Razer Tiamat 7.1 Gaming Headset

These 7.1 surround-sound headphones pack a whopping 10 drivers; five times more than every other set. The aim is to deliver the best directional audio on the market, but it comes at a severe cost of sound quality.


4.0
CNET Rating
9.0
User Rating


Razer has built a solid reputation for itself over the last few years as a purveyor of high-end gaming gadgets. Opening the box to the new Tiamat headphones suggests that they've got another hit on their hands; we can't remember ever being so impressed by a product's packaging, and that includes Apple's fancy boxes. This is one sexy package, with a thick cardboard box that opens into various sections, sealed by a magnetic flap.

The headphones themselves are almost as impressive, with slick, transparent panels showing off the five drivers crammed into each cup. The headband uses a similar set-up as the Audio Technica products, but uses a floating band instead of paddles. There's no way to adjust the length, but the band stretches to ensure a solid fit. Once again, circumaural ear cups have been used, and they're relatively small, ensuring a snug fit. The vinyl cushioning is nice and soft to the touch, but can get a little moist. The left cup hides a retractable microphone, while the lengthy cable is home to the amplification unit. This can be used to adjust the overall volume, as well as each individual channel — front, back, side, centre and subwoofer. It's all rather impressive.

If only the audio quality was good, too. The problem is that the drivers are the most expensive component in a quality set of headphones. For example, an AU$200 pair of headphones will probably have a pair of AU$40 drivers. When you try to squeeze five times as many drivers into the headphones, the cost per driver must decrease five-fold. The result is a set of headphones crammed with bad-quality drivers.

The specs for the Tiamat show the compromises that had to be made, using a single pair of 40mm drivers for bass, two 30mm drivers for front and centre and two 20mm drivers for side and rear. These deliver truly woeful audio quality. There's a massive loss of detail, with many of the effects blurring into each other. Directional audio is admittedly fantastic — the best of the bunch — but so many sound nuances are lost that the player is actually at a disadvantage. Making matters worse is the echo effect that plagues these headphones, which makes it sound as if you're playing in a giant tunnel.

After spending a few hours with the Tiamat, we can see why audio enthusiasts despise surround-sound headphones using multiple drivers. Sadly, unless gamers read reviews or test the product themselves, the fact that these offer true 7.1 surround will be enough to have them selling like hotcakes.

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QuentinZ posted a comment   

to allow for high quality audio you need dolby prologic iix

JoeyW Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Amazing headset, worth the money."

JoeyW posted a review   

The Good:Amazing surround sound, game & movie immersion and also fine for music which doesn't come around often with gaming headsets, extra features are also nice, the speaker output is VERY handy.

The Bad:Interference from PC when no sound is playing, earpads can get a little hot after prolonged use 8hrs .

Excellent no fuss surround sound that has proven itself over all virtual surround set-ups I have tried including expensive audiophile options (AD700's, DT880's with an XFI Fatal1ty pro soundcard using CMSS3D) feature wise the control pod is great with options for all surround sound output levels & a separate output for speakers making it easy to switch between both with a simple button. Amazing immersion in movies or games & even music is pretty good if you don't like swapping headsets.

Sound quality wise I wouldn't say anyone that isn't a self proclaimed 'audiophile' would EVER be disappointed in these and I didn't notice any discernible difference between these or my AD700's apart from better out of the box bass without any need for EQ adjustments, although the AD700's did provide better instrument separation when listening to music, I still wouldn't say the quality was any better or worse, they both sound great and it more comes down to personal taste as to whether you like listening to the most minute of details or not, I myself don't bother switching from the Tiamat's 99% of the time.

Apart from the closed earpads getting hot after prolonged use there aren't really any major drawbacks I can think of other than a little audio feedback from the PC components(even with the analog jacks plugged directly into the soundcard) so this is likely due to the additional USB power, however it isn't an issue as long as your actually using the headset.

Highly recommend a good 7.1 soundcard for these.

 

JoeyW posted a comment   

Cost vs driver quality isn't always an issue when you consider the fact that there are separate bass drivers and they went for smaller sizes on the surround. Meaning they don't need to pay more for a large individual driver to cover the entire sound spectrum. I also got no issues with echo or distortion whatsoever in the past couple of months I have owned the Tiamat's.

Coming from a $150 pair of ad700's audio technica's(supposedly one of the best value headsets for virtual surrounds on the market) I have to say that apart from sound separation in music allowing me to pick out individual instruments better with the ad700's, the Tiamat's surround is easily superior

 

jinque posted a comment   

What sound card was used and what game(s) was played?

 

zimmer posted a reply   
Australia

i think its fair to say cnet are absolute idiots when it comes to anything for gaming and i truly doubt they used a discrete audio card these things are getting amazing reviews everywhere except cnet and dedicated gaming sites actually TELL you the specs of the computer they where used on

 

zimmer posted a comment   
Australia

What sound card were you using because i wouldn't be surprised if that was your problem most people who would buy these would have a several hundred dollar sound card




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User Reviews / Comments  Razer Tiamat 7.1 Gaming Headset

  • QuentinZ

    QuentinZ

    "to allow for high quality audio you need dolby prologic iix"

  • JoeyW

    JoeyW

    Rating9

    "Excellent no fuss surround sound that has proven itself over all virtual surround set-ups I have tried including expensive audiophile options (AD700's, DT880's with an XFI Fatal1ty pro soundcard us..."

  • JoeyW

    JoeyW

    "Cost vs driver quality isn't always an issue when you consider the fact that there are separate bass drivers and they went for smaller sizes on the surround. Meaning they don't need to pay more for..."

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