Something about a bright green headset immediately turns me off. It's clearly a matter of personal taste, but if I had the option, I'd choose something a bit more... understated. That is, however, only one of the small issues I have with the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition. And, happily, it also comes in black, rather than the bright green highlighter pen I was received, which is the kind of colour you'd think would make you shine in the dark or allow you to successfully land a plane. 


The Razer Kraken Tournament Edition, or Kraken TE as it's often called, is a superb gaming headset that's the first in Razer's midrange line to integrate the company's new THX Spatial Audio. It also works with whatever game platform you could have lying around your house.

Design of the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition

The Kraken design hasn't altered much over the years, and it serves as the foundation for all of Razer's headsets. A thick padded strap connects two relatively large earcups embossed with the Razer logo and housing 50mm drivers, adding to the overall comfort of the headset. It also helps that the Kraken TE has cooling gel-infused ear cushions, which are designed to keep your ears cool during lengthy gaming sessions while also filtering out extraneous noise so your focus is only on the game. 

And, to be honest, they're fantastic. Without knowing it, I spent the whole day and evening playing Fallout 76 in one sitting, my ears feeling cold, comfy, and insulated from the rest of the world. This is also true while wearing my glasses, thanks to concealed perforations in the ear cups that provide extra space for the arms of your spectacles, preventing them from being squashed against the side of your head.

However, while a Razer headset is almost always comfortable - especially if you have a bigger head - it was the new USB amplifier that piqued my interest with the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition. Built-in volume controls, mic mute, balancing settings for adjusting the mix of in-game audio and chat, individual bass volume, and a trigger for the new THX Spatial Audio are all included. This programme allows your headset to give more realistic directional sound, giving you a clearer notion of where gunfire in Battlefield 5 or strange aliens in No Man's Sky are coming from.

The USB Amp, on the other hand, is plainly intended for use with a desk-based PC configuration. On the rear, there's one of those transparent tech stickers that's supposed to affix the amplifier to your desk. When I say glue, I really mean glue. It's really tough to pull it off once it's glued down, which is extremely aggravating for someone like myself who is always modifying their gaming desk setup. It also means that if you don't want to permanently adhere it to your desk, you'll be left with an inconvenient plastic sheet on your amplifier, which will eventually get dislodged and tarnished. 

It's a pity, since although it's a fantastic concept in theory and would surely help simplify the quantity of cables on my desk, it's not a choice for everyone, and it really detracts from the overall stylishness of the Kraken TE setup.

This amp is perhaps the most noticeable difference between the $99.99 / £99.99 Kraken TE and the $79.99 / £79.99 Kraken Pro V2. If you're primarily going to play on PC, it's worth the additional money, but console gamers should stay with the Pro V2.

Features of the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition

Because having the amplifier plugged in improves the whole experience, and partly because it opens up a suite of customization options through the Razer Synapse programme, you'll need a Razer account to alter the headset's sound. You'll have access to a myriad of sound settings once you've set things up and logged in. Sound improvement tools including sound normalisation and speech clarity, as well as mic settings like ambient noise suppression, are available. 

Thankfully, hovering your mouse over the little question mark in the corner of each option setting explains what each one does, because the naming conventions don't always make it clear which ones you'll want to toggle, and even then, you might be left scratching your head later on about the difference between ambient noise reduction and vocal clarity.

Other features, like sound normalisation, ensure that all of your audio is treated the same, so a desktop Whatsapp ping midway through a Fortnite match won't make you jump so much that you throw a boogie bomb by accident - true storey - and will ensure that audio is consistent across all forms of in-game audio, so you won't have that annoying effect that sometimes happens in movies where the talking is all quiet, and the ac is on.

It's certainly worth tinkering with the different options until you find one you like, but there aren't many of them, so it won't be too difficult. It took me about five minutes to figure out what I wanted to enhance and when, with just a few trips back to the Synapse programme in the middle of the game for minor adjustments.

Performance of the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition

However, the label "subtle" is a misnomer because anything you do in the Synapse programme or on the amplifier itself is audibly detectable. The EQ settings are fantastic, and with the push of a button, the audio quality changes to match whatever you're listening to. There are options for music, movies (which also work well for TV shows), games, and a basic and custom version that allows you to adjust the level for various frequencies of sound.

I was more than delighted with the preset EQs, but the bass level adjustment on the amplifier itself was a huge help. The ability to turn up or down simply the bass on the fly is a fantastic feature, since it's generally my greatest gripe with other headsets that don't have it. Most gaming headsets have either too much bass or not enough boom, but with the Kraken Tournament Edition, you can adjust your bass levels whenever you want. There are 17 different levels of bass, and although this may not be noticeable in the music I listen to, it was definitely noticeable in games, where certain explosions seemed a touch too bone-rattling in the middle of a major multiplayer match.

However, the Kraken TE's EQ settings make it an extremely adaptable headset. Using the headset on movie EQ presents while watching Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Now TV's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them made for an incredibly exciting aural experience, with punchy bass, crisp voices, and an overall sound quality that was almost comparable to my £300 Sony noise-cancelling cans. The same may be said for music. Switching to the music EQ here for belting songs from Spotify made a world of difference, providing a complexity to the music audio quality that gaming headphones often lack.

On an app-by-app basis, turning on THX Spatial Audio also adds realistic surround sound to your audio. I changed it from stereo to surround for Spotify, and it gave the music a depth it didn't have before, and I did the same for Netflix, but through Chrome. But it truly shines in games, and the contrast between using it and not using it is astounding. The Battlefield 5 single-rising player's symphonic music, for example, seems like it's pouring over you, and that, paired with the intensity of hearing gunfire ricocheting from all around you, creates an intense experience that's precisely how these games should be played. 

However, if you turn off the spatial audio, the sensation of immersion and depth vanishes. That is also true in games other than shooters. Turning up spatial audio in a game like No Man's Sky, for example, helps the exotic landscapes you explore come to life with sound. However, while playing the Kraken Tournament on Xbox One with Fallout 76, or even Pokemon Let's Go on the Switch, the audio is still incredible. Although you won't benefit from the THX Spatial Audio, it's still a great gaming headset.

Should you buy it in the end?

It's nearly impossible to achieve virtual surround sound of this quality with a headset in this price range. You get that for your PC with the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition, which comes with a superb headset that works across all platforms and is really comfy. If you don't care about spatial audio, I'd suggest the Logitech G Pro ($89.99/£84.99), which is somewhat less costly. 

If you want surround sound for both Xbox One and PC or PS4 and PC, go for the slightly more expensive Razer Thresher 7.1 ($129.99/£149.99). However, if you're primarily a PC player who dabbles in console games on occasion, the Kraken Tournament offers a feature set that you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere for this price.