Updated: Aug 11, 2021
I do enjoy using Razer quite a bit. But if you’re talking about audio, I’ve actually never really used any of Razer’s audio products for extended periods of time, especially for gaming.
The first is simply because I don’t really like headsets in general… and the reason for that is the weather in Singapore. It’s just far too hot and humid.
The second is also because I wear glasses, so clamping force is something that I’m really particular about.
But that all changes today.
I think I’ve found a headset that only alleviates those issues, but they sound great and look great as well. The headset I’m talking about is the Razer BlackShark v2.
So we’re going to go over a few things, namely, design & comfort, sound quality, mic quality, and the extra features that Razer peppered in, and of course, my overall conclusion.
First up, the design.
If you didn’t know, the original BlackShark came out back in 2012 or so, and it was basically modeled to mimic an aviator’s headset, like those in a helicopter. You can tell that the V2 follows that same trend though it definitely looks much more modern and cleaner overall.
Like most Razer products, it’s almost entirely black, and the earcups themselves have this smooth but matte finish with a green Razer logo right smack in the middle, while the left earcup also sports a volume dial.
This makes it simple and easy for you to adjust volume quickly in the heat of battle, and it does also have a slight tension lock at the mid point where you reach 50% volume. That’s a pretty small but neat feature, I actually appreciate it.
Of course, the left earcup is also where you have the microphone that’s on a flexible arm and is also removable, along with a mute mic switch on the rear of the same earcup. The main cable is of course non-removable, but Razer does use the SpeedFlex cable which should reduce cable noise.
As for the ear cushions, Razer is using a kind of memory foam that’s similar in feel to that of a really thick sponge?
In any case, it’s not the usual leatherette with plush linings, and honestly, I like this quite a lot.
Putting the headphones on, it feels really comfortable and although the clamping force is still a little strong for my taste, the memory foam helps alleviate that quite a lot. I can leave the headset on for long periods of time, no issues. The same cushion can also be found on the underside of the headband, and just like the earcups, it’s comfortable with it resting on the top of my head.
The most important thing though is the weight. At just about 260 grams, the BlackShark v2 is one of the lighter headsets around. With it on, you barely feel the weight and considering that with the comfort, it’s just a joy to use.
But that’s not to say it’s perfect. I don’t really like the mechanism in which the earcups extend.
They extend via thin metal rails, and it’s pretty finicky to get the right length or fit. Not to mention that the tension will vary from headset to headset, or even just the left earcup to the right. I would much rather Razer included some notches for visual indication, or perhaps locks at different lengths.
The other thing about it is that there’s not a lot of side to side movement. It’s almost fixed parallel to one another. So depending on the shape of your head, you might actually find it tough to get a good seal. In addition, if you fully extend it and move it to the most extreme angle possible, it’s putting tension on the cable, so that might be a cause for concern.
So that’s the design and overall comfort. Now, let’s talk about audio.
Now I’ve not tested a lot of gaming headsets recently, so I don’t have a really diverse and constructive analysis but I did review the Kraken Ultimate quite a while back, and personally, I do own a Sony MDR-7506 which I use for editing. If you put those two on extreme ends of a scale, the BlackShark V2 is in the middle
It’s not as bassy as the Kraken and it’s definitely much clearer and balanced sounding, like that of the MDR. But of course, it’s not that extreme, and that’s why it’s somewhere in the middle.
The BlackShark v2 does boast the use of the Razer’s new TriForce 50mm drivers, and on the v2, it’s further augmented with the use of titanium. I don’t have the v2 X to compare with, but as far as it goes, they should sound pretty similar and I do like the sound signature. I did enjoy using this headset to play competitive eSports titles like Apex Legends, or even games like Escape from Tarkov where audio is really important.
On that note, we have to talk about the USB sound card that’s included, which also gives you THX Spatial Audio.
It’s honestly not bad. Now, it’s not a game-changer or anything, nor is it going to give you a true surround sound experience.
But it does expand the soundstage a little, and makes directional audio a little more prominent, by splitting the sphere of audio into several more segments, making it slightly more accurate. But like I said, it’s not a game-changer, and at the moment, not that many titles support the use of it, so if you play those games and you like it, leave it on, and if you don’t, you can simply turn it off.
But now, let’s talk about the microphone.
You can tell there’s some compression in my voice. Overall, it’s not bad, and it’ll do fine for any of your gaming sessions, Discord and whatnot.
Now, with that said, there are other reviewers out there who did a test of the microphone plugged directly into their motherboard, and the microphone does arguably sound better. I couldn’t test that, because for some reason or another, I couldn’t get it to work. Perhaps it’s my splitter, but in any case, I do have to point out that the quality of the microphone will be dependent on the quality of the audio solution on your motherboard, so your mileage might vary.
Now of course, that’s not all to the microphone, for with that USB Sound Card, you do get quite a bit of customization as well.
Using Synapse, you can adjust the volume or gain of the microphone itself. You do also get a Mic Boost toggle, which basically increases the gain even further.
Right below that is Mic Sensitivity, which works like Noise Gate, though the scale is inverted, so you can basically set a minimum threshold where you voice gets picked up, and anything else gets removed.
There are also some enhancements available like Volume Normalization, which basically maintains a similar volume no matter how loud or soft you speak. Vocal Clarity tries to make your voice more prominent, and Ambient Noise Reduction tries to remove ambient noise automatically, like fan noise, keyboard clicks, etc.
Personally though, I suggest to leave everything off.
Of course, you can also tweak your voice a little, using the equalizer on the side, so play with that as you may, along with an option to monitor your own voice.
There are a few options for the headset itself, as you can see, like Bass Boost and whatnot, but same as the mic settings, I would suggest to just leave everything off.
If you want to do anything with regards to the headset audio itself, head over to the Mixer tab, where you can access the THX Spatial Audio and you can choose your preferred type of settings, or leave it on Auto.
So overall, I really enjoyed the BlackShark v2, I really did.
It’s got a great design, good sound quality with a decent microphone, and it’s definitely much more comfortable compared to most other headsets I’ve tried, especially with our weather here in Singapore.
At S$160, I wouldn’t say it’s expensive, but it’s not exactly affordable either. I do, however, feel that this is a much better buy than any of the Kraken series. But if you’re looking for something more affordable, take a look at the V2 X, which costs just about S$95 while offering 90% of what this does.
Honestly, I feel that Razer has made all the right decisions and with the BlackShark v2, they really delivered.
For more information about the Razer BlackShark v2 (S$160) or to support us, you can get it on Amazon here.