We’re well into a new year, and that means a new round of hardware from our favorite manufacturers. Today, we’re looking at Razer’s brand new, purpose-driven streaming mic, the Seiren Elite. It’s both a refinement and an expansion, offering a suite of features to take your streaming to the next level. Does the delivery live up to the professional-quality promise?
- MSRP: $199.99
- Sample Rate: min 44.1kHz / max 48kHz
- Bit Rate: 16bit
- Capsule: Single Dynamic Capsule
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Connectivity: USB only
- Max SPL: 120dB
- Headphone Amplifier Impedance: ≥ 16Ω
- Headphone Amplifier Power Output (RMS): 85mW (at 16 Ω)
- Flat Frequency Response: Yes
- Zero-Latency Monitoring: Yes
- High-pass filter switch for ultra-clean recordings
- Digital/analog limiter to reduce distortion
- Zero-latency 3.5 mm headphone monitoring port
- Flat frequency response for accurate recordings
The Seiren Elite is the fourth entry in Razer’s line of streaming mics, and it’s been interesting to see the series evolve. From the “large and in charge” original Seiren (which was also excellent) to last year’s smaller Seiren X with its built in shock mount, we’ve seen a refinement take place as Razer figures out exactly who the this mic is for. With the Seiren Elite, that answer is clear: this is a microphone for streamers who want professional quality without investing in an expensive audio interface.
If you missed out on the Seiren X, you’ll be struck by how much smaller the Elite is than the original. While it remains a bit wider around than many condenser microphones, it’s much shorter and lightweight. This is a godsend for users who didn’t want to invest in an expensive boom arm to mount it above a desk. The original Seiren was just heavy enough to make most affordable arms start to sag under the weight. With the Elite, I was able to mount it on a low-cost Neewer arm with no trouble at all.
This is also where I discovered the first of the smart, purposeful revisions Razer brings to the fold. The stand is nice and heavy, with a foam pad on the bottom for sound absorption. With the mic being more diminutive, it still sits a bit low for the best possible capture. Rather than detach from the stand using the two side thumb screws, it detaches from the base, allowing it a much greater range of movement even on the cheapest of arms. Along with that, the Seiren now ships with its own fitted pop filter.
Both of these things may seem small, but actively save you having to buy extras. An arm that articulates the way this stand allows can easily be over $100 and a pop filter typically runs another $10-15. With this mic, you can get away with a $15 stand and call it a day. So while the $199 MSRP might seem like a lot, it’s worth bearing in mind that you won’t need to be adding onto your costs later.
The microphone also features two key features that streamers should adore. The first is a built in High Pass Filter (HPF). This filter cuts out white noise, like the sound of case fans or other high frequency drones that you might hear in the background. The sound of your PC is the most obvious, but in forced air heating or even the sound of box fans in the middle of summer can be cut down with a nice HPF, When you’re shooting for professional quality in your recordings, background noise literally makes the difference between sounding professional and amateur. I use a silent PC case, so the effects were less pronounced in day to day use for me, but I was impressed at the difference this toggle button can make without compressing the sound of your voice.
The other neat feature is the vocal limiter. We all know how volumes can change mid-match, like when you earn that chicken dinner, but the Seiren Elite will intelligently prevent you from clipping by dropping the recording volume. This only happens when peaking and signals you with a red ring around the mic, so you don’t have to worry about your levels changing mid-stream. It’s a nice feature to eliminate distortion and take one more thing off your mind when performing for your audience.
Despite these powerful new features, the body of the mic is remarkably trimmed down. On the surface, you have a volume knob for controlling your system audio, a gain knob to adjust your mic’s volume, and a microphone mute. On the bottom you have a headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring and the high pass filter toggle. That’s it, simple and clean, with no RGB, only illumination on the mic mute and vocal limiter. There’s also the distinctive Razer logo embossed in black, but it’s a far cry from the OLED screen of the original.
At the same time, honing in on streamers has caused some features to get the axe. The most notable would be that the Seiren now features a single microphone capsule set to capture in a cardioid (unidirectional) pattern. This has been getting pared back with successive models, going from multiple modes on the original Seiren, to cardioid and super cardioid on the X, the only cardioid here. Likewise, the sample rate has also been limited to a 16-bit, 48kHz maximum, down from the lofty 24-bit 192kHz maximum on the original.
It’s hard to be too critical of these changes. While it was nice to see those higher rates and different recording modes, the reality is that it was largely overkill for even professional streamers. A 24-bit, 192kHz rate, for example, is wonderfully suited to recording instruments with a wide tonal range. Streamers are like radio broadcasters, though. They’re sitting in one place and talking at one volume (mostly), not breaking out the piano for a mid-match serenade. 44.1kHz and 48kHz are popular standards because vocal capture really doesn’t need anything more.
We also don’t currently have a “Pro” version of this microphone featuring XLR support. The Seiren Elite is a USB-only device. Users who already have an audio interface and mixer might be disappointed by this, but I suspect most users won’t mind. While it’s true that XLR does yield a higher quality signal that can be tuned inside an interface or mixer, these can also add huge sums on top of the cost of the mic itself. On a personal level, I also believe that the only people likely to notice the difference between an XLR and USB mic are current XLR users, but that’s just me.
And the Seiren Elite sounds good. You speak directly into the top of the mic, and the closer you are, the better your capture will be. It provides a rich low end to your voice without sounding artificially boosted while still maintaining the treble to sound natural. For streaming, podcasting, or content creation, the Seiren stands ready.
What we’re left with, then, is a microphone that knows its audience. The Razer Seiren Elite is a microphone that offers professional-grade features in a refined, user friendly package. It’s expensive, coming in at $199, but you won’t need to buy an audio interface, expensive boom arm, or pop filter, so in the long run, that cost really comes into line. The Seiren Elite is a refinement of everything Razer has been doing in streaming mics and is a clear example of how well they know their audience.
- Smaller and lighter for boom arm compatibility
- Excellent quality audio capture
- Included High Pass Filter
- Audio interface for passthrough and monitoring
- Included pop filter
- Smart base mounting
- Comes at a premium price
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.