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We recently took a look at two wired PC gaming headsets that rest in the midrange spectrum. While the P21 from Turtle Beach performed well as a PC headset, we wish it offered an option to expand to surround sound. The G330 from Logitech also performed well--not to mention it's one of the most comfortable headsets we've ever tried. Alas, the G330 didn't offer anything other than standard two-channel stereo audio.
Last March we reviewed the Razer Carcharias, and while we found them to be the best-sounding headset we heard in a while, we still longed for the capability to play PC games in surround sound. Enter the Razer Megalodon, the company's most ambitious PC headset to date. While it may not be ideal for the casual PC gamer, the Megalodon is an incredible sounding and comfortable PC gaming headset that lets you fully customize your sound.
Right out of the box, the Megalodon reminded us of the Carcharias. You'll find both headsets carry the same basic design. The Megalodon is outfitted in a stylish all-black design--from the headband right down to the boom microphone. The ear cups are large, padded, and easily fit entirely over our ears. The soft foam headband makes for an even more comfortable experience while the adjustable wire-framed sliders helped mold the headset to our head. The outer ear cups are covered in slick, dark metal grilles with the Razer logo emblazoned on each side. Like the Carcharias headset, the Megalodon is large though it's surprisingly lightweight, which allowed us to have extended sessions of play time and chatting.
On the left ear cup you'll find the protruding boom microphone that can swivel 270 degrees around--completely out of sight if you'd like. With that feature, we have no hesitations about recommending the Megalodon for use with other media other than gaming.
We really liked the cloth-braided wire that extends out of the left ear cup as well. Measuring in at just shorter than 10 feet, the cable provides more than ample length.
Halfway down the line is the control box for the Megalodon's 7.1 surround sound. When lit up, it looks like a prop out of a science-fiction movie, but from here you can actually tweak each channel's audio output volume in addition to adding a bass boost. The various LED lights will flicker depending on what you're trying to control. You can also toy with the headset's microphone settings. Microphone mute, sensitivity, and level can all be adjusted. The Megalodon has the Razer Maelstrom audio enhancement built in, and by hitting the Maelstrom button at the top, you can switch between 2.0 and 7.1 surround settings. The Megalodon will enter this mode automatically when given a 2.0 source.
The Megalodon can only connect to your PC via a USB port. Also, it is only compatible with Windows XP and later. That said, we did have a few issues in getting our Windows XP computer to play nicely with the headset. It took a few unplugging sessions before the right sound kicked in, but when it is properly set up, your sound properties should say Razer Megalodon.
We first put the Megalodon's 7.1 channel surround sound to the test. After about an hour with the new Wolfenstein game, we were blown away by the headset's capability to separate various channels in-ear. The explosions of grenades, the firing of World War II era guns, and the footsteps of enemy soldiers added an impressive element to the game. Just for means of comparison, we threw on the Carcharias to compare the experience and while the headset still did a good job of directing audio, nothing can touch the Megalodon's 7.1 separation. We should note that you'll need to make sure your game offers a 7.1 surround option to get the most out of the Megalodon.
Next, we tasked the Megalodon with some multiplayer rounds in Counter-Strike to test the headset's chat performance. As with the Carcharias, we had an excellent session. Our teammates reported loud and clear communication from the Megalodon.
Available for $150, the Razer Megalodon should be the only 7.1 PC gaming headset you'll ever need to buy. It's definitely a product for hardcore PC gamers and may intimidate more casual users because of its customization capabilities. If you don't think you're ready for such an investment, we have no problem recommending the Razer Carcharias instead.