Razer Kraken Ultimate Promises 360-Degree Spatial Audio

Razer announced its new flagship gaming headset, the Kraken Ultimate. Additionally, it unveiled the Kraken X USB, which comes in at a much lower price point and features some key upgrades upgrade over its non-USB variant.

The Flagship: Razer Kraken Ultimate

(Image credit: Razer)

As Razer’s new flagship headset, the Kraken Ultimate is packed with heaps of features. Starting with the build, it has an over-ear design and comes with 50mm drivers with neodymium magnets that should provide plenty of punch. The cans only have one driver per earcup, but the headset does come with THX Spatial Audio, which is a technology based on harnessing the binaural response human hearing has to sound in order to place its location within a "360-degree sphere," as Razer put it. The vendor is claiming the tech is more powerful than 7.1 surround sound. 

"Spatial sound virtualizes these sounds in a panoramic motion by using integrated object and scene-based audio to create an audio sphere all around you as though you're on multiple speaker channels—except there's no use of "channels". Instead, the technology captures sound's relative position to convey lifelike realism that goes beyond specific positional points," Razer explains

In order to ensure that you are heard well when chatting, Razer also built noise-canceling into the microphone so that your voice comes through to your teammates as clearly as possible. The manufacturer even claims the microphone is “Discord Certified.”

To increase comfort, the ear cushions come with soft padding and pleather outsides but, most notably, gel insides to keep your head cool (pun very intentional). Having recently tried some gel-based whiskey rocks, I can tell you that it takes a lot of thermal energy to warm them up, so if Razer’s solution is anything similar, these cans should also take quite a while before they feel overbearingly warm. Of course, we'd have to try them out to be sure.

Gamers who wear glasses will be pleased to hear the gel is carved around the spot where glasses would sit, with the goal to avoid pressing the glasses' arms against your temples as hard as other headsets may. 

To top it off, the headset also features Chroma RGB lighting around the rear of the cans.

As far as techy specifications go, the units have a frequency response ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz with a 109dB sensitivity. They have a USB cable that's 1.3m (4.3 feet)  long, (which is a bit on the short side), and and a lightweight 275 grams (0.6 pounds).

Razer Kraken X USB

(Image credit: Razer)

Razer also dropped a USB version of the 3.5mm Razer Kraken X that it debuted in  June. The Razer Kraken X USB has all the standard features of the non-USB Kraken, but two new ones. In addition to USB input, because the USB port can actually deliver DC power to the headset. Razer also equipped the earcups with green lighting. However, it seems that at this price point RGB was too much to ask for. To ensure that the microphone doesn't pick up to much background noise it has a unidirectional microphone.

Specifications detail that the units have 7.1 virtual surround sound audio (which is not the same as the THX audio in the Kraken Ultimate headset) and a frequency response ranging from 12 Hz to 28 kHz with a sensitivity of 109dB. The USB cable is also 1.3m long and weighs 250g.

Pricing and Availability

Razer’s Kraken Ultimate is available immediately for an MSRP of $129.99 USD, or €149.99 including VAT if you’re in Europe. The Kraken X USB will costs $59.99 in the U.S. and €69.99 in Europe (compared to $49.99 for the 3.5mm Kraken X) and is also available immediately.

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.