RAZER BlackShark V2 Wired Headphone Review – A THX Certified Headset For $99?
Razer BlackShark V2September 2020
The Razer BlackShark V2, complete with THX Spatial Audio, available for a price point of just $99. This is a significant decrease in price from the Razer Opus which was priced at $199 and on paper looks to be an absolute home run by the company. We recently received the Blackshark V2 headphone for review and we will take a look at just how much the headphones meet THX's exacting standards and overall performance profiles.
Introduction, unboxing and design
Razer recently introduced the Blackshark V2X and V2 headphones and in our opinion has nailed both price points. The V2X, while it doesn't have THX Spatial Audio, still boasts an incredible sound stage and should become the must-have headphone at that price point while the V2 is the premium older-brother with a more robust titanium-based sound driver, memory foam breathable padding, and THX Spatial Audio for a great sound stage. Unlike the V2X, it also boasts THX Spatial Audio for the applications that support it.
As always, let's begin with an overview of the technical specifications:
|Razer BlackShark V2 (THX Spatial Audio)|
|Impedance||32 Ω (1 kHz)|
|Sensitivity||100 dBSPL/mW, 1 KHz|
|Driver Size - Diameters (mm)||50 mm|
|Driver Type||Razer™ TriForce Titanium|
|Earcups||Breathable memory foam cushions|
|Inner Earcup Diameter||2.56" x 1.57"
65 mm x 40 mm
|Earpads Material||Ultra-soft FlowKnit memory foam|
|Noise Cancelling||Advanced passive noise cancellation|
|Connection Type||Analog 3.5mm with USB sound card|
|Cable Length||1.8 m / 5.91 ft.|
|Weight||0.6 lbs / 262 g|
|Microphone Style||Razer™ HyperClear Cardioid Mic|
|Microphone Frequency Response||100 Hz – 10 kHz|
|Microphone Sensitivity (@1kHz)||-42 dB V/Pa, 1 KHz|
|Virtual Surround Encoding||THX Spatial Audio|
|Volume Control||On-earcup: Volume Up/ Down|
|Other Controls||On-earcup controls - Mic mute on/off toggle|
|Compatibility||PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and mobile devices*
*Mobile devices with an available 3.5mm port
- BlackShark V2 included THX Spatial Audio (but is not THX Certified)
- BlackShark V2 X does NOT include THX Spatial Audio (and is also not THX Certified)
The BlackShark V2 is clearly a beast on paper so let's see if it actually holds up to the specifications in real life as well.
The Razer BlackShark V2 comes in a classic green-black Razer packaging and is very simple to open. The box contains a note from the CEO (always a nice touch) a black pouch containing the headphone and the warranty and documentation.
The Razer BlackShark V2 comes disassembled with the actual headphone, detachable mic and sound card in separate anti-static packages inside the black pouch. There is a very clear no-nonsense but premium feel to the entire affair that we have started to get used to with Razer for the last few years. The company is clearly positioning itself as a premium brand - and it shows.
The Razer BlackShark V2 features an incredibly comfortable headband with classy stitching on the bands and a weight that frankly surprised us. The headphones feel as light as air and are incredibly comfortable for extended gaming sessions - particularly due to the breathable fabric the company is using. The aesthetic is similar to the one used in aviation (which is clearly what the company was going for as well) and is one that is a tried and tested design when it comes to freedom of movement and stability.
The thing we loved the most about the headphones is the detachable mic. While the sound quality is incredibly impressive, as you will see later, it is the mic that puts most of its competitors to shame. The omnidirectional mic can be plugged in and out at will and features a wind filter as well. The headphones have a volume knob directly on the earpiece and that combined with a power button makes for an incredibly minimalistic yet powerful design philosophy. The included sound card is more than capable of driving the 32 ohm, 50mm drivers of the BlackShark V2 but as always, if you want more punch, you can always hook it up to a professional amplifier if need be. Without any further ado, let's get into the performance and sound stage.
Performance and sound stage
THX is a very well known name in the audio community and the company provides one of the most robust certifications for audio equipment. When Razer acquired THX, there were some concerns that the THX certification would become diluted by offering certifications to sub-par equipment. Razer initially rolled out the Opus - which was a fully THX-certified headphone. The BlackShark V2, while not fully THX compliant has the THX Spatial Audio rating - which is still impressive. We are pleased to say, however, that the BlackShark V2 passes with flying colors when it comes to audio performance.
We tested the headphone both with its included USB Sound Card and an Onkyo NR 747 receiver (which is completely THX certified). The difference in quality while going from the sound card to the receiver was marginal - which is impressive considering the latter was a $1000 amplifier when it was launched.
The soundstage is crisp, analytical (without being too sterile and cold), and has just enough warmth for music without being overbearing. The soundstage we experienced on the Blackshark V2 comes close to premium gaming headphones such as the Sennheiser GSP 670 - which is an incredible feat considering this is 1/3 the price. The headphone is obviously designed with esports in mind and it performs exceptionally well but the tuning of the drivers makes listening to music and watching movies a sublime experience as well. This thing clearly has a ton of tricks up its sleeve.
The head mounting pressure from the headband is just right and the weight is nonexistent (compared to some of the phones we have tested).
All that said, the most impressive thing, perhaps, is the mic. The mic of the BlackShark V2 punches above its weight class and has an incredibly high-quality profile. We are used to companies shipping great headphones but cheapening out on the mic so your voice sounds tinny when recorded. These companies usually market this as an intended feature for enhanced voice clarity but the real reason is that a good microphone costs money. The mic of the BlackShark V2 is almost reference quality in its recording profile and the included wind filter and omni direction design is absolutely perfect for high-quality voice transmission.
The Razer BlackShark V2 has, to our ears, a sound stage that is one of the best in this class. Audio experiences can be very subjective but it is clear that Razer has an absolute winner on their hands. It is one of the most comfortable headphones we have tested (if not the most) and was barely noticeable over long sessions. What is not subjective, however, is how good the microphone is when compared to all of its competitors. It is also because of that reason that we are happy to award the Razer BlackShark V2 our "Editor's Choice Award" as well.
We also expect its younger sibling, the BlackShark V2X, to become the go-to headphone at the $59 price point for those that want a slightly cheaper device. The V2's build quality, design, and features are clearly premium and customers should love what they get for their money.
The Razer BlackShark V2 represents an impeccably designed product that is super light, comfortable to wear over long distances, and pack an impressively analytical gaming sound stage.
- Partially THX certified
- Microphone quality blows away the competition
- Excellent build quality
- Very lightweight
- Headband pressure is one of the most comfortable we have tested
- Excellent soundstage
- Detachable mic
- Included USB soundcard
- Not fully THX compliant.