Razer Carcharias gaming headset review
A good all round headset that won’t break the bank
It doesn’t take much to be a gaming headset. A few gamer oriented features, gamer styling and comfort are all a set of cans need to fall in this category, and the Razer Carcharias ticks all of these boxes. The cans are also priced competitively at R799, but does that make them any good?
The Carcharias headphones have all the features gamers could ask for on a pair of mid-range headphones. There is a built in, retractable boom mic, adjustable speaker cups for increased comfort, a braided audio cable with in line audio control, mic mute switch and clothing clip, and two 3.5mm audio jacks to connect the headphones and microphone to your sound card.
The Carcharias headphones do feel as if they’re built to last. Despite their relative lightness and “shady” looking cup height adjustment system, each part of the headphones feels well built and flexible. The braided cable means the headphones should survive even after being hooked on chair arm rests, table corners and around feet. The only complaint is that if one taps on the speaker cups, there is an annoying rattle that sounds like mesh grill bumping into plastic. The review unit sounded worse on the left cup, which could hint at some variation between different units of the same model. Not a deal breaker, but enough to lose the Carcharias marks on build quality.
The audio quality was tested in two ways. The first was in game tests in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, where placement of enemy’s seen and unseen, as well as ambient sounds were used as testing criteria.
During gaming the headphones performed admirably. Enemies were easy to find, and footsteps of other players were a dead giveaway. The ambient noise was also good, though it was often drowned out completely by the action, revealing a less than ideal dynamic range. The overall sound-stage presented by the Carcharias headphones is very good, with enough detail and clarity to keep most gamers happy. The actual sound quality was above par, though not on the level of audiophile brand headphones such as Sennheiser and AKG.
The second way of testing was the headphone sound tests on Audiocheck.net. These tests are designed to put headphones through their paces in a scientific way. For a full breakdown of testing criteria, head over to Audiocheck.net.
|Test||Sennheiser HD415||Razer Carcharias|
|Frequency response (low)||20Hz+||20Hz+|
|Frequency response (high)||19KHz down||17KHz down|
|Dynamic Range||60db below full scale||42db below full scale|
|Quality||Excellent, no rattles||Excellent, no rattles|
|Driver matching||Perfect, no variation||Excellent, slight variation|
|Wiring (Centre)||Well defined, accurate||Less defined, semi accurate|
|Wiring (Twisted)||Hard to define, accurate||Less defined, semi accurate|
|Binaural test||Excellent, lifelike||Good, simulated|
|Music test 1 (Time, Pink Floyd)||88/100||65/100|
|Music test 2 (Moonlight sonata, Beethoven)||88/100||60/100|
The Razer Carcharias performed well in the Audiocheck tests, and while beaten in each test by the Sennheiser HD415s, users should bear in mind the HD415s are designed with only build quality and audio quality in mind, and lack some of the essential gaming headphones features such as a boom mic and in line volume control.
Two songs were also used to judge how well the headphones do when listening to music. One was a FLAC recording of Time by Pink Floyd off of “The dark side of the moon”, widely respected as one of the best recordings ever made. The other song was a FLAC recording of the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 ‘Moonlight’ in C sharp minor, performed by Paul Lewis.
Both songs highlighted the vast difference in audio quality between audiophile headphones and gaming headphones. Despite not being well suited to music, the Carcharias’ performed well, and are good enough for the occasional music while one is not gaming.
Readers need to bear in mind that hearing ability differs from one human to the next, so these tests are only comparable when done by the same reviewer. Additionally, readers may have better/worse hearing, and may not be able to reproduce the test results listed here. Thus the results are informative, but not definitive.
The Razer Carcharias headphones are a solid option for gamers who want a set of cans with gaming specific features in mind, and don’t fret too much about overall audio quality. For the recommended retail price of R799 the Carcharias headphones are a good buy and can go toe to toe with similar priced options.