With Star Wars: The Old Republic
now in full swing and receiving very positive reviews, it is now time to focus on some of the branded peripherals that fans of the game and Star Wars
itself will be clamoring for. Our friends over at Razer
have done their best yet again and given us a headset truly worthy of the branding with the Star Wars: The Old Republic 7.1 Gaming Headset.
The SWTOR Headset
, when you first look at, has a fairly sleek, yet simple design to it. The outer frame of the headset is a very light gray in color with black cushioning on the head and ear pieces. Comfort is not a problem, even though it can seem a little bulky at first. The cushioning makes sure to give any gamer hours of great sound without hurting his or her head or ears in the process. Comparing this to past Razer
products such as the Starcraft II Banshee Headset
, it is a little smaller in design both on the head piece and the ears. On those cushioned earpieces are interchangeable logos for both the Republic and the Empire, allowing you to put your loyalties on display in your home.
Getting to the sound itself, Razer made sure to create the best possible sound quality without going overboard on the actual design. Boasting 7.1 Dolby Surround, the sound quality is certainly there, though it is not going to give audiophiles anything to write home about. When using this headset, it has to be stated that there is a direct correlation between price and audio quality. This, of course, goes hand in hand with most any headset. Testing this out was fairly straight forward as a mixture of audio tests were conducted to see its true range, especially when using the Synapse 2.0 system that Razer uses to allow tweaking to the equalizer of the sound coming through the headset.
Taking a look further into Synapse 2.0, you will find 12 presets to the equalizer as well as individual boosters on the microphone and overall volume. You won't have to max out your computer's sound in order tweak it to the quality you want, but the direct volume control that is located on the back of the right earpiece will only control master volume and not anything else. There is also a microphone volume control located on the back of the left earpiece. The EQ settings give a decent variety of ranges and styles, but you can, of course, customize these to your own taste. Synapse 2.0 will remember your profile no matter where you go and will allow you to pull your settings directly from your profile.
Getting back to the test pieces, I ran the headset through a wide range of audio styles, using a couple of standard rock songs, some various game soundtracks, and then SWTOR itself. The audio is what you expect for the price; Good range, solid clarity, but nothing that is truly mind-blowing. One aspect that this headset truly shines at is the ambient sound and surround when playing SWTOR. Rotating the camera around with characters talking and sounds in the background will truly make you feel as though you are in the world of the game itself, which is a good sign for a headset that is hanging its quality on surround. The fact that you get Dolby Pro Logic IIx out of just a USB isn't anything amazing, but it certainly beats having to go out and buy a powerful audio card to get great audio. Ventrilo usage was no problem with the directional microphone. Clarity is what the microphone is all about and that is exactly what you get.
Finally, let's look at what you are getting for the price. At a price of $129.99, the argument is going to be is it really worth paying that much for a headset that is specifically designed for gaming? Truthfully, this is going to be entirely up to you. Audiophiles are probably going to go for higher end units if looking for the absolute best, leaning on the fact that the top notch headsets still require a top-flight audio card. However, you have to take this for what it is at face value: A durable headset that provides great audio without needing to make major upgrades thanks to USB connectivity. Are there cheaper options out there? Absolutely. Are those units going to have the sound quality that this has? Probably not.
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