The Razer work ethic is tireless. With the expanded wealth of products–wide in variety–sometimes I fear the company could spread itself too thin. It has gone from a manufacturer of premium mice to including laptops, motion controllers and one impressive gaming tablet. Yet, the quality rarely falters. That leaves me wondering what could possibly be next on their roadmap.
Today we take the Razer Carcharias stereo headset out for an audible spin. Unlike its predecessor, this set speaks fluently to PC and Xbox 360. It’s also packaged with all the necessary connections to play nice with your Windows PC or Xbox 360 console. Plus it’s completely plug and play. So there is no need to worry about software and driver juggling. But is the performance strong enough to make listeners turn a blind eye to the rather uninspiring look? Let’s find out.
The new refreshed Carcharias looks exactly the same as its forefather. It’s all black save for the logo found on each ear piece, which glows with a bright trademark Razer green. The Carcharias features very soft near suede ear cushions, adjustable headband, ample padding for the top of your head where the set rests and a microphone that can tilt up when not in use. The Carcharias uses 40mm neodymium magnets, with a frequency of 20-20,000 Hz. It comes with the main headset, 3.5mm to RCA cable, 2.5mm to 2.55mm Xbox 360 microphone chat cable, Xbox 360 Audio Cable adapter, quick start guide and a single Razer logo sticker.
Where some headsets mute their microphones by tilting the mic upward, the Carcharias sports fully featured in-line controls. Here is a switch to mute the mic, Bass Boost dial, volume control dial and incoming voice chat control so you can dial voice chat communications sounds up or down independently of the overall game, movie or music audio. That’s a great feature more products have adopted and it’s a welcome inclusion on the new Carcharias. Rounding out the feature set on the in-line controls is a port to connect the 2.5mm Xbox Live microphone chat cable. The expanded features on the in-line control are great improvements and also work nicely to support the PC and console users.
I put the Carcharias through my typical potpourri of tests. I played games, listened to a variety of music and watched quite a few movies. As I mentioned above, Razer rarely falters. While these are definitely more finely tuned for gaming audio, the Carcharias did not disappoint during movies or games. These are stereo headphones and can’t quite match the positional audio performance and surround of a multichannel 5.1 or 7.1 headset. But for gamers who must compromise cost, yet are unwilling to compromise quality, these cans make up in clarity what they lack in surround sound and multichannel features. The audio is handsomely rich and crystal clear for a stereo headset. Bass runs from decent to good, if you use the in-line controls to play with it a bit. I should note, the Carcharias sound great with both onboard sound and with an aftermarket soundcard. But I definitely prefer the enhanced richness in audio and in the low and midrange, when the Carcharias is paired with a strong soundcard like the Sound Blaster Z.
The Razer Carcharias is a great stereo headset. The performance across all media forms is very good. Comfort is lasting and the form factor is lightweight. So, If you’re on a budget and already have a soundcard that is working well for you… By all means, run, don’t walk to snatch up the Razer Carcharias. Those using onboard sound should evaluate other more sophisticated offerings like the Sennheiser PC350 Limited Edition. But if you’re a Razer loyalist, you could do a heck of a lot worse for your gaming and general entertainment needs than the Carcharias headset for PC and Xbox 360.
Bottom Line: The Razer Carcharias is a great set of cans. It’s a solid stereo offering that is inexpensive, easy to use and comfortable. It’s not replacing any 5.1 or 7.1 setup and the Carcharias definitely benefits from an aftermarket soundcard.
- Rich and clear audio playback
- Simple plug and play/no software
- PC and Xbox 360 support
- Familiar and intuitive control scheme
- Best with a soundcard
- The Razer Carcharias Headset for PC and Xbox 360 is available at Amazon for $74.45.