Pipeline Review: Razer Tiamat 7.1by Vivek Gowri on June 15, 2012 4:00 PM EST
- Posted in
What is it?
Razer’s Tiamat 7.1, the first headset to feature 10 discrete drivers for true 7.1 surround sound.
$179.99 from Razer’s webstore or Amazon.com
What does it do?
The Tiamat is a desktop headset, with very long cables, a large volume control unit (which features a toggle between headphones and an audio system), and a reliance on USB power. It has five 3.5mm jacks, four for different audio channels and one for mic, along with a USB used exclusively for power. Each circumaural cup has five drivers: one for front, rear, and surround, along with a center channel and a subwoofer in each ear. Razer’s other 7.1 headset, the Megalodon, makes do with two drivers and virtual surround, so this is a significant step up on paper. Compared to other large headsets, the Tiamat appears to have smaller drivers overall with a mix of 30mm (front, center) and 20mm (rear, surround) drivers to complement the 40mm subwoofer drivers. For example, the lower-end Tiamat 2.2 has two 40mm drivers for mid/high range frequencies to go with the two 40mm sub drivers, while Corsair goes with two 50mm drivers and virtual surround in its Vengeance 1500 headset.
Is it any good?
The design and aesthetic of the Tiamat is pretty stunning. Razer has traditionally put a lot of effort into the industrial design and packaging of their products, so this comes as no surprise. The external cover of the circumaural cups is translucent, so you can actually see the individual drivers. It’s awesome to see how the smaller mid/high drivers are dwarfed by the sub, and overall, it’s just a cool aesthetic. The Razer logos on each side light up in green when you plug it in, and the headband on top features matching green stitching. The mic is on the left side, and slides out of the way to stay hidden when you don’t need it. They’re pretty large headphones, to say the least, but they wear comfortably, with padded leatherette ear cups and a headband that fits well.
The audio performance depends on your use cases. In gaming situations (assuming the game supports surround), the Tiamat shines. It’s pretty helpful in placing opponents (especially in racing and FPS games), and the overall experience is pretty stellar. This holds true for well sound-engineered action movies, too. Razer has done a good job optimizing the directionality of the speakers, so you really get a sense of the surround effect. Unfortunately, in music-heavy usage, it leaves a bit to be desired, with sound that’s clearly being made by smaller drivers. This is especially noticeable at the high end, where the sound was pretty thin, maybe even a bit tinny. An audiophile would probably be better served by a mid-priced set of cans like the Sony MDR-V6 or something similar.
Razer has always been a company that has prioritized gaming over any other use case, and the Tiamat is certainly no different. But given the pricepoint, I’d like to see a bit more versatility and better audio quality for music.
Should I buy one?
Regardless of my recommendation here, I’m not sure it’s possible to find the Tiamat in stock anywhere. Razer’s store shows 4-8 weeks for delivery, while Amazon quotes 1-3 months. The Tiamat has garned enough interest that even three months after launch, Razer is having trouble manufacturing enough Tiamat units to meet demand. As with many of Razer’s products, the Tiamat is very premium in terms of quality and design and offers some unique and attractive features. It’s seriously pricey though, and if you listen to a lot of music, you’re probably not going to be thrilled with the audio fidelity. But if you’re really into gaming, this is one of the more desirable headset options out there, and that's just how Razer wants it.
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SilverRubicon - Friday, June 15, 2012 - linkI ordered from Amazon back in March and they were delivered a few days ago. They're not bad headphones, but I find the cups to be on the small side and the leather to be very, very hot. I'm going to try and finesse a pair of Beyerdynamic velour pads on them.
csroc - Friday, June 15, 2012 - linkIn general I've not been impressed with any I've tried before but I'm always curious to try the latest attempts. I still maintain a preference for a good pair of standard stereo headphones, if I need surround affects the psychoacoustic surround processing tends to be quite effective with good headphones.
csroc - Friday, June 15, 2012 - linkwhoops, surround effects
imaheadcase - Friday, June 15, 2012 - linkI bought the Naga MMO and Vespula mousepad about 8 months ago %15 coupon at newegg, since then the mousepad wore off the coating it had on both sides, the wrist wrest completely feel apart in the first month .
The mouse? 2 buttons work now out of the 15. The plastic on bottom is not uniform. Its wavy, and starting to peel.
Conclusion. My gaming "gear" is now me server setup mouse and my $50 MS mouse is my gaming mouse.
Gnarr - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - linkI have the same story with my Razer DeathAdder. It was good for about 2-3 months and then the left button started double and triple clicking if touched. I now use my 9 year old Logitech MX510 as my gaming mouse and the DeathAdder is hooked to the server.
aguilpa1 - Monday, June 18, 2012 - linkMX510 is an awesome mouse, just keeps going and going unlike those fancy schmancy mice.
Stoogie - Friday, January 18, 2013 - linkever heard of WD-40? open it up and drop a couple drops on the click mechanism and click it a bunch of times, put it back together and bam brand new
SAimNE - Friday, October 19, 2012 - linki cant vouch for the vespula, but i bought the naga a year and a half ago along with a steal series aion editon mouspad, and a goliathus control edition. after a year and a half of heavy use the only thing that has gone wrong is the mouse feet, which are easily replaced for a very small fee, and the chord slipping out of its casing(my fault due to accidentally getting it rolled under the chair leg). not to mention ive been using my nostromo, and my megalodons for the same amount of time with no problems.
the difference.... i bought it oem from razer. dont get me wrong, new egg is a great site, but i have a suspicion that many times those discount items are unlabeled refurbished items because most of the time i hear of razer breaking down, its from that origin.
anyway point being razer has outperformed, outlasted, and outclassed every single product i have gotten from logitech or other competitors(the R.A.T.7 was close to being competition, but fell through on several points)... well except astro a40s... but even with all it's flaws i enjoy the simulated 7.1 so it's all good.
brucek2 - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - linkI'd be pretty worried about the five 3.5mm input jacks coupled with it being a very long set of cables. That's a lot of length to pick up interference, plus the average PC has fairly crappy analog output coming out of those jacks in the first place (both from mediocre sound processing in general and then interference from an acoustically hostile PC environment.)
I long ago switched to digital output from my PC, to a nice receiver well away from the PC, and then plug high quality stereo headphones into that when desired. I may lose a little on positioning (although on most games I find it pretty accurate even from just two channels), but the overall sound quality is richer and cleaner.
SilverRubicon - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - linkThe Beyerdynamic EDT 250 Velour ear pads make a nice replacement for the stock leather ear pads of the Tiamat. These are the same ear pads that fit the Sony MDR-V6 headphones. They don't make the Tiamats as comfortable as my V6's, but they definitely help and they're not as sweaty as the leather cups.