The USB powered headset doesn’t quite put “sound in its place”.
There has been an increasing effort from manufacturers to cram 5.1 surround sound in a pair of cans – usually made to look bulky, intimidating, geeky, and yet completely alluring to our gamer senses. Most provide great audio quality with exceptional sound placement to give off a virtual surround effect; yet they cannot quite come close to a real 5.1 surround sound experience that comes with a precisely tuned high-end speaker setup. With the Megalodon, Razer is hoping to take a step forward and blur the line a little bit, and in that drive has upped the specs to 7.1 to “put sound in its place”. Yeah…about that…
See, for a $149 headset you would expect it to rock your socks, blow your mind and submerge you into a deep aural-itical bliss. It doesn’t. No, no, they aren’t entirely crap. The Razer Megalodon provide good sound quality; however, on some types of music and some genres of games (like FPS, and that’s approx 70% of the gaming population), the headsets sound way too processed on the 7.1 setup. The sound also feels like you have a ceramic bowl wrapped around your head; like you have 7 low-end stereo speakers set around your ears. Even movies suffer from the same fate. The Maelstrom, the built-in sound processor, has a long way to go in this regard. The sound returns to normal on the 2.1 setup but you know…$149…not really worth the burn for that much.
The Razer Megalodon is USB powered and is a ‘software-less’ device. Yup, there is no software to tinker around with, as all the tweaking options are fitted in the control pod brick that comes attached to it. On it you can switch between 2.1 and 7.1, and fine tune the volume of every individual speaker, and the bass. There is a mic mute button, a mic volume controller and a ‘mic sense’ leveler to filter out lower volume noise. While this may be a perfect solution for many, it is quite restrictive in its own way. Users that are unhappy with the equalization of the headphones or the headset’s native environmental effect, have no way to change it. There is no dedicated software and control pod does not quite make the cut.
The Megalodon scores high marks on every other regard, however. The build is strong and you can feel its strength oozing out giving you enough confidence that it can take a bit of abuse. It’s a handsome, stylish looking kit: the Megalodon feature Razer’s typical dark aesthetic with a combination of gloss and matte black plastic, as well as a 10 foot tethered cable. The ear cups and headband sports a plush stain and mesh fabric cover (resp.), providing excellent comfort during long hours of use. The control pod and both sides of the unit are illuminated with Razer’s trademark blue LEDs. You might want to check on the size though as they are massive. If you have a small head/face it might just devour you and aptly so.
In conclusion, the Razer Megalodon has the looks, style, build and comfort of a proper kick ass gaming headset but it is let down by its sub-par audio performance which is a complete deal breaker. For $149 there are superior alternatives available. You might as well look that way.