Razer Blackshark V2: Specs
Compatibility: PC, PS4, Switch (handheld), Xbox One
Drivers: 50 mm
Frequency Response: 12 Hz – 28 kHz
I’ve liked a number of Razer headsets in the past, but the Razer Blackshark V2 is the first one I’ve loved. While most Razer headsets are too bulky, too convoluted, too expensive, or some combination of the three, the Blackshark V2 is a sleek, comfortable little peripheral that costs $100 — not cheap, to be sure, but also not that expensive, given how good it sounds.
The Blackshark V2 gets just about everything right. In addition to being comfortable enough to wear for hours on end, it also sounds fantastic for both games and music. For certain games, the Blackshark V2 even supports THX-engineered profiles for subtle and robust three-dimensional soundscapes.
As is often the case for Razer gear, the software is a little hard to navigate, and I wish it were easier to get the headset to fit properly. But these are quibbles in what is otherwise one of the best gaming headsets you can buy. Read our Razer Blackshark V2 review for all the details.
Razer Blackshark V2: Design
Unlike most Razer headsets (take the Razer Kraken Ultimate as an example), the Razer Blackshark V2 isn’t a bulky monster that could live only in a large gaming nook. The Blackshark V2 weighs just 9.2 ounces, and is both small and durable enough to stash in a backpack. This is partially because Razer is positioning the Blackshark V2 as an esports headset, and the company imagines that it will have to travel often — for when that’s actually possible. With that in mind, my one complaint is that the earcups don’t swivel, meaning it can’t fold flat. Adjust your luggage accordingly.
On the left earcup, there’s a detachable, flexible mic with a large foam pop filter. There’s also a volume dial which is large, easy to locate and has a distinct “click” when you reach its midpoint. This takes the guesswork out of knowing how loud your game will be when you first plug in. There’s also a small mic mute button on the back. The right earcup doesn’t have any extra features.
Aesthetically, the Blackshark V2 features a black plastic chassis with tasteful green Razer logos on the earcups. While it’s definitely a gaming headset, you could wear it out and about without turning too many heads. My only issue here is that the earcups are held in place with adjustable metal bars, which are quite pretty, but leave something to be desired in terms of functionality.
Razer Blackshark V2: Comfort
For the most part, the Razer Blackshark V2 is an extremely comfortable headset. The plush earcups feature both passive noise canceling and breathable memory foam, so wearing them blocks out a little noise while keeping your ears cool. The headband also features a generous amount of padding, giving every part of your head a soft cushion against which to rest.
The Blackshark V2 does have one significant shortcoming, though, and that’s finding a good fit. Rather than an adjustable steel or plastic headband, the earcups themselves move up and down, held in place by two metal rods. It’s extremely difficult to adjust the rods when you’re not wearing the headset — and when you are wearing it, it’s impossible to see whether the headset is even. Expect to spend a lot of time pulling one side down as you pull the other side up, or asking your roommate or spouse whether it’s even. You’ll eventually be able to get a good fit, but if you ever need to readjust the headset, you’ll have to start the whole tedious process over.
Razer Blackshark V2: Performance
When it comes to both gaming and music, the Blackshark V2 sounds absolutely gorgeous. That’s at least partially thanks to the headset’s incorporation of THX spatial audio. You’re probably familiar with THX as the legendary film audio company that made movies like Star Wars sound so memorable, but THX does indeed license its tech to home audio equipment, too. By default, the Blackshark V2 enables THX Spatial Audio, and can even recognize whether the program you’re using requires its Game, Movie or Music mode. The Blackshark V2’s stereo sound is good as well, but I turned the THX on for just about every application, and it made things better across the board.
In terms of gaming, the Blackshark V2 sounds great for any genre. I tested the device with Doom Eternal, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition and World of Warcraft. Doom Eternal was a particularly impressive experience, as I heard the roars of demons, the boom of my shotgun and the patter of enemy footsteps all in perfect balance with the game’s pounding electronic soundtrack. But listening to the chill orchestral score in Age of Empires was just as immersive, as was Lara Croft’s expository dialogue.
I was only able to test THX’s general audio profiles, but over time the company will add game-specific profiles to Razer’s Synapse software. These optimized soundscapes will include multiplayer games such as Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone, as well as single-player adventures such as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Half-Life: Alyx. Even Final Fantasy XIV will get its own sound profile, which should come as a bit of good news to fans who enjoy that game’s sweeping score and strong voice acting.
Musically, the Blackshark V2 did better than I expected it to. While many gaming headsets make music sound flat and uninspired, there’s some depth to the musical soundscape here. Both the Razer software and the THX protocols offer music modes, and they provide a big boost to the bass, as well as a finer balance between vocals and treble. I listened to tunes from Flogging Molly, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Rolling Stones and G.F. Handel, and found that the Blackshark V2 provided vibrant, nuanced sound with a fantastic balance between channels. It’s not quite up to the level of a pair of dedicated audio headphones, but it’s much, much better than I expected from a $100 gaming headset.
Razer Blackshark V2: Features
The most prominent feature of the Razer Blackshark V2 is its THX profiles, as discussed above. But even apart from that, the headset has a few good things going for it. First and foremost is its mic, which is clear and precise, and filters out a lot of unpleasant consonant noises. Just be aware that the mic is quite quiet by default, so you’ll want to adjust the pickup in the Razer Synapse software.
Speaking of the Synapse software, this is where you’ll adjust just about every aspect of the headset, from its equalization levels to its mic volume. I’ve gone back and forth on Synapse a few times, as it’s both feature-rich and a little convoluted. The options you need are often buried under a layer of menus. For the Blackshark V2 in particular, I found it a little obnoxious that you can choose only one THX profile per application. This does you no good for a program like Chrome or VLC, which is perfectly good at playing both music and videos. It’s nothing a little manual tweaking won’t fix, but I wonder if there was a more elegant solution.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Blackshark V2 connects to PCs via USB dongle, but it also features a 3.5 mm audio cable. As such, you can use the Blackshark V2 with game consoles and tablets. It’s not primarily what the headset is designed for, but you can get pretty decent sound out of a PS4 or Xbox One, if you don’t feel like buying multiple gaming headsets.
Razer Blackshark V2 X vs. Razer Blackshark V2
It’s worth briefly mentioning the Razer Blackshark V2 X here as well. While there aren’t quite enough differences between the two devices for a full separate review, the less expensive Blackshark V2 X ($60) might be a good choice for more casual gamers who aren’t quite willing to drop the full $100 on a mid-range wired model.
The Blackshark V2 X resembles its $100 counterpart physically, featuring the same basic chassis and similarly plush earcups. However, the mic is not removable, which is a bit of an eyesore, as you can’t quite position it out of sight. The Blackshark V2 X also connects via 3.5 mm audio cable rather than USB, so you won’t get any THX profiles or other software options. The sound quality is not quite as good overall, but it’s good enough for everyday gameplay and audio applications.
Overall, I found the non-removable mic somewhat irritating, but the Blackshark V2 X’s comfortable design and decent sound quality make it a good investment for the asking price. However, if you have an extra $40 to spend, the Blackshark V2 + USB Sound Card is well worth the upgrade for the improved audio options alone.
Razer Blackshark V2: Verdict
In our Razer Blackshark V2 review, we broke down the headset’s excellent sound quality, comfortable design and robust profile options. There’s very little that we didn’t like about the headset, particularly at its very reasonable $100 price.
The Blackshark V2 is easily the best headset Razer has ever made, and gives similar models from Logitech and SteelSeries a run for their money. While the SteelSeries Arctis 5 and the Logitech Pro X are also excellent options within the same price range, the Blackshark V2 is about as good as it gets for mid-range wired gaming headsets.