Razer Pirahna Review
I remember the early days of gaming where graphics were far more important than sound, and as time progressed, this thing called sound cards took the world by storm. It was pure joy listening to the sounds of lasers from my X-Wing clearing off yet another TIE Fighter, and 8-bit audio evolved to 16-bit, 32-bit and eventually 64-bit sound. Now we have high end sound cards that made the cards of yesteryear look and sound absolutely pathetic. The level of gaming immersion increased even further with the introduction of multiplayer gaming, and with that, headsets took off in a rather big way. After all, you wouldn’t want all and sundry to hear where you are at or what you’re doing in the game, do you? Headsets soon grew to include microphones for team mates to communicate with one another, just like how one would do in real life warfare. We’ll take a look at the Razer Pirahna today and see how it performed.
Razer, creator of high-end gaming peripherals, have recently introduced its $79.99 Pirahna Gaming Headset. What you get inside is pretty much the same Razer propaganda that came along with the Razer Lachesis, including a driver CD, a certificate of authenticity, a couple of Razer logo stickers for you to tell all and sundry that this is the only gaming peripheral brand that you believe in, and a catalog of Razer products just in case you have extra money to splash. Good thing the manual came with a quick start guide, as the latter will probably be what most people will refer to before using the product instead of the manual.
The Razer Pirahna comes with a three meter cable, which ought to be long enough for just about any Tom, Dick and Harry. After all, you won’t be sitting THAT far away from your PC now, would you? Unless, of course, you’re one of those privileged few who have hooked up your gaming rig to a 108″ plasma TV. The end of the cable will be split into a trio of different wires, where one of them is used for USB connectivity while the other two 1/8″ jacks are meant for audio in and out, respectively. The USB connection is there for a novelty purpose – it sends power to light up the Razer logos located on the sides of the headphones in addition to providing inline volume control. I like the soothing blue color that makes it easy to identify who’s wearing a pair of gaming headset that means business. Another nice touch is the fact that all other newer Razer products also glow, making you the complete gamer – from the outside, at least, never mind your skills (or the lack of it).
Wearing the Pirahna certainly has that cool factor, but the main question that I have when it comes to headphones would be comfort. Unfortunately, the Pirahna doesn’t really excel in this aspect as I found the ear cups to be rather small for my Dumbo-like ears – perhaps people with smaller ears will find it rather comfortable. Also, the cushions were designed to sit right on top of the ear rather than around it, so those wearing spectacles like yours truly will find that the glasses’ arms are being pressured to the skull’s side all the time, leaving me with a sore head after extended hours of gaming. There is also very little room for adjustment (up to 2cm in each ear cup), so you might take that into consideration before you make a purchase.
About the comfort level, I would say that headphones are extremely subjective, so the principle of different strokes for different folks apply here.
The Pirahna ain’t too shabby when it comes to audio performance though, as it works pretty good with a variety of sources. I myself am a trance person, so having Paul van Dyk as well as Paul Oakenfold stream through the Pirahna was a joy when I’m not gaming. During bouts of Counter Strike, every bullet shot was heard clearly and loudly, making this perfect for FPS games. Better wear contacts if you want to wear this for long periods of time though, unless you want to end up with raw ears at the end of a marathon gaming session.
Communicating via the microphone is pretty painless, with a rubber partition located at the middle of the microphone stalk being an insurance against you bending it the wrong way to snap $79.99 off by accident. Being uni-directional, it was just as sensitive as it needed to be although some tweaking needed to be made before it is optimized for gaming purposes. Good thing I don’t have to shout into the microphone during frantic gameplay, which is always a good point in my book.
Is it worth forking out $79.99 for this? Purists might give a resounding “Aye!”, but unless you’re in the league of Fatal1ty, I don’t think this is an essential peripheral to own. It would be nice to wear one of these each time you fire up a game of Counter Strike, of course, but at the end of the day your mouse and gaming skills will matter much more than how much clearer you hear your opponent’s footsteps in an FPS. Well, at least it functions as an extremely cool IM headset to chat with your friends.
Check out the list of features and specifications of the Razer Pirahna here :-
- True-to-life audio quality with superior clarity and bass
- Adjustable, noise-filtering microphone for clearer in-game communication
- Comfortable, ergonomic and adjustable earphones suitable for prolonged use.
- In-line remote control with convenient volume and microphone muting adjustments
- Single-sided cable for hassle-free usage
- Durable braided fiber cable protection
- Internet telephony compatible
- Compatible with most major operating systems
- Usable with CD, DVD and digital audio players (via 3.5mm minijack)
- Freq. response: 18 – 22,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- SPL (@ 1 kHz, 1 Vrms): 114 dB
- Cable: 3.0 meters
- Freq. response: 80 – 15,000 Hz
- Sensitivity (@ 1 kHz, 1V/Pa): -38 dB
- Impedance: ~2 kOhms
- Pick-up pattern: Uni-directional