Razer’s second iteration (extremely Doctor Nick voice: The V is for VERSION!) of its Elektra headphones are a pretty good effort at producing a budget set of gaming cans. They look the put, without being over the top, have some very useful features, and they even sound… okay. I mean, we’re not talking high-end audio, here, so it seems churlish to get too critical with how these headphones sound, but how does the virtual 7.1 stack up?
It’s… not great 7.1 sound, virtual or otherwise. Truth is, getting 7.1 right can be hard for headphones that cost a lot more and have real hardware. For 100 bucks, you’re not going to come close, and in fact the sound field in a game like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is distinctly muddy. Distant noises are tolerably precise, but not in a way that you wouldn’t get from stereo, while sounds that are on top of you just sound close, not like they’re coming from any particular direction. Sound quality is, again, okay, but you get what you pay for. It’s tuned for gaming and music, and while music is passable, games definitely feel like they’re taking a hit.
And to help you feel okay if you really can only afford a single set of headphones, the mic is removable, which is a plus. There are two cables, too – one with a splitter for setting up your headphone and mic combo at your PC (or console, we don’t judge), and shorter length for taking on the road when you’ll be ditching the mic.
But that’s where the pluses end.
The Elektra V2s are light and comfortable (the one-size fits all headband is pretty versatile, but folks with particularly large or small noggins may find it uncomfortable), but they’re in fact so light that even the slightest sound is amplified by the plastic housing of each earcup. Bump the mic, and its sounds like a dull roar in year ears, and the sound of the cable rubbing against the collar of my shirt was audible even over grenade blasts. Another poor design decision is the placement of the volume control, which is a very short slider on the back of the left ear-cup. It has such a short travel length that any sense of precise sound adjustment is pretty much lost – in the middle of a game adjusting it is a case of frantically choosing between ALL THE SOUND, or none at all. It’s simply distracting to use.
The Elektra V2 really is a mixed bag – there are some features that feel really premium for the price point, but the light construction does them no favours, and the average sound quality still doesn’t seem good enough for the price.
You can do better.