RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator Page: 1
Hands up those who take their gaming seriously. Let's face facts - nobody likes getting 'owned' at their favourite game. Whether it be a fast paced bout of Counter Strike: Source, Call of Duty 4 or even a little more mellow MMORPG, you've got to have the skills and equipment in order to survive. Let's use a simple CS:S scenario to help illustrate the point a little better:
You've been practising and training hard with your clan for the next comp and the stakes are high. Your team's tactics have been well thought out and rehearsed so they become second nature.
The day arrives for the big competition and you're going through the motions pwning the other team as if they were noobs, and then disaster strikes...BOOM HEADSHOT! You didn't hear him coming. Ok so your skills and accuracy are one thing, but a good set of headphones are a worthwhile investment to compliment your skill level. Ultimately you want to hear them before you see them right?
Today I have been given the opportunity to road-test RAZER' latest headphones for the serious gamer - the Piranha Gaming Communicator. Will they make the grade?
Let's begin the review of the RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator by taking a look at its specifications. The specifications were unashamedly copied from RAZER' product page
Freq. response: 18 – 22,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ohms
SPL (@ 1 kHz, 1 Vrms): 114 dB
Cable: 3.0 meters
Freq. response: 80 – 15,000 Hz
Sensitivity (@ 1 kHz, 1V/Pa): -38 dB
Impedance: ~2 kOhms
Pick-up pattern: Uni-directional
The specifications of the Piranha headset are pretty normal for a midrange headset as we can see from above, although it's nice to see that RAZER has included a nice amount of cable on the Piranha Gaming Communicator. There's nothing worse than having to deal with a short leash.
RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator Page: 2
If there is one standout feature of RAZER' packaging of their products, it's that they are visually stunning and thoughtfully packaged. RAZER certainly know how to market and package their products! The RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator continues the trend...
Featuring the now familiar black and fluorescent green theme of RAZER' packaging, the Piranha would certainly stand out on any retailers shelve's. On the front of the packaging there is an image of the Piranha headset itself and a short list of it's features. Although the image (above left) doesn't show it properly, the Piranha name is actually embossed on the front in a cool looking holographic type text. I'm impressed.
The sides of the Razer Piranha' packaging further illustrates the features of the unit as well as including a few words from the RAZERGUY
Enough about the packaging, let's tear open the box and get our hands on the goodies contained within...
Like their external packaging, RAZER are very thoughtful about protecting the hardware inside the box. The RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator is safely hosed within a contoured (felt lined) plastic insert that snugly holds the headset and ensures that nothing is allowed to float about and get damaged. Even the Audio In, Microphone and USB plug are all neatly held in place.
Removing the insert out of the box a smaller plastic bag pops out from beneath it. Contained within the plastic bag are:
* Razer's Certificate of Authenticity
* A catalog showing all of the other products Razer offers
* Two stickers
* A digram outlining the specifications of the headset itself
Let's head over the page to have a look at the RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator in a little more detail.
RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator Page: 3
A Closer Look
The RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator at its simplest is just another set of headphones, but with the inclusion of some smart design features, it becomes a little more than that.
It wouldn't be a RAZER if we didn't have the numerous instances of the serpent trichetra type logo that RAZER uses on their products. The RAZER Piranha has three - one logo on the outside face of each ear piece and one on the face of the volume/mute switch. All three logo's light up when the Piranha is plugged in courtesy of three bright blue LED's.
Interestingly, RAZER have opted for an attached boom type microphone instead of the detachable one that they included with the RAZER HP-1
's. This a smart design choice because the boom microphone provides enough distance between your mouth and the receiver to ensure clarity of speech. Instead of hearing what is akin to speaking into a polystyrene coffee cup. Furthermore, the inclusion of a permanently attached microphone ensures that dirt and dust isn't allowed to 'foul' the contacts of an attachable system like the RAZER HP-1.
The boom microphone also rotates 90 degrees from the horizontal to the vertical axis, which is a nice feature if you don't want to use the mic. It also extends past the field of your peripheral vision so you don't see it out of the corner of your eye when it's retracted. Nice touch RAZER!
The RAZER Piranha also features a nicely braided cord that is braided from the point where it enters the ear piece right down to the junction of the audio connectors and USB plug. The braided cable provides additional strength to the cord itself (considering it is 3 metres long) and should help prevent breakage should it become snagged. It'll be interesting to see how the cord handles frequent use as every other pair of stereo headphones I have purchased seem to develop scratchy sound after a while - which effectively renders them useless.
The RAZER Piranha appears as much about comfort as it is about providing good quality sound. The Piranha features two soft 'open cell' rubber ear pieces which are covered by a soft material. The thickness of the rubber should ensure that external noise doesn't become an issue.
The top of the RAZER Piranha features the same rubber padding as that of the ear pieces, and ensures that the top fits on the crown of your head with greater comfort. Perfect for those long periods in front of your computer. Actually they feel quite like a great set of sunglasses when you put them on - you almost don't know that they're there.
In order to ensure that the RAZER Piranha fits all head shapes, RAZER has included adjustable sides that pull out or retract depending on your personal preference.
The RAZER Piranha features a controller switch on the cord itself and has two functions. On one side there is a rotating volume controller for the headphones, and on the other is a flick switch for muting and activating the boom microphone. The controller has a small clip on the back of it that you can use to clip onto your shirt, and the RAZER logo on the front glows like the ear pieces as seen below.
The RAZER Piranha features the connections that we'd expect of a pair of stereo headphones - a line-in and Microphone male plug for audio and recording purposes, and USB for the power.
Let's head over the page to see how we're going to test these badboys...
RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator Page: 4
Testing headphones is predominantly an exercise in subjectivity due to the many possible variables. However, I will try to report as objectively as possible. My taste in 'sound quality' may not necessarily compare to your tastes. For example, I like tight punchy bass as opposed to muddy or booming base. I'd much prefer to have my ears pop and bleed than have them rattled into submission.
The system that I used for today's performance review has been listed below:
ASUS Rampage Extreme
2GB Kingston HyperX PC3-14400
Powercolor Radeon HD4870
Auzentech F-Fi Prelude
2 x 250GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (RAID 0)
RAZER HP-1 Gaming Headphones
For the testing phase all enhancements on my Auzentech X-Fi Prelude will be turned off to prevent them tainting the results.
I tested the RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator with a few rounds of Counter Strike: Source and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in order to asses the positional qualities of the headset. All things considered, they performed quite well considering their price. Admittedly they don't provide the quality and depth of sound of my RAZER HP-1's, but they are in a completely different price bracket.
The quality of the bass is acceptable, although at times it does become quite muddy and uncontrolled. This is quite normal for entry level headsets, and better audio quality could be gained from headsets in the midrange price bracket.
The included boom microphone is excellent. It provides very good sound quality and doesn't produce any unwanted noise. Because the RAZER Piranha has an adjustable boom microphone, it is very easily positioned for optimal sound pickup.
The RAZER Piranha provides an acceptable sound quality although they are quite clearly not in the same ballpark as a pair of high-end Sennheisers. My RAZER HP-1's were distinctly less muddy and due to their increased speaker setup and design provided a significantly 'fuller' sound. If you are after a headset for listening to music then I would look elsewhere.
I found the RAZER Piranha's comfortable for short periods of time. The padded foam on the ear pieces applies additional pressure to the outside of the ear that can become a little annoying over time. To be honest , I prefer the molded cup ear pices of the RAZER HP-1's for ultimate comfort. The additional padding on the crown of your head on the RAZER Piranha certainly makes a difference though, and prevents the 'rubbing' sensation that other headsets tend to give. The padded ear pieces did manage to exclude any external noise from getting in.
RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator Page: 5
So how well did the RAZER Gaming Communicator perform in today's performance review?
The RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator was a bit of a mixed bag if I'm to be honest. The build quality is typical RAZER - hard wearing and functional with good attention to detail. I really liked the inclusion of the volume control and microphone mute switch on the cord, which made it really easy to reach and adjust.
The boom microphone is excellent and if you need a headset for communication and recording purposes then it will fit the bill nicely. However, if you're looking for a dedicated set of gaming headphones that provide very good sound quality and comfort, then you may want to look elsewhere. That being said, for the price, the RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator is excellent value and should be considered above that of budget orientated headsets.
Pricing for the RAZER Piranha Gaming Communicator is US$79.99 according to RAZER' website, but the cheapest I could find them in the UK is £41.11 inc VAT
, but we'd recommend paying £46.99 Inc VAT
For our Australian readers, Altech Computers
have the RAZER Piranha available for AUD$87.00 (inc GST)
+ Excellent price/performance ratio
+ Volume control
+ Microphone control
+ Long cable
+ Reasonable performance
+ Boom microphone
* Sound quality
- Can be uncomfortable for extended periods
Overclock3D would like to thank Altech Computers
for making this review possible.