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Razer Leviathan V2 Gaming Sound Bar Review

Joseph Bradford Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

Razer's latest gaming audio solution may look a bit familiar to fans. It's a refresh of their wildly popular Leviathan soundbar, dubbed the Razer Leviathan V2. Improving upon the quality that has seen the soundbar used by many gamers out there throughout the years, the V2 brings with it a compact form factor, THX Spatial Audio, subwoofer as well as RGB. But at $249, does it do enough to justify the cost?

Specifications:

  • Price: $249.99
  • I/O: 1xUSB-C, Subwoofer power connection, Power port
  • Speakers: 
    • 2 x Full Range Drivers
    • 2 x Tweeter Drivers
    • 2 x Passive Radiator Drivers
    • 1 x Down-firing Subwoofer
  • Response Frequency: 45Hz - 20kHz
  • Power: 65W External Power Adapter
  • Connectivity: Wired via USB-C to USB-A cable; Bluetooth 5.2
  • Surround Sound: THX Spatial Audio
  • EQ: 10-Band EQ, customizable via Razer Synapse App
  • RGB: Razer Chroma Support (18 zones)
  • Comes with: 1 x Razer Leviathan V2 soundbar, wired subwoofer, USB-C to USB-A Cable, Power Adapter, Detachable feet for flat or angled positioning

First Thoughts

When I first unboxed the Razer Leviathan V2 gaming soundbar, I was actually shocked at how small the device was. Most of the soundbars I've seen are massive affairs, taking up space the length of a widescreen television or entertainment center. Indeed, I've held off getting a soundbar for my PC because I was afraid it would take up too much space on my already crowded desk.

Thankfully, when Razer said this was built with a compact form-factor in mind, they meant it literally. The soundbar isn't very long - in fact it's about as wide as my Corsair K100 keyboard. The way the soundbar is modeled as well helps keep things organized on my desk. It was just raised enough with the flat profile feet attached that any cables running from my mouse or keyboard could comfortably sit underneath the device without it resting atop them. Use the angled feet and you've got even more clearance.

The Leviathan V2 soundbar is, if I'm honest, a bit plain looking, though, compared to what we think traditionally of what a "gaming" device should look like. And I'm actually fine with this. It doesn't draw too much attention to itself but instead fits in with the dark aesthetic I've got going on my desk. Because it's so small, it fits perfectly underneath my Gigabyte Ultrawide Monitor, flanked by my audio mixer and row of Steam Decks

Razer Leviathan V2 Gaming Soundbar

I appreciate too that the cables provided are pretty long, for both the audio USB connection as well as the wired subwoofer. Since more and more people are using standing desks, longer cables as standard is now a must. It was great to be able to just use the included cables as opposed to having to hunt down a longer one from my growing collection.

Atop the Razer soundbar are a few buttons for easy access: power, a Bluetooth connection button, volume adjustments, and a source button. This last one allows you to, with a simple press of the button, swap audio sources on your PC from the Leviathan to a predetermined source in Synapse. So if you're rocking out to some Coheed and Cambria and a Zoom call comes through, it allows you to quickly swap to your headphones to take the call, for example.

The Leviathan V2 supports a Bluetooth 5.2 connection as well, giving you the ability to pair your phone with the unit should you choose. I linked my phone with the bar, but I actually can't imagine using it this way very often. When I'm at my PC, I'll use my PC for music or audio. If I'm using my phone at my rig, it's usually because I'm on a call, and my AirPods Pros work just fine for that. Though, it's nice to have the feature and use it sparingly rather than have it at all.

Speaking of, you may have noticed in the I/O section of the specifications the lack of robust audio connections. No HDMI, optical or analog options. Just USB-C connections. The Leviathan V2 is meant to be a PC soundbar and not really a general-purpose soundbar. 

However, it seems crazy to me to release a soundbar on the market without basic I/O options like an Optical In port. For many, this might not necessarily be an audio option just for their PC, but for TV and consoles as well. Not having the ability to hook it up to your other devices easily - or at all - especially for the asking price is a huge misstep. This is made worse when one of the best bars on the market, the Sound BlasterX Katana, does include these features and can be found for the same price oftentimes online.

Razer Leviathan V2 Performance

With that aside, the question really comes down to how well does the Leviathan V2 perform? Thankfully, the folks at Razer have built an awesome-sounding device to replace the existing Leviathan on the market.

With multiple speakers driving the sound, the bar has what feels like a huge, encompassing soundscape. Playing games like Final Fantasy XIV really popped, with "La Hee" shining even more than it normally does. The Lord of the Rings Online sounded more immersive, the raindrops splashing down in Bree sounding more realistic than ever, thanks in large part to the THX Spatial Audio built into the Leviathan V2. 

It's interesting: I really adore surround sound, but oftentimes I'm not using it for one reason or another. I have Dolby Atmos on Windows and, by and large, it's amazing. But there is something about the room feeling as though the sound is enveloping you versus through a pair of headphones.

The inclusion of THX Spatial Audio really takes the sound of the Leviathan V2 to the next level. Hearing the music from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings Complete Recordings, specifically the Dwarrowdelf theme in "Balin's Tomb, was transformative. The rolling timpanis crashing clearly above the strings, the punchy bass really thumping in the background in a very satisfying way - it was as if I was hearing one of my favorite themes over again for the first time. 

It almost felt like the rising theme as the Dwarrowdelf leitmotif rolled throughout the room, encapsulating me in sound. The soundstage of the Leviathan feels larger than it has any right to be, and it really sells the illusion that you're being surrounded by it rather than it just being directed to your front when sitting in front of the speaker.

Songs like Coheed and Cambria's "The Dark Sentencer" came through clearly, the guitar riffs crispy, each detail clearly heard. The drum intro to "Rise, Naianasha (Cut the Chord)" was impactful and sounded as though I was in the room with the band when the song was recorded. I was actually expecting some muddling of the sound - it's not the biggest soundbar on the planet after all. However, the Leviathan V2 proved me wrong as none of the music or games I played felt underwhelming or unclear. In fact, the opposite: everything I tested sounded great compared to even some of my higher-end headsets.

I was transported while listening to Gary Valenciano's rendition of "Spain" all over again. In my Audio Technica headset, some of the moments where Gary is scatting can be lost in the bass, especially when he's mimicking the actual bass line in the instrumentation. Even swapping headsets to the Corsair HS80 or the Victrix Pro AF doesn't always fix this issue. It's a drag because it's such an integral part of the music. Here, though, the Leviathan V2 delivers solidly, ensuring every aspect of the soundstage is clearly heard and felt at all times. 

The Leviathan V2 also has a ten-channel EQ, allowing you to completely fine-tune your sound to your liking as well. This is all handled through the Synapse app on your PC, though you can also mess with the EQ settings on the mobile app as well. The Leviathan comes with a few presets, from game, music, movie, and a THX preset, but you can toy with them to your heart's content. 

Many EQs I've used don't always feel impactful, but I think Razer's here does its job well. In the end, I felt the music preset was the best overall for my needs, and pretty much kept it there throughout the majority of my testing. I really didn't like the Game preset, as it felt like too much of the middle was completely absent. But again, these are all customizable to your liking and acoustics.

Proximity seems to be a major factor to the soundstage sounding as good as it does as well, though the quality of the drivers help here too. The Razer Leviathan V2 enveloped the room each time I really pushed the volume up, filling the room with sound easily. But even at lower volumes where I'd expect some parts of the soundstage to fall off, none of the complexity was lost in whatever I was listening to at the time. It was really, really nice knowing I could use this at night when people in my house might be sleeping, knowing I wasn't going to lose any quality. It also helps too that I can adjust the soundstage to be more center-focused for just this reason as well.

It wouldn't be a Razer product without RGB either, and the Leviathan V2 delivers. A light bar runs the length of the bar, illuminating the underside with, well, really any color you'd like thanks to Razer's Chroma integration. It's a cool feature, though I just set it to a spectrum cycle and left it at that (I know, I'm boring).

Razer Leviathan V2 Final Thoughts and Verdict

The Razer Leviathan V2 is the best speaker I've ever used at my PC, full stop.  In every application the soundbar performed admirably, delivering clear, impactful, and complex audio whether it's listening to my favorite band or running through Rak'tika catching up on Shadowbringers

But I can't ignore what's missing here, despite the good. For $249.99, it's hard to justify when you consider it'll mainly just be a PC speaker. Without the inclusion of HDMI or an optical out, it pretty much means you won't be using this to power the audio from your PS5 or the next movie night on your TV. It's possible, Bluetooth to an AppleTV is a workaround, but it's not ideal. And it shouldn't be required for a high-end audio solution like this.

While the Leviathan V2 isn't being sold as an all-purpose gaming sound bar - it's solidly being marketed as a PC gaming audio solution, when you compare it directly to its competitors, the lack of I/O is meaningful. The Katana by Sound Blaster does include an optical out and is, by all accounts, an amazing soundbar in its own right. 

For those who live on the second floor of an apartment or are in a position where the subwoofer will be a bother, it's nice that there isn't an actual need to use the subwoofer. The Leviathan V2 works just fine without it. I just wish too then that Razer sold the Leviathan without it as well. Maybe that will come down the road, but right now, whether you use the subwoofer or you can't, it's there. 

That said, the performance speaks for itself. Crisp, clear trebles, punchy, robust bass, and overall a soundstage that is complex and performant enough to drive any piece of audio you throw at the Leviathan. THX Spatial Audio really helps sell the soundstage here, simulating 7.1 surround sound in a way that I'm not sure I can go back to not having now. Games sounded more clear, with details popping out I never quite heard before. 

If all you're looking for is a quality soundbar for your PC, the Razer Leviathan V2 fits the bill perfectly. It's compact, it sounds great, and Synapse gives a great amount of control over the quality of the sound. Being able to easily swap between audio sources or Bluetooth with a simple press of a button is a nice touch as well.

It's unfortunate that the I/O feels lacking compared to the competition, and if you're hoping to use the soundbar for more than just your gaming rig, you might be a bit out of luck. At $249.99, it feels a little too targeted, especially when the competition out there offers more connectivity for about the same price.

At the end of the day, though, it's hard not to recommend the Razer Leviathan V2, especially if you're in the market for a new audio solution for your gaming rig. It's immersive, provides complex sound on what feels like a massive sound stage, and is small enough it should fit most setups. It's definitely one to keep on your radar moving forward.

Full disclosure: The product described was provided by PR for the purposes of this review.

8.5Great
Pros
  • Immersive, envolping soundstage
  • Clear, crisp sound loses none of its complexity
  • Compact size makes it easy to fit into any setup
  • Razer Synapse provides plenty of EQ control
  • Fast audio source switch is a nice touch
Cons
  • Lacks I/O that should be standard on a soundbar
  • Costly, especially with that missing connectivty considered


lotrlore

Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore