PC gamer, console gamer, movie-watcher, or music-listener--which surround sound headset is right for you? Logitech, Psyko, Plantronics, Tritton, Razer
Razer's second push into the surround headset, the Megalodon, is jet black and lightweight, but feels flimsy in the hand with both sides wobbling around with an effortless shake. The large headband, emblemized with Razer's logo on the top, is surprisingly large. It is the only headset in this group where the headrest doesn't actually rest on all heads in normal use. The cans just barely cover the ears entirely. It covers more than Plantronics' set, but it still sits on the ears. Within thirty minutes the headphones pinch the ear, but after that there is no additional soreness. Only where the cushion rests on the ear is there a problem.
A thin metal frame holds the Megalodon together, making it feel unstable. Even a slight shake will dislodge them when worn. The microphone boom sits on the left side, longer than all the others and flexible to boot. It sticks out when not in use, and can swivel 270 degrees. Just beneath the microphone is Razer's triple-snake logo, which lights up blue when plugged in.
On the 10-foot cable sits the control pod, which houses the onboard soundcard. Unlike the other headsets, this control pod is big and bulky, made to sit on your table and not hang loose. The control pod is large and unwieldy, has sharp corners and is difficult to pick up. It does stay put on a surface, but depending on how you sit while gaming, it may or may not be easy to use.
The control pod has a dial in the center which controls volume levels, a button inside it to select quadrants for volume change (center, front left and right, left and right, rear left and right, and the sub), and three microphone buttons to set sensitivity, volume, and mute. On top sits the Maelstrom button, which can activate the Maelstrom sound engine for either 7.1 surround or stereo audio. The pod is lit like a blue Christmas tree.
The Megalodon doesn’t provide true surround sound. The Maelstrom engine, built off the same technology the French Air Force employs to generate surround sound for fighter pilots, simulates surround sound and volume levels of the action on-screen to give it more effect, and more oomph.
While not stable on the head, the Megalodon does provide very good sound quality. Bass is fairly good, though not as good as Logitech's G35. Stereo sound is crisp and clear, while stereo played through the Maelstrom engine loses much of its depth, and oddly gains bass. Surround, however, has profoundly great quality (even though it isn’t “true” surround sound). So good, in fact, that it made the discomfort seemingly disappear, at least for a little while. Finding noise-making objects in a game world is easy.
The Razer Megalodon, which has only just released in the US, is listed at $150.
|Test||Score||High points||low points|
|Comfort||7||Passes the three hour test. Lightweight.||Headrest is too tall. Cushions don't fully surround the ear. Leaves the ears sore.|
|Convenience||9||Plug-and-play. Control pod is simple and intuitive, easy to control with one hand. Great for traveling.||Control pod must sit flat on a surface, has sharp corners. May not be suitable for everyone.|
|Surround Quality||10||Excellent directional audio.||Stereo audio is poor with Maelstrom active.|
|Stereo Quality||9||Good bass. Sound is clear and crisp.||Bass is not as sharp as expected.|
|Overall||8||Given the price, the Megalodon is an excellent option for traveling, especially with its hardened case. Directional audio is excellent.||Slightly more expensive than we'd like. Comfort is below expected standards. Flimsy design.|