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

Razer Seiren Pro Elite USB Condenser Microphone Review / Test

Today I am testing out an absolute beast of a microphone. The Razer Seiren Pro Elite.

And if you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back approximately $225 on Amazon.

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Stand
  3. USB Cable
  4. 5-Pin to Dual 3-Pin XLR Splitter
  5. 3.5mm Extension Cable
  6. Documenation
  7. 1-Year Warranty

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is excellent. It has an all metal stand. Metal body. Metal grill. There are a few scattered pieces of plastic in the build, but nothing that raises concerns. Basically, everything feels well built. 

Front: The front has an LED display that shows mic gain, headphone gain, and current polar pattern. Directly below that is the headphone volume control and a microphone mute button.

Back: There are two dials on the back. The top dial is the polar pattern selector that allows you to switch between all 4 different polar patterns. The bottom dial controls the microphone gain.

Bottom: The bottom has the 5-pin XLR Jack, Microphone Mount, USB Port, Headphone Port, and a high-pass filter button which allows you to cut troublesome low frequencies.

The frequency response alters with each polar pattern, but the documentation lists that it the microphone is capable of 20Hz - 20kHz performance. It seemed to accurately represent the instruments being tested on it, and sounded very nice on the voice.

The polar patterns available on this microphone are as follows.

  • Stereo (generates stereo L-R signal)
  • Cardioid
  • Omnidirectional
  • Bidirectional

Each polar pattern serves it's own purpose and performs relatively well. I think that this microphone would hold it's own if it were placed against ~$100 USB microphones with each polar pattern. Basically, the performance is not stellar, but it is everything that most entry level folks will need.

I should also note a few other things.

  • Sample Rate: 192kHz
  • Bit Rate: 24-bit
  • Both 3-Pin XLR's require Phantom Power to Work

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • ULTRA LOW NOISE FLOOR
  • Versatile polar patterns
  • Great frequency response

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Bulky

Conclusion

Overall, the microphone sounds great. Each polar pattern works well, and the overall tone is accurate and nice sounding. I do think that this microphone is for a very specific group of people though, and it is surprisingly, not gamers.

For gamers, this microphone will be overkill. Most gamers use a cardioid polar pattern and that's it. You can get an ATR-2100 for $60 and be perfectly fine. You will most likely not use any of the other settings. I also don't think that this microphone is for professional musicians. 

I think the people who will benefit most from this mic are amateur musicians, and youtube musicians. It will allow you a LOT of microphone versatility for a relatively low cost. It may seem expensive, but if you think about the cost of getting 4 decent microphones to match this microphone's performance, it suddenly seems like a much more reasonable price.

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. 

Razer Seiren: http://amzn.to/1SbI4gb
Razer Seiren Pro: http://amzn.to/1Uef1fM

 

Pyle PDMIC58 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

After testing out the PDMIC78, I couldn't wait to test out this microphone, the PYLE PDMIC58. This mic is nothing more than Pyle's response to the Shure SM58; a Dynamic XLR microphone that feels sturdy. The main difference between this and the Shure SM58 is the price. This microphone is $13, and the Shure is $100+. So, keep that in mind throughout this review.

It's also important to know that this is a dynamic microphone, so it shouldn't require any voltage to function, however I am plugging it into my Sabrent USB Adapter. 

What's In the Box 

  1. Dynamic Microphone
  2. 15-foot XLR to 1/4" Microphone Cable
  3. Warranty / Spec Sheet

Performance / Features

The build quality on this microphone feels pretty good and it feels very similar to the Shure SM58. It is an all metal body and a metal grill just like the SM58, however, it is about half the weight. This means that either their are fewer components inside, the body is not all metal, or the metal is a lighter metal. I can't fault Pyle for the minor differences in build quality due to the mic being ~$90 cheaper. 

The frequency response is 50Hz - 15kHz which is actually the same as the Shure. They did not include a diagram showing the actual frequency response of the microphone but when comparing the audio it seems like there are a lot more highs on the Pyle. All around it performed well in this regards. (in the video, the electric guitar example provides the most notable difference between the microphones EQ)

The impedance of this microphone is 600-Ohms compared to the 300-Ohms of the Shure. Basically what this means is that the Pyle will not perform as well if it is running through a long cable; it will lose some of the high frequencies. This isn't the biggest deal if you are just using the microphone in a home studio, but once you start throwing long cables on this microphone, you may start to notice a bigger impact.

The microphone is also uni-directional. That means that it only picks up audio directly in front of the microphone. As soon as you get off axis, the sound decreases quite a bit. That's why this kind of microphone is used in concert settings. It isolates the sound source really well, while eliminating surrounding noise.

Pros

  • SUPER CHEAP!!!
  • Good Sound Quality
  • Good Build Quality
  • Good at Isolating Sound

Cons

  • Bad with Plosives (need to Invest in pop filter)
  • Poor Documentation

Conclusion

All around this mic sounds great for the price. It's $13 and it performed pretty closely to the $100 microphone in a controlled setting. The real test would be to take this thing out back and beat the hell out of it because that's what's amazing about the Shure SM58; it's indestructible. I'm thinking that this microphone won't survive as much as the SM58, but it's a great starter for the price.

I think that the folks that would really benefit from this mic would be beginning podcasters. This microphone (with a ball pop filter on top) will sound great for a solo podcast, but you can also have multiple people in the same room, each with their own microphone, and you will have minimal bleed between the microphone.

For gamers, I'm not sure if this is the best microphone since you will need to stay right on top of the microphone to get the best audio, but it will be great at cancelling out the background noise. You will need to decide if you're willing to buy a boom arm and keep the mic close to your mouth the entire time your gaming. If you're willing to do that, this is a great mic.

For music, I think this did really well with the electric guitar and voice, but for an acoustic instrument, I think you'd be better off with a condenser microphone to pick up more of the ambience of the instrument. 

Overall, I'm really impressed with this microphone and I recommend this to most people. 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. 

Pyle PDMIC58: http://amzn.to/1mx01eM
Ball Pop Filter: http://amzn.to/1JUlWkL

Pyle-Pro PDMIC78 Review / Test

I'm starting to think that I'm making too many reviews...but that's irrelevant. Today I'm testing out the Pyle-Pro PDMIC78. This is a direct rip off of the Shure SM57 which is one of the most popular mics on the market because it so durable and reliable. So this mic has some pretty high standards to live up to, and later in the video we do a short comparison of the two microphones. And the largest selling point of this microphone is the price...it's only $10 right now on Amazon.

What's In the Box 

  1. Dynamic Microphone
  2. 15-foot XLR to 1/4" Microphone Cable
  3. Warranty / Spec Sheet

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels pretty good and seems comparable to the Shure SM57. However, I'm assuming that the internal components are of lesser quality, and that's how they are able to sell it for $10 instead of the $100 that the Shure SM57 costs. This means that if you are rough with this mic, it will crap out before the shure, and you will likely have to replace it more. But if you're just using it recreationally at home and you treat it with care, it will hopefully have a nice long life.

The frequency response on this is not listed, but the unreliable graph on the specs sheet looks like it's approximately 30Hz - 10kHz. But that seems a bit too narrow, so I'm going to say that I don't know the frequency response (Because it wasn't provided). 

The polar pattern is fairly narrow. It isolates audio really well and picks up mainly what's right in front of it. That's what I was hoping for, and that's why this style mic is so popular as a live instrument mic. It doesn't pick up all the instruments that are playing around it. It just picks up what you want it to pick up.

This means that it did really well at isolating my voice from the background noise going around. However, as I backed away from the mic, the volume dropped dramatically. So you will need to make sure the mic stays close to the sound source. I'm sure you could also tell that the pops on this mic are pretty bad. That's because this is not really a vocal mic, it's more of an instrument mic. If you do use this for voice, PLEASE get a pop filter.

Pros

  • SUPER CHEAP!!!
  • Good Sound Quality
  • Good Build Quality
  • Good at Isolating Sound

Cons

  • Bad with Plosives (need to Invest in pop filter)
  • Poor Documentation

Conclusion

I had to struggle to find anything bad about this microphone. It performs really well, and it seems to be built nicely. I do have my reservations about the internal components, but that is just my paranoia caused by the $10 price tag. I would absolutely recommend this microphone to anyone looking for a super cheap microphone to record instruments. It can also be used for vocals, but you will need to invest in a pop filter because this mic does not do well with Plosives. 

Overall, I'm really impressed with this microphone and I cannot wait to test out another Pyle-Pro mic to see if it matches this mics quality. 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/1RLR4e1
Pop Filter: http://amzn.to/1OQQqWm

Samson C01U Pro USB Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today I tested out another USB Microphone. The difference between this microphone and all other USB mics, I have tested out so far? I don't hate this one. The mic I'm talking about is the Samson C01U Pro Usb Condenser Mic, and it can be purchased on amazon for about $75.

What's In the Box

You get almost everything you need to get started in this box. 

  1. Super Cardioid USB Condenser Microphone
  2. Plastic Microphone Mount
  3. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  4. Plastic Desktop Tripod
  5. USB Cable
  6. User Manual

I also want to let you know that this is the most well put together package I have received. The manual that comes with it is thorough and comes in more than English & Chinese, and the specifications inside are easy to understand and thorough. 

Performance / Features

The frequency response of this microphone is 20Hz to 18kHz. We lose a little bit of the presence/brilliance in the 19 and 20 kHz range, but in this price range, that is to be expected. The rest of the frequencies sound great, and well balanced. 

The polar pattern is Super Cardioid which means it records the majority of the audio from directly in front of the microphone, but it also picks up a small amount from the opposite side as well. The back of the microphone, has a significantly different frequency response where we see the majority of frequencies between 2kHz - 15kHz. Therefore, you cannot have multiple people talking into both sides. 

Due to the super cardioid pattern of the microphone, the noise cancelation on this microphone is superb. When I do my typing/clicking test, you can hardly hear anything. Also, as I get farther away from the microphone, my voice drops significantly. This is excellent if you will be in a noisy room, or are worried about excess background noise. If you are still unhappy with the noise cancellation, there is a card in the user manual that provides a link to download additional noise canceling software. 

All the instruments, sounded perfectly fine being recorded through this microphone. With better instruments, newer strings, better performances, and better microphone placement, I am positive that you would be able to get a much better sound. 

Pros

  • Great Noise Cancellation
  • 0-Latency Headphone Port on Microphone
  • Nice Sound Quality
  • Wide Frequency Response
  • Sturdy Build Quality

Cons

  • No Gain Control on Microphone
  • USB Microphone (Limits Ability to Upgrade)

Conclusion

I don't want to speak before I test out some more USB microphones, but this mic may be the turning point in my opinion of USB microphones. This thing is great. I struggled to come up with any cons for this microphone in this price range. It performed well in most situations, recording music, recording voice, noise cancellation.

In conclusion, this would be a great mic for gamers, or solo podcasters. It will set you back approximately $75, and with the neewer boom arm, and dragon pad pop filter, your cost will be around $100. Not a bad cost for audio quality of this level. 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. 

Samson C01U: http://amzn.to/1OIU1dC
Microphone Boom Arm: http://amzn.to/1OIU5da
Nylon Pop Filter: http://amzn.to/1NcwUDz

What's In Your Bag: Santa Fe Comic Con Edition

I just got back from Covering Santa Fe Comic Con, and I figured I would do a video of "What's in Your Bag?". I will link each item and let you know how it functioned in the convention setting.

  • Timbuk2 TSA Messenger Bag - This bag has yet to let me down once. Highly recommend it.
  • Zojirushi Water Bottle - Another item that has yet to let me down. It is a bit expensive but it will keep you hydrated and not ruin your computer/camera gear. 
  • Field Notes - Even if you are not going to a con, you need to have one of these in your pocket. You never know when you need to take notes, or write a to-do list, or have a brilliant Idea. I always have one in my back pocket.
  • Fisher Space Pen - This is my favorite pen and it always goes with me. Super small and reliable. And this is a custom version to commemorate hitting 100 subs on my youtube channel.
  • Google Acer Chromebook - I am a big fan of this laptop, and I use it more than my Macbook Pro, however, you do not need to take a computer to a convention unless you know you're going to be doing writing throughout the day. This was unnecessary. 
  • Neewer Lav Mic - These things cost about $7, and you get three of them for that cost. HOWEVER, this mic shorted out and yielded almost all my footage from the convention useless. If you are going to get these, be careful, and make sure to check the recordings and make sure they are working before recording anything important.
  • Zoom H1 - I love Zoom's recorders and this is no exception. I got so much use out of this thing. I set it on autogain, tossed it on the table at panels and hit record. It worked like a charm and it's small and portable. One of the most useful things I brought with me.
  • Emergency Battery - Lucky for me, I did not have to use this. But, I always keep it in my bag with an extra iPhone cable. 
  • Go Pro Hero 3 - This is another one of those devices that you just can't go wrong with. I love this thing and I filmed almost all my footage with this thing, however, the lav mic caused all of it to be useless. Not the GoPro's fault though. I do with there was a way to monitor microphone levels though.
  • Samsung NX1000 - This camera worked alright. In lowlight, it struggled, and I started to get some noise when I was in low ISO's, so I'm not sure if this is a great option for conventions. I didn't use the kit lens either. I did take a lot of photos, but many of them didn't turn out well. I blame my amateur photography skills for that, and not the camera.
  • Samsung NX 16mm LensThis is a great lens, but just not for my needs. This is a lens designed for beautiful landscapes, and I'm sure it can kick butt at those. I will have to test that out and get back to you. 
  • Samsung NX 45mm Lens - This lens is the sex. That's what the kids are saying, right? Well I love this lens. It is beautiful, provides great DOF, and a big aperture and just all around great! I took the majority of my photos with this lens, and some of them look spectacular. When there was enough light, the photos turned out great. I have included an image taken with this camera, above.