Razer Kraken Pro Analog Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today we're looking at another gaming headset from Razer; the Razer Kraken Pro Analog Gaming Headset.

I think the main selling point of this headset is the universal compatibility. It is marketed as compatible with Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac! 

For the majority of this review, I have the Razer Kraken Pro connected directly to my MacBook Pro with the input gain set at 10%. In my sound preferences, I checked the meter, and I was not clipping, however, you will hear that there is an exorbitant amount of clipping. I tried dropping my gain all the way down to 1% and I was still encountering a clipped sound signal even though the meter was showing sound levels no greater than 50%. 

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back between $50 & $80 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Headset (1.3m TRRS Cable Permanently Attached)
  2. TRRS Splitter
  3. Documentation

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Drivers: 40mm
  2. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  3. Impedance: 32-Ohms

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Uni-directional
  2. Frequency Response: 100Hz - 10kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is nothing spectacular. The majority of the construction is plastic, but it does feel like relatively high quality plastic when compared to a $20 headset. The headphones do offer a nice fit; providing a decent amount of give and just the right amount of pressure to ensure that they fit the majority of people's heads. The ear cups are very soft and comfortable. While the headband does not offer too much padding, it did not become uncomfortable at any point of my testing. The microphone articulates which is something that is important in a gaming headset, and it also retracts when not in use. The 1.3m cable is standard rubber, in the middle you have a control panel to adjust headphone volume and mute the microphone, and the cable terminates into a single 3.5mm TRRS jack.

The headphones offer a full frequency response ranging from 20Hz - 20kHz. The 40mm drivers push a lot of the lower frequencies which seem to drown out a lot of the higher end. However, the audio does not sound muddy. If you are a big fan of bass-heavy headphones, then this may be a good option for a gaming headset. If you're looking for an even sounding, flat frequency response set of headphones, this is not going to be for you.

The microphone, simply put, is not good. It has a harsh tone to it which almost hurts your ears. On the mac it was clipping no matter what gain I set it at. All around, it's just not a usable microphone for most applications. If you are looking to podcast, do voice overs, or do video game commentaries with this headset, look some where else. BUT, if you are going to be using it exclusively for online gaming, this mic may be perfect for that. Due to the harsh tone, it will allow your voice to cut through the games audio and ensure you're not lost in the mix.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Mic Articulates / Retracts
  • Heavy bass without sounding muddy
  • Microphone cuts through game sound due to harsh tone

Cons

  • Bad sounding microphone for any professional application
  • Bass overpowers higher frequencies
  • Headphone volume rocker is sensitive, and easy to accidentally hit

Conclusion

Overall, I can only recommend this for a single use case: Online Gaming. That's what it was designed for, and that's where this headset will live. It has good sounding headphones (if you like bass), and the microphone will cut through the game sound to ensure you're heard. On the other hand, if you want to use the microphone for Skype calls, voice overs, commentary, podcasts, etc, this headset will not cut it and you need to continue searching.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2kfOS0M
UK: http://amzn.to/2klnAbN

Blue Yeti Review / Test

This is hands down the most requested microphone I have tested to date. I probably have over 100 requests to test this mic out. So without further ado, I am testing out the Blue Yeti Microphone.

What really sets this microphone apart from other microphones is the fact that it has three microphone capsules that allow it to provide 4 different polar patterns to choose from. This really helps fine tune the mic to fit the exact situation you are recording in. If you are interested in this mic it will cost you about $100 depending on when you buy it and what color you get.

What's In the Box 

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Stand
  3. USB Cable
  4. Documentation

Performance / Features

The build quality on this microphone is superb. It is an all metal body, and a nice metal microphone stand that has some good weight to it. The mute button and polar pattern select knob are both sturdy and work well. The Headphone Volume & Microphone Gain knob do feel a little wobbly and loose, so I would recommend being careful with these knobs. 

On this bottom of this microphone you will find a 5/8" microphone stand mount, the USB plug, and a 3.5mm Headphone Output. On the front of the microphone you have a microphone mute button, and a headphone volume knob. On the back of the mic you have the microphone gain control and lastly the polar pattern selector.

The frequency response that this microphone is capable of is 20Hz to 20kHz, but the response is different for each polar pattern used. I will list the 4 polar patterns as well as the frequency responses from recordinghacks.com

  1. Omnidirectional: 180 - 20,000 Hz
  2. Cardioid: 150 - 15,000 Hz
  3. Bidirectional: 100 - 15,000 Hz
  4. Stereo: 80 - 15,000 Hz

Each polar pattern functions exactly as you expect.

Pros

  • Great Sound Quality
  • Sturdy Build
  • Versatile (Can fit almost any need you have)
  • Gain Knob on Microphone!!!
  • Plug & Play

Cons

  • Gain & Volume Knobs are Loose
  • USB Microphone

Conclusion

I have been speaking out against USB microphones since I started making these reviews. I started to get turned around when I tested a samson microphone. Now I think I have come completely around, and realized that there are some really good USB microphones out there.

I would HIGHLY recommend this microphone to any starters. It sounds great, it is plug and play, it is easy to use, and you can make it fit any scenario that you are in. You can record interviews, music, voiceovers, orchestras. Anything! It's awesome, and if you have a $100 budget and don't plan on using outboard gear with an XLR microphone, this may be one of your best options.

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SjZxo7
Pop Filter: http://amzn.to/1OQQqWm

Can Phantom Power Improve Your Cheap Mics Audio?

This is my third video of the week because people keep asking good questions, and I can't wait to answer them. Over the past few weeks, I have received countless comments asking if adding a phantom power supply to your cheap mic setup can improve your microphones audio. To put it simply, yes and no. Let's look more at this.

The Test

For this test, I ran the Excelvan BM-700 directly into the Sabrent USB Audio Adapter as well as the Gino Stereo USB Audio Adapter for a base quality test. Then as a comparison, I ran the microphone into the Neewer Phantom Power Supply, and then ran the output from the phantom power supply into each adapter. I include comparisons of me talking, and then samples of the background noise. 

Results

The initial audio from the Sabrent Adapter was pretty good. My microphone input gain was set at 7% on my computer and there was very little background noise. When I added the phantom power supply to this set up, I was able to drop my input gain from 7% down to 4%. You can hear a slight bump in clarity and high end once phantom power is added, but you also hear a slight increase in background noise (a new hiss).

The first test with the Gino Stereo USB Adapter is horrible. The audio sounded digital, quiet, and I had to set my microphone input gain to 72% which yielded a ridiculous amount of background noise. Once I added the phantom power supply, the audio for this adapter improved considerably! The sound was clearer, crisper, and less digital sounding. We were able to drop the input gain from 72% down to 35% and this led to a significant decrease in background noise. 

Conclusion

If you have a Sabrent audio adapter, or an audio adapter that gives you plenty of gain, and you don't have much background noise, I do not think that it's justifiable to purchase a $20 power supply. On the other hand, if you have a cheap piece of crap USB adapter that forces you to crank your input gain, causing ridiculous background noise, the phantom power does seem to improve that.

However, keep in mind that regardless of what accessories you get, you are running a microphone into a cheap USB Adapter. Your audio quality will always be limited by this. The pre amps in these USB Sound Cards are nothing special, and quite frankly, kind of suck. If you really want to improve your audio, I recommend looking into an audio interface that was designed to record microphones. An audio interface that has real preamps in it. But if that option is out of your price range, this solution seems to work just fine.

Neewer Phantom Power Supply: http://amzn.to/1llLK3a
Sabrent USB Audio Adapter: http://amzn.to/1llLGR6
Gino USB Audio Adapter: http://amzn.to/1IkwCIQ
BM-700: http://amzn.to/1InMPgb

 

Samson Meteor USB Mic Review / Test

Today I tested out my most requested mic to date, the Samson Meteor USB Microphone.  This mic can cost from $50-$70 on amazon depending on the finish you get. I went with chrome because cosmetics don't matter and it was the cheapest. Now let's look more at this device.

What's In the Box

The packaging is nice, unlike most microphones I get, so it already stands out. The contents are very straight forward. You get the Microphone, USB Cable, Users Manual, and Carrying Pouch (I forgot to mention this in the video).

 

Performance / Features

The construction of this thing is awesome. All metal. Hefty. Sturdy feeling. I love it. There are two ports on this mic, the USB port (to hook up the mic to your computer), and a headphone jack (to plug in headphones, for 0 latency monitoring and computer playback).

On the front of the microphone there is a knob which controls the headphone volume. In the center of that is a button that can be used to mute the microphone. This would be useful if you are using this microphone for live streaming a game, or chatting on skype.

 

Pros

  • Sturdy Construction & Portable
  • Good Sound Quality
  • Headphone Jack on Microphone
  • Built in Stand / Compatible with Microphone Stand

Cons

  • No microphone gain control on microphone
  • Does not isolate sound that well
  • It's a USB Microphone (i.e. cannot use with different preamps to get different tones / or run through mixer to process sound prior to being recorded).

Conclusion

Overall, I think this is a pretty good little microphone. The samson line of mics seems to be created for portability and durability and the two that I have tested out so far (Samson GO & Samson Meteor) excel in those two categories. The sound on both of them is slightly lacking and won't provide the highest quality audio, but for a podcast, meeting, or class, this microphone will work great. If you are interested, I have included a link to the microphone down below.

If you have any questions about the microphone, leave them in the comments down below or on youtube and I will get back to you ASAP. Thanks for watching & reading. 

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/20Iu7LR

Floureon BM-100FX Condenser Microphone Review / Test

Today I tested out the Floureon BM-100FX and it is ridiculous. It will run you about $32 on amazon, and it has built in effects. When I say built-in effects, I mean built in EFFECT. One effect. Lets look at this some more.

What's In the Box

This microphone came in the same box as pretty much every other mass produced chinese microphone that I have purchased. Inside you will get the Microphone, Pop Filter, Mic Stand, Mic Clip, Microphone Cable, & Specifications Sheet.

The mic stand feels very cheap and I don't think it will last very long, and the mic clip can barely fit the microphone. If you have some extra money after purchasing the microphone, I would definitely recommend picking up a different mic stand and shock mount

Performance / Features

The frequency response on this mic is 30Hz - 20KHz which is pretty comparable to other microphones in the same price range.

The polar pattern is 180-degrees. In front of the mic you will get good sound and behind the microphone you will only get low-mid frequencies being picked up. This is good if you are recording in a loud room or if you are recording while you are typing on a keyboard. (Just make sure to place anything you don't want to be heard, behind the microphone).

As I mentioned the BM-100x also has an onboard effect (echo). This allows you to add a delay effect to your audio. Regardless of how cool the idea is, I don't see any practical applications of this feature.

Lastly, the cable is XLR to 3.5mm/USB. This allows you to plug into your computers microphone input (which records the audio) and the USB port (which provides power to the microphone).

Pros

  • The microphone cable has USB jack to provide power to microphone
  • There is a microphone gain knob on the microphone
  • 180-degree polar pattern (it does not pick up noise all the way around the microphone)

Cons

  • The cable is XLR to 3.5mm/USB, this is too specialized of a cable, and will make it difficult to replace.
  • The knobs on the microphone feel flimsy.
  • The effect does not provide enough control
  • It is only one effect that I don't think has any practical applications
  • The microphone stand is cheap / Mic Clip hardly fits microphone
  • Slightly more expensive than similar sounding microphones that do not have effect

Conclusion

Overall, I think this mic falls short. It has some cool features that I think can be applied to microphones in the future more successfully, but they don't succeed here. The echo does not allow for enough control to make it a useful effect, the cable is too specialized, and the accessories feel like an afterthought. However, if you are interested, I have included a link to the microphone down below.

If you have any questions about the microphone, leave them in the comments down below or on youtube and I will get back to you ASAP. Thanks for watching & reading. 

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Mu2Ods