Razer Carcharias gaming headset review: light in weight, light in audio

Razer’s latest iteration of the Carcharias gaming headset retains the comfort of the original, adds a couple minor upgrades, one minor downgrade, and brings the love to Xbox 360 and PC gamers alike.

Features & Specifications

The Carcharias (“sand shark” or “sand tiger” if you’re curious) is a straightforward PC and Xbox 360 compatible stereo headset. It connects to your PC via 2 x 3.5mm stereo/microphone connectors and a single USB connector. No software drivers are required. The 3 meter connector cable has been downgraded from its predecessor’s braided fabric to a thinner, vinyl-sheathed cable.

But aside from a different cable, an improved inline controller, and multi-platform compatibility, the Carcharias ‘2013’ (or ‘Carcharias for Xbox/PC’ as Razer officially calls it) is spec-for-spec identical to its predecessor, down to its 40mm drivers with Neodymium magnets.

Ergonomics & Design

The newest Carcharias adds Xbox 360 support and an improved inline controller. Comfort is above average, but overall audio is average.
The Carcharias is little changed from its predecessor, and with regards to comfort this is good. The Carcharias’ is exceptionally light and generally one of the more comfortable headsets I’ve reviewed.

The earphones and adjustable headband are lined with soft, plush fabric (fabric that also happens to be a cat hair magnet, by the way) and it provides a reasonably snug but comfortable fit. The Carcharias isn’t quite on par comfort-wise with some of my favorites like the SteelSeries Siberia V2 or Turtle Beach Ear Force Z2, but they still offer above average comfort.

Light in weight, light in sound

In terms of audio the Carcharias is adequate at best. Despite the addition of a bass adjuster to the inline controller, however, it’s still doesn’t get very loud (even at maximum volume levels) and the bass is weak. I didn’t pick up any crackling or ‘muddy’ audio and overall reproduction is clear enough in the high and mid tones, but if you like nigh ear-splitting volume levels or just a good hard thump to your bass, the Carcharias probably won’t fit the bill.

In addition, the Carcharias offers virtually no external noise suppression, but whether this is good or bad really depends upon your preferences and environment. (I have a theory that single gamers probably prefer headphones that suppress external noise, and married gamers/gamers with kids *wish* we could have headphones that suppress external noise, but have to weigh the price of using them versus how likely we are to get in trouble with our spouse or child protective services.)

The Carcharias’ new inline controller is a modest improvement over its predecessor, and in addition to the bass adjuster also adds independent volume controls for audio and voice (chat) levels.

The microphone does its job well for skyping and gaming.

Overall: 4/5 Stars

The Carcharias delivers solid ‘nuts and bolts’ stereo audio, above average comfort and average audio for about $70. If multi-platform compatibility isn’t important to you, however, compare the Carcharias to other headsets like the previously mentioned Turtle Beach Ear Force Z2 and SteelSeries Siberia V2 headsets. Also consider comparing it to the Nox Audio Specialist, which happens to be a favorite of mine and sits at around the same price point.

Carcharias Technical Specifications (courtesy of Razer)

Headphones

  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 O at 1kHz
  • Sensitivity (@1kHz, 1V/Pa): 102 ± 4dB at 1 kHzMax
  • Input Power: 200 mW
  • Drivers: 40 mm, with neodymium Magnets

Microphone

  • Frequency Response: 50 – 16,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity( @1kHz, 1V/Pa): -37 ± 4dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 50 dB
  • Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional
  • Cable: 3 meters, Braided Fiber Sheath
  • Connector: 3.5 mm jack (headphone and mic)
  • Cable: 3.3 meters, Braided Fiber Sheath

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