There are many different ways to evoke a sense of immersion with your video game setup. However, your choice of monitor shape and size can make virtual worlds appear, and responsive peripherals that cancel lag make your movements smoother. Audio also has a dramatic effect. Gaming hardware company Razer claims it has raised the bar by applying haptic feedback to gaming headsets, much like you’d find in a controller. But do vibrations on your head make your experience more enjoyable?
Razer today announced three new headsets: the Razer Kraken V3, the Razer Kraken V3 HyperSense and the wireless Razer Kraken V3 Pro. As you might guess from the “V3” nomenclature, these are updates to the Razer Kraken line, which currently also includes the flicker-free Razer Kraken V3 X, among other sets.
The Kraken V3 HyperSense and Kraken V3 Pro both use haptic feedback. Razer calls the feature HyperSense and uses haptic drivers in each ear cup. The drivers take “the shape and frequencies of game audio,” as Razer puts it, process them in less than 5ms and convert them to vibrations. Digital signal processing covers a frequency range of 20-200 Hz.
Each haptic driver is connected to the left or right audio channel, depending on which pinna it calls home. The vibrations are supposed to move with game audio from left to right and at different levels. So if a truck explodes to your left, your left ear cup will vibrate, with a force of up to 4.3 g. We’ve already seen this technology in Razer’s Nari Ultimate headset, which is being discontinued to make way for the fancy new Krakens.
Worried that the feedback will be too much for you? The on-ear controls let you set the intensity to high, medium, low or off. This is a nice consideration that the Nari Ultimate does not offer.
What about the actual sound quality?
We won’t know how the headset sounds until we test it, but we do know that Razer uses its TriForce Titanium 50mm drivers in the kit. The technology divides the audio driver into three parts: one for low frequencies, one for highs and one for mids. The drivers are also coated in titanium to allow for higher frequencies without distortion. However, the Kraken V3 doesn’t seem to benefit from the latter. The frequency response specification comes out at 20,000 Hz, which is very typical for a gaming headset. You can also add surround sound to the headset via THX Spatial Audio, an app from Razer.
I tried the TriForce drivers in the Razer BlackShark V2. In that headset, they delivered layered and detailed audio for games and music. But the new Krakens are tuned for a smaller frequency response (20-20,000 Hz vs. 12-28,000 Hz on the BlackShark V2) and the headsets are constructed differently.
The Kraken V3 HyperSense will be available for $130, and the wireless Kraken V3 Pro will go for $200. If you’re not into the idea of a vibrating skull, there’s also the similarly built Kraken V3. It skips the haptic feedback and costs $100.
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