In addition to the audio that swathes my ears while gaming, I listen to a lot of music and podcasts on a daily basis so I tend to spend a good deal of my time with headphones wrapped around my skull which, depending on the set, can cause a fair deal of pain and discomfort after a lengthy period of time.
It was with great relish, then, that I slipped Razer’s ‘Electra’ headset over my ears and put it through its paces both sonically and comfort-wise, and although the Electra’s overall features are rather bare compared to more pricey devices, it certainly delivers on what it promises to do, and well.
What are Razer’s assurances with the Electra headset? Right off the bat, it’s billed as a gaming and music device that boasts an ‘enhanced bass response,’ great isolation of sound and better comfort thank’s to the headsets light weight, flexible headband and ‘premium’ leatherette ear cushions. So let’s take each of these promises at face value and see if Razer is telling the truth on the box.
Bring that phat bass
‘Enhanced bass response’ seems to be a fancy way of saying that the Electra will bring out even the least perceptible audio lows and transform them into thick, throaty purs. I re-listened to music I had heard dozens of times and enjoyed a few of my regular podcasts and all of the resultant audio was impressively lavished with bassy tones, making podcast hosts sound more professional than they aught to be while truly enhancing my favourite music.
Not everybody enjoys increased bass in their music, and the Electra definitely made everything piped through its cords sound ‘different’ to what I was used to, but I’m a guy who appreciates a noticeable bass guitar thrumming as it backs up rhythm and lead, while drum beats became substantially more affecting.
That’s all to say nothing of the games I played with the Electra. The eerie creaks, strains and strings of Dead Space were imbued with just the right balance of bass and treble (so as not to wash out their piercing, creepy nature) but when firefights and enemies punctured the atmosphere that bass came rushing back in and I almost couldn’t believe the difference between my regular headset and what the Electra was pumping out. Have I been hearing games ‘wrong’ all these years?
Say ‘What’ one more time
Razer’s promise of sound isolation isn’t without merit, either, and the ear cups block out surrounding noise very well, all while keeping the audio reverberating within their limits of plastic and material. Sharp noises and penetrating hums will unfortunately leak through from the outside world and a nearby vacuum cleaner easily broke through the Electra’s defences, but general background noise and surrounding chatter will ruin themselves in their attempts to invade the ear cups.
This of course is all dependant on the volume of the audio, and cranking up the sound will slowly seal yourself off from civil society, although the Electra’s enhanced bass will begin to grip and crush your eardrums, so use this great power with great responsibility.
Bringing the house down
As far as comfort is concerned, the Razer Electra doesn’t let the side down and I was able to wear the headset for hours at a time without feeling any discomfort. Of course you’re always going to be aware of the pressure on your ears, but the ear cups spread the force of that pressure out around the sides of your head such that I was never made fully aware of them.
At least twice, and after my current set of tracks had ended resulting in silence in my ears, I temporarily forgot I was wearing a headset at all and got up without taking them off, very nearly bringing my whole PC with me, which brings me to one of my biggest complaints about the Electra: the default audio cables.
Measuring in at 1.3 meters (although they feel half that length), the Electra comes standard with two audio cables: A regular cord and a cord with a built-in mic. Both are insufficiently long, and even when using the device primarily on a PC I still found myself repositioning the cord out of my way while working. This also means that regular console gamers may as well sacrifice the included cords to the audio gods for all the good they will do them. A longer cord would have been greatly appreciated
Thanks… but no thanks
That included cord with built-in microphone is an interesting extra for the Electra, but unfortunately the mic doesn’t perform anywhere near as well as a dedicated device with audio recordings sounding tinny and distant. Of course it’s not expected to receive voice as well as even the least expensive standalone mic, but the fact that I wouldn’t even consider using it in the future makes its inclusion rather odd.
Added to the fact that I couldn’t get the mic to work with my PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 makes the addition of the Electra’s microphone cord even more curious, but for PC gamers on a very tight budget it will do its part before a replacement can be found.
Music lovers unite and delight
As a feature-bare gaming and music headset, the Razer Electra performs extremely well and lives up to the promises adorning its box. Bass is thick, comfort is premium and at higher volumes you’ll be forced to keep checking news alerts for any word of an apocalypse, because you definitely won’t hear it crashing down upon you while listening to music and game audio with the Electra.
Its role as a dedicated gaming headset, however, is uncertain due to very short default audio cable and a basically redundant microphone cord, so without a dedicated mic boom to communicate with friends while playing online, I can’t suggest the Electra to hardcore console gamers.
For everyone else, however, the Razer Electra delivers exactly what it promises to do, and then some, and for the price it’s an easily recommendable headset.
|Aesthetics||4/5||Available in black and green, Electra is bulky but looks the part|
|Quality||5/5||Electra’s materials and contruction are top notch|
|Functionality||5/5||Does everything it promises to do, and more|
|Value||4/5||A good price puts it in line with competitors|