The Razer Tiamat 7.1 analog headphones were introduced into a wide field of headsets that offer surround sound for computer or console entertainment. Accurate directional sound usually isn’t well produced with less than 5 individual speakers. The Tiamat 7.1 has 5 in each ear cup bringing the number of discreet speakers to a total of 10. A stereo pair can produce good music but attempt to position some sound anywhere around the user’s head and you begin to see the limitations of just two speakers.
Those deficiencies become more evident when headphones use software that attempts to fill in the blanks with spatial distortion. So if we were talking about just the number of speakers used to represent space around the user then the Tiamat already succeeds where other surround sound sets have failed. There is more to these headphones though than the initial specs though.
It’s got a pretty face to go with its laundry list of features.
The Tiamat 7.1 doesn’t skimp; it is solidly designed, and it looks sharp too, sporting Razer’s distinct logo and green flare. They’ve also included a pair of black magnetic ear-cup caps if you find the clear design that exposes the speakers and green embellishments too gaudy.
The mic can be extracted and retracted quickly from the left earcup and it deftly angles towards your face while maintaining its position. The upper mic arm and microphone do feel as though they’re made from a weaker material though. The sound recorded by the headset is clear and precise; being analog it is a straight pass through to the soundcard, no digital mishaps possible.
All of the buttons on the volume controller are solid and they seem to be able to stand up to a lot of abuse, but you won’t be using the buttons as much as you will the volume wheel. The volume wheel turns infinitely so there will be little mechanical wear because there is no clicker or limitation to its turning radius. It is very easy to select a single channel and raise and lower the volume of each one individually while a main volume level allows you modify them all at the same time. You’ll also have control of the bass level which will come in handy if you’re switching from a movie to a video game and back.
It is important to note that the volume and quality of the sound from these headphones greatly depends on the soundcard you have in your system. Razer includes a list of preferred sound cards on their website, and it is a good example of how dependent analog devices are on every link in their system. If you have a poor or low amperage sound card then the volume will be low or muddled, and there is little that the Tiamat can do to amp the volume even with the included USB power connector. It is important to have a quality soundcard with the Tiamat, much more so than most other headphones.
Even though the headphones are heavy & bulky, once you put them on your head the spring and roller system hidden just above the ear-cups supports the entire weight of the headphones equally across the top. The ear-cups cover the entire ear and they still allow air to move, even after continued hours of use there was no discomfort or sweating. A lot of ambient sound is blocked out though so someone might need to yell to get your attention. Compared to other headphones which have multiple discreet speakers the size of the Tiamat is very normal, while it is bigger than a stereo headset that is to be expected due to the increased number of large electronics components.
With more and more games taking advantage of directional sound, The Tiamat seems to be more intended for PC users as it includes color-coded connectors and a guide for computer connections. If you have a digital to analog converter, you can use this with an Xbox and any other 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound entertainment system.
The audio quality when paired with a decent sound card is nearly unmatched. When compared with similar products from other manufacturers it is much more easy to setup, use, and realize good music or gaming sound with little effort. Directional audio in 3D games is spot on, you can whirl around and you will know where someone or something is before even seeing it. The clarity and range of the sound is also extremely good. You can hear every source singled out and none of the bass, mids, or highs are lost among their peers.
Watching movies on blu-ray was akin to watching them on a very high end 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound entertainment system. With the included passthrough cable you can even attach such a system to the Tiamat and turn off your headphones activating the speaker system with the simple click of a button on the volume controller.
The Tiamat might be a niche product that appeals to a certain portion of the PC gaming or enthusiast crowd, but I asked myself after a few days of using them why no one else had yet filled that space. The Tiamat 7.1 did, they fit my uses perfectly while watching movies, playing games and listening to music all on my computer; all of them equally amazing. For the price I would buy them immediately and since they’ve sold out their initial production run I’d say enough people agree and have snatched up the Tiamat 7.1 Headset to experience what I’ve seen as a solid product that excels in every field.
Razer Tiamat 7.1 / $179.99
More Info: Razer Homepage