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Geek Gifts 2012: Megalodon Elite 7.1 Gaming Headset

The Megalodon Elite 7.1 Gaming Headset is a versatile piece of gaming gear that delivers the goods when it comes to a personal audio experience.
The megalodon is an extinct species of shark that lived roughly from 28 to 1.5 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era (late Oligocene to early Pleistocene). ~ Wikipedia

Why the marketing department at Razer would want to name an elite gaming headset after a very big extinct shark escapes me, but then again, Marketing 101 was my least favorite class in business school. Whatever the reason for the name, the Razer Megalodon Elite 7.1 Gaming Headset certainly packs a punch when it comes to gaming surround sound audio.

Specifications

  • Company: Razer USA Ltd
  • Product: Megalodon Elite 7.1 Gaming Headset
  • Headphone:
    • Frequency response: 20Hz - 20,000Hz
    • Impedance: 32.0 at 1KHz
    • Max Input power: 200Mw
    • Drivers: 40mm, with neodymium magnets
  • Microphone:
    • Frequency response: 50Hz - 16,000Hz
    • Signal-to-noise ratio: 50Db
    • Pickup: Unidirectional
  • Control pod:
    • Computational power: 500Mips
  • Hardware:
    • Cable: 3.3 meters, braided fiber sheath
    • Connectors: Gold-plated USB
  • Cost: $120 on Amazon
  • Website

What I like

  • Sound quality: The audio quality of gaming headsets has come a long way. The Megalodon is crisper and fuller than the other headphones I have tested priced under $200.
  • Comfort: The Megalodon's ear pieces, which are well-padded and are cloth rather than plastic, cover the ear, but don't really cup them like the Logitech G35's I normally use. This allows for some air circulation and heat dissipation around the ears, which comes in handy for marathon gaming sessions.
  • Freed CPU cycles: By moving the audio processor to a separate external box, the Megalodon off-loads audio processing from the CPU, freeing computing cycles for other tasks.
  • Carrying case: The Megalodon comes with a hard-shell case for easy carrying from place to place.

What I don't like

  • Unwieldy: While off-loading the CPU with a separate audio processor housed in an external box is great for CPU cycles, it also makes the Megalodon a bit unwieldy in the cable department. The control pod sits about two-thirds up the USB cord from the computer connection and about one-third from your head. Although small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, it can still be a pain to find the right spot for the audio processor box to sit while in use.
  • USB drivers: On my Alienware m11x, the Megalodon would not work at all - the USB firmware or drivers just did not recognize it properly. However, on every other computer I tested, it ran like a charm - something to keep in mind if you're troubleshooting. I would suggest updating your USB drivers and firmware as a first step.

Bottom line for geeks

The audio part of the gaming experience is extremely important and real gamers don't shirk on their audio peripherals. At around $120, the Razer Megalodon Elite 7.1 Gaming Headset is moderately priced and returns a fair amount of bang for the buck. The sound quality is more dynamic and fuller than the Logitech G35 we reviewed a few years ago, so it is a good choice for 2012. Just be ready to accommodate some unwieldy USB cables.

Geek Gift Score (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: ****
  • Geek factor: ****
  • Value: ***
  • Overall: ***

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

4 comments
Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

I have a 5.1 speaker setup currently, although I've toyed with the idea of getting a nice set of surround headphones. The only thing I don't like about headphones is wearing them. Even if they're comfortable (many aren't), I just don't like having something on my head and covering my ears. It can also be cumbersome to take them off and put them on every time I need to go to the kitchen and/or bathroom. It can also make it more difficult to hear my phone if it rings. (I only play single-player games, so I'm not often involved in marathon gaming sessions.)

JamesRL
JamesRL

Better imaging to know which direction your enemy is coming from.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

When you are gaming, do you prefer headphones/headsets or do you prefer speakers?

mckinnej
mckinnej

You need surround speakers if you don't have headphones with surround. Although you don't get the visceral house-shaking explosions, headphones tend to be more acceptable to a domestic partner. :) As far as the name, Megalodon certainly sounds badazz, even though it also implies BIG, like a helmet with speakers. Not a great name (for headphones), but definitely not the worst name marketers have ever come up with.