The peripheral market has always been extremely competitive at all price points. The $100-$150 price point for headphones exemplifies this competition and has become the sweet spot for gaming headphones. Companies use this price point as an example for their entire range of peripherals and this results in great selection and amazing value for consumers. The Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 headphones are no exception to this time-honored formula but they do come up against staunch competition from the likes of the infamous HyperX Cloud II’s and the SteelSeries Siberia 650s. Here is an in-depth look at the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2s.
The Razer Kraken follows many of its predecessors in its presentation and sound. Typically, in a gaming headphone, the manufacturer produces them to overwhelm your senses with deep bass that will satisfy any gamer and prospective EDM lover but underwhelm the average user. The Kraken is no exception, but with a much cleaner bass representation than I have heard from a gaming headphone. Even at a higher price point, the SteelSeries Siberia 840 (~$390) and even Razer’s own Thresher Ultimate headphones (~$400) don’t present the bass as clean as the Kraken. For a headphone that is hundreds of dollars cheaper, you can see why I heap on praise to Razer. Razer does tout their headphones as being ‘balanced’ but this is by no means true. The bass still washes out the mids/highs and makes the AWP from CS:GO sound more like a cannon than a sniper rifle (just like the SteelSeries Siberia 840). The software does give users the ability to equalize the sound signature to reduce the bass which gives some nice customisation but most gamers will simply never be bothered to touch these settings.
The 7.1 works well but I haven’t seen any noticeable difference in-game when playing CSGO or PUBG compared to any other gaming headphone. I would say if you are in the market for surround sound, then there are better headphones.
The Build & Quality
The build quality of the Kraken is simply astounding. It’s as if they opened up the book of audiophile-grade equipment and actually took notes. The earpads are synthetic but are made to emulate the lambskin of some of the greatest headphone companies in the world (HiFiMAN or Audeze) and it does a decent job of it. They are soft and despite being synthetic, breathe well over long gaming periods. The stitching on the headband is clean and is better than I have seen on some cars.
The headphone feels and looks sturdy. With an aluminum chassis running down the side and into the frame. During my extensive gaming periods, I haven’t felt that they would ever break even when stretching the headband out. This is mainly due to the headband being insanely flexible, being able to be pulled out at almost 90 degrees before I feel like I’m doing any damage to the headphones.
That being said, I do have a few gripes about the build quality. The cable just isn’t long enough. The cable measures in at 2m which makes it impossible to route behind my desk and instead I have to plug it into the front of my tower. This increases the chance of breaking the USB tongue by running into it with my chair or hitting my foot against it. It also increases the chance of running over the cable which is not removable. When will companies learn that gamers want their headphones to last longer than the cables attached to them? That being said, my desk is fairly wide, but it’s something to keep in mind when shopping for these headphones. Razer does deliver some convenience with its cable, having the Kraken run via one USB for both playback and recording.
Another more minor issue is that the cable between the headband and the cups run outside of the frame. This increases the chance of users breaking their headphones, especially if they want to keep them for long periods of time. This was obviously a necessary evil that Razer chose when deciding to make the headband-less chunky.
The headphones come in a range of options in terms of painting and decal. The Razer Kraken comes in default black, white, quartz (pink), green and my gunmetal version. You can even buy Razer Kitty Ears for your Kraken if that’s your thing…
RGB on headphones is something we can really live without. I can understand RBG on a keyboard or a PC tower because you can actually see it while your gaming. You can’t see it on a headphone but Razer has opted to implement it anyway.
There are two dedicated RGB areas on the Razer Kraken. These are on the two earcups and show an illuminated Razer Logo. Although it feels like you’re more of a brand ambassador for Razer than a gamer, I appreciate that they have made the logos smaller than many other competitors. The functionality is fairly limited and has 4 different settings: static, breathing, spectrum cycling and none. This is far from the Razer Lancehead TE which had endless customisation.
I feel like a broken record writing about this having just reviewed the Razer Lancehead TE which shares similar software to the Kraken. Why do you need to sign up to use all the functionality of your headphones? Sure, the headphones are plug and play and you can get away with using them without the software, but to fiddle around with any of the additional settings Razer forces you to give them your email address, name and birthday.
The software isn’t bad. It’s not exactly great either. Perhaps its because the Kraken 7.1 is older than the Lancehead TE but Razer has opted to use the older Synapse software when compared to the new Razer Central. Razer Central has done leaps and bounds for the company’s software and it’s sad to see old products such as the Kraken 7.1 v2 not being uplifted onto the new software. Despite this, the software is well laid out and feature rich. The lighting tab is uncomprehensive as discussed earlier in my RBG section, but I don’t really blame them since gamers don’t really care about lights on their head. The software does feature plenty of features to tweak your audio, including a calibration for the 7.1 surround sound and a full equalizer.
Razer has once again outdone themselves on an affordable piece of tech for gamers of any calibre. The Razer Kraken 7.1 v2s build quality is outstanding, having taken a leaf from the great audiophile companies that exist today. The sound is decent, albeit reminiscent of the SteelSeries Siberia 840s but with a much cleaner bass presentation. All-in-all, I would strongly recommend checking out these headphones and they may have just overtaken the HyperX Cloud II’s as my go-to recommendation.
✔ Great value for money
✔ Decent sound quality
✔ Great build quality
✔ Extremely comfortable and lightweight
✔ All plugs in via one USB cable
✖ Too bass heavy; although cleaner than many
✖ Software that you have to sign up for
✖ Cable isn’t embedded in the frame
✖ Cable just isn’t long enough
What’s in the box?
– Razer Kraken Quick Start Guide
– Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 Headset
– Razer Marketing Material