Believe it or not, the quickest growing sport in the world involves very little physical activity. That‘s right, eSports has taken off in recent years, with tournaments now being multimillion dollar affairs with pimple-ridden kids getting huge pay-outs before they‘re able to drive (see, I‘m not jealous at all). That’s where the Razer Seiren comes in.
Webcasting and eSports commentary are therefore bigger and more important than ever before, and many companies want to get in on this gaming goldmine. To me, it only makes sense that a king of PC peripherals joined in very early.
WAIT, AUDIO OUT? I THOUGHT THIS IS A MICROPHONE?
The Razer Seiren is a big and bulky unit, but then again, why wouldn‘t it be? And as expected, the hardware on display is of top-notch quality. It‘s extremely sturdy and Razer aimed this product at streamers, hoping to appeal to the YouTube and Twitch communities. “Platforms like YouTube and Twitch are a big part of how people experience their media today, and they shape how we interact with each other,” said Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO.
According to the company, the Razer Seiren is “œFor Professional Studio-Grade Recording“ and we can certainly see it fulfil that purpose with an aplomb.
Featuring a 5V 300mA draw through a single USB connection to your PC or a 48V DC (analog) draw through XLR, the microphone at hand shows off a sample rate of 192kHz, a bitrate of 24-bit and three 14mm condenser capsules. Adding to this list is a frequency response of 20Hz – 20kHz, a sensitivity of 4.5mV/PA @ 1kHz and a max SPL of 120dB. In addition to this, the single USB connection for your PC is completely plug and play, the headphone amplifier has a zero latency output and your microphone gain can be changed on-the-fly with a single nob located on the device.
Now, all that technical mumbo jumbo equates to one fact. Both the input and audio out is of extremely high quality. Wait, audio out? I thought this is a microphone?
Yes, even though this is a microphone you still have the Digital Audio Converter (DAC) ““ meaning you have a studio quality 24bit 192kHz sound card built right in. So you use it for both your microphone and audio out, via headphones or speakers which is great for gaming.
Features and Performance
The Razer Seiren has a three membrane diaphragm, all angled slightly differently to gather sound from different locations around the microphone. This means you can pick between four different polar patterns, which include:
- Cardioid: Webcasting and commentary will mostly be caught with this setting. It cancels out sound coming from the other side of the device, therefore it is ideal for single speech recording
- Bi-directional: Ideal for two person interviews as it records both in the front and the back, yet cancels lateral sound (from the sides)
- Omni-directional: Sound is recorded from all directions, making it optimal for conference calls or large group interviews
- Stereo: This setting only records lateral sounds, meant to be used for instrumental and voice vocal recordings
The difference in recording with the various settings is evident from the get go. Sure, it‘s not mind-blowingly different on each setting, but subtle differences in sound environments and type of sound is definitely noticeable. Gaming worked a treat with the Razer Seiren, as I tested it with both an online shooter as well as a more relaxing gaming environment. I also used it for live commentary while watching a tournament game with friends. It also works very well for podcasting.
As I mentioned in Episode 15 of Bandwidth Blog on Air, which was the first day I‘d used the device, the installation is extremely easy. It also comes with a pop filter which is excellent for the spoken word ““ you‘ll never hear any distortion ““ as well as a shock mount (at extra cost, however).
With very minor alterations to the settings, you‘ll hear from subsequent editions of Bandwidth Blog on Air that the quality is extremely good, even though I was mostly sitting in an area not ideal for sound recording (all episodes available here). The sound hasn‘t been touched, and is unedited.
For a solid recording experience, all you need is something like GarageBand or Audacity. Using both of these packages, I can confer that the experience with this microphone was a positive one. Switched into the suggested cardioid mode saw the microphone pick up my voice levels adequately and monitoring the sound input meant I could use the volume control directly on the microphone to adjust my checks easily.
If you are looking for quality this might be the setup for you. Sure, it‘s not exactly cheap, but neither will it break the bank like traditional sound recording equipment. This review is mostly intended with gaming and podcasting in mind, although audiophiles may also have a lot of use for the product.
But, being from Razer, this is made “œFor the Gamers.“ There are some minor gripes (the size might be too large for some setups), but overall this product is of the highest quality in this segment. As it retails for just over R2000, I would very well consider buying this as an overall workhorse, but especially for webcasting, podcasting, gaming and commentary. You won‘t be disappointed.
Follow Theunis on Twitter: @Theunis_BWB