I'm excited about the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition!
I don't always understand Razer's naming scheme. Sometimes Tournament Edition means you're getting a slightly trimmed-down version of a product. With the Man O' War headset, it meant you were getting a wired version instead of wireless. With the Mamba mouse, it meant you were getting a wired version instead of wireless.
But with the new Kraken Tournament Edition headset...it means you're getting a version that includes a USB dongle featuring THX's first stab at Spatial Audio, the new Virtual Surround concept that everyone's been chasing for the last year.
It loses the RGB lighting features of the Kraken 7.1 V2, but gains an optional standard 3.5mm connection and the new dongle.
I like spatial audio. I've enjoyed Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Headphone: X 2.0. I think the concept of mixing audio in real time with vertical and distance data is a lot more interesting than the old method of simulating a room full of surround sound speakers.
And I'm really curious to see what Razer and THX do on that front.
I have a couple of products already in the reviews chute, but as soon as I get through those I will try and get one of these new Krakens. The original Kraken Pro was one of the very first headsets I reviewed all the way back on Tumblr, and I've mostly enjoyed Razer's work in the audio space. This is the first output from their new ownership of THX, at least as far as gaming audio is concerned, and I hope that it's just the beginning.
Razer owns enough of the PC gaming peripheral market that this is a strong sign spatial audio is here to stay as the new dominant headset audio format. As a lover of virtual surround, this is very exciting.
I know some of you might be screaming. I love standard stereo reproduction too. But spatial audio is so much cooler than any of the older virtual surround techniques, in large part for its ability to alter the soundstage in real time based on the game environment and your specific gear. And nothing will stop you from using regular stereo instead!