Razer Megalodon 7.1 Surround sound gaming headset
- Positional sound that actually works
- Microphone clarity
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!