Over the last month, we’ve focused in on the premium streaming mic scene, first with the Blue Yeti Blackout and earlier this week, the Audio Technica AT2020USB+. Today we’re turning our gaze back to the realm of Razer with the Razer Seiren. Let’s not bury the lede: this is a fantastic microphone worth every penny of its asking price. It’s high caliber, versatile, and offers amazing out of the box clarity. Read on to see exactly why we enjoyed the Seiren so much.
First, as usual, the specs:
Price: $179.99 ($156.53 as of this writing) Connection: USB (XLR/USB available on “Pro” version)
- Power required / consumption: 5V 300mA (USB) / 48V DC (analog)
- Sample rate: 192kHz
- Bit rate: 24bit
- Capsules: Three 14mm condenser capsules
- Polar patterns: Cardioid, stereo, bidirectional, omnidirectional
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Sensitivity: 12.5mV/Pa (1kHz)
- Max SPL: 120dB
- Impedance: ≥ 16ohms
- Power output (RMS): 130mW (@16 Ohms)
- Frequency response: 15Hz – 22kHz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: 114dB
A Mic Made for Streamers
Like the other microphones we’ve looked at, the Seiren is a condenser mic. The decision to design the Seiren around condenser technology instead of a lower cost Dynamic alternative is hardly surprising given its target demographic and the current market for streaming mics. When its most direct competition feature are almost universally condenser style mics, and have already set high precedents of quality, it’s fitting that Razer would go toe to toe in that same realm. More importantly, condenser microphones are just plain great for capturing any kind of vocal work but especially the spoken word. For streamers that may be making their way from a headset, the quality jump is incredible. That they’re also quite capable at other types of content, such as instrumentals for you musicians out there, is just icing on the home studio cake.
The Seiren is very clearly a premium product. It comes in packaging that is nothing short of exceptional, with nice gloss and graphics and a big “welcome to the cult of Razer” open-armed welcome to your new product. The mic itself comes mounted on a nice heavy duty metal stand and weighs just under two and a half pounds. The barrel-like body is wholly metal and feels quite durable and travel safe; I would have no qualms throwing it in my suitcase before hopping on a plane (though, a case is still a good idea). It also stands just under 12” tall. On a desktop, it won’t be at mouth level, but it’s certainly high enough to pick up every nuance of your speech without having to lean down.
The Seiren is big and striking, but that size comes at a cost. Finding a third-party shock mount is more of a challenge, though Razer offers their own if you’d prefer to keep things in house. You’ll also want to invest in a boom arm if you’d like to position the Seiren nearer to your face. Thankfully, this is an easier task than with the substantially heavier Yeti, but you’ll still need to do some research to make sure it can support the extra weight over a smaller standard mic.
A Cut Above in Recording Quality
The Seiren features a triplet of condenser capsules, allowing for four polar patterns. This lends it a versatility that’s bolstered by its recording capabilities. Most users will stick to cardioid mode (directional, as when speaking into a mic during a stream). There is also a stereo mode, for left and right channel recording, an interview mode which captures from the front and rear, and an omnidirectional mode which samples from a radius around the microphone. Latency free headphone monitoring also allows you to hear yourself in real-time, as well as allow the Seiren to act as a sound card, delivering all of your PC audio to boot.
What really makes this mic special, however, is that it simply offers a higher recording quality than virtually every other microphone in its price range. Whereas the majority of sub-$250 microphones record in 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz format - CD and DVD quality, according to Windows - the Seiren is able to record at 24-bit rate of 192kHz! It takes a trained ear to hear the difference, but over my years of podcasting, I’ve done exactly that with the spoken word, and the Razer sounds definably more true to life.
Here you can hear the Razer Seiren in action, compared against the Blue Yeti, AT2020USB+, and the Steelseries Siberia 800 wireless headset.
This also makes the Seiren a uniquely good choice in its class for gamers who might double as musicians. When quality matters, you look to bitrate and sampling to tell the tale - at least in part. Like every microphone, the Elite has its own character, here honoring the high end of the spectrum a touch more than many of its competitors who opt for slightly more bass resonance. Whether that’s good or bad is up to personal preference - character here can mean more than sampling rate - but I find the reproduction to be more “true to life” and therefore real than many others used for streaming.
It’s also worth noting that the Seiren is plug and play ready. You can install Synapse if you wish, but you can also make any changes you need in the control panel or on the device itself.
The Razer Extras
The Seiren is one of the few illuminated microphones I’ve seen, featuring a bright green Razer logo on the rear (camera facing) side. There is a switch to disable this on the bottom, if that’s your taste, but I actually rather liked it. The black and green in Razer’s logo has always looked good, but the bright trim lighting on Seiren is definitely appealing. No Chroma, though, which is too bad, so it’s green or nothing.
The other unique feature of the mic is the backlit OLED screen. It might seem like a small addition, but it’s an important one. The Razer, like the Yeti before it, feature their polar pattern and gain knobs on the rear. Getting an eye on these means physically turning it around. Being able to quickly check the screen and see exactly what your pattern and levels are is a great quality of life improvement, especially if your recording conditions change.
There’s no question, the Razer Seiren Elite is a premium microphone that punches above its class. It’s MSRP of $179.99 might seem high, but when you consider that it offers capabilities into the $250 price range, that price seems much more reasonable. All of the microphones we’ve reviewed this month have been great, but the Seiren is the only one to offer this higher caliber of performance. That it also offers a nice little OLED screen, exceptional build quality, and optional illumination just makes it that much better.
- Excellent build quality
- Captures at a level above its price class
- OLED screen is a nice QoL addition
- Multiple polar patterns add versatility
- Larger size makes third-party accessories more difficult to find
The product discussed in this review was provided by the manufacturer.