Get insider access
Preferred headphones store

Razer Kraken USB Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Updated Oct 17, 2017 at 04:29 pm
Razer Kraken USB Picture
5.1
Mixed Usage
5.6
Neutral Sound
4.7
Commute/Travel
4.9
Sports/Fitness
5.1
Office
5.0
Wireless Gaming
6.7
Wired Gaming
7.0
Phone Call
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Kraken USB are a decent gaming headset with low latency but poor design. They have a great mic and do not leak too much, but they're a bit too tight on the head, and the oddly sized ear cups do not fit well on all listeners. They're not sufficiently versatile for everyday casual use and have a below-average sound. On the upside, they have a good app that comes with an equalizer which may slightly help with their poor sound.

Our Verdict

5.1 Mixed Usage

The Kraken USB are sub-par for mixed usage. They have a wired usb connection which has low latency for gaming but also makes them practically unusable with mobile devices. They have an odd sound profile that puts a lot of emphasis on bass which results in a boomy and muddy sound that's not suitable for critical listening. They're bulky, they have poor isolation and they won't be ideal for commuting or sports.

Pros
  • Great microphone.
  • Low latency wired USB connection
  • low leakage.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Below-average bass-heavy sound.
  • Plasticy build quality and mediocre comfort.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
5.6 Neutral Sound

Below-average for neutral listening. They have a subpar audio reproduction with a lot of bass and a skewed high-frequency response. This gives them a boomy and muddy sound that overpowers instruments and vocals. Unfortunately, the dip in the treble range further emphasizes their muddy sound, as lead instruments and vocals lack a lot of clarity and presence. They also don't have the best imaging and soundstage which means they won't be a good option for neutral listening. On the upside, you can somewhat EQ the sound quality with the Razer Synapse software.

4.7 Commute/Travel

Poor for commuting. They do not isolate well enough for loud environments, they're bulky and have a wired USB connection that's not suitable for mobile devices.

4.9 Sports/Fitness

Poor for sports. They have a cumbersome design, no control scheme for mobile devices and they get a bit too warm if you wear them for a while. They're not made or suitable for running and working out.

5.1 Office

Below-average for office use. They do not block enough noise and they're slightly uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.

5.0 Wireless Gaming

Decent for gaming. They have very low latency and a great app with a lot of customization options. Unfortunately, they have a poorly balanced, bass-heavy sound and they're not comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions. They're a bit too tight, they have awkwardly sized ear cups and mediocre breathability. They also have no controls on the headphone so you must use the software or change volume levels directly on your PC which can be somewhat inconvenient at times.

6.7 Wired Gaming
7.0 Phone Call
  • 5.1 Mixed Usage
  • 5.6 Neutral Sound
  • 4.7 Commute/Travel
  • 4.9 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.1 Office
  • 5.0 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.7 Wired Gaming
  • 7.0 Phone Call
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Kraken USB are the simple and straightforward gaming headphones. They have no buttons, and a non-detachable boom mic, unlike some of the other gaming headphones we've tested (see our recommendations for the best gaming headsets). This makes them a less versatile option to use outdoors but on the upside, they have a subtle and understated color scheme that's not too flashy and could work for some.

6.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.5 lbs
Clamping Force
1.2 lbs

The Kraken USB are not the most comfortable headphones. They have relatively small ear cups, which do not always fit well around the ears, clipping the top or bottom part of your ear which can get uncomfortable after a while. They're also quite tight on the head which gets fatiguing during long gaming sessions. On the upside, they're relatively lightweight for their size.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use N/A
Feedback N/A
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons N/A
6.4
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 6.1 C
5.2
Design
Portability
L 7.6 "
W 7.1 "
H 4.5 "
Volume 243 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required N/A

These headphones like most gaming headsets are not made with portability in mind. They are large over-ear headphones that do not fold into a more compact format and the ear cups do not lay flat either. They're a hassle to carry around on your person unless you have a bag. Unfortunately, they also don't come with a case or pouch to transport them in which is a little disappointing.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
6.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the Kraken USB is plasticky and feels a little cheap. They don't have any metal to reinforce the headband like some of the other headphones we've reviewed. They also tend to creak a lot. The cable is non-detachable and therefore not replaceable so if it gets damaged, you won't be able to use your headphones anymore. On the upside, the plastic build keeps them lightweight and the ear cups are dense enough that they won't break from a couple of accidental drops.

6.0
Design
Stability

These headphones are tight enough on the head to not move much during casual activities. However, they have a long, cumbersome and non-detachable cable that will quickly yank the headphones of your head if it gets hooked on something. They're also quite bulky with protruding ear cups that sway a lot under strenuous activities. They're not designed or suitable for running and working out.

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

  • Kraken USB Headphones
  • USB cable
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.27 db
Treble Amount
-5.45 db
6.4
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.77 dB

Mediocre consistency performance. The treble range is very consistent with these headphones, most likely due to their small ear cups which limits the number of positions the headphones can be place in. However, their bass delivery is prone to significant inconsistencies with the maximum deviation being about 18dB at 20Hz. Also, l=ike some other closed-back headphones we have measured, certain types of glasses could break the seal on these headphones and cause a drop in bass.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.4
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.95 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
34.13 Hz
Low-Bass
-3.04 dB
Mid-Bass
5.99 dB
High-Bass
5.95 dB

Below-average bass range performance. Sub-bass is extended down to 34Hz, which is great. However, the sub-bass range which is responsible for low-end thump and rumble is lacking by more than 3dB. Conversely, bass and high-bass are over our target by about 6dB, resulting in an overpowering and boomy sounding bass. Also, their bass delivery varies noticeably across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

5.9
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.51 dB
Low-Mid
7.18 dB
Mid-Mid
4.31 dB
High-Mid
-2.76 dB

Poor mid range performance. Low-mid and mid are overemphasized by a maximum of 7dB which is quite significant. This causes the mid range to sound muddy and boxy. Additionally, high-mid is lacking by about 3dB, negatively affecting the intensity and projection of vocals/leads.

3.6
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.37 dB
Low-Treble
-9.19 dB
Mid-Treble
0.48 dB
High-Treble
-4.29 dB

Poor treble range performance. The wide 10dB dip centered around 4KHz will have a significant and negative effect on the presence and detail of vocals/leads. Additionally, the rest of the range is reproduced quite inconsistently.

5.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
3.16 db
Dips
2.48 db
7.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.52
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.62
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.69
Weighted Phase Mismatch
24.41
5.0
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
5.72 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.97 dB
PRTF Distance
8.8 dB
Openness
5.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.4
6.1
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
1.084
WHD @ 100
0.495
Isolation
4.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-10.06 dB
Bass
0.6 dB
Mid
-5.3 dB
Treble
-25.84 dB

Poor isolation. These headphones don't have active noise cancelling and isolate passively with their ear cups and therefore, they don't achieve any reduction in the bass range. In the mid range they reduce outside noise by about 5dB which is poor. In the treble range, they isolate by about 26dB which is a decent value. They also produce a lot of self-noise which may be distracting to some.

7.3
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
37.87 dB

Average leakage performance. The significant portion of leakage sits between 400Hz and 1KHz, which is a narrow band. The overall level of the leakage is not too loud either, which is good.

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

Excellent microphone performance. Speech recorded with the microphone of the Kraken USB sounds clean, deep and mostly neutral, but it will be on the muddy and warm side. In noisy environments, they are able to separate speech from noise even in the most demanding situations, such as a subway station.

8.4
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
20.59 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
1.88 dB
HFE
5664.61 Hz
Weighted THD
0.149
Gain
16.93 dB

Very good recording quality. The LFE of 30Hz is excellent and means the recorded speech will be full and deep. Frequency response is mostly flat and neutral between 500Hz and 5KHz which is also very good. However, the bump in frequency response around 200Hz and the HFE of 5.6KHz translate into a speech that would sound slightly muffled and muddy.

8.9
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
44.34 dB

Excellent noise handling performance. The Kraken USB achieves a speech-to-noise ratio of 44dB, which is a very good value. It means in our test setup, speech was recorded about more than 40dB louder than the background noise.

Active Features
N/A
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving Feature
N/A
Audio While Charging
N/A
Passive Playback
N/A
Charging Port N/A
8.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name Razer Synapse
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS Yes
Windows Yes
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
N/A
Mic Control N/A
Room effects
Yes
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Sound Dolby 7.1

The Kraken Synapse app is a versatile software that gives you access to a fully parametric equalizer, microphone level control as well as some bass enhancing effects. It also automatically calibrates the headphone to get the best surround sound experience and gives you a mixer tab that lets you control the volume level of specific applications. The software is easy to use and intuitive, but you must create a profile with Razer to log in and use the application which can be a bit tedious.

Volume and Effects

Prametric Equalizer

Mixer

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
N/A
NFC Pairing
N/A
Line of Sight Range
N/A
Default Latency
N/A
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

Wired connection, negligible latency.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
8.9
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
Yes
Detachable No
Length 6.3 ft
Connection USB
Wired Latency
3 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
No
PC / PS4 Wired USB
Audio + Microphone
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A

Razer Kraken USB Price

Recommended Articles

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider
EARLY ACCESS

Gain early access to all tests results for new products

Early Access UI
PRICES LISTED

Prices will now be listed directly in reviews and tables

product prices UI
MORE VOTES

Have 5 votes per product category to choose which product we’ll review next

Additional votes UI
UNLIMITED ACCESS

Gain unlimited access to detailed test results in tools and results (no blurred results)

test table UI

Create Post