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Razer Kraken V3
October 21, 2021
As Razer keeps trying to make newer and better gaming headsets, the Razer Kraken V3 tries to strike the balance between barely breaking the $100 USD mark and having a variety of features to customize your gaming experience. It has all the essentials of a good gaming headset, with a comfortable design, good sound quality, and no-longer-gimmicky surround sound features. You do, however, get THX 7.1 Spatial Audio that we’ve seen from similar headsets.
Is the Kraken V3 worth a try?
Editor’s note: this Razer Kraken V3 review was updated on May 23, 2022, to include the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless as an alternative, add an FAQ section, and add in-line FAQs. We also updated the microphone score based on results from our reader poll.
What is the Razer Kraken V3 like?
The headset is a very comfortable and easy-to-use gaming headset. The memory foam ear cups rest gently on my head, even with glasses on. The plush headband is also comfortable, and never causes any pressure or discomfort. The leatherette fabric on the headband feels fairly premium too. The Kraken V3 has some heft to it, and it tends to slide a little when I lean forward. Additionally, the ear cups don’t move left and right, so if they don’t fit around your ear properly, you won’t be able to adjust that, which can affect sound isolation (more on that later).
The left headphone has a mute button and volume slider on the back, and both are easy to use. The slider is especially nice since it has a bit of resistance, preventing any volume accidents from happening. I never accidentally move the slider while repositioning the headset, and it’s easy to feel because the wheel has little ridges. The mic also attaches to the left ear cup, and detaches if you don’t need to use it or if you prefer a dedicated gaming mic.
What can the Razer Synapse software do?
Razer Synapse 3 is a Windows app where you can customize your headset, it’s not yet available on macOS. You can use Razer Chroma to change the color of each ear cup’s LED, so you can keep them a single color, cycle through the rainbow, or let it fade in and out of a color. Much like the LG XBOOM 360, the possibilities are almost endless.
You can also change the EQ and surround sound options through this software, adjusting where you see fit for your ideal experience. You need this to enable THX Spatial Audio here, which makes games a lot more immersive.
How is the Razer Kraken V3 for gaming?
The Razer Kraken V3 is really nice for gaming. The boosted bass response makes gunshots and blasts sound prominent but not overwhelming. I hear this in CS:GO where gunshots from powerful guns are the loudest element of the game but I can still hear things around me. Similarly, bomb explosions have just the right amount of boom. This makes for gameplay with lots of immersion.
When you enable THX Spatial Audio in Synapse, directional sounds are much more noticeable, and some rooms in certain maps even have a realistic echo quality to them. Specifically, THX Competitive mode makes all sounds more echoey, almost cinematic. THX Environmental mode, on the other hand, reproduces sounds more realistically because it tries to emulate how we experience sound in real life without a headset. It’s fine, though nearby sounds can sound muffled as if there’s a barrier between the headphones and my ears. Game mode amplifies voices, so that’s useful if you play multiplayer games and need to talk to teammates.
Despite having no special THX spatial audio options for Nintendo Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild environmental sounds come through clearly, and my sense of direction in the game is very good with this headset. Bear in mind, you can only use the Kraken V3 with the Switch when docked, or if you have a Switch Lite as I do, you can use a USB-C to USB-A dongle. With the dongle, I find that the headset doesn’t connect to my Switch unless I plug it into a computer first, make sure the headset’s LEDs are on, then plug it into my switch. It’s an annoying quirk, but the workaround isn’t the worst.
How does the Razer Kraken V3 connect?
The Kraken V3 is a wired USB gaming headset, which limits its utility. This is not a headset for people who want to do more than stationary gaming at their desks.
How well does the Razer Kraken V3 block out noise?
The isolation on the Razer Kraken V3 is a bit above average, but won’t touch the effectiveness of a noise cancelling gaming headset like the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid. Our isolation chart shows that lower frequencies come through the headset, so you’ll easily hear a loud truck outside your house, but it blocks out higher frequencies pretty well. Anything above 1kHz sounds one-quarter to one-sixteenth as it would without the headset on, though this requires a proper fit.
When I don’t have any music on, I can hear pretty much any regular household sounds like talking or cooking, but with music on at a reasonable volume, I can’t hear much unless it’s a loud sound like a phone dropping or yelling. It’s not enough to take you out of a game, but if the fire alarm goes off or someone is yelling for your attention, you will likely hear it when wearing the Kraken V3.
How does the Razer Kraken V3 sound?
The Razer Kraken V3 sounds pretty great. The frequency response chart shows that the headset’s bass frequencies are boosted compared to our house curve (pink), which is common for gaming headsets, and higher frequencies are a bit less pronounced than we prefer. All around, the headset has a pretty accurate sound, making both gaming and music enjoyable. By going into the Synapse software, you can change the EQ, and there’s even a bass boost option if you just need more oomph.
When listening to Paranoid Android by Radiohead, every instrument plays the part it should, a benefit of the consumer-friendly response. The headset’s bass boosting is enjoyable and does little to mask other parts of the track, from the higher frequency shakers and snare to the guitar strumming through the beginning of the song.
The bass emphasis the headset provides makes gaming a more immersive experience, with gunshots and blasts sounding prominent but not overwhelming.
When I listen to Vroom Vroom By Charli XCX, the bass boost sounds pleasant, if you’re into hyperpop type music. The exciting percussion and low-pitched synth come through as well as Charli’s vocals. The bass emphasis is obviously still there, but it doesn’t take anything away much the song, it just makes me want to bop my head to it that much more.
How is the Razer Kraken V3 microphone?
The microphone on this headset is surprisingly good. All speech is very clear, with no particular frequencies or sounds being masked. Background noise is audible through it, but it doesn’t mask speech at all. The mic on the Razer Kraken V3 is Razer’s Hyperclear Cardiod mic, which isolates your voice from in front of the mic and cancels some peripheral noise. This microphone will be all you need to come across clearly in Discord or in-game chat.
You can adjust mic settings in Synapse, toggling on or off ambient noise reduction, voice clarity, and voice normalization. You can also change the mic equalization with presets or by using sliders to get a specific sound from the mic.
Razer Kraken V3 microphone demo (Ideal):
Razer Kraken V3 microphone demo (Office):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Razer Kraken V3?
The Razer Kraken V3 is a solid option for a gaming headset if you only plan on using it for PC gaming. Its $99.99 USD price point makes it a pretty affordable option for a headset that has spatial sound capabilities and LEDs, as well as great sound and a good microphone. Perhaps the wired connection is a bit limiting but there are plenty of great wireless gaming headsets for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S for you to choose from.
What should you get instead of the Razer Kraken V3?
If you don’t have $100 to spend on a gaming headset but you still want the comfort and aesthetic of a Razer headset, the Razer Kraken X is a great option. It doesn’t have LEDs but it does have surround sound and controls on headset at half the price of the Kraken V3. If you have a bit more money but still don’t want to spend $100 USD, the Razer Kraken V3 X is a good hybrid between the Kraken V3 and the Kraken X, with 40mm drivers, LEDs, and surround sound. Want to kick it up a notch? Check out the Razer Kraken V3 HyperSense, which adds haptic feedback to your gaming experience. It’s like the Corsair HS60 Haptic, but flashier.
Those who want a wireless option for a similar price look into the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless. This pick has great sound and an RF dongle for low latency wireless gaming, although it doesn’t have surround sound. If you want an amazing wireless headset with the best battery life possible, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless has a genuinely mind-blowing battery life of about 327 hours. As an added bonus, it also sounds good, especially if you like bass.
Frequently asked questions about the Razer Kraken V3
You can remove and reattach the ear pads on this headset, but Razer doesn’t sell replacements.
Razer’s THX surround sound will only work plugged into a PC with Razer Synapse. So no, Razer’s surround sound will not work on other devices.