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Razer Kraken Ultimate review: A sublime surround sound experience

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The Razer Kraken Ultimate delivers a powerful surround sound experience in a supremely comfortable and stylish package.

The Good

  • THX Spatial Audio does an excellent job of conveying believable 360-degree sound
  • Gel-infused ear cushions are pleasantly soft while still blocking out ambient noise
  • Sleek metal design is both attractive and resilient

The Bad

  • Making the most of the spatial audio requires a bit of tinkering
  • Not particularly cheap

Translating the immersive power of a traditional surround sound speaker set-up into a pair of headphones has been a constant challenge for headset manufacturers. While some have taken the literal approach and built headsets containing five or seven individual speaker drivers (plus a pseudo-subwoofer), the result is often larger, heavier and significantly more expensive than your average stereo headset.

The more popular – and more affordable – solution is virtual surround sound which uses a raft of different techniques to fool your brain into thinking you're hearing 360-degree audio from standard stereo drivers. Different manufacturers have their own ways of achieving this, from Dolby Atmos to Windows Sonic.

Not one for sitting on the sidelines, Razer has teamed up with renowned audio company THX to deliver its own virtual surround sound solution, and it's a prominent selling point for the company's latest wired PC gaming headset: the Razer Kraken Ultimate. According to Razer, THX Spatial Audio offers an even greater level of positional fidelity than 7.1 surround sound, so how does that claim stack up? Let's find out.


Design

  • Slick, formidable aesthetic
  • Metal frame is suitably hardy for a premium product
  • Impeccably comfortable
Razer Kraken Ultimate

Performance

  • THX Spatial audio effectively condenses surround sound into a headset
  • Heightened immersion and enhanced spatial awareness can legitimately change your gaming experience
  • Does require a bit of tweaking to get the best result
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Features

  • RGB lighting is present without being gawdy
  • Volume wheel > volume buttons
Razer Kraken Ultimate

Verdict

I said it earlier and I'll say it again: the Razer Kraken Ultimate is the best-sounding headset I've yet reviewed. THX Spatial Audio offers the closest approximation of true surround sound I've experienced in a headset, and it does so at a price far below that of "true" surround sound headsets.

Combine that with its sturdy build quality, premium design and plush comfort, and the Razer Kraken Ultimate has easily ascended to the top spot on my best gaming headsets list.

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Pricing and availability

The Razer Kraken Ultimate retails for $218.95 and is available directly from Razer as well as from retailers like Mwave and Centre Com.

Razer Kraken Ultimate PC Gaming Headset

Razer Kraken Ultimate PC Gaming Headset from Razer

Up your game with the Razer Kraken Ultimate wired PC gaming headset and its powerful 360-degree THX Spatial Audio.

View details

Specs

Razer Kraken Ultimate

Build

Wired/Wireless
Wired
Weight
390g
Speaker Driver
50mm Neodymiummm
Frequency Response
20Hz - 20kHz
Ear Cushion
Over-ear
Microphone Type
Unidirectional ECM boom
Colours
Black
Sound Format
THX Spatial Audio

Connectivity

Connection Type
USB
Cable length
2m

Features

RGB Lighting
Yes
Detachable Microphone
No
On-headset Controls
Volume, Spatial Audio

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