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Razer BlackShark V3 wishlist: All the features I want to see

The Razer BlackShark V3 would benefit from more onboard controls and louder bass reproduction.
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Published onMay 14, 2024

The Razer BlackShark V2 gaming headset sits on table in front of a window.

Razer has an eclectic catalog and makes some of the best gaming headsets with good microphones. Its latest iteration, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023), brings many improved features. These include better microphone quality, longer battery life, and USB-C charging. However, at $199, this headset is far more expensive than its less feature-rich siblings. For example, the Razer BlackShark V2 trades desirable features like a built-in custom audio and microphone EQ for a $99 price tag. Unlike Razer’s newest headset, the BlackShark V2 is compatible with almost every gaming platform. It also benefits from better isolation and a more comfortable build. Considering it has been nearly four years since the BlackShark V2 came to market, fans are understandably giddy about the updated Razer BlackShark V3.

So far though, Razer has remained tight-lipped about its next-gen upgrade. Furthermore, the refreshed Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) headset might indicate that the company is ditching its more pedestrian product line. Regardless, here is everything I want to see included in the Razer BlackShark V3 if and when it comes to fruition.

Better microphone quality

A man wears THe Razer BlackShark V2 gaming headset while sitting at a PC
The ear pads manage heat very well thanks to the outer mesh layer.

Most gaming headsets come equipped with an external microphone for in-game chat. These generally capture your voice more clearly than the built-in microphones of over-ear headphones and earbuds. This is because microphones positioned in front of the mouth pick up voices better than those near the ear. Often, gaming headsets utilize cardioid microphones. These do an excellent job of blocking out unwanted sounds from behind or to the side of them. However, some headsets, like the Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE, boast omnidirectional microphones that capture voices extremely well.

The Razer BlackShark V2 comes equipped with a detachable cardioid microphone. While this successfully rejects the sound of keyboard clicks, there is significant under-emphasis in the bass and midrange. This can result in those with deeper voices sounding subdued and distorted. Conversely, the headset boosts high-end sounds, making sibilants sound clearer. The Razer BlackShark V3 would benefit from having a microphone with louder bass and midrange reproduction when it comes to market.

Improved Synapse app

The Razer BlackShark V2 use the Razer Synapse 3 app to control high-end features like surround sound.
The Razer BlackShark V2 uses the Razer Synapse 3 app to control high-end features like surround sound.

Most average gamers enjoy plug-and-play simplicity when pairing headsets to their source device. Doing so often provides a relatively basic level of use, leaving out many desirable features like surround sound, custom EQs, and lighting controls. To utilize these, gamers must use their headsets’ companion app to tinker around. Thankfully, fans are spoiled for choice, whether using the Razer Synapse, HyperX NGenuity, or Corsair iCue apps.

Unfortunately, many gaming headphone apps only work when connected to a PC. For example, the Razer Synapse app does not work for the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Instead, you must delve into the console’s settings menu to activate features like built-in spatial audio. Frustratingly, fans miss out on features like lighting controls and custom EQ settings without a companion app. The Razer BlackShark V2 uses the Synapse 3 app to customize EQ and microphone settings. It also includes a suite of THX-tuned game profiles to tailor your sound to specific games. However, while better than much of the competition, Razer’s Synapse app still feels clunky. The company should improve the user experience of its Synapse app before the Razer BlackShark V3 launch.

A louder bass and midrange response

A chart depicts the Razer BlackShark V2 (cyan) frequency response relative to our consumer curve (pink), revealing the V2's slightly under-emphasized bass and midrange output.
The slight dip in the bass range from the BlackShark V2 (cyan) means some music won’t have as much “oomph” as you’d expect.

Most modern consumer headphones adorn a “U-shaped” frequency curve. This boosts sub-bass, bass, upper-midrange, and treble frequencies while cutting the midrange. The result is a sound profile that makes kick drums, bass guitars, hi-hats, and sibilants more prominent in the mix. However, some vocals, especially lower voices, can often get masked by these accentuated frequencies. Generally speaking though, this isn’t a be-all or end-all situation if you mostly use your headphones for PC or console gaming.

The Razer BlackShark V2 cuts the lower-midrange around 340Hz by nearly 7dB. Similarly, the bass and sub-bass below 100Hz are significantly under-emphasized compared to the competition. This reproduces in-game sounds like explosions more quietly than much of Razer’s catalog. Additionally, the midrange cut makes footsteps and other more nuanced sounds less audible than with rival headphones. For example, the Razer Barracuda X (2022) has a much louder bass and midrange reproduction that is excellent for gaming. The Razer BlackShark V3 would do well to follow suit.

More handy onboard controls

The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro gaming headset sits on its side, with the onboard controls and detachable microphone on display.
The headset also includes a 3.5mm jack and detachable cord for when the battery dies, or you want to connect to an Xbox One.

Unlike consumer headphones designed primarily for music listening, gaming headsets take on a simpler form. For example, some budget gaming headphones do not provide controls for play/pause or song skipping. This is true for some budget headphones designed for PC and console gaming as much as for handheld devices like the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck.

Nevertheless, gamers have bespoke needs like any other consumer. For example, many gaming headsets boast a generic volume dial to control the overall level of in-game audio. Similarly, gaming headphones often host a microphone mute button for quick and easy mic control. Having onboard buttons reduces the need to sift through a companion app to use the headphones in real-time. However, some headphones are better than others in this regard. For example, the Razer BlackShark V2 offers only a volume dial and a microphone mute button on the left earphone. By comparison, the Audeze Maxwell has a game and media intermix wheel to adjust the levels of your game and sidetone. Users can also toggle between EQ presets and answer/end phone calls directly from the cans. The Razer BlackShark V3 should include more handy onboard controls if it wants to compete for pole position.

Active noise canceling

A isolation chart for the Razer BlackShark V2 gaming headset, which shows excellent high-range isolation.
This headset isolates sound better even than some noise canceling headphones.

Active noise canceling is becoming an increasingly important purchasing factor for many musos and gamers. ANC technology uses inward and outward-facing microphones to attenuate unwanted environmental noise. This allows us to hear more of our music mix and less of the outside world. It is also safer, allowing you to listen to your favorite songs at lower volumes while reducing the likelihood of noise-induced hearing loss. On a more basic level, it minimizes ear fatigue when listening to music over long periods.

The Razer BlackShark V2 has outstanding isolation. This is largely thanks to its leatherette and mesh-covered memory foam ear cups forming a decent seal that blocks out incidental sounds. The effect is especially prominent around 5.6kHz, where the headset attenuates noise by as much as 44dB. Such noise reduction can make clattering dishware appear much quieter. However, noise canceling does a much better job of minimizing the loudness of low rumbles and drones. Given power-hungry games often cause PC and console cooling fans to whirr, ANC is a handy feature to keep these noises at bay. The Razer BlackShark V3 would benefit from incorporating active noise canceling into its feature set.

What would you like to see Razer bring to the Razer BlackShark V3?

14 votes

Will there be a Razer BlackShark V3?

The Razer BlackShark V2 gaming headset sits on a wooden table, leaning on a PlayStation DualShock 4 controller in front of a television with Persona 5 Royal on it.
The mic is detachable, if you’re playing something single-player, or don’t feel like talking.

Much of what we know and love about the gaming headset market today wouldn’t exist without Razer. The company’s iconic black and green aesthetic piqued people’s interest and allowed the product category to flourish. Similarly, the Razer Synapse app was among the first iterations of peripheral gaming companion apps and remains the most popular. The company’s enormous catalog of compatible headsets, laptops, keyboards, and accessories provides a streamlined and exciting gaming experience. Its most recent headset, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023), is the company’s most accomplished yet. However, the lack of a 3.5mm connection means wired listening and Xbox compatibility are missing. The BlackShark V2 fares better, working with virtually every gaming platform including PlayStation 4 or 5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.

So far, there has been no official announcement from Razer about its BlackShark V3 gaming headset. Additionally, the refreshment of the BlackShark V2 model with the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) may stifle hopes of a BlackShark V3 upgrade.

  • Razer BlackShark — September 2012
  • Razer BlackShark V2 — July 30, 2020

It was nearly eight years between the release of the original Razer BlackShark and the updated BlackShark V2. If we were to apply this same window to the Razer BlackShark V3, we would have to wait until 2028 for an upgrade. This seems unlikely, given the BlackShark V2 are some of the company’s most popular headphones. Razer has also ramped up production of late, releasing the BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) and BlackShark V2 HyperSpeed in 2023. If lucky, we could see the Razer BlackShark V3 come to market in the summer of 2024. However, we will have to wait for official word from Razer for concrete details.

Should you wait for the Razer BlackShark V3?

The original Razer BlackShark V2 is no longer available on the company’s website. However, it remains on sale from most major retailers including Amazon and Best Buy. At an affordable price, fans gain a comfortable build, excellent isolation, and cross-platform connectivity. Given there is no word on the Razer BlackShark V3, many will wonder whether it is worth waiting for a feature-rich upgrade.

The Razer BlackShark V2 ($79 at Amazon) retains the iconic, yet comparatively modest, black and green Razer branding. The headset is also smoother and less bulky than its immediate siblings. The BlackShark V2 benefits from a large tilt range so that people with wider heads can secure a comfortable fit. Under the hood, fans gain excellent isolation to keep incidental noise at bay. The headset also works with virtually every console and offers 3.5mm connectivity for wired listening. Fancier features, like surround sound and a custom EQ, are handled by the Razer Synapse 3 companion app. It also includes a suite of THX-tuned game profiles to tailor your sound profile to specific games. However, the Synapse 3 app only works with PC. Those running the headphones via an Apple Mac or console will miss some Razer-specific features. Nevertheless, few headphones offer as good sound quality and comfort in the sub-$100 category.

The most obvious alternative to the BlackShark V2 is the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) ($199.99 at Amazon.) This headset brings a list of updated features that elevate it above the rest. For example, the headset has much better microphone quality than its predecessor. Likewise, it now supports wireless connectivity and charges via USB-C instead of micro-USB. The BlackShark V2 Pro (2023) suppresses noise by up to 46dB and has good sound quality with ample bass for in-game sound effects. The headset lasts over twice as long as the BlackShark V2 Pro (2020) model, lasting over 55 hours on a single charge. Regarding connectivity, the headset supports Bluetooth 5.2 with the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. Unfortunately, there is no available analog connection, meaning the headset is incompatible with Xbox consoles.

Razer BlackShark V2Razer BlackShark V2
Razer BlackShark V2
Excellent surround sound • Great isolation • Comfortable
MSRP: $99.99
A headset built for long gaming sessions.
Razer Blackshark V2 is very comfortable, sounds great, with fantastic isolation and a lightweight-enough build for long gaming sessions.

For less money, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2020) ($119 at Amazon) is worth consideration. While less feature-rich than the newer model, this headset provides a 3.5mm jack for wired connectivity and Xbox gamers. Those wanting to ditch the wires can enjoy wireless connectivity, and the headset should last over 24 hours on a single charge. The BlackShark V2 Pro (2020) features significantly improved microphone quality better suited for deeper voices than its predecessor. The bass response is also accentuated, wearing a more desirable consumer frequency curve. However, the isolation provided is worse than that of the BlackShark V2. Similarly, the headset is heavier and the wireframe hinges feel loose in comparison. Unfortunately, USB-C charging isn’t supported.

Those looking for affordability and reliability may enjoy the slightly outdated HyperX Cloud Alpha ($69 at Amazon.) While the headset came to shelves over six years ago, it remains a community favorite. The build is made of robust metal and thick padding to endure consistent usage. You can even replace any damaged cables or microphones instead of forking out for a replacement headset. The headset connects to virtually any platform via a 3.5mm headphone jack. The HyperX Cloud Alpha may not have wireless connectivity or special features, but modern consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S have integrated surround sound that works with wired headsets. Isolation is excellent and the cans reproduce a flat frequency curve up to roughly 4kHz. Regarding plug-and-play gaming headsets, the HyperX Cloud Alpha remains one of the best.

FAQs

The Razer BlackShark V2 is an excellent gaming headset. However, Razer’s Kraken line also offers great features for the price. For example, the Razer Kraken V3 has a more bassy sound profile and clearer microphone quality. However, the lack of a 3.5mm jack input limits this headset to PC and PlayStation devices.

Yes, the Razer Kraken V3 Pro has 7.1 surround sound. However, this feature is only available via the Synapse 3 app for Windows 10 64-bit and above.

No, none of Razer’s BlackShark headsets include noise canceling features. However, some models, including the BlackShark V2, have excellent isolation.

No, the Razer Kraken V3 is not compatible with Xbox consoles, as Xbox does not currently support USB audio devices.

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