Review: Razer Kraken Forged Edition (Updated)
Editor’s note: Apologies to our readers – we accidentally left out the section talking about audio performance. The review has been updated.
Razer’s Kraken headsets have been pretty popular since they were introduced back in late 2012. The plain vanilla Kraken is very popular for music lovers and its bright green colour distinguishes it from thecompetition (there’s also a black version, by the way). In addition to the Kraken, Razer has also added the Kraken Pro (which has a built-in boom microphone) and the Kraken 7.1, which is targeted at gamers.
Not content with that, Razer has improved the Kraken further and recently launched the Kraken Forged Edition – basically, this is a Kraken that has undergone a major facelift. In place of the green plastic, you will now get ultra-premium materials, i.e. milled aluminium and leatherette (artificial leather).
The first thing a user will notice is the weight of the Kraken Forged Edition. It’s no longer lightweight like the original headset which came in at 280 grams; it now weighs 390, no doubt due to the aluminium body. Speaking of that, the new metal parts make the Forged Edition much more robust, especially at the folding joints. However, that’s not to say that the original Krakens were flimsy in any way. The new headset just feels more solid.
As for the drivers, Razer has not changed the 40mm ones used in the Kraken, although they have probably taken more trouble to make sure that both drivers are better tuned. They have a frequency response of 20 to 20kHz, with an impedance of 32 Ohms at 1kHz. The closed ear cup design provides adequate noise isolation although they’re nowhere near the performance of active noise-cancelling headsets.
In terms of comfort, the Kraken Forged Edition is top-notch. Having said that, I did find that the ear cups a little too small for my ears, causing a bit of pain after prolonged use. The headset provides just enough pressure to keep it firmly on your head, despite its weight. The top of the headband is encased in leatherette and is very soft, thanks to the generous padding. To adjust the size of the headset, both earpieces can be pulled out along a metal slide. Oh, there’s even a very stylish Razer logo embossed on the top of the headband, if that kind of thing floats your boat.
Razer provides two cables – a usual 3.5 to 2.5mm audio cable plus another which has an inline microphone. This can be used on certain phones so that you can answer calls which come in while you’re listening to music. The microphone works pretty well, for both phone calls or even as a gaming microphone. A 1/4-inch audio converter is also provided if you want to plug the headset into your home audio system. Razer has also included a nice carrying case, if you don’t want to just chuck it into your backpack. The foldable design makes it more compact and easier to carry.
For music lover, the Kraken Forged Edition produces very crisp and clean high notes. Acoustic instruments sound very good with these headsets; that said, the mid-tones were slightly less spectacular; sometimes voices sounded muffled, which I attribute to the rather heavy bass. Low notes were rather loud, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on the application. In general, I found that bass-heavy audio gets amplified a bit too much. For gaming, some do not like it, as it can make explosions (e.g. in Battlefield 4) sound a bit too loud, drowning out the sound of someone trying to sneak up on you. The headset’s sound stage, however is pretty good and if paired with a good sound card like the affordable ASUS’ Xonar U7, you can get very good virtual surround effects, making FPS gaming very enjoyable.
If you like listening to music that’s not too bass-heavy, the Kraken Forged Edition would be a very good choice. The top-notch build quality will make you want to show it off on the train and I’m sure those around you will take notice. The asking price of RM1,199 makes this one of the more expensive headsets in the prosumer range so you may want to try it out first (for comfort) before investing your money on it.