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Friday, 05 June 2009 13:00

Razer Carcharias Gaming headset

Written by Slobodan Simic

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Review: The way it's meant to be heard


A while back, Razer attempted to move into the affordable gaming headset market with the Piranha, and even though we were impressed with the sound quality, Razer somewhat overlooked the comfort part that is by all means crucial in a headset design, especially when gaming headset are concerned.

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Long LAN-parties, can be quite frustrating if you are not feeling comfortable. Do not get us wrong, the sound quality is really important, but Razer has never disappointed in that field, the Carcharias is not an exception. Two 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets, impedance of 32 Ohm at 1kHz and frequency response from 20 to 20,000 Hz testify that these are high quality headphones. Unfortunately, as much as we'd usually bash anyone claiming headphones response of 20Hz to 20KHz, the entire music industry does it as well so we'll let it go. 

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The microphone itself has a signal-to-noise ratio of 50dB, unidirectional pick-up pattern and frequency response from 50 to 16,000 Hz. The biggest difference between the Piranha and the Carcharias, in addition to the sheer size and the size of drivers, is in the over-the-ear cup design. According to our experience, on-the-ear design tends to be much less comfortable, especially if you wear glasses for instance and the headset is made too rigid, which can push your ears to the point of pain.

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The new Razer Carcharias really shines as far as comfort and design are concerned. The padded ear-cups are not made out of leather, which is a good thing as you sweat less, and the headband easily adjusts to any head size.

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The headband is also padded with the similar material as the ear-cups. The headphones felt great and to our surprise the padding does its job superbly and we felt like we were born with the Carcharias on our head.

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The headphones are rigid enough to stay in place, but at the same time, they're soft enough not to squeeze your head to the point of pain. The size of the ear-cups probably has a lot to do with this fact as it has a larger surface and doesn’t press your head at a single point but rather distributes the pressure around your ear.

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After un-boxing we were impressed with the overall quality of the build and we overlooked one thing that makes this headset a bit different than the Piranha, but we will mention it a bit later.

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The 3m long cable is braided in a fiber sheath and the connectors are not color coded, at least not the entire rubber casing which is the case with most headsets. The color codes are on the gold plated jacks and Razer also included a small picture of microphone and headphones on the rubber connector case as well.

This shows that Razer didn’t miss anything and that they wanted to make sure that those small details like all black/gold plated connectors and fiber sheathed cable show the design quality.

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We already mentioned that we overlooked one thing that makes this headset a bit different than the Piranha, and as you can see from the picture, the new Carcharias lacks the "blue glow".

Razer decided to ditch the LED light that was coming from the ear pads and the remote volume control of the Piranha headset. The good thing is that you no longer need an extra USB port, but the bad side of it is that Razer's Carcharias doesn't feel like a true Razer Gaming product as it lacks that LED glow.

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The remote volume control also feels more sturdy and even the mute switch for the microphone no longer feels flimsy.

As you could see from the previous pictures, unlike Piranha which was all mate black, Razer decided to incorporate few glossy black parts on the Carcharias. Don’t get us wrong as Carcharias is far from being all glossy, as the headband is still done in mate black and this combination of mate and glossy does give a certain quality feel to the Carcharias.

The sound quality was never a question and the Carcharias rises up to its expectations. The bare specifications of the drivers are a testament of high quality. It has a decent mid-range and high-end/treble sound quality and even the low-end/bass is pretty good. You can always tweak these further using software equalizers but we just can't see a reason for such a feat.

These are branded as gaming headphones and we gave it a quick spin in some of our favorite games. The sound is crystal clear and the microphone works like a charm. It filters out the background noise, just as it is supposed to, and provides decent voice quality, enough for team talk in games.


Conclusion

We must first compliment Razer on the fact that they are learning from their previous products. Razer Piranha was a decent mid-range headset and even thought the Carcharias also qualifies as a mid-range headset it can easily slip by as a high-end one.

It lacks 5.1 surround that the Barracuda has but we honestly don’t see a point for those, as they are just too expensive and the 5.1 is never that good. The comfort is astounding and we felt really comfortable with these, as they are neither too heavy nor they tend to apply strong pressure to your head from the sides. The over-the-ear cup design certainly adds to overall comfort and they are just perfect.

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The sound quality can of course always be debatable but bear in mind that these are not professional, studio headphones, but rather gaming ones and with this in mind, the sound quality is great. Two 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets are more than enough for an average user and the quality is superb. The microphone works like a charm and the output sound is decent and there is almost no background noise.

The price, which is US $79.99 from Razer directly or €72,99 in Europe, might feel a bit steep but you must bear in mind that this is Razer, and that you get a premium product. Due to all these facts and our personal experience with the comfort that Carcharias offers, we are more than happy to give it our recommended award.

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Last modified on Friday, 05 June 2009 14:52
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