The Razer Kraken Pro V2 is a great example of a by-the-numbers gaming headset. With a built-in mic, and decently-boosted bass, and a small price tag it’ll cover your gaming needs pretty cheaply. However, the gaming headset space is an increasingly crowded one, with competitive and affordable options from companies like HyperX, SteelSeries, and of course Razer.
But does it cut the mustard?
Editor’s note: this Razer Kraken Pro V2 review was updated on March 11, 2021, to include a contents menu, expand the list of buying options, and add context to the sound quality section.
Who’s the Razer Kraken Pro V2 for?
The Razer Kraken Pro V2 is aimed at gamers who want a relatively cheap and simple solution for their audio needs. The headphones aren’t really meant for more than casual listening, nor is the mic meant for more than the average voice call, but anyone with 3.5mm gaming needs may want to give this a look.
What’s it like to use the Razer Kraken Pro V2?
The Razer Kraken Pro V2 is a pretty standard-looking Razer headset, with the rounded headphones, retractable mic, and foam-covered aluminum band typical of the Kraken line. However, unlike a lot of Razer products, there are no obnoxious LEDs or bright green highlights here. It’s actually one of the subtler headsets the company sells, but it raises a question: is it truly a gaming headset without an overabundance of RGB lighting?
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The adjustable band is flexible and feels sturdy. It’s not a suspension band, but the headset is light enough—and the band exerts so little pressure, that it’s plenty comfortable.
At the ends of the headband, there’s not much in the way of hinges. The metal ring that connects the headphones to the headband offers a very slight range motion, maybe 15 degrees. Instead, the headband extends to accommodate wider heads. If you’ve ever struggled to get headphone pads to rest flat on the sides of your head, this will take a little doing. It’s hardly a deal-breaking issue, but you might need to wear the headphones in a position that doesn’t quite feel natural—I had to wear them tilted further back on my head than normal.
The headphone cups are large, slightly ovalesque, and deep, with thick leatherette pads. They’re very comfortable, and made wearing the headset for long stretches very easy. However, bespectacled gamers may want to look for velour pads, as leatherette and glasses don’t make for all that great of a seal.
The Razer Kraken Pro V2 features an extendable mic, which hides in the left headphone. It’s flexible and easy to position. It’s not the best mic in the world (more on that in a bit), but I never had any issues with clarity or consistency.
Gaming with the Razer Kraken Pro V2
Gaming with the Razer Kraken Pro V2 is an extremely straightforward affair. There are no bells, whistles, or otherwise gaming-oriented doodads. This is a stereo headset, and connects via 3.5mm, so apps like Razer’s Synapse won’t recognize it. That means there’s no surround sound function, which might not be a big deal for you, depending on the kinds of games you like. If you’re really into Fortnite or Overwatch, having less accurate positional audio can leave you at a pretty noticeable disadvantage in heated firefights.
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If you play single player games, or games with more detached perspectives like League of Legends, you won’t really have much issue.
I used the Razer Kraken Pro V2 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Doom, and Overwatch. With Assassin’s Creed, I had no issue fully immersing myself in the experience of running around ancient Greece, and likely most character action game will work great. Overwatch has a menu option to simulate Dolby 7.1 surround sound on stereo headsets, much like Razer Synapse, and it worked very well with the Razer Kraken Pro V2.
Doom was a little less ideal. While it’s a single player game, being able to hear where every enemy and projectile is coming from is no less important, and that proved a little more difficult with these headphones.
In most cases, lacking surround sound won’t make too much of a difference. If you’re bad at Fortnite, it’s not the kind of thing that will make you better. Part of me doesn’t mind that the Kraken Pro V2 avoids the clunky software implementations that often accompany surround sound gaming headsets. However, if it’s something you’ve grown accustomed to, and you rely on it in games where situational awareness is paramount, the headset’s lack is something to bear in mind.
How does the Razer Kraken Pro V2 sound?
The Razer Kraken Pro V2 has pretty typical audio output for a gaming headset. As shown in this frequency response chart, the headphones slightly overemphasize some bass and mid range sounds, while under-emphasizing tones moving from mids to highs.
In music, this means things like prominent bass lines will sound louder than they should. It also means strings, and some vocal and cymbal sounds risk getting little drowned out. Listening to Remember Me by Tame Impala, the super distorted bass riff comes through loud and clear, but the guitar part is a little difficult to pick out.
You may notice that harmonic detail is difficult to pick out if you choose to listen to music through the Kraken V2 Pro.
In game, this sound profile makes a little more sense. Gaming headsets often boost bass output, usually advertised as a way to make explosions and other big game sounds that much more immersive. Whether or not that’s actually the case is up for debate—explosions are always going to be the loudest part of a game in a given moment, and de-emphasizing mid range sounds will just make noises like footsteps and character speech harder to hear.
However, this isn’t really the headset for the pro Fortnite player who absolutely needs to hear the direction of enemy footsteps and gulp sounds. A profile like this could be completely fine in all sorts of gaming situations where pinpoint accuracy isn’t as important.
The headset also offers pretty much bog-standard isolation for a gaming headset, though it struggles a little more with highs than many comparable options. These headphones will do just fine in a home setting, adequately blocking out enough sound that slight whirrs of appliances, or occasional traffic noises out a window.
This will work on anything with a 3.5mm headphone jack, but I wouldn’t recommend using it out of the house. The typical sounds of walking around a city, or working in a cafe, will come through loud and clear.
Does the Kraken Pro V2 have a good microphone?
The Razer Kraken Pro V2’s mic isn’t anywhere near podcast quality, but it’ll get the job done. I never ran into any issues with clarity in recording or on Discord calls. It favors the high end, boosting sounds over 300Hz, which is pretty typical for a mic built for voice calls. Most voices occupy this range, and subtler sibilant sounds (“F,” “S,” and “SH” sounds), which are important to making speech sound natural, sit at the higher end.
The mic also under-emphasizes bass, which isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but means people with particularly deep voices will sound a little distorted or tinny. My voice isn’t that deep, but you can hear a little of that here:
Should you buy the Razer Kraken Pro V2?
The Razer Kraken Pro V2 is a great example of a middle-of-the-road gaming headset. Nothing about it really stands out, but every part of it gets the job done without any fuss. If this was competing with expensive options like the Audeze Mobius or SteelSeries Arctis Pro, it wouldn’t really be worth considering.
This is an $80 headset, so the bar isn’t quite so high, but there’s still some stiff competition. If raw audio quality is really important, it might be worth spending an additional $20 for the HyperX Cloud Alpha. If surround sound is important to you and you’re a PC gamer, Razer’s recent Kraken X headset is probably worth a look. It’s got slightly more accurate sound and mic output, and it’s only $49.99.
Regardless, this is a comfortable gaming headset and if you’re in the market for something basic, you could do a whole lot worse.