Whether you play games casually to kill time before bed or have aspirations of dominating the world of eSports, gaming headsets have become increasingly common place. Aftermarket ones (usually) tend to be a bit nicer than the headset that gets packed in with the console, and having more access to control the game volume and chat balance, plus some of the higher end models have some nice features like 7.1 surround sound. The range of options in gaming headsets is quite impressive, going from affordable bare bones models to high end models audiophiles dream of. The Razer Thresher Ultimate fits into the latter category.
The Razer Thresher Ultimate is officially licensed by Microsoft, and is available in a PlayStation 4 version and an Xbox One/Windows 10 version, which will be compatible with
Project Scorpio Xbox One X. Getting into some of the specs, the Thresher has 50 mm drivers with neodymium magnets, 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound, and 2.4 GHz lag free wireless. It features noise cancelling leatherette ear cushions and foam indentations for temple relief so that glasses (either prescription or gaming glasses) can be comfortably worn with the headset. Controls on the headset allow the user to easily adjust master volume and mic volume, and the boom mic is completely retractable if you choose to hide it away in the ear cup. The volume controls for the mic are a dial on the left ear cup and the main volume control is on the right one. Both can be muted by clicking the dial in, so the player has the freedom to mute themselves or silence the game music. The approximate weight is 408 g, or 0.89 lbs, which probably sounds heavier than it is. The headset remained comfortable even after wearing it for hours at a time. The charge base needs to be plugged into the device that the headset is being used for, and there is a switch in the back for quickly switching between PC and console.
Players will have some freedom to move about while using the Razer Thresher Ultimate as it has an effective range away from the receiver of 12 meters or roughly 40 feet. To fully charge takes about four hours and that will get about 16 hours of battery life. To throw some more numbers at the tech heads that are reading, the radio frequency is 2.4 GHz with the frequency response is 12 – 28,000 Hz and the impedance is 32O at 1 kHz and sensitivity at (@1 kHz, 1 V/Pa): 105 dB +/- 2dB. Some specs for the uni-directional boom mic are frequency response: 100 – 10,000 Hz, with sensitivity (@1kHz, 1V/Pa): -42± 2dB and signal to noise ratio: >55 dB.
So reading over the two previous paragraphs, I am imagining two different reactions from the readers. One of which is those are some impressive specs, and the other being what the hell did I just read? This assuming you didn’t just click on the X button in the corner once the numbers and equations started appearing on screen. The folks at Razer provided some suggestions to show off what the headset can do, which included playing some competitive Call of Duty. The Thresher’s ability to raise the sounds that are generally buried in the mix did prove advantageous, as I could easily hear the approaching footsteps of the wannabe ninjas closing in on me. How this dynamic seems to work is it raises the volume of quieter frequencies so they can be clearly heard without overpowering the parts that are meant to be more prominent in the mix. This was also the case with a couple other games like the Tomb Raider reboot or Lost Odyssey, where ambient environmental noises were easier to pick out and some of the more subtle parts of the music were much more prominent. Get Even’s atmosphere benefited from this headset, as the echoes of the footsteps through empty tunnels or sloshing through wetlands sounded as if they were being made by myself, as if I was in the middle of the game. Evaluating the quality of the mic is difficult when I am the one speaking into it, but people in the online gaming sessions didn’t have any trouble responding to me.
Even though this is a gaming headset, most people have a lot of music on their computer, and since the Xbox model works with Windows 10 I decided to try running my music library through the Thresher. The results were quite impressive, as just about every song from every artist and genre I could throw at sounded crystal clear, and many of the backing tracks that are barely audible in the mix came straight to the forefront, though the bass guitar on Metallica’s …And Justice for All was still missing. This may be a high end headset, but it’s not a miracle worker. A whole article could be devoted to things you’d noticed with this headset versus regular speakers, like a clear distinction of Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley’s vocal tracks during the harmonies in Alice in Chains songs or hearing all the layers of the choral performance of Hans Zimmer’s Spider Pig, but I doubt anyone wants to read about the details of what I heard while killing half a day listening to music. Going further than just listening to standard music mixes, I wanted to find a recording that is mixed in surround sound to see what this could do. The 2008 reissue of Opeth’s Still Life fit the bill, since it includes an audio DVD mixed in 5.1 and the Thresher did not disappoint. There are so many subtle undertones buried in the mix of this album, and every last one of them was unearthed so they could be heard clearly in the mix. There were faint counter melodies whose presence was only previously hinted that were now fully articulated, making an album I had listened to countless times sound new.
The Razer Thresher Ultimate is a fantastic headset. The long battery life, comfort and ease of controls make it a great audio option, whether it is being used for gaming, movies,or just listening to music. This is a high end headset, both in terms of product construction and function. As anyone who pays attention to gaming headsets know there is quite a range on how much they can cost, and with a suggested retail price of $249.99, this is not the most expensive headset on the market, but it is in the upper echelon. Whether or not the increase in sound quality that comes with a high end headset is important to someone is strictly based on individual preference, but for those that care about sound optimization, the quality that comes with the Razer Thresher Ultimate justifies the price point.