Razer Blackshark V2 Review

Razer offers a variety of gaming headsets for various scenarios. The Kraken line is for those who desire a huge, powerful, wired over-ear experience. The Nari line is for those who want wireless connectivity. The Blackshark V2, meanwhile, is a sleek, light, and competitive headset. This $99.99 gaming headset lacks the weight of the Krakens while providing robust surround sound and a superb microphone thanks to a 7.1-channel USB sound card and software-based THX Spatial Audio. It’s equivalent to the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition ($99.99) and even the more expensive Kraken Ultimate ($129.99), but with a more streamlined design and improved performance. The Blackshark V2 is our Editors’ Choice for wired gaming headsets because of this.

Razer Blackshark V2 Review
9.1
The best $99 wired gaming headset
Razer Blackshark V2

PROS

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Fantastic microphone
  • Light, comfortable fit USB sound card integrated with THX Spatial Audio software

CONS

  • The headset is hardwired to the cable.

RAZER BLACKSHARK V2 SPECS

TypeCircumaural (over-ear)
WirelessNo
True WirelessNo
Connection TypeUSB, Stereo 3.5mm
Water/Sweat-ResistantNo
Active Noise CancellationNo

Design

The Blackshark V2 is less bulky and lighter than Razer’s Kraken and Nari headphones. The iconic large, round earcups have been replaced with more traditional oval earcups with matte black plastic shells. Each earcup has a bright green Razer emblem on the back and is connected to the other by short neon green fabric-covered cables that run through the black headband. On either side of each earcup, twin cylindrical struts join to the headband via thin metal arms that slide up and down to modify the fit while allowing for a vertical pivot.

Soft memory foam earpads are coated in breathable fabric, and the underside of the headband has matching fabric-covered padding (the top side of the headband is faux leather). Because the headset is so light and breathable, it’s excellent for long gaming sessions and easy to wear even on larger skulls.

Razer Blackshark V2 Review

A six-foot fabric-wrapped cable with a 3.5mm connection is permanently attached to the bottom of the left earcup. The removable boom microphone, a foam-covered capsule on a flexible metal arm, is plugged into a port in front of the cable. A mic mute button is located just beneath the headset cord, and a huge volume control is located on the rear panel of the earcup (the volume is independent of the volume levels on your device). A removable cable is much easier to replace than a whole headset, therefore the permanently linked wire is a disappointment.

The Blackshark V2 includes a 7.1-channel USB sound device that is incredibly small. The card is a rectangular plastic module measuring 1.75 by 0.6 inches (HW) on a two-inch fabric-wrapped cord that terminates in a USB connector. When the module is plugged in and working, a green LED illuminates the end opposite the USB wire, and a 3.5mm headset port is located on the opposite end. A black cloth drawstring carrying bag is also included with the headset.

Software and connectivity

The Blackshark V2 is compatible with any modern gaming device or PC, as well as many phones and tablets, thanks to its 3.5mm connection. However, you’ll need to use the accompanying sound card, which is built for PCs, to get the most out of the headset, such as THX Spatial Audio simulated surround sound and a variety of audio and microphone customizations using the Razer Synapse program.

Razer Blackshark V2 Review

The Blackshark V2 X, a version of the Blackshark V2 sans the sound card, costs $69.99. It does, however, feature different audio components and design elements, such as a rubber cable rather than a fabric-wrapped one.

You may use Razer Synapse to change the Blackshark V2‘s numerous audio settings and enable THX Spatial Audio simulated surround sound once the sound card is attached. The software has a 10-band EQ with numerous presets, as well as toggleable and adjustable Bass Boost, Sound Normalization, and Voice Clarity functions. The microphone has its own 10-band EQ with presets, as well as a slider for mic sensitivity adjustment and toggles for Voice Normalization, Vocal Clarity, and Ambient Noise Reduction.

Then there’s THX Spatial Audio, which can be found in Razer Synapse’s Mixer tab. THX Spatial Audio adds additional processing and mixing to create 360-degree sound, blending the multiple channels together for more precise directional imaging, to the USB sound card, which already produces 7.1-channel simulated surround sound on its own. It’s a powerful effect that comes with the Blackshark V2 and is available in software form through the Razer THX Spatial Audio app.

Microphone

The microphone on the Blackshark V2 is outstanding, as is typical of Razer headsets. The test recordings were crisp and clear, with no softness or sibilance. Even with the Ambient Audio Reduction option switched on, the mic didn’t pick up the noise of my air conditioner running. In fact, I found that using the default microphone settings and turning off all of the other functions in Razer Synapse produced the best results.

Razer Blackshark V2 Review

You don’t get nearly as many processing functions with the Logitech G Pro X or G Pro X Wireless headsets, whether you utilize them or not, but the mic here simply sounds better out of the box. Of course, if you want even more clarity and control over your recordings, a USB microphone should be considered.

Performance of Music

When playing music, the Blackshark V2 has a powerful bass response. The bass synth notes and drum beats in The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” our bass test track, provide plenty of low-frequency presence that approaches head-rattling territory. The headset does not distort at highest (and dangerous) volume.

On the Blackshark V2, Yes’ “Roundabout” sounds fantastic. The first acoustic guitar plucks contain a lot of resonance and string texture, with presence in the lower frequencies and elegance in the upper ones. The electric bass sounds snappy and full as the music truly kicks in, while the guitar strums, percussion, and vocals are all given enough attention to be clearly discernible in the chaotic mix.

Razer Blackshark V2 Review

The Crystal Method’s “Born Too Slow” has a pounding backbeat that penetrates deep enough into the bass frequencies to sound powerful and frightening, but the guitar riffs have enough higher-frequency presence to keep the music exciting. Against the cacophony, the screaming vocals stand out, demonstrating good balance and sufficient attention to each aspect in the mix.

Gaming Capabilities

I used the Blackshark V2 to play Doom (2016) with THX Spatial Audio emulated surround sound using the USB sound card and Razer Synapse. It gave me a strong feeling of directional imagery, helping me know when adversaries were approaching from behind or on my flanks. It didn’t feel nearly as exact as the simulated surround sound on the Logitech G Pro X Wireless, but it still gave me an advantage by alerting me to the general direction of attacks. The industrial music is audible, and the various weapon sounds are sharp but not thundering.

I also played some Fortnite, and the Blackshark V2 performed admirably once again. I could tell which way to flee based on the overall direction of distant gunfire. As adversaries moved closer, directional imaging became less accurate, and it felt less precise overall than the G Pro X Wireless, but it still worked well, and sound quality is excellent.

BlackShark V2BlackShark V2 XKraken TournamentKrakenKraken XKraken X USBNari
Connection3.5mm / USB Sound Card3.5mm3.5mm / USB Audio Controller3.5mm3.5mmUSBWireless 2.4GHz
Audio DriverTriForce Titanium 50mm DriversTriForce 50mm DriversCustom-Tuned 50mm DriversCustom-Tuned 50mm DriversCustom-Tuned 40mm DriversCustom-Tuned 40mm Drivers40mm Drivers
MicHyperClear Cardioid MicHyperClear Cardioid MicRetractable UnidirectionalRetractable UnidirectionalFlipFlipFlip
Ear CushionsBreathable Memory FoamBreathable Memory FoamCooling Gel Memory FoamCooling Gel Memory FoamLeatheretteLeatheretteCooling Gel Memory Foam
Surround SoundTHX Spatial Audio7.1 Surround SoundTHX Spatial Audio7.1 Surround Sound7.1 Surround Sound7.1 Surround SoundTHX Spatial Audio
Audio ControlsOn-HeadsetOn-HeadsetIn-Line RemoteIn-Line RemoteOn-HeadsetOn-HeadsetIn-Line Remote
Weight262g240g322g322g250g275g431g
Sound Isolation

Take a Shark Ride

The Razer Blackshark V2 is a great wired gaming headset for a good price. It has good sound quality, simulated surround sound, a great microphone, and a light, comfy design for $100. It has a 3.5mm connection for versatility, and a USB sound card with plenty of software-based functions and settings. The headset’s only serious flaw is its permanently attached wire.

Razer Blackshark V2 Review

The $250 Astro Gaming A40 and Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 are bigger (and bulkier), more powerful headsets with real mixing amps and substantially higher pricing if you’re searching for something more upscale. For the same price as the Blackshark V2, the Razer Nari Essential is a great option for wireless ease. The Blackshark V2 is the one to beat and our Editors’ Choice if you merely want a very decent, inexpensive gaming headset with tons of features and impressive performance.

Razer Blackshark V2 Review
9.1
The best $99 wired gaming headset
Razer Blackshark V2

PROS

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Fantastic microphone
  • Light, comfortable fit USB sound card integrated with THX Spatial Audio software

CONS

  • The headset is hardwired to the cable.


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