Today Razer is releasing two new gaming headsets aimed directly at competitive gamers. The BlackShark V2 and BlackShark V2 X feature a similar design, but the BlackShark V2 also holds an ace up its sleeve with the Razer USB Sound Card. With their new TriForce drivers, Hyperclear microphone, and THX Spatial Audio on the BlackShark V2, there is a lot for competitive and casual gamers to love. Head below to watch the video and find out more.
From a design standpoint, the two appear very similar. With a simple 3.5mm wired connection on both of the headsets, they’ll work for any device from Xbox One to PC to Nintendo Switch. The Hyperclear microphone on both of the headsets sounds excellent and is removable on the V2. They both have the same simple helicopter headset inspired design with large earcups and a wide headband. The earcups don’t rotate to lay flat, further showing off their simple design.
The entry-level BlackShark V2 X comes in at $59.99, while the BlackShark V2 is priced at $99.99. What sets the two apart, though, besides the $40 price difference, is that the V2 comes with Razer’s USB sound card, which boasts the THX Spatial Audio mode and gains a lot of powerful customization via Synapse 3.
50mm TriForce Drivers
With both of these headphones, Razer is debuting their new patented TriForce 50mm drivers that split the drivers into three parts for individual tuning of the highs, mids, and lows. On the BlackShark V2, the drivers are coated in titanium for more rigidity.
This interesting bit of technology does make the BlackShark V2 and X sound pretty good. They hit down low, especially when you boost the low end in the EQ settings, and are plenty clear on the high end. The 12-28k Hz frequency response makes dialing in the sound easy and leaves plenty of room for tweaking the sound.
Within Synapse, there are tons of changes you can make to the EQ with ten sliders ranging from 31 – 16k Hz and adjustments of +/- 12dB. There are also bass boost, sound normalization, and voice clarity modes to get the headset sounding how you want.
Razer BlackShark V2 & X: Video
The BlackShark V2 headphones are simple but very comfortable. There is a large soft headband, but even better are the soft cloth-covered earcups. I found them to be very comfortable for extended play sessions.
Interestingly, V2 X doesn’t share the same earcups and isn’t as comfortable. They appear to have some sort of leatherette material on the earcups and headband, which is typically a more premium finish, but it falls short in comparison to the V2. Maybe they would break in overtime, but out of the box, they are stiffer and didn’t feel as comfortable on my ears.
How do they sound?
As I briefly talked about in the driver section, the BlackShark V2 and X are easily tweaked to many different scenarios. If you’re watching a movie or playing a narrative game, it’s easy to pump up the low end and then enable a different sound mode when you’re ready to get sweaty in PUBG, Valorant, or whatever game you’re playing, and maximize the sound for hearing critical details.
I did try seeing how much bass I could get out of the headphones by turning on bass boost and pumping up the low frequencies in the low end, and it was pretty easy to get some distortion. But that was an absurd amount of bass that I don’t think anyone would want in their headset.
I’m typically not a fan of virtual surround sound and spatial audio setups, but this one is different. Razer, with THX, have worked quite extensively to create sound modes for better audio cues when gaming and to differentiate sounds to easily pick out directions in crucial situations. There is a toggle to enable or disable spatial audio within Synapse 3, and then there are auto or manual modes that can be changed for specific games and applications.
Surprisingly, I found myself using the THX Spatial Audio mode almost exclusively when testing on Escape from Tarkov. While Razer doesn’t yet have a specific profile for this game yet, just the Spacial Audio mode made it easier to pick out directions of footsteps, reloads, gunshots and impacts.
One other huge component that Razer is releasing with the BlackShark V2 and USB Sound Card is THX profiles for specific games. Razer and THX have worked with game developers to create sound profiles that enhance the audio for specific games even more. While the profiles are launching a week later, we did get to take a pre-release peek at how those will work. Currently, they support around 18 titles like Valorant, CS:GO and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but more titles are planned in the future as well.
I haven’t been able to spend much time with Profiles settings yet on the BlackShark V2, but the demos that Razer has played of Apex Legends sound pretty incredible. They help to separate sounds more and accentuate frequencies to hear footsteps, gunshots, and callouts better.
One feature I’m impressed with is the Hyperclear microphone on the BlackShark V2 headsets. On the V2, the mic is removable and has a ton of options for how it performs within Razer’s Synapse. But, audio comes through clear and doesn’t sound as thin and lifeless, and most gaming headset microphones do. And with the V2 and Synapse 3, there is a huge suite of tweaks you can make to your microphone to get it to sound how you want.
Check out the video to hear all of these changes, but the highlights are mic sensitivity, EQ, and microphone sidetone.
And, if you want to take your headset microphone to the next level or tweak a current mic, be sure to check out my tutorial on making a gaming headset microphone sound better.
Overall, I think Razer has hit the nail right on the head with the BlackShark V2. It’s simple design matched with impressively vast feature set make it a killer headset for competitive gaming. And, Razer and THX have said they plan on expanding upon the current list of profiles for more titles to make the most out of the Blackshark V2. While the BlackShark V2 X is a great entry point, the customization and THX Spatial Audio with the BlackShark V2 are well worth the $100 price point, in my opinion.
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