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Razer Kraken Ultimate Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jun 08, 2020 at 08:50 am
Razer Kraken Ultimate Picture
5.5
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Sound
4.7
Commute/Travel
5.2
Sports/Fitness
5.2
Office
5.5
Wireless Gaming
7.2
Wired Gaming
7.0
Phone Calls
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Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are decent wired gaming headphones with customizable RGB lighting. Their retractable boom microphone gives a good overall performance well-suited for gaming at home and their cooling gel ear cups help to keep you comfortable, even for multi-hour gaming sessions. Thanks to their companion software, they have a graphic EQ plus presets, as well as an adjustable surround sound feature, although we don't currently test this. However, they have a non-detachable USB cable instead of a TRRS cable, which limits their versatility as you can only use these headphones with devices that also have a USB-A port. They're also not compatible with the Xbox One.

Our Verdict

5.5 Mixed Usage

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are disappointing for mixed use. They're bulky gaming headphones that use a wired USB cable so you won't be able to use them with a mobile device unless they have a USB-A port. They aren't designed to isolate noise either, and while they're fairly comfortable, some may find their large size to be a bit fatiguing. They have a slightly bass-heavy sound, which some gamers may enjoy. However, if you need a more neutral sound, their companion software has a graphic EQ plus presets so you can find the best sound for your needs.

Pros
  • Great performing retractable boom microphone.
  • Cooling gel ear cups.
Cons
  • Non-detachable USB-A audio cable instead of a TRRS cable.
  • Bulky, gamer-centric design.
  • Poor noise isolation.
7.0 Neutral Sound

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are alright for neutral sound. While they lack thump and rumble, the rest of their bass range is overly warm and boomy while their treble sounds dark. Depending on their fit, seal, and positioning, their bass and treble delivery also varies across users. Luckily, you can tweak the way they sound using Razer Synapse's graphic EQ.

Pros
  • Companion software has graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Closed-back design.
4.7 Commute/Travel

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are poor for commuting. They block out almost no noise like bus or train engines, and unlike many other wired headphones, they use a USB cable rather than an analog cable, so they can only be used with a device that has a USB-A port. They're also quite bulky and even though they're fairly comfortable, their large size can be fatiguing after a while.

Pros
  • Cooling gel ear cups.
Cons
  • Non-detachable USB-A audio cable instead of a TRRS cable.
  • Bulky, gamer-centric design.
  • Poor noise isolation.
5.2 Sports/Fitness

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are poor for sports and fitness. They're bulky wired headphones that use a USB-A cable, limiting what devices you can use them with. Even if you've got them hooked up to your computer while you run on a treadmill, their cable isn't detachable and can easily snag on things, pulling the headphones off your head. They're also not stable enough to be worn during more strenuous exercise.

Pros
  • Cooling gel ear cups.
Cons
  • Non-detachable USB-A audio cable instead of a TRRS cable.
  • Bulky, gamer-centric design.
  • Not very stable design.
5.2 Office

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are disappointing for office use. Although they have cooling gel in their ear cups to keep you fairly comfortable throughout the day, they isolate little background noise. If you're working in a somewhat noisy office, you can turn up the volume to tune out what's around you, but your coworkers may be able to hear some of your music.

Pros
  • Great performing retractable boom microphone.
Cons
  • Non-detachable USB-A audio cable instead of a TRRS cable.
  • Poor noise isolation.
5.5 Wireless Gaming

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are wired-only headphones and can't be used wirelessly.

7.2 Wired Gaming

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are decent for wired gaming. Since they use a non-detachable USB cable, you won't be able to use them with the Xbox One. However, they're fairly comfortable headphones with cooling gel so your ears won't get too warm, even during long gaming sessions. They also have a good overall performing retractable boom microphone and you can tweak their sound using their companion software's graphic EQ.

Pros
  • Great performing retractable boom microphone.
  • Customizable RGB lighting.
  • Cooling gel ear cups.
  • Companion software has graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • No Xbox One compatibility.
  • Poor noise isolation.
7.0 Phone Calls

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are alright for phone calls; however, because they use a non-detachable USB-A cable, you won't be able to take calls directly from your mobile phone. Still, you'll be able to take calls through programs like Skype if you're working on a PC. They have a good, retractable boom microphone that captures voice clearly, even in moderately noisy environments. While the mic still struggles in louder places like gaming tournaments, you should still be understood. However, the headphones themselves isolate little noise and you may have a problem hearing whoever is on the other line if you're talking somewhere with a lot of background sound.

Pros
  • Great performing retractable boom microphone.
Cons
  • Non-detachable USB-A audio cable instead of a TRRS cable.
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • 5.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Neutral Sound
  • 4.7 Commute/Travel
  • 5.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.2 Office
  • 5.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.2 Wired Gaming
  • 7.0 Phone Calls

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Razer Kraken Ultimate have a similarly bulky, matte black look as the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition. However, this time around, they've added customizable RGB lighting around the ear cups, which is nice if you like a splash of color. They definitely look like gaming headphones though and while the microphone is retractable, the tip is still visible when fully retracted.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.87 lbs
Clamping Force
0.8 lbs

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are fairly comfortable headphones. They have large, oval ear cups that fully encompass the ear, and their ear cushions are made with cooling gel, so you shouldn't get too warm while wearing them. Although they're big, bulky headphones, they don't put a lot of pressure on the head. However, some may not enjoy having so much of their head covered by these headphones.

5.6
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Mute/Unmute
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Surround Sound

The Razer Kraken Ultimate have disappointing and quite limited controls. They have a button for activating surround sound and when on, the light next to the button lights up white. There's also an infinite volume wheel but it doesn't give you any feedback when you've reached the minimum or maximum volume. The boom microphone has a mic-mute button directly on it. When you press it, a red light on the microphone lights up to let you know you're muted.

5.3
Design
Portability
L 7.6 "
W 6.4 "
H 4.5 "
Volume 219 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

Like most gaming headphones, the Razer Kraken Ultimate aren't very portable. They're very bulky, and they can't fold or swivel to lay flat. They also have thick ear cups which can further take up space in your bag.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones don't come with a case or pouch.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Razer Kraken Ultimate have a good build that's sturdy, thanks to their metal frame and solid plastic design. They feel dense enough to survive a couple of minor drops. The cooling gel in the ear padding and the thick braided cables give them a more premium feel as well.

6.0
Design
Stability

These headphones are barely stable on the head. They won't move around if you're gaming on the couch but they can sway or fall off your head if you're using them while doing even light physical exercise like running. As they're wired headphones, their audio cable can also get snagged on something and pull them off your head.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Razer Kraken Ultimate headphones
  • Silicone USB cap
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.34 db
Treble Amount
-3.13 db

The Razer Kraken Ultimate have a sound profile that depends on how they fit on your head. Their position, seal, and whether you have glasses or thick hair can all affect sound delivery. Once properly fitted to your head, however, they have a bass-heavy sound that lacks detail. While some gamers may prefer this boomy sound, their balanced mid-range ensures that they're still suited for a variety of audio genres. You can also customize their sound profile with their graphic EQ plus presets via their companion software.

5.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.1 dB

The frequency response consistency of the Razer Kraken Ultimate is disappointing. As the overall frequency response depends on fit, seal, and positioning of these headphones, once you achieve a good overall fit, you should get a more consistent frequency response each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.97 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
37.21 Hz
Low-Bass
-3.47 dB
Mid-Bass
3.66 dB
High-Bass
5.16 dB

The bass accuracy is alright, but its delivery can vary across users. Due to their underemphasized low-bass, they struggle to produce satisfying thump and rumble. At the same time, the rest of the range is over-emphasized, which adds punch and body. Some users may find the high-bass overwhelming as it can make your mixes overly boomy and muddy. This bass accuracy performance represents the average response and your experience may vary.

8.1
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.54 dB
Low-Mid
3.56 dB
Mid-Mid
0.05 dB
High-Mid
-1.57 dB

The mid accuracy of the Razer Kraken Ultimate is very good. There's still a little bit of overemphasis carried over from the high-bass which can make your mixes a little muddy or cluttered. However, the rest of the response is fairly flat and even, ensuring the accurate reproduction of lead instruments and vocals.

7.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.96 dB
Low-Treble
-1.64 dB
Mid-Treble
-3.19 dB
High-Treble
-3.47 dB

The Razer Kraken Ultimate's treble accuracy is good but its delivery can vary across users. It's slightly underemphasized, which makes your mixes slightly darker, dull, and lifeless. However, it's still fairly even enough that it shouldn't be too noticeable. However, this treble accuracy performance represents the average response and your experience may vary.

7.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.38 db
Dips
0.91 db

The peaks and dips performance of these headphones is very good. There's a long peak in the bass range that adds warmth and boominess to your audio while a slight dip in the mid-mids can further push back lead instruments and vocals into your mix. There's also a couple of large peaks and dips in the mid to high-treble range, which can make some sounds in this range both overly bright while at the same time, other sounds are dull and lifeless.

6.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.36
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.76
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.72
Weighted Phase Mismatch
39.05

These headphones have an acceptable imaging performance. There's a couple of very small peaks in the bass range but this shouldn't be noticeable to most listeners. In terms of driver matching, the L/R drivers of our test unit are decently matched in amplitude and frequency response. They show a noticeably large mismatch in phase both in the high-treble, and it may hurt the coherency of the stereo image. It shouldn't have too much of a negative impact on the placement and localization of objects like voice and footsteps though. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

6.1
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.12 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.16 dB
PRTF Distance
11.06 dB
Openness
5.2
Acoustic Space Excitation
4.2

The passive soundstage is passable. It's somewhat large but it sounds unnatural and is still somewhat perceived as coming from inside your head. As they have a closed-back design, their soundstage won’t be as open-sounding as open-back headphones either.

2.9
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
Adjustable
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
THX

These headphones have a THX virtual surround feature that you can adjust through their companion software.

7.5
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.394
WHD @ 100
0.132

The weighted harmonic distortion of these headphones is good. There are a couple of minor peaks in the right ear at max volume but they likely won't be noticeable to most listeners. Otherwise, the range is within good limits, even at higher volumes.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
USB
Connection
USB
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom

These are the settings used when testing. Our results are only valid when these headphones are used with these settings.

Isolation
4.7
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-11.79 dB
Bass
0.26 dB
Mid
-8.13 dB
Treble
-28.14 dB

The Razer Kraken Ultimate's noise isolation is poor. They don't block out any bass range noise like bus or train engines and they struggle to reduce background chatter. On the upside, they do a slightly better job of cutting down high-frequency noise like A/C units or fans, which is nice if you're gaming indoors during a hot summer.

6.3
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
43.44 dB

The Razer Kraken Ultimate's leakage performance is unremarkable. Their leakage is mostly concentrated in the mid to treble range and sounds fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds. However, it isn't as loud as that of open-back headphones. Still, if you're listening to audio at a high volume, those around you may be able to hear it, even in a moderately noisy environment.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
Yes
Detachable Boom
No

The Razer Kraken Ultimate has a retractable boom microphone.

8.2
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
162.33 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.26 dB
HFE
11166.8 Hz
Weighted THD
0.201
Gain
23.65 dB

The boom microphone has a great recording quality. Voices recorded with it sound full, natural, and clear so you shouldn't have any problem being understood.

7.8
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
26.7 dB

The Razer Kraken Ultimate's boom microphone has good noise handling. In a moderately noisy environment, it should be able to separate your voice from background noise. Although it still struggles a bit in more chaotic environments, your voice should still be heard fairly clearly.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are wired-only headphones and don't have a battery.

8.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Razer Synapse
iOS No
Android No
macOS Yes
Windows Yes
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
No
Mic Control Adjustable Level
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
Yes

These headphones are compatible with Razer Synapse software. It has a graphic EQ as well as presets for you to tweak and you can even adjust their surround sound feature and mic level. You can also set up different color patterns for the headphone's RGB lighting, which is nice.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

These gaming headphones are wired-only and don't have Bluetooth support.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These are wired-only headphones.

7.6
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
USB Type A
Detachable No
Length 6.8 ft
Connection USB
Analog/USB Audio Latency
52 ms

The Razer Kraken Ultimate use a braided USB-A cable instead of a TRRS cable so they can only be used with devices that have a USB-A port.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
Audio + Microphone
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones don't have an analog cable and can only be used with their USB cable. However, you receive full audio and microphone support on PC and PS4 with their cable.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

These gaming headphones aren't compatible with the Xbox One at all.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

These headphones don't have a base or dock.

Compared To Other Headphones

Comparison picture

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are decent wired gaming headphones. They have customizable RGB lighting so you can color-coordinate your headphones with the rest of your Razer RGB gaming setup. However, unlike many other gaming headphones on the market, they have a cooling gel in their ear cups, and they use a non-detachable USB cable to deliver their audio. They're also not Xbox One compatible. If you game primarily on the Xbox One, check out our recommendations for the best Xbox One headsets. If you tend to game on other systems, see our recommendations for the best gaming headsets and the best gaming headsets under $100.

Razer Kraken Tournament Edition

The Razer Kraken Ultimate are slightly better-performing gaming headphones than the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition. While they look almost identical, the Kraken Ultimate have RGB lighting as well as cooling gel ear cups, which help to keep you comfortable during long gaming sessions. They also have a better-balanced sound profile with a touch more bass. However, they use a non-detachable USB-A cable instead of a standard TRRS cable, which limits their versatility and connectivity to other gaming systems. On the other hand, the Kraken Tournament Edition have better controls, and their boom microphone has better noise handling. They also have both a USB cable as well as a TRRS cable.

Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless

The Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless are better performing gaming headphones than the Razer Kraken Ultimate. The Nari Ultimate can be used wired as well as wirelessly, they're slightly more comfortable, and they have a more bass-heavy sound that some gamers may prefer. They're also compatible with the Xbox One via their analog cable. However, they don't have the longest-lasting battery, especially when compared to other gaming headphones. The Kraken Ultimate, on the other hand, have an adjustable surround sound feature, and their boom microphone performs better overall. Since they're wired, you don't have to worry about battery life, either.

Corsair HS60

The Corsair HS60 are better-wired gaming headphones than the Razer Kraken Ultimate. The Corsair are slightly more comfortable, and they have a better-balanced sound profile. They also use a TRRS cable as well as a wired USB dongle. However, the Razer have a slightly better performing boom microphone, and their surround sound is more adjustable. On the downside, they only use a non-detachable USB cable so they're also less versatile for casual use.

Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019

The Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 are much better wired gaming headphones than the Razer Kraken Ultimate. The Astro are more comfortable, have better controls that you can tweak on-the-fly, and they have a slightly better build. Their sound profile is also better balanced, they have a more consistent frequency response, and their detachable boom microphone has a better overall performance. However, the Razer have an adjustable surround sound feature.

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