said previously, has a very clear impact on the quality of audio reproduction: it is up to you, however, to find the settings which will satisfy you the most. Note that in version 3.4.1112, Razer Synapse is finally showing itself in its best light: stable and without any particular bug.

Razer Kraken Ultimate: Clubic’s user review

We have a certain affection for the models of the Kraken range. However, the Kraken Ultimate is more disappointing. Unsurprisingly, it retains the brand’s excellent overall design with a comfortable product for virtually any body type. A product that can be kept for several hours on the head has some clever features starting with the microphone rod or the integrated mute. Unfortunately, Razer does not capitalize on these strengths and does not improve, for example, the positioning of the ear cups with a pivot function. More annoying, the Kraken Ultimate does not significantly improve the audio field and therefore struggles to convince against the big names in the same price range.

Razer Kraken Ultimate Review
Razer Kraken Ultimate Review

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