If you’re getting into streaming for the first time, it can be hard to settle on what you need to get started. Searching Amazon can be an exercise in frustration as no-name mics litter the results. Today, we’re looking at Razer’s entry-level streaming bundle which pairs the Razer Kiyo Webcam and Ring Light with the Seiren X condenser mic. Taken together, they’re discounted to $179.99 but is it the right first step for you?
- Current Pricing: Bundle: $179.99
Razer Kiyo Webcam with Ring Light
- Current Pricing: $99.99
- Desktop streaming camera with multi-step ring light
- High FPS HD Video (720p 60fps/1080p 30fps)
- Compatible with Open Broadcaster Software and Xsplit
- Connection type: USB 2.0
- Image resolution: 4 Megapixels
- Video Resolution: 1080p @ 30FPS / 720p @ 60FPS / 480p @ 30FPS / 360p @ 30FPS
- Video encoding: YUY2/MJPEG or H.264
- Still Image Resolution: 2688x1520
- Image Quality Settings Customization: Yes
- Diagonal Field of View (FOV): 81.6 °
- Focus Type: Auto
- Mounting Options: L-shape joint and Tripod (Not included)
- Cable Length: 1.5 meters braided cable
- Ring light
- Illumination: 12 white LEDs
- Color Temperature: 5600K “daylight”
- LED Diffuser: Milky White
- Buttons: 12 step ring dial
- Brightness: 10 Lux @ 1m
- Microphone: 16bit 48KHz; Polar patterns: Omnidirectional; Sensitivity: -38dB
Razer Seiren X Condenser Microphone
- Current Pricing: $99.99
- Condenser microphone made for streaming
- Supercardioid pick-up pattern to reduce background noise
- Built-in shock mount to dampen vibrations
- Mute button
- Zero-latency 3.5 mm headphone monitoring port
- Power required / consumption: 5V 100mA
- Sample rate: min 44.1kHz / max 48kHz
- Bit rate: 16bit
- Capsules: 25mm condenser capsules
- Polar patterns: Super-Cardioid
- Frequency response: 20Hz–20kHz
- Sensitivity: 17.8mV/Pa (at 1kHz)
- Max SPL: 110dB (THD < 1% at 1kHz)
- Impedance: ≥ 16 Ohms
- Power output (RMS): 125mW (at 32 Ohms)
- THD: < 0.5% (at 1kHz)
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: ≥ 85dB
Meet the Razer Kiyo and Seiren X. Each can be purchased separately and, in fact, we were exploring the Kiyo alone when we first discovered what Razer was up to. Razer is in tune with their audience, however, and seems to know that most new streamers want an easy answer. A “buy this and you’ll be set” solution, if you will. As a result, they offer three separate bundles for prospective streamers.
The first is what we’ll be reviewing here. It’s the base kit with Razer’s entry-level streaming mic. Purchased together, you’ll save $20 off the base price at $179. Not a bad deal when pricing out a decent webcam and microphone. You can upgrade the mic to the Seiren Elite and pick up more features for $269 at a $30 savings. The last kit offers the largest discount adding the Kraken Pro V2 gaming headset into the mix for $339, down from $379. For most of us, though, $179 is going to be that sweet spot.
We’ll break down each item on their own, but let’s not bury the lede. Here’s a video showing the kit in action:
Razer Kiyo Webcam with Ring Light
The Razer Kiyo might just be the best 1080p webcam on the market. It features 1080p/30 FPS, 720p/60 FPS video capture with a 4MP sensor. It features all of the bells and whistles you would expect of a high-end webcam: low light compensation, auto and manual image controls, customizable zoom and pan, and a quality autofocus. It’s real, most defining feature, and the thing that places it as king of the hill, is the built-in ring light.
A ring light, if you’re not familiar, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a light in the shape of a ring. It’s often used in professional make-up photography and by fashion vloggers because of the even disbursement of light across your face due to the absent middle. Placing it on the Kiyo gives it a definite upper hand in a number of ways.
First off, web cameras are impressive bits of kit but, as cameras, are pretty limited. They need a lot of light to really work their best and, for a lot of us, it can be hard to provide that using your normal, warm-hued desk lamps. As a result, the cameras crank up their low light compensation which makes the image more grainy and draws processing power from other important tasks, like maintaining a consistent FPS. In fact, if you’ve been running a webcam in 720p/60 FPS mode without a lot of extra light, you’re probably not hitting 60 FPS that often at all.
If you’re using a green screen, things get even more dicey. Without proper lighting, green screens can suffer from shadows, one, but also struggle to completely key themselves out of a scene. If you’ve ever tried to make a green screen disappear and found that you keep that ever so slight opacity, it’s probably because you don’t have enough lighting.
The Kiyo features a 12-stage adjustable light that goes a long way toward addressing these problems. You can adjust its brightness simply by turning the outer rim. With it on, the camera is able to hold focus much better and deliver a crisper image than even its closest competitor (and my last webcam) the Logitech C922 can in that same room. Likewise, because it never needs to use low light compensation, it maintains a much better framerate in 720/60 mode.
Additionally, since the light is much cooler and whiter than your average warm-hued bulb, the camera’s white balance is also superior, leading to a more natural image that isn’t correcting itself all the time. One of the biggest disappointments of the C922 was that it would over colorize due to my desk lighting, leading the natural pink tones in my skin to look almost orange. That’s eliminated here and thank goodness for that.
When it comes to the green screen, you’ll still want to pick up a pair of soft boxes if you’re getting serious, but the light is bright enough to help the area of screen closest to your body more easily disappear.
The downside? A bright light in your face. It’s not blinding but it’s definitely something you’ll need to get used to. But then again, it’s showtime, baby. Lights, camera, action!
Razer Seiren X Condenser Microphone Review
The Seiren X is a small microphone that’s designed to make streaming simple. Inside the box, there’s a metal stand and small extension cylinder. Both screw into place, allowing the Seiren to sit on a ball head with moderate tilt. It’s body is made of plastic but the grill is metal to keep the condenser capsule safe on the inside. There’s a mute button and a volume knob for your system volume. Along the bottom we have two ports, one for the micro-USB cable and the other for your zero latency monitoring.
The microphone lacks some of the onboard controls found on some of Razer’s more expensive microphones but has additional controls inside Windows. By opening the mic through the Control Panel’s Sound page, you can adjust the mic’s gain and sample rate. The level of your monitor can also be adjusted under its settings below the Playback tab, allowing you to hear yourself clearly and keep your levels in check. Having these controls on the mic is convenient, especially if you move the mic and need to adjust your recording level, but if you usually position the mic in the sample place, keeping these software-based in exchange for a few saved dollars is a good trade off.
The recording quality is good, though it is a little quiet. I had to turn the mic up to 95% to hit a -12dB (standard voice over volume) sitting about 18 inches away from me on my desk. At this level, you do get some white noise that probably won’t make a difference while streaming but will definitely be audible ina podcast. It’s not terrible by any means, but the Seiren X is definitely more noisiest of the Seiren models we’ve tested. The super-cardioid pattern does a decent job of rejecting rear and side noise, however, so things like keyboard clatter will be slightly less audible than on a standard cardioid streaming mic.
The X comes with a built-in shock mount directly below the cap, but I would still recommend mounting it on a boom arm using the thread on the bottom of the mic. Even with a shock mount, any condenser mic on a desk stand is going to pick up some noise. More importantly, a boom arm will allow you to position the mic closer to your mouth, allowing you to drop the recording volume and all but eliminate the white noise. As a bonus, its small size means that it will work with almost any stand you might want to use.
Here’s a sample:
Compared to megaton mics like the Blue Yeti or AT2020, the Seiren X does fall a little short to a discerning ear. Most users will find them almost identical, however, for a significant savings.
Taken as a whole package the Razer Kiyo and Razer Seiren X bundle seems like a good deal. The Kiyo has learned from the best webcams on the market and then topped them with the built in ring light. The Seiren X is also a good option for new streamers who want to keep things simple and get recording quickly. At $179 for the pair, the bundle is a good value that takes some of the guesswork out of getting started streaming.
- Good discount when purchased together
- Kiyo may be the best 1080p webcam on the market
- Ring light genuinely improves your stream
- Seiren X is lightweight and portable
- Seiren X is a solid entry-point to streaming microphones
- Seiren requires a good amount of gain (which causes white noise)
- No onboard gain control for mic
The products discussed in this article were provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.