Razer Kraken 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset Review

razer kraken 7.1 surround sound gaming headset
Razer is one of the most renowned names in the gaming community due to their quality gaming products. The company is known for sponsoring its own teams that take part in gaming competitions armed with Razer’s arsenal, a quite bold move to portray your products among hardcore elite.

When it comes to gaming headsets, Razer do have some products that have been received quite well by the critics (and few ones that haven’t) and Kraken was one of them. Keeping in pace with the new buzzword (i.e. Surround Sound), Razer launched the Kraken 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset that has all the features of the good old Kraken along with the added feature of producing virtual 7.1 Surround Sound.

Razer Kraken 7.1 - Performance

Kraken was, perhaps, the best gaming headset Razer has ever launched. So it’s nice to see that instead of reinventing the wheel, Razer decided to keep the winning formula alive and brought couple of other ingredients to make the finished product even better.

Sound of the original Kraken headset was quite good and now with added advantage of 7.1 Surround Sound, the headset simply rocks. Though keep in mind that to fully utilize (or enjoy) the power of surround sound, you’ll have to test the titles that are optimized for this technology. Mostly, the First Person Shooters are the ones where you’ll experience quite recognizable difference so use the Kraken with the latest FPS and see the difference yourself.

The Razer Kraken 7.1 doesn’t fail during “off-gaming mode”, such as while listening to music, watching movies, or for other general purpose tasks. The sound will feel crisp and clear so Kraken is an excellent choice for audiophiles as well.

razer kraken microphone
Unidirectional microphone will keep
your communication smooth even in
noisy enviroments
The quality of a headset can be greatly compromised if the headphones get paired with a mediocre microphone. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Razer’s Kraken. The Kraken’s mic will ensure that everything you say gets transferred to your teammates without any fuss. And when you don’t want to disturb them, the tiny mute button will do the job.

Check out the technical specs of Razer Kraken.

  • 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

Razer Kraken 7.1 - Design and Comfort

Perhaps Razer Kraken 7.1 gaming headset’s best feature is its comfort. Even after long hours of usage, you won’t feel any tiredness as Kraken is quite lightweight (weighed just about 340g). The entire unit is made up of plastic to reduce overall weight as much as possible but don’t worry, the headset doesn’t feel cheap in anyway. So it’s safe to say that though plastic has given it a bit of a flimsy look, it has achieved the objective of light-weightiness.

The circumaural, closed-end ear cups with leather cushions ensure that you are protected from background noise which is necessary in noisy environments such as of gaming cafes.

One feature that Razer has surprisingly left out is the on-the-fly volume adjuster. Though it’s not much of a fuss; if you are one of those (like me) who prefer having a volume controller (preferably on the headset), it will take some time to ignore it completely.

SOFTWARE

You’ll need to download the Razer Synapse 2.0 surround sound software in order to calibrate the headset and then adjust the settings according to your requirements. The procedure is pretty straightforward and hopefully you’ll get along with it without any difficulty.

Razer Kraken 7.1 - Price Tag

Considering the features and quality of Razer Kraken 7.1, $100 doesn’t seem much at all. However, if you already have a stereo gaming headset, just download the Razer’s surround sound software and you’re all set. If you are looking for a headset, get this one; you’re not going to be disappointed.


Buy it from Amazon


Other Headsets you should also consider:

* Cooler Master Storm Sirus Gaming Headset
* Plantronics GameCom Commander Gaming Headset
* Logitech G230 Gaming Headset
* Sennheiser PC 350 Special Edition Gaming Headset
* Astro A40 2013 Edition Gaming Headset

Cooler Master Storm Sirus Gaming Headset Review

Though not as popular as Razer or Logitech, Cooler Master does have a presence among hardcore gamers thanks to its wide range of quality gaming products. And when it comes to gaming headsets, their CM Storm Sirus is one that can easily be listed as one of the best gaming headsets.

CM Storm Sirus - Performance

CM Storm Sirus with Control Mixing Console
CM Storm Sirus with Control Mixing Console
Cooler Master is known for producing top notch products that wear reasonable price tags; at least when comparing their products with the same tier products of other manufacturers. And CM Storm Sirus is no exception i.e. if you consider the features, performance and quality of this product, and then check out its price, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

CM Storm Sirus is targeted towards hardcore gamers; the ones who need all those shiny gadgets to achieve that “extra edge” that can turn the tide in their favor during close calls. So you need to create something that can withstand the fierce market competition and can attract the pack towards your product. CM has tried its best and so far, they have been quite successful.

Performance wise, Sirus is a beast, literally. CM claims that Strom Sirus outputs true 5.1 Surround Sound and quite frankly, they are right. Each ear cup is equipped with 4 speakers (total of 8 in both ear cups) i.e. three 30mm drivers and a 40mm driver as subwoofer. This gives you a complete 360 surround output so that you can always be a step ahead against your competition.
4 speakers attached to the ear cup giving
you a true 5.1 Surround Sound experience

If you are wondering about what the heck is surround sound, we have given a brief explanation about it while reviewing the Astro A40 gaming headset. Have a read by clicking here.

Overall, the CM Storm Sirus produces crystal clear audio with excellent mids, highs and lows. Sometimes, in spite of having great sound quality, a headset gets a beating due to its mediocre microphone. And quite frankly, when you’re spending some serious cash, you can’t just ignore and get on with it. So how good the Sirus mic is? The answer is: good enough.

The unidirectional microphone ensures that your communication should be carried out smoothly in noisy environment such as of gaming cafes and LAN parties. So when you want to curse your teammates for letting you down, do it and the mic would ensure that they get every single word. But before you do, turn off the mute light.
CM Storm Sirus Control Mixing Console
The spaceship like Console Mixing Console,
heart of the CM Storm Sirus

In a nutshell, CM Storm Sirus is almost perfect for anything (related); be it for watching movies, listening to music, or for playing video games. For best experience, you have to play with the tactical mixing console, the spaceship like gadget that lets you adjust each channel along with the Sirus Software, according to your requirements.

Technical Specs:

Headphones

Channel: True 5.1 surround sound
Driver: F/R/C: 30mm Sub: 40mm
Impedance: F/R/C: 32 Ohms Sub: 16 Ohms
Transducer principle: Dynamic closed
Ear coupling: Circumaural
Ear cushions: Detachable micro fiber
Sensitivity: >105dB
Frequency Response: 10Hz – 20,000Hz
Distortion: Less than 1%

Microphone

Pick-up pattern: uni-directional
Frequency Response: 100Hz – 10,000 Hz
Impedance: 2.2k Ohms
Sensitivity: -46 dB ±3dB

CM Storm Sirus - Design and Comfort 

Outer packing looks pretty cool as well
There’s no shame in craving for a headset that makes its owner look like a “real deal”; however, one can’t compromise the comfort factor for the sake of looks. So if you are one of those who are looking for something badass, which doesn’t give you headaches as well, you are in luck.

Having circumaural, closed-end ear cups design achieves two objectives; it keeps the background noise away from you and it keeps your ears comfy. And the cushion on the headband ensures that you have a comfortable gaming experience, even after long hours of intense battles.
CM Storm Sirus Cables
Connecting Cables

Unfortunately, when it comes to cables’ length, CM has messed up a bit. Usually it won’t be an issue if you stick to the normal route but if you plan to skip the round shaped control pod, you’ll feel that the connecting cable is a bit short.

Overall, you will not going to have any major complaints (hopefully no minor ones as well but that depends from person to person) as far as design is concerned aside from the ones that we have mentioned.

CM Storm Sirus - Price Tag

If you go with the normal package, the CM Storm Sirus will cost you about $129.99 but if you plan to skip the tactical mixing console, it will cost you $79.99. Though 130 bucks is a lot of money; considering the same category headsets with similar features, Sirus is a steal. 

Buy it from Amazon

Other Headsets you should also consider:

Razer Kraken 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
Plantronics GameCom Commander Gaming Headset
Logitech G230 Gaming Headset
Sennheiser PC 350 Special Edition Gaming Headset
Astro A40 2013 Edition Gaming Headset

Richest Video Game Companies | Highest Earning Video Game Companies of 2013

Year 1971, the successful launch of Computer Space laid the foundation of video game entertainment industry. No one would have thought that one day, the very same industry could generate billions of dollars and today, we have companies like Nintendo, Activision, EA, and others that alone are multi-billion dollar entities and are the richest video game companies.

Let’s take a look at some of the highest earning video game companies of 2013 based on the revenues of their last fiscal year.

■ Company reported a net-profit
■ Company reported a net-loss

Microsoft Studios

Origin: USA
Revenue: $10.01 billion

Established in 2002, Microsoft Studios has been one of the best performing subsidiaries of Microsoft. Originally Microsoft Game Studios, the division was re-branded as Microsoft Studios in 2011 and is the highest earning video game company of 2013 with a revenue of $10.01 billion for fiscal year 2012-13, ended in June 2013.

Sony Computer Entertainment

Origin: Japan
Revenue: $7.20 billion

A subsidiary of electronics juggernaut “Sony”, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) is one of the major competitors of Microsoft Studios. It is said that after the launch of PS4, SCE will wear the crown that is currently under the possession of its rival but since Microsoft Studios is also launching the successor of Xbox 360, it’s going to be an interesting duel. Anyway, SCE is currently at no.2, with a revenue of $7.20 billion for fiscal year 2012-13 (ended March 2013).

Nintendo

Origin: Japan
Revenue: $6.47 billion

Founded in the late 19th century as hanafuda cards manufacturing company, Nintendo became one of the biggest video game manufacturers under the visionary leadership of Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third president of the corporation.

Nintendo used to be on the top spot in the list of highest earning video game companies; however, its dominance has been successfully challenged by two of its major rivals, Sony Computer Entertainment and Microsoft Studios. Still, Nintendo is a giant in the industry and is been on no. 3 with a revenue of $6.47 billion (fiscal year 2012-13, ended March 2013).

Activision Blizzard

Origin: USA
Revenue: $4.85 billion

Activision Blizzard came into being after a merger between Activision and Blizzard Entertainment in 2008. With hit franchises like Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard is one of the best performing companies (financially) and is the fourth richest video game company with a revenue of $4.85 billion for fiscal year 2012 (ended 31 December, 2012).

Electronic Arts

Origin: USA
Revenue: $4.143 billion

Electronic Arts was founded by Trip Hawkins at a time when gaming industry was at its infancy. Since then, the company has become a major player and is one of the biggest names in the gaming community. With a revenue of $4.143 billion, EA is the fifth highest earning video game company (fiscal year 2012, ended December 2012).

SEGA

Origin: Japan
Revenue: $3.3301 billion

One of the pioneers in console manufacturing industry, SEGA decided in 1999 to discontinue their hardware business and focus purely on third party software development. The decision initially didn’t go well, as SEGA witnessed a year after year of losses. However, after 2005, the company managed to regain its balance and saw high net profits, primarily due to strong arcade sales.

Anyway, with a reported revenue of $3.3301 billion during fiscal year 2012-13 (ended March 2013), SEGA is the sixth highest earner of 2013.

Ubisoft

Origin: France
Revenue: $1.615 billion

Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Rayman, Tom Clancy; Ubisoft is a well-renowned name among gamers and doesn’t need any introductory remarks. A vision of Guillemot family, Ubisoft started its operations as computer game publisher in 1986 in France. Since then, the company has expanded its empire all over the globe and has become one of the biggest video game manufacturers. With a total revenue of $1.615 billion during fiscal year 2012-13 (ended March 2013), Ubisoft is the seventh richest video game company of 2013.

Square Enix

Origin: Japan
Revenue: $1.45 billion

Square Enix came into existence after a merger between Square and Enix in 2003, with Enix as the surviving company. The company, since then, has produced quite remarkable titles; most notable being Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Hitman.

Square Enix is the eighth highest earner of 2013 with a reported revenue of $1.45 billion.

Konami

Origin: Japan
Revenue: $1.20 billion

Konami Digital Entertainment, the subsidiary (of Konami) responsible for video games development and production, comes at no. 9, with a revenue of $1.20 billion during fiscal year 2012-13 (ended March 2013).

Capcom

Origin: Japan
Revenue: $952 million

Despite recent controversies regarding questionable sales tactics, Capcom is a name that can’t be ignored. From Street Fighter to Resident Evil, the company has contributed in the production of some of the most admired titles. Anyway, with a revenue of $952 million, Capcom is at no.10 in the list of highest earning video game companies of 2013.

Note: All revenue figures have been taken from the official reports released by the companies.

Plantronics GameCom Commander Gaming Headset Review

Plantronics has been in the arena for over fifty years, producing audio equipment that has been quite popular among consumers from different walks of life. To satisfy the requirements of gaming community, the company has released some remarkable products that have been received quite well by critics. Fast forward to 2013 and here we are with Plantronics GameCom Commander, a tank like gaming headset with exceptional performance as well as with “exceptional” price tag.

Unboxing the outer case reveals a sturdy carrying case that contains the headset and its accessories. The bag is badass enough to protect your gear in case of accidental falls but maybe not enough if you try to wrestle with it.

Plantronics GameCom Commander Gaming Headset - Performance

Most probably, you’ll get stunned by the sheer awesomeness of the product after you un-box the package; if not, the performance surely will take your breath away.
Plantronics Gamecom Commander Carrying Case
Carrying Case

Since GameCom Commander is advertised with an exorbitant price tag, one cannot expect anything but perfection. And guess what; performance wise, there is nothing but perfection. If you are wondering what is the difference between surround sound and stereo sound, have a look at our review of Astro A40 2013 where we have tried to give a brief explanation in as simple words as possible.

The audio output of Commander will not going to let you raise an eyebrow irrespective of whether you are an average guy or a hardcore audiophile. The sound feels exceptionally clear and crisp, with excellent highs, mids and lows. The surround sound will definitely going to help you in your cause, especially in First Person Shooters where quickly judging your enemy’s location can make a lot of difference.
Plantronics Gamecom Commander USB Sound Card
USB Sound Card

Included in the package is the USB sound card, the little devil responsible for producing Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound. You can connect your headset with it via 3.5mm cable and the device can be connected to your PC via USB connection.

Using them for watching movies or listening to music is a treat as GameCom Commander reproduces the sound that will make your overall experience totally worthwhile. In short, it is not the quality of sound or the packaging that will let you down but there is a catch that may instantly kill the product for you (it’s other than the price tag). We’ll mention it later.

Since these headsets were meant to block jet engine noise, GameCom Commander exhibits an impressive noise blocking ability that can prove quite useful at LAN parties or at gaming cafes. Same is the case with noise canceling mic; your teammates will never going to complain about jagged conversations ever (well it is if you try to say something that makes sense; otherwise, if you are wondering that the microphone has some sort of magical ability to convert your insane babble into meaningful words, you are unfortunately out of luck).

There is no need of any kind of software configuration so you’re all set to take them to any gaming gig or tournament you want.

Let’s have a look at the technical specs of GameCom Commander.


  • Speaker Driver Size: 40mm
  • Speaker Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 18 kHz
  • Microphone Frequency Response: 100 Hz to 10 kHz
  • Noise Reduction: Up to 18 dB
  • Cable Length: 6.5 feet (2 meters) with coil cord
  • Weight: 16 ounces

Plantronics GameCom Commander Gaming Headset - Design and Comfort

Surely Plantronics GameCom Commander gaming headset looks pretty badass but is it comfortable enough to wear as well? Well that depends on two things; your head size as well as your ears size.
Plantronics Gamecom Commander headset ear cup
Ear cup with leather cushion

If you have a big head or have large ears, they are not for you; simple as that. If you have a big head, you may feel a slight discomfort after wearing them for some time since they may grip your head somewhat too tightly. Though Commander has closed-end, circumaural ear cups (ear cups that enclose your ears completely); if you have large ears, the ear cups may feel on-the-ears ones rather than around-the-ears which can not only cause some uneasiness (if you are used to circumaural ear cups) but will also compromise the ambient noise blocking ability to some extent.

If you feel that you might face one of the above mentioned issues but are not sure, I’d suggest to try them first preferably for a day or two and then make your decision. After all, GameCom Commander costs almost a fortune and it is not wise to spend it on something you cannot withstand for even couple of days.

However, if you are one of those lucky ones who don’t have the above mentioned issues (and have some serious cash), congratulations; you have found the perfect headset.

The build quality of GameCom Commander means business. Even after rough-tough usage, the headset will not going to fail you at all. It is safe to assume that Plantronics GameCom Commander is a solid beast that will remain faithful for quite a lot of time.



The ear cups are covered with leather cushions to keep your ears comfy and the closed-ear design ensures that background noise remains as far from you as possible. The headband is also covered with leather cushion and is double stitched around the edges to ensure durability.

Plantronics GameCom Commander Gaming Headset - Price Tag

The number written on the little piece of plastic that GameCom Commander wears is something that can turn away many potential buyers. After all, there are a lot of folks out there who, with pretty good reasons, believe that spending 300 bucks on a headset makes no sense. So anyway, for $299.99, Plantronics GameCom Commander Gaming Headset is all yours.

Let me say once again that if you can just deal with the price tag, this headset have all the ingredients to be a long term investment.

Buy it from Amazon


Other Headsets you should also consider:

Cooler Master Storm Sirus Gaming Headset
Razer Kraken 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
Logitech G230 Gaming Headset
Sennheiser PC 350 Special Edition Gaming Headset
Astro A40 2013 Edition Gaming Headset

Logitech G230 Gaming Headset Review

Logitech G230 Gaming Headset
Let’s face it; not everyone can throw couple of hundred bucks on a pair of headsets. The reasons could be various but whatever they might be, there should be some alternates that doesn’t lighten one’s wallet too much and can do a decent job (above decent would be great though). So if you are one of those who are scratching their heads in hopes of finding a good enough gaming headset that is not an enemy of your wallet, worry no more. Say hello to Logitech G230, a budget friendly headset with decent performance.

Logitech G230 - Performance

The G230 is an entry level headset i.e. it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of features that quite a lot of high end gaming headsets are offering. However, those who are looking for a headset that can do the basic job without overwhelming its owner with features, G230 is a blessing. And considering the fact that it doesn’t cost a fortune to get one, it’s a win-win situation.

The headset produces a strikingly high quality stereo sound with excellent mids and highs, and good enough lows. For average users, G230 will work like a charm irrespective of whether they use it during their gaming gigs, during watching movies or during listening to music. However, hardcore audiophiles will find its bass slightly weaker, especially when watching those hardcore action movies (no, I’m not talking about “those” movies). That’s not going to be much of an issue but if you are one of those who can’t compromise even 1% on performance, then Logitech G230 might not be a good option. Remember, you can’t expect a $60 headset to perform like a $250-$300 headset.

The microphone, though generally works quite well, can give you a bit of trouble (well to your teammates actually because they are the ones who can’t hear you out) if you don’t keep it close enough to your mouth. This complaint generally doesn’t arise during regular conversations like Skype calls or regular voice chats and probably will not bother you much during gaming sessions as well but it is an issue nonetheless. Overall, mic’s performance is decent enough to give you a smooth sail if not a luxurious one.

Check out the technical specs of Logitech G230.

Headphone
  • Driver: 40mm
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 90dB SPL/Mw
Microphone Pickup pattern: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
  • Type: Pressure Gradient Electret Condenser
  • Frequency response: 50-20KHz
  • Sensitivity: -40dBV/Pa re: 0dB = 1 Pa, 1KHz
  • Test conditions: 3.0V, 2.2K Ohm

Logitech G230 - Design and Comfort

Logitech G230 Gaming Headset Ear Cup
Circumaural ear cups will keep you protected
from background noise while keeping
your ears cozy
The combination of black and red gives G230 a seductive outlook that can attract the attention of any gamer. Circumaural ear cups (the ear cups that enclose your ears completely) with comfortable, sport-performance cloth cushions will keep your ears cozy during long gaming gigs. And when you do require a break, just swivel them 90° and let them rest on your shoulders. Overall, the structure is quite light and you won’t feel any strain even after long usage.

The volume control is on the connecting cable instead of on the ear cup which can cause some hindrance during intense gaming sessions. However, let just not put it in the negative list as there are people who prefer the adjuster on cable rather than on ear cup.

The build quality is just about average; not bad but not good enough either to be worth mentioning. Avoid them from accidental falls, use them with care and hopefully you will not find yourself in trouble.

Logitech G230 - Price Tag

The best thing about Logitech G230 is, without any doubt, its price tag. Costing just about $60, G230 is surely one of the best entry level gaming headsets.

In the end, if you want a decent quality headset without any fancy technical jargons, G230 is an excellent choice. However, if you are one of those hardcore audiophiles who don’t know the word “compromise” and looking for a heavy-loaded product, try one of those that have a price tag in three figures.



Budget Friendly                                                       Average Build Quality
Lightweight                                                      
Decent Performance


Buy it from Amazon


Other Headsets you should also consider:

Cooler Master Storm Sirus Gaming Headset
Plantronics GameCom Commander Gaming Headset
Razer Kraken 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
Sennheiser PC 350 Special Edition Gaming Headset
Astro A40 2013 Edition Gaming Headset