Razer Kraken X Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jul 30, 2019 at 10:12 am
Razer Kraken X Picture
5.3
Mixed Usage
6.1
Neutral Sound
4.7
Commute/Travel
5.5
Sports/Fitness
5.1
Office
4.9
Wireless Gaming
6.9
Wired Gaming
7.4
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Razer Kraken X are ordinary gaming headphones. They have a lightweight design that’s fairly comfortable and a bit less bulky than other Kraken headsets we’ve reviewed. Their boom microphone performs remarkably well, and their wired connection ensures a latency-free gaming experience. Unfortunately, they feel rather cheaply made and their simple control scheme feels lacking in functionality. They also sound rather mediocre, and our unit showed mismatched drivers. That said, if you get a unit with matched drivers and prefer a more exaggerated, bass-heavy sound, they could be worth considering for console or PC gaming.

Our Verdict

5.3 Mixed Usage

The Kraken X are mediocre mixed usage headphones. Although they have a lightweight design that’s fairly comfortable and are a bit less bulky than other Razer headsets we’ve reviewed, they don’t have a complete control scheme for casual use and aren’t very portable. Their dark sound profile isn’t very well-suited to critical listening and they don’t isolate very well, which makes them a poor choice for commuting or office use. They have a pretty stable fit, so they could be alright for a light jog, but they’ll make you sweat more than usual and their mic may get in the way. Their wired connection ensures a latency-free connection, which is great for watching movies or gaming, but their integrated cable isn’t very long, so you’ll likely need an AUX extension cable unless you plug them directly into your console controller.

Pros
  • Lightweight design.
  • Excellent microphone.
  • Compatible with all consoles & PC.
Cons
  • Cheap build quality.
  • Dark, muffled sound and mismatched drivers.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
6.1 Neutral Sound

Mediocre for neutral listening due to their dark sound profile. Their mid-range response is very even, but they have overpowering, boomy bass and a very uneven, inconsistent treble response. Their sound lacks in brightness and clarity while also sounding too sharp and sibilant at times. They also have poor imaging, which means they’ll struggle to accurately reproduce the location of video game effects in their stereo image, which isn’t very good for gaming. Thankfully, they’re fairly comfortable and lightweight, so if you do like their sound profile you can wear them for a little while without feeling too much fatigue.

4.7 Commute/Travel

Inadequate for commute and travel. They have a fairly bulky design that doesn’t fold into a more compact format, so they’re not very portable. They’re relatively lightweight and decently comfortable, but don’t isolate very much noise, so they won’t help reduce the intensity of the deep rumbles of bus engines during your commute. Their wired audio connection works with most mobile devices and provides a latency-free experience, which is nice if you like to watch videos or play games while travelling, but their dark sound profile will be disappointing for most.

5.5 Sports/Fitness

Mediocre for sports and fitness. Although their fit is pretty stable, they’re not very breathable, so you’ll sweat more than usual. They can be passable to wear during a light jog but their wired connection is prone to catching on things while running, which could yank them off your head. Their mic also isn't detachable or retractable, so it may get in the way.

5.1 Office

Unremarkable for office use. They’re fairly comfortable and have a lightweight design that some people will find alright to wear for a while and they have decent isolation in the mid and treble ranges, which means they can help block out the sounds of a lively workplace, like office chatter or the noises made by an A/C unit. They also come with a Y-splitter for PC compatibility, and have an excellent boom microphone, which is great if you need to take calls at your desk. Unfortunately, their bass-heavy sound profile won’t be suitable for everyone and they’re also a bit leaky.

4.9 Wireless Gaming

Okay for gaming. The Razer Kraken X have a decent control scheme for gaming and fairly comfortable design that should be alright for most gamers. Their wired connection is suitable for gaming on consoles and PC without latency and they have an excellent boom microphone. Unfortunately, their sound profile is very bass-heavy and our unit had poor imaging with mismatched drivers, which makes it harder to locate sounds in the stereo image. However, if your unit has better-matched drivers, they can be a decent choice.

6.9 Wired Gaming
7.4 Phone Calls
  • 5.3 Mixed Usage
  • 6.1 Neutral Sound
  • 4.7 Commute/Travel
  • 5.5 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.1 Office
  • 4.9 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.9 Wired Gaming
  • 7.4 Phone Calls
  1. Update 3/24/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Kraken X share the same design language as many of Razer’s other gaming headsets and look especially similar to the Razer Kraken USB. They have large, circular ear cups that feature Razer’s logo on each side and a wide headband. They have a slightly more casual look than the Razer Kraken Pro V2 or the Razer Pro Tournament Edition since they’re a bit less bulky, but they’re still large headphones. They’re available in an all-black design or with blue accents.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.54 lbs
Clamping Force
1.0 lbs

The Kraken X are decently comfortable headphones. They’re a bit bulky and their headband feels tight, clamping down a bit on the head. Thankfully, they have thick ear cup padding that helps distribute pressure well around the ears. Their headband is also decently padded and they’re very lightweight, so they don’t feel uncomfortably heavy. They won’t be ideal for your longest gaming marathons, but they’re comfortable enough to be decent for more casual gaming sessions.

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 No

The Kraken X have passable controls. Their control scheme is easy to use, but that’s mostly because it’s quite limited. You get a volume wheel and mic mute button on the left ear cup. The mic button feels good and clicky, but the volume wheel doesn’t provide much tactile feedback since there are no distinct notches felt while scrolling. The control scheme is simple, which is good for usability but feels a bit disappointing overall. It’s lacking some more gaming-specific controls like channel mixing or even call/music controls that would be helpful for more casual use, especially since their cable isn't detachable.

6.0
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 6.9 C

Like most over-ear gaming headphones, the Kraken X aren’t very breathable. Their closed-back ear cups and thick leather-like pads prevent a lot of airflow, which causes a noticeable temperature difference during extended listening or gaming sessions. They’ll start warming up your ears after a couple of hours of use, and will heat up rather quickly if you use them while exercising.

5.2
Design
Portability
L 8.6 "
W 6.6 "
H 4.2 "
Volume 238 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

Like most gaming headphones, the Razer Kraken X aren’t very portable. They don’t come with a carrying case or pouch and can’t fold into a more compact format. Their large ear cups don’t swivel to lay flat, either, which makes them a bit of a hassle to carry around, especially if you don't have a bag on you.

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 carrying case or pouch.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

The Razer Kraken X have a mediocre build quality. They're mostly made of plastic and don’t feel like the most durable headphones. The plastic in their build feels cheap and weak and the headband is very rigid, so it feels prone to snapping if the headset is twisted too strongly. The cable also feels a bit fragile, and it isn’t detachable, so if it breaks you’ll need to replace the entire headset.

7.5
Design
Stability

The Kraken X have a more stable fit than other Razer headphones we’ve tested. Their lightweight design fits securely on the head and doesn’t move around much unless you shake your head very vigorously. That said, their cable isn’t detachable, so if it gets caught on something, the headphones could get yanked off your head.

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

  • Kraken X headset
  • Y-splitter
  • Instruction manuals
  • Surround sound 7.1 download promotional code

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.23 db
Treble Amount
-3.06 db
5.6
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.12 dB

The Razer Kraken X have sub-par consistency performance. In the bass range, they have a fairly inconsistent delivery across users, with nearly 10dB of variance at 20Hz. They also seem especially prone to a drop in bass if the user is wearing glasses that break the air-tight seal between the headphones and the ear. Their performance in the treble range is more consistent, with the maximum deviation below 10kHz of about 5dB, which will also be noticeable, but not as much as the inconsistency in bass.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.7
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.65 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
12.6 Hz
Low-Bass
-1.71 dB
Mid-Bass
3.94 dB
High-Bass
7.41 dB

Their bass is okay. It’s very powerful, which is great for reproducing the deep thump and rumble of explosions or other bass-heavy sound effects, but it's overemphasized in the mid and high-bass ranges by about 6dB, which makes them sound boomy and muddy. 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.

8.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.33 dB
Low-Mid
1.66 dB
Mid-Mid
1.11 dB
High-Mid
-1.29 dB

Their mid-range performance is very good. The overemphasis in bass continues into the low-mid range, which contributes to a muddy, cluttered sound. The rest of the response is fairly even and well-balanced, though, so vocals and lead instruments have a good amount of presence and intensity.

3.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
8.69 dB
Low-Treble
-8.38 dB
Mid-Treble
3.38 dB
High-Treble
-4.52 dB

The Razer Kraken X have poor treble performance. Low-treble is severely underemphasized, up to -14dB. This very negatively affects the clarity, detail, and articulation of vocals and lead instruments. There’s also a spike of nearly 10dB in mid-treble, which can make them sound sharp and piercing on certain tracks. However, treble varies noticeably across users, so your experience may differ.

5.2
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
3.31 db
Dips
2.96 db
7.4
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.31
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.64
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
24.23

The Kraken X have decent stereo imaging. Weighted group delay is 0.31, which is low and within good limits. The graph shows the group delay below the audibility threshold, so these headphones have tight and fast bass with transparent treble. Additionally, our test unit showed decent matching between the left and right drivers. This helps with accurate placement and localization of objects (like footsteps, voice, and instruments) in the stereo image. These results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently, but it shows poor quality control.

5.3
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
5.24 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.98 dB
PRTF Distance
13.96 dB
Openness
4.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
4.0

Like most closed-back headphones, the Razer Kraken X have a disappointing soundstage. The shape of their PRTF response isn’t very accurate, but shows a fair amount of activation, suggesting a soundstage that may feel relatively large, yet unnatural. However, although their closed-back design results in a soundstage that may not feel as open as that of open-back headphones, they produce a pronounced dip around 10kHz that could help bring the soundstage out of the listener’s head and to the front.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.320
WHD @ 100
0.111
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom
Isolation
5.2
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-13.58 dB
Bass
-0.03 dB
Mid
-9.8 dB
Treble
-31.68 dB

The Kraken X have inadequate noise isolation for noisier environments. They don't have active noise cancelling, so they can’t effectively isolate noises in the bass range, like the thump and rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieve about 10dB of isolation, which is okay. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds and noises of A/C systems, they are able to reduce ambient noise by about 30dB, which is good.

6.5
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
42.54 dB

The Razer Kraken X are slightly leaky. The significant portion of leakage is spread from about 300Hz to 4kHz, which is a fairly broad range. This means that their leakage will sound fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds, but not as bright and loud as open-back headphones. Thankfully, the overall level of their leakage isn’t very loud. With music playing at 100dB SPL, their leakage from 1-foot away averages at 42dB SPL and peaks at 54dB SPL, which is just about the noise floor of an average office. Overall, their leakage will be audible to people around you at moderately loud volumes, but shouldn’t be too disturbing in most cases.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
Yes
Detachable Boom
No
8.7
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
20 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.48 dB
HFE
9805.86 Hz
Weighted THD
0.244
Gain
26.45 dB

The microphone has an outstanding recording quality. Low-frequency extension is at 20Hz, which is great and means the mic can produce speech that sounds deep and full. Its HFE of nearly 10kHz means that speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will also sound clear, natural, and very easy to understand in quiet environments, but slightly lacking in brilliance and airiness.

8.7
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
37.29 dB

The boom mic of the Razer Kraken X has excellent noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 37dB, which means it can separate speech from background noise to a great degree, even in some of the most demanding environments, like a gaming convention.

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 Kraken X don’t have a battery life since they’re wired headphones that work passively.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

They don’t support the Razer Synapse software. If you want a wired gaming headset with a good app, then consider the very similar Razer Kraken USB or the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition.

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 headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a wired gaming headset that also supports Bluetooth for use with your mobile devices, then check out the HyperX Cloud Mix.

The wired connection of these headphones results in 0 ms of latency, so you won’t experience any audio lag while gaming or watching movies.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length 4.4 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The Razer Kraken X have a 1/8” TRRS audio cable that will provide audio and microphone support when plugged into a PS4 or Xbox One controller. They also come with a Y-splitter headset for mic and audio compatibility with desktop PCs.

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

The Razer Kraken X don’t come with a dock. For a gaming headset that comes with a wireless transmitter, consider the Logitech G933 Wireless Gaming Headset or the Astro A20 Wireless.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Razer Kraken X are okay gaming headphones with an excellent microphone and latency-free wired connection, but unfortunately, they don't have the best sound quality. Our unit also showed a significant driver mismatch. They tend to be pretty affordable, though, so if you get a unit with matched drivers and prefer a more bass-heavy sound, they could offer decent value for PC and console gaming. See our suggestions for the best gaming headsets under $50 and the best PC gaming headsets, as well as the best Xbox One and PS4 gaming headsets.

HyperX Cloud Stinger
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The HyperX Cloud Stinger is a better gaming headset than the Razer Kraken X. The Stinger are more comfortable, feel better-built, and have a more balanced sound quality. Their microphones perform similarly, but the Kraken X’s can make speech sound a bit fuller and deeper, which is great. The Kraken X also have a control scheme that’s easier-to-use and provides better feedback than that of the Cloud Stinger.

SteelSeries Arctis 1
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 are slightly better wired gaming headphones than the Razer Kraken X. The Arctis have a much better-balanced sound profile and leak less audio. On the other hand, the Razer feel slightly better-built and more durable, and feel much more stable on the head.

Corsair HS50
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Corsair HS50 are better gaming headphones than the Razer Kraken X. The Corsair are more comfortable, feel much better-built, and sound significantly more balanced overall. However, the Razer have a better-sounding boom microphone and a more lightweight design.

Razer Kraken Pro V2
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Razer Kraken X and Razer Kraken Pro V2 are similarly-performing gaming headphones. Both are fairly comfortable with a bulky, gamer-centric design. The Pro V2 feel better built, but the Kraken X are more lightweight and have a more stable fit. Both headsets have excellent boom microphones and a similar bass-heavy sound profile. Neither are compatible with the Razer Synapse support software, but the Kraken X has an easier-to-use control scheme. The Pro V2 are best if you’re looking for something that feels a little more premium at the expense of added weight, while the Kraken X are preferable if you prefer a more lightweight design.

HyperX Cloud Alpha
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The HyperX Cloud Alpha are better wired gaming headphones than the Razer Kraken X. The HyperX are quite a bit more comfortable and look and feel a lot more durable and well-built. Their sound profile is a lot better-balanced out-of-the-box, though both headphones are very susceptible to fit, seal, and positioning, so you may experience their sound reproduction differently. The Razer feel more stable on the head, and have a better mic with much better recording quality, which can be important if you play a lot of online games.

Razer Kraken Tournament Edition
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Razer Kraken Tournament Edition are better gaming headphones than the Razer Kraken X. The Tournament Edition feel better-built and have a more complete control scheme that provides better feedback and includes channel mixing. Although both headsets have similar bass-heavy sound profiles, the Tournament Edition is compatible with the Razer Synapse application, which provides access to a graphic EQ so you can tweak the way it sounds. That said, the Kraken X have a less bulky design, are more lightweight, and have a more stable fit, which some may prefer.

HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II are better wired gaming headphones than the Razer Kraken X. They sound much better-balanced, they're more comfortable, and their USB DAC provides additional features like channel mixing and virtual surround sound. The Razer's microphone sounds even more natural, though. They also come with a Y-splitter, which is helpful when connecting to certain desktop PCs, especially since it helps eliminate the latency a USB DAC can cause.

JBL Quantum 100
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Razer Kraken X are better wired gaming headphones than the JBL Quantum 100. The Razer are less fatiguing to wear, feel sturdier, and have a boom microphone that does a better job of isolating speech from background noise. Conversely, the JBL are a little easier to carry around and look a little more casual thanks to their detachable boom microphone.

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Razer Kraken X Price

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