Review: Razer Man O' War 7.1 Wired Headset

The best of the best

A few months ago, I reviewed Razer’s Man O’ War wireless headset. While I was really impressed by its comfort, quality of life features and overall sound, it was let down by awkward battery-preserving options and an underlying hissing noise. As much as I wanted to like it, I eventually went back to my studio headphones.

Since then, Razer’s released a wired redux dubbed the Man O’ War 7.1. Despite a few disappointing absences from the original version, the 7.1 fixes all of my problems with the original. I can’t really imagine using anything else for the foreseeable future.

 

Design-wise, the 7.1 is almost identical to the original wireless model. It’s the same size and shape (which for people with smaller heads will be simply too big), and has the same wonderful headband padding. I wear headphones for around 10-11 hours per day and have had problems with chafing with other headsets, but this has never been a problem with the 7.1. It’s a dream to wear.

 

A dream to wear.

The big adjustment to the 7.1 is the replacement of the detachable USB cable with a standard 5mm audio jack. This means it can be used natively on anything that takes normal headphones, such as mobiles and console controllers. The cable’s braided for strength, but slim enough for mobility. It also comes with an lengthy extension cable to make sure it fits in any system setup, but in my case it doubles up as a handy-dandy breakaway cord for if it gets tangled up in my chair and ripped out.

The cable has a volume control wheel which, unlike the original’s headset-mounted wheel, doesn’t adjust the system volume, just the actual headset itself. That’s incredibly helpful anyone who streams, LPs, or podcasts, as it lets you prevent sound leakage from the headset (which is minimal) being picked up by a microphone.

 

A handy feature for people who only have access to USB ports.

As the name suggests, the 7.1 has support for 7.1 virtual surround sound, and to enable this it comes with an external USB soundcard for it to be plugged into. While it’s claimed this dongle is proprietary and only works with the Man O’ War 7.1, I also found my usual studio headphones worked through them too, which might be a handy feature for people who only have access to USB ports.

 

Unfortunately, one feature that didn’t make the jump to the 7.1 is any sort of lighting. There are no RGB lights on the earcups, which is only an aesthetic problem that isn’t a big deal. The bigger deal is the light on the microphone is gone. The Man O’ War originally had a red light around the tip of the extendable mic, which could be used for quick reference of whether it’s active or not. It’s not a make-or-break feature, but it’s a shame to see what was a cool, useful quality of life improvement being chucked out.

 

The hissing is gone! A problem that’s plagued numerous USB headsets I’ve tried has been a soft but persistent static noise in the background, which made quiet moments feel like I was wearing seashells and not expensive bits of kit. Even when using the 7.1’s USB dongle, I’ve not heard any sort of hiss whatsoever.

 

I’ve not heard any sort of hiss whatsoever.

This really pushes into the limelight how fantastic the Man O’ War’s sound quality really is. The highest of high tones sound ever so slightly muffled, but on the whole the sound reproduction is crisp. Razer usually have a habit of pushing the bass way too hard and at the cost of everything else, but here it’s balanced really well.

 

It wasn’t as much of an improvement over the original as I was expecting.

The 7.1 surround sound works well, too. After a bit of configuration I gave it a try in a few games (predominantly Devil Daggers, as that game’s sound design is just top of the class) and was impressed. I have to admit it wasn’t as much of an improvement over the original as I was expecting, but there was definitely an improvement.

 

The microphone, even without the red light, is one of the best I’ve ever seen on a headset. I’d be more than happy using it for podcasting as there’s a decent lack of background noise. It’s still not comparable to studio-grade external microphones, but it is bloody good.

I absolutely love the Man O’ War 7.1. I don’t need wireless connectivity or RGB lighting, I just need a headset that has decent sound quality and is comfy to wear, and the 7.1 nails it in both of those aspects. There’s a few confusing absences from the original, and it’s definitely only for people with big heads, but this is easily the best gaming headset I’ve ever used.

A review unit was supplied by the manufacturer for the purposes of this review.

Manufacturer: Razer

Price: £119.99

Input: 5mm audio jack or 1x USB 2.0+

Release date: Out Now

  • Astonishingly comfortable
  • Great sound quality
  • No more hissing!
  • No lighting at all
  • Surround sound isn’t much of an improvement
  • Too big for smaller heads

The best I’ve ever used. It fixes the problems I had with the original Man O’ War, making this ridiculously comfortable and good-sounding headset a no-brainer.

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Joe is LPVG’s resident hardware nerd. If it’s overpriced and has gaudy RGB lighting, he’s probably drooling over it. He loves platformers, MMOs, RPGs, hack ‘n slashers and FPS, with his favourite games being Mirror’s Edge, Left 4 Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Oblivion and Dead Space. Don’t ask him about his unhealthily large Monsters Inc memorabilia collection. Seriously, just don’t ask…

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