Much like Beats by Dre and Under Armour, Razer has been established as a lifestyle brand for quite some time now. With their serpentine theming, green-on-black aesthetic, and dedication to RGB domination, Razer has a pedigree for premium products… that usually come with a premium price.
When we were offered the opportunity to review the newest iteration of Razer’s Hammerhead line of earbuds, we had an idea of what we were in for, but we were not expecting what we experienced. This is out review of the Hammerhead Duo by Razer.
- MSRP: $59.99 USD
- Driver type: Dynamic Driver with Balanced Armature Driver
- Sensitivity: 112 ± 3 dB (Max SPL)
- Frequency response: 20Hz - 20KHz
- Construction: Aluminum frame, braided cabling, in-line controls with mic
- Included Accessories: 3 silicone ear tip sizes
Upon unboxing the Hammerhead Duo, you are greeted by a fold out, containing a message from Razer co-founder, CEO, and creative director, Min-Liang Tan describing the product before you. Opposite of this description is the product itself, firmly secured in a padded display with the cabling held together by a rubber, reusable cable tie.
The Hammerhead Duo comes with three sizes of soft silicon tips to choose from, not unlike those found in other modern headsets. The earbuds themselves have a sturdy feel, thanks to their aluminum construction, with a brand jewel accenting the backs. These earbuds are attached to rubber-encased cables until the two join into one braided cable, leading to an angled 3.5mm jack.
It is important to note that there are two versions of the Hammerhead Duo that Razer released and this is where the two products branch off from one another: the in-line controls. Where the version we are reviewing has a standard in-line mic with a Volume Up and Volume Down button along with a Center Control switch for summoning digital assistants as well as managing calls and music, the version geared to Nintendo Switch users replaces those with a simple mic mute switch and swaps the green three-headed snake jewels for silver ones.
(Side note: There is also a USB-C version of the Hammerhead that has active noise canceling. Those run about $99.99 USD)
We need to divert a bit from the in-line controls and talk about the 3.5mm analogue jack. Keep in mind that what I am about to share is less of a critique on Razer’s design, but one on the industry standards (or lack thereof) used for wiring these connects.
By the nature of what it is required to do, the 3.5mm jack has a tip-ring-ring-sleeve (or TRRS) configuration with each segment controlling a different part of the device. Where this gets tricky is that there are two different industry standards with different grounding points and neither plays well with the other. Add on top of that the meddling of manufacturers and the same headset that works with your Playstation 4 remote will not work with, say, your iPhone.
This is where we need to issue a buyer beware: while the Hammerhead Duo will work with on Apple devices, the in-line controls go bonkers when trying to use them. The volume up or down will take the device to the extreme ends of the spectrum with no middle ground to be had.
With all of this considered, but how do they sound?
In order to discern the quality of sound produced by the Hammerhead Duo, I have a gamut of tracks that I run audio products through alongside the gaming experience to test high, mid, and low end responses. This selection includes everything from musical selections including symphonic scores, technical rock, and EDM to the spoken word. After running those tests, here is what I found:
Whether you are listening to mellow acoustic tunes, soaring guitar riffs, ambient EDM jams, the filthiest of bass drops, or heading into a hot combat zone, the Hammerhead Duo has you covered. The combination of the dynamic- and balanced armature drivers gives frequencies in the lower registers presence without muddying the mix while affording space for the higher frequencies to be clear and crisp without being piercing.
One observation that I did make while using the Hammerhead Duo is that its sweet spot for fully articulate sound is within the ~15% - 60% range, dependent on the output of your device. While they do get decent sound at lower volumes, the balance in far more pleasing within this range. Once you get above that threshold, you get into that piercing territory with the higher register.
Since my last experience with Razer headphones was an early version of the Kraken Chroma, I was not quite sure what to expect with the Hammerhead Duo. While the older Kraken are a decent pair of headphones in their own right, but I found them lacking at lower volumes. The Hammerhead - while a completely different breed of headphones themselves - really surprised me with the overall soundscape produced. These will be my new go-to headphones for travel.
While you can find earbuds that are cheaper wired earbuds on the market, the Hammerhead Duo offers dual drivers, a great soundscape at a competitive price. They look good and sound even better, even if they don’t have RGB or Chroma integration.
- Sleek, sturdy design with minimal branding
- Dual drivers create a high quality soundscape for both music and gaming
- Competitive pricing
- Sound balance begins to degrade at higher volumes
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.