Razer Megalodon 7.1 Surround sound gaming headset

Reviewed by inoshiro | 22 August 2011
Genre: | Publisher: Razer | Developer: Razer
TOG Score
Members (av.)
The Good
  • Comfort
  • Positional sound that actually works
  • Microphone clarity
The Bad
  • x64 installation issues
  • USB only, can’t be used on a conventional stereo


Reviewed by okkervil
A lavish and indulgent treat for your gaming ears.

Initial thoughts

The first thing you’ll notice about this headset is how hard Razer have worked on the packaging. A slick cardboard arrangement slides then unfolds to reveal a faux carbon fibre hardcase which contains the headset, control pod and some marketing propaganda in one neat, shiny package. The case is something you’d definitely hang on to in the event you were off to a lan, as the headset fits snugly inside and the protection provided could save you more than a few pennies in repairs or replacements. The cloth covered cord which is at an estimate around 3 metres long is also a nice touch. Plenty of length, and no cold plastic anywhere. Though for the time being, this is where the fun ended.

My experience plugging this in and trying to get it to work on my new i5 system running Windows 7 64 bit was a nightmare. The specs and website state that it’s compatible with x64, which turned out to be true, but I did not discover the truth until a good solid hour of googling had lapsed. In order to get it to work, I had to uninstall the drivers that Windows thought were appropriate for this product, then update the firmware - a tricky operation that requires you to hold down a button on the control pod, whilst re-inserting the headset into a USB port. Following a reboot, the headset still wasn’t working, so some USB slot shuffling took place and at last one of the twelve I have allowed the headset to actually play sound.

Sound

They say that those who are patient get the rewards and I must say that even with the steam coming out of my ears after my installation experience I was well rewarded. Truth be told, I thought the 7.1 was a bit of a gimmick before I purchased the headset, and I purchased on the promise of a headset at last comfortably fitting my giant bonce. I got the fit right, and as a bonus I got excellent gaming sound.

Tested on Team Fortress 2, Live for Speed, Trackmania, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Starcraft 2, the Megalodon headset performs really well. Positional audio works as well as they claim on the website, which is a rare event indeed and I’m convinced it provides an edge, particularly in the FPS games over stereo headsets. The sound is crystal clear, with gamer thrilling, punchy bass. A game with plenty of pew pew or vroom vroom and cowbell will see the Megalodon puff it’s chest out and flex all of it’s muscle.

The great humbler for gaming headsets is always music. It seems you can’t have a gaming headset that’ll do a great job of music, or a music headset that’ll do gaming really well. The Megalodon fits into this stereotype. Music performance is pretty good, but not thrilling. Treble and mids are crisp and as good as my not-cheap-either Sennheiser headphones, but the bass even after performing so admirably in games, feels slightly loose and disconnected, leading to an overall ho-hum experience with your music player doing it’s thing. That being said, how often do audiophiles listen to MP3 files from a computer anyhow?

As I’m writing this review, I’m tweaking the settings and trying to get my music to sound better and rather embarrassingly I’ve just discovered the button that switches the 7.1 mode over to 2.0 and not surprisingly music sounds considerably better now. Forehead slap.

Individual channel volume is adjustable easily and quickly via the control pod, as is overall volume - which at 2/3 is more than enough, even for these seasoned live gig ears. Also at your fingertips is are handy mic mute, mic sensitivity and mic level control features. I found being able to adjust tidbits on the fly without alt tabbing to be most useful.

These headphones aren’t noise cancelling, so provided you’re at an acceptable level you’ll at least hear people in your presence, though you might not be able to make out what’s said, so unfortunately cup of tea or hanging out the washing duties can not be completely avoided. Without the noise cancelling, they also leak a little noise, but in our road test we found the levels of noise leaked to be perfectly acceptable.

Microphone

The boom swivels 270 degrees, and has a little bendy section which should be adjustable enough to get the microphone close enough to the mouth on even the most unconventional of faces. While it’s not detachable, it can be easily swung above so that it’s out of the way if required.

Traditionally I’ve struggled with voice communications. Like a turtle on it’s back, I’ve never been able to get the settings right, it’s at times been that bad that I’ve heard people sigh as they’ve seen my tag light up on Ventrilo. It turns out that my struggles have must have been hardware related. Previously having used a $2 desktop microphone, then a Creative Fatal1ty gaming headset and finally a Microsoft Lifecam VX1000 as a voice communications tool, I’m not surprised. I’m delighted to say that this microphone just works, straight out of the box. Tested on Ventrilo, Mumble, Teamspeak and the previously mentioned games via in-game voice, all have come up trumps. If you take the plunge, expect to have people say “I didn’t know that’s what you sounded like.” Samples taken from Windows Sound Recorder are crisp, clear and punchy. Very satisfying indeed if you’ve been through microphone hell as I have.

Overall

Besides the nightmare setting it up, I’m very happy with this purchase. Build quality, comfort, gaming sound, the control system and the microphone are excellent, as previously mentioned, music isn’t quite up to the standard of the previously mentioned attributes, but again - it’s a gaming headset not an audiophile headset.

The dollars invested are justified in my view when performance is considered, however the real test of value will come with time. If I get two good years of gaming out of this thing, the investment will be an excellent one, working out roughly at a few cents per hour of gaming, which for the enhanced experience, I’m more than happy to pay. If it falls short of the two year mark, it will have been a lavish and indulgent treat, perhaps a little over the top but not a complete waste, if this makes sense.

I’m happily recommending this to my fellow TOGers.




What do you think of Razer Megalodon 7.1 Surround sound gaming headset?
Post a review below!

Member reviews

- okkervil |
| 22 August 2011

It's megalodon. Not magalodon as per the title.

- CAMMO |
| 23 August 2011

Razer Tiamat - The World's First True 7.1 Gaming Headset. this is the new one out by Razer the Megalodon is out dated. :(

- okkervil |
| 23 August 2011

Probably explains why it's affordable now Cam. It's a great bit of loot for the price.

- Smokeyjobe |
| 24 August 2011

Nice review Okkervil. I like the way you seem to talk and test at the same time (discovering the switch partway through discussing music sound). Very true to life and makes the review seem more honest imo. I'm looking for a new headset, and this sounds like a good option to keep in mind. Don't suppose you tested it on skype? I use the program a lot to chat with family OS. Cheers!

- okkervil |
| 24 August 2011

I have used Skype since writing this review and it's fair to say that it's well and truly overkill. This headset for Skype is like having your mail delivered on the back of a Hayabusa.

Middling - RapidDescent |
| 25 August 2011

True to razer products they have produced a very fancy product with great gaming credentials only to let themselves down in the ease of use department. My Razer Lachesis mouse was a case in point - fantastic once I set it up but ohhh my god the issues getting setup right. I have used a Megalodon and was impressed by the sound, but in the end I bought a Logitech G35 headset for $50 less, ran the disc, plugged it in and was blown away. Added bonus - G35 is closed ear and blocks out Mrs Rapid and the Rapidlets.

- The Omen |
| 3 September 2011

I can see people getting annoyed shortly with the cloth covered cord. Having a cloth cord on my G500 mouse is a nightmarish dust collector. :) Looks a nice rig though :)

- Seraphim |
| 12 September 2011

sennhieser pc350 more expensive granted. best headset eva

- granpa |
| 14 September 2011

Good review but a bit pricey for me. As a matter of interest I downloaded the product demo and listened to it through my Zalman 5.1 headset. The positional effects were very good as was the demo of speaker position. I note that the headset costs AUD$249 at Razers AU site and on checking that price varied over a few Australian suppliers the best being AUD$189 here http://www.bttech.com.au/razer-megalodon-surround-sound-gaming-headset-p-70723.html. Quite a big difference between the RRP and the lowest.

- okkervil |
| 14 September 2011

There always is a large discrepancy between RRP and real life retail. I think these were $170 from MSY. Can't beat 'em.

- FRIENDLYUNIT |
| 15 September 2011

Very interesting review. I've no idea why but USB headsets make me nervous. Are there any (verified as working) positional audio ones out there that aren't USB?

Osi32/NotoriousD - NotoriousD |
| 6 October 2011

Thanks for the review- was good read :) I'm hanging out for the Turtle Beach ear force z6a (being re-released in november as a MW3 tie in, with the PC version being called "Ear Force Charlie"). http://www.reghardware.com/2011/08/30/ten_gaming_headsets/ They got a 10/10, as well as being real 5.1 (4 speakers per ear)..

sogaussie - sogaussie |
| 22 October 2011

Very nice review I have to say.Thanks, I am going to get this head set for sure. Keep on toging:)

- Osdor |
| 24 October 2011

I had real problems finding a headset that was comfortable for long durations, and good quality too. After reading your review I took the plunge and got a Megalodon. This is the best headset I've ever used! My old Plantronics 777 never did surround sound properly, and they became uncomfortable on my big lugs after a few minutes. The Megalodon is the best surround I've ever heard on headphones, voice quality is excellent, and I can play for hours in comfort. I also gave some music a go the other night in 2.0 mode and I was very impressed. I had the same issues with firmware updates and needing to change USB port to make it work (I hear a powered hub solves this) but got it working fine in minutes. 5/5

- M0rph4eus |
| 27 October 2011

I have a set they are good nice and clear :-) great sound on BF3 the explosions are awesome

- Ramon |
| 5 November 2011

Steel series Siberia 2 is cheaper and a better product. http://steelseries.com/products/audio/steelseries-siberia-v2

- berkutchi |
| 21 November 2011

Bought a pair of Megalodons recently - they sound great and fit well, but I just can't seem to get them to work consistently with The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. I have read a lot of other comments online about a powered USB hub being helpful in stabilising the audio, so will try that and post here if it works out.

- 9teeneightyfiver |
| 22 November 2011

Just bought these this morning, then I stumbled onto your review haha. Looking forward to testing them out myself.

head set - Tayein |
| 24 November 2011

i do like this headset but i am waiting for the new head set to come out it can switch between the headset and speakers you allready have, and has 5 drivers for what i belive to be a better sound we will see when they come out here soon i hope

- Roonerspism |
| 2 December 2011

I've had one of these for quite a while now, maybe as long as a year. It shipped with cloth ear pads, which I had to replace after a few months due to, well they got a bit smelly. Bought the faux leather which are easy to clean and have been great since. Overall I am very happy with it. One improvement would be better noise cancelling, but it's not a big issue.

- berkutchi |
| 3 December 2011

Powered USB hub fix seems to work well enough, but only from a port on the MB. Mic works really well in BF3 co-op.

- Hoathy |
| 9 December 2011

Had to admitt had a similar experience with setting it up. Also ran into troubles with audio and mic running at the same time. But after the pain of getting it working it has been nothing but value for money. Love the sound quality (the 7.1 is great in games), comfortable as...something really comfortable (and I too have a big noggin), and just looks plain cool. 5 stars

- 9teeneightyfiver |
| 20 December 2011

Well it's been about a month since I got these and to keep it short they are great, get some. I had no dramas setting them up like some other people have and I'm running 64 bit. I did however find them quite uncomfortable AT FIRST. I'm not sure whether this was just from wearing them for hours or what but they eventually got better and now I wouldn't play BF3 without them. Recommended

- okkervil |
| 29 February 2012

@seraphim & ramon.. Feel free to post pictures and / or a review of your own of your suggested products. Otherwise, go piss on someone else's parade. Your contributions aren't in any way shape or form productive.

xcel8-2-50+ - XCEL8-2-50+ |
| 3 April 2012

I have a pair of G35 7.1 surround from Logitech and apart from having to re-install the software every other day i think they are as good as the Razor, but i do have a Razor left handed mouse which is awesome!

- Target Drone |
| 7 August 2012

Thanks for the review of the Megalodon 7.1 channel. Very helpful in your practical experience of getting them up and working, not often shown in reviews. From my own experience I had the 5.1 Zalman headset and they were good in their time but...now I've got the Turtle Beach Z6A great for 5.1 sound in gaming, but as per reviews it is not an audiophile headset.And it is chalk and cheese as is the extra cash outlay. There is a noticeable slight distort with speakers in music at certain points but are thankfully few and far between. I bought these for gaming and they do the job very well. Set up easy due to split cable set up but a lot of personal preference tweaks in relation to the dial volumes for surround, front, centre and sub. Seeing the 7.1 headphone review made me realise that my sound card has this capacity and I now realise I'm not using to the sound card to it's fullest capability. Something to consider when purchasing your next headphones.

Nice alternative - milkydeathgrind |
| 16 December 2012

The megaladon is a great headset if you are looking for a great sounding alternative to having a true analog 7.1 headset. The audio processing engine Razer is using does a pretty decent job of recreating a virtual surround sound environment but there is still some left to be desired (especially from me since I've been a recording engineer and producer for years). If you want real true to life analog 7.1 surround sound then go with the Razer Tiamat. In my opinion you can't find a better headset that has 7.1 and sounds and feels as good as this one. I have used the Turtle beaches and the Sennheiser headphones as well. The turtle beach phones are overpriced and I can get better sound quality from a 1989 boombox stuffed in a trashcan compared to the terrible drivers they use. The Sennheisers are ALSO way overpriced and still are lacking in the sound and comfort department. Also, the only Sennheisers that actually have 7.1 are the PC 333D's. The best way you can go is the Tiamat BUT also consider that it IS analog so your sound card needs to support 7.1 surround sound otherwise plan on also buying a new sound card. You will know if you have 7.1 sound if your mobo or sound card has: Line-In (Blue) - Line In/ Side-Surround Out Line-Out (Green) - Line Out Mic (Pink) - Mic RS-Out (Black) - Rear-Surround Out CS-Out (Orange) - Center/ Subwoofer Out SS-Out (Gray) - Side-Surround Out One of the sound cards in my computer has an 8 channel capability (although I don't recall ever seeing anything that had 8 channel sound) but obviously you will only need 7.1.

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| 24 July 2013

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dist - ahmed2 |
| 7 October 2013

True is actually some thing you’d surely ornament on inside match you are rural to some lan, for the reason that headset dissertation writer dovetails snugly individual also the shield provided can be cheap additionally you than a some nickels inside mends or perhaps replacements.

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My - ahmed2 |
| 10 October 2013

The case is something you’d definitely droop on to in the occasion you were outlying to a lan, as the headset convenients snugly rushmyessay interior and the covering provided could save you other than a confined pennies in damns or artificials.

They were ok - dmgm |
| 19 January 2014

I have some of these. As others have said, I needed to buy a powered USB hub to make them work reliably, which somewhat undermined the concept of a plug and play headset experience anywhere you take it. Sound and mic were fine, and I liked having a physical box to toggle mute and volume. Replaced by a set of ADX900 and the mic on my webcam. Better sound quality and comfort, no longer 7.1 but I wasn't really using that anyhow. I wouldn't talk you out of a cheap pair, or perhaps 2nd hand, but I don't miss them.

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