Over the years I have owned and used almost every type of headset out there. I started with the basic 3.5mm jack in sets that came with the Walkman. Then, when the original Xbox came out I got my first wireless set. I’ve had Bose, Apple, Samsung, Turtle Beach, Lenovo, Sony, Corsair, and everything in between since.

Recently I bought my son the Razer USB headset for $60.00 at Best Buy. We picked them because they had 7.1 surround sound, worked with both the PC and PS4, and felt pretty comfortable at the store. For the price they seemed like the best bang for my buck. 40mm drivers, a boom mike, and nice ear pads made them an upgrade over the iPhone ear buds he had been using with the PS4 and he was just starting to get into PC gaming so being able to plug into both devices was a nice feature.

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Razer Kraken USB

We got them home, downloaded the newest Razer Synapse software (required for the surround sound to work) and went through the simple setup process. I appreciate the way the software allows you to adjust the angle of each directional sound. It allows for some incredibly accurate sound only shots in games like TitanFall and Overwatch. Nothing lets you dodge Diva’s rocket attack like hearing where its coming from.

KrakenSurround The EQ lets you tune the sound of your game until it’s just right and you can easily create profiles (saved settings) for each game that you play. I have one for games and another for music.

The only negative thing we experienced was something my son noticed. There is a slight feedback tone when there’s no audio signal being played. It’s a common issue with USB headsets and is more related to the PC’s internal cable shielding than the headset itself, but it is annoying when you’re in between games or songs.

I liked the Krakens so much that I decided it was time for me to replace my trusty Turtle Beach XP400s. The Turtle Beach cans were just fine but I have so much wireless equipment in my house that they were occasionally dropping out from interference and I’ve worn them so much the ear pads were getting threadbare. I opted for the Kraken 7.1 v2 model, at $90.00 (on sale) they were a little more expensive but have some nice upgraded features for the extra thirty bucks.

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Razer Kraken 7.1 v2

The 7.1 v2 Krakens have 50 mm drivers, the base will shake your skull. Seriously, I have to turn it down on games because the explosions can hurt at high volume. The mic retracts all the way into the headset when you’re not using it and has a mute button embedded in it. When you mute the mic the tip glows red. The have the same surround sound features as the Kraken USB but add active noise cancelling for both ambient noise and your voice in the game. Most importantly they add mic monitoring; the ability to hear yourself in the headset when you talk. My wife thinks this is the most important feature in all headsets because it keeps me from talking quite so loud.

KrakenMic

The 7.1 set is also Chroma enabled which lets me match the color to my PC and other accessories. For me this is feature is important; my whole PC case, motherboard, keyboard, mouse and even my desk are all RGB LED and the ability to have my headset match the color of my mood is nice. The headband is wider, the ear pads are thicker, and they’re overall more comfortable.

The Kraken USB set sounds great, they are some of the best sounding headphones I’ve used, but the 7.1 edition takes the cake. They are flat-out the best sounding earphones I’ve owned so far. I think they sound better than my Bose Soundlink set that I use at work. The base is thumping, the highs are clear, and they filter out any feedback. You’ll be happy with whichever pair fits your budget but if you can afford them opt for the 7.1 v2, the extra $30 ($40 when they’re not on sale) is well worth it. No matter which set or brand of USB headset you buy, always check the manufactures site to see if there is related software. You don’t get the full set of features without it.

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