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In August 2020, the Razer Blackshark V2 gaming headset provided a discreet sound card, support for 7.1 virtual surround sound, and THX sound profiles. We tested this new feature and shared our impressions here.
Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset Review
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1. Overview – not finished
Type: Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.0 | Battery: 30 Hours | Charging: 4 Hours | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers-Size: 45 mm | Weight: 385g
To be completed
The Razer Blackshark V2 comes in a heavy cardboard box with a black and green design. Both the front and back of the box contain promotional information highlighting all the headset’s benefits, including the Razer Triforce 50mm titanium drivers, the Razer Hyperclear cardioid microphone support for THX Spatial Audio technology, which provides individual sound profiles for every game. Inside is a thank you note from the president of Razer, a manual, and a set of stickers.
The “V2” headset doesn’t quite have a name: it’s an evolution of the Razer BlackShark concept introduced in 2012. However, this time, the design is soberer and freer than a model inspired by military aviation: The Razer Blackshark V2 is classy and refined – even though it has no RGB lighting, it is stylish. The brand logo on the mug does not shine either.
Everybody has different interests, of course, but I believe that’s a nice thing. After playing with a device that emits all the colors of the rainbow, sooner or later, you’ll decide on a simple dimmed backlight or refuse to use it at all because it won’t distract you from the game.
Let’s get back to the headset, however. The oval frosted plastic earcups are attached to the headband by a thin metal rod. The cup slides up and down on the rod to fit the size of your head, and a remote hinge allows you to adjust the angle of the cup.
There are no parts on the right side of the mouthpiece. On the left side is a microphone jack, a wrap-around connection cable for a computer (console or handheld device) (unfortunately fixed), a microphone with volume control, and an on/off button.
The shell is connected to the headband by a flexible light green cable. The Razer logo on the headphones and the microphone on/off button is the only distinctive element of the set, apart from the color combination. The ear cushions are made of soft “memory foam” and wrapped in black material. They carefully surround your ears so that external sound sources do not interfere with your immersion in the game. I must say that the sound insulation is also nice: with the Razer BlackShark V2, you won’t be disturbed by the ringing of the TV screen in the living room or the sound of car horns coming from the street. The fabric is very breathable, so my skin doesn’t sweat, even though I play for a long time.
The top half of the strip is made of faux leather with printed marks. The lower part is made of foam and covered with the same fabric as the ear pads. The foam layer is thick enough so that the headband does not grip the head, and the Razer Blackshark V2 weighs only 262 grams, which is quite useful: you can wear the headband for hours without feeling tired.
The microphone itself is protected by a soft tip to prevent contamination and soften the input sound. It can connect and disconnect from the headset by using the 3.5 mm jack. Furthermore, Razer Blackshark V2 1.8 m cable has a 3.5 mm L-connector located at the end. You can use this cable to connect to a PC or the USB with the supplied sound card. We recommend the second option because the sound card greatly extends the functionality of the headphones.
When an external sound card is activated, Razer Central is automatically installed, and the user is prompted to download Razer Synapse. This add-on allows you to configure the headset’s sound profile and other features (not just the headset if you have other Razer devices).
The application automatically detects the device and displays the various settings available to the user. For example, the Mixer tab allows you to set a custom playback mode for each game or program installed on your computer – or you can take the funnels and let the software set the mode for you. You can also adjust the surround sound here.
Important: The Razer Synapse application allows you to create multiple profiles and assign them to specific games. For example, you can set specific sound settings for competition games and assign them separate profiles. When these games are launched, the corresponding profiles are activated using the custom settings.
The Enhancements tab allows you to “play” the sound by increasing the bass, aligning all sources, and highlighting voices. It also has an equalizer with various presets and custom settings.
Finally, the Microphone tab is, of course, dedicated to microphone settings. Here you can adjust the voice volume, activate voice filters, hide extraneous noise, and adjust the equalizer.
As mentioned earlier, the Razer Blackshark V2 has a cardioid microphone that ensures nice sound reception and cleaning. Since the headset is placed like an eSport gadget, the engineers take voice quality and communication with teammates very seriously.
With the software, you can adjust the microphone flexibly: increase the volume, adjust the equalizer, eliminate outside noise, improve speech clarity. The ability to listen to your own voice is even more capable: during the installation process, you can hear your own voice in the headset and adapt it to your flying conditions.
As expected, the microphone transcribes well and transmits the voice correctly. If you want to get rid of it, a separate button on the left cup immediately turns it off.
To complete the review, the gaming headset was subjected to a series of tests. Overall, the Razer Blackshark V2 proves its superior quality in all areas with great playback of games, music, and movies in all environments. Of course, the games that deserve the most attention make the most of surround sound. In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, for example, you can hear exactly where the shots are coming from, which side the enemies are approaching from and whether they are above or below your character. If you hear footsteps behind you, you can turn around and fire bullets at the enemy.
With online FPS and third-party snipers such as Fornite, Spatial Audio can help you understand sound better than traditional stereo headphones or 2.1 speakers. The game activates Spatial Audio’s THX profile in run mode, a custom scenario for the game with the sound design in mind. In other words, THX profiles are used to ensure that the sound is exactly as the developers intended.
The list of supported games includes Call of Duty: Warzone, Rainbow Six Siege, The Division 2, Inglorious Basterds, Metro Exodus, and Red Dead Redemption 2, and users can choose between two modes. Competition mode eliminates background noise and enhances the sound of battles, partners, and enemies, allowing players to focus on the action. Ambient mode (apparently mistakenly called “environmental mode”) does the opposite, emphasizing environmental effects and dialogue to further immerse the player in the story.
The headset also focuses on the gameplay. In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you can hear every inch of the environment and thus immerse yourself in the game.
The Razer Blackshark V2 can be connected to the sound card via USB or to the console via the 3.5mm jack. Comparing the sound of the game on PS4 in “Red Dead Redeption 2” with Blackshark V2, one can see a more varied sound. However, it seems that the headphones work a little less well on the console than on the PC.
The gaming headset can also connect to mobile devices. It can play music on the smartphone and requires only a bit of intervention on the EQ. The result is deep bass and clear treble. These headphones are not like the ones you use on the go; however, they are perfect for a music break at home.
If you’re playing audio or video, everything’s fine: each medium uses its own profile, surround sound lets you immerse yourself in the movie better, and when you play music, all instruments are heard without over-amplification from anywhere. It all comes down to the individual; however: You may have to adjust the settings to get the balance you want. It was also frustrating that the sound card didn’t keep the preset volume when I plugged it back into the computer.
We liked the Razer Black Shark V2 gaming headset in every way. It provides excellent sound in games where you don’t want to use an ordinary stereo sound. It transmits your voice through the microphone really well and has a classy look for all work and reading scenarios on your personal computer.
With the support of an external sound card for THX surround sound, the quality remains high, however without this support, the Black Shark would lose some of its charm in use. By the way, there’s the Razer Blackshark V2 X junior model: there’s no full sound card and THX support, and the headsets are made of a different material – yet they’re cheaper.
There are probably more expensive and cheaper headphones that provide wireless connectivity, studio-quality sound, or other RGB backlighting features. However, in its price range, the Razer Black Shark V2 delivers maximum comfort and versatility – especially for those who enjoy playing MS.