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Razer Tiamat 7.1 Surround Headset Review

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Surround Headset Review

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Headset Review

User Experience

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Headset - Lights
As shown above the Tiamat has various LED sections, one on each ear and then the control pod where the main dial surround lights up as do the buttons toward the base. This allows a quick and easy to understand visual on the current status of the headset.

In terms of set-up the process is very simple. We look at the sound card ports to work out which is which and then use the colour coded diagram from the Tiamat quick start guide to match each plug. The final step is to plug in the USB power connector and then we are done.

From there our sound card software takes over and we ensure it is set to 7.1mode (along with Windows sound control panel). It is also worth checking the first time we launch each game that it has recognised 7.1 being present and if not, manually setting it. Essentially there is no difference to setting up any other audio product whether it is stereo or virtual surround based.

So what about performance?

Gaming
Clearly with this being a Razer product we have a headset which is designed for gamers and in the case of the Tiamat 7.1, enthusiasts. To test the performance of this aspect we fired up Left 4 Dead 2 and enabled 7.1 audio as all Source based games support it. Immediately the clarity of audio was evident with a wide, spacious sound being created by the Tiamat. We could easily pinpoint members of our party and enemies nearby.

Moving next to DOTA 2 and switching in-game between the 2.0 and 7.1 modes it was immediately evident that positional audio offered benefits. The sound which is normally very focused was spread much more nicely and allowed us to better tell where individual sounds were coming from. The environmental effects were also nicely recreated which added atmosphere to the quieter parts of the map.

Moving next to Dirt Showdown we have a game where it is all about LOUD… Codemasters have tried to create a real Xtreme Sports event feel to the game and overall this suits the Tiamat. The thumping soundtrack has plenty of power to it, the in-game voiceovers are clear and the car engines crisp. More importantly though the Tiamat really throws the crashes at the player, these are loud ear cups and it really benefits the immersion factor.

Movies
With its 7.1 feature set the Tiamat should also be ideally suited to Blu-Rays so we fired up one of the titles which has a native 7.1 soundtrack, Toy Story 3, and took a listen to some of the key scenes. The first thing which struck us was that there was a great level of bass present in the headset along with some impressive positional audio and a good, clear representation of the ambient sounds.

On 5.1 tracks the Tiamat also performed well with good levels of quality, though not quite the extreme levels of sound stage found on 7.1. We also noted during a test of a live music Blu-Ray in 5.1 channel that the separation of vocal and instrument was good with some nice echo and directional audio in place as well as the crowd sounds towards the rear channels.

Music
That brings us to stereo performance which is also available on the Tiamat 7.1. In this mode we get plenty of volume, as with the others it can get to painful levels which is always better than being too quiet. That said music playback does highlight a weakness of the Tiamat, it lacks some clarity in stereo mode (for music at least) and can be a little too harsh in the high end.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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