- About the Razer Seiren Pro Microphone…
- Audio Testing, Observations and Conclusion
- Online Purchase Links
- View All
Disclosure: The Seiren Pro RZ05 Microphone is provided by Razer
About the Seiren Pro and its potential users…
The Razer Seiren Pro is a very versatile microphone. Armed with four pickup patterns with a choice of USB and XLR outputs & three 14mm condenser capsules. Naturally, the multi function of the microphone is suitable for people who want an all-in-one solution and have future readiness to increase the quality by using a mic preamp. While I would have like to say such microphones would be wasted for streamers and voice-overs who will use a single polar pattern, there are many times these users switch between cardioid and stereo polar pattern depending on their requirement at the time. Other polar patterns can be useful in certain scenarios such as group podcasting, round table conference, interviews and discussions. So if you are a person who has more than one usefulness either now or the potential future, you would at microphones such as this.
Between the pro and the non-pro
The main difference between these variants is the presence of XLR connectivity followed by a high-pass filter on the Seiren Pro. There’s also a 3.5mm audio cable extension which is not in the non-pro variant. Okay?!??
The difference in cost between the two is $US 70 more for the Pro version, naturally. When you buy a microphone with a multiple polar pattern design, you may think if you need to have some future-proofing, expansion option and some additional function. Is the US$ 70 bump for the Pro is the question you have to ask yourself. But you already did and hence reading the review.
As of now, I am testing its USB performance. In the future, I will be investing in a USB interface suitable to test different microphones. There will be a round-up between USB-XLR microphones in the near future.
Packaging and Contents
For a microphone, this is a very large packaging. It is a good one as it provides excellent protection for the mic and its contents inside. For those who are curious, the packaging was flown in via the Razer store. It came in a FedEx box with some foams inside holding the box which had a packaging wrap within it. The product packaging shows the rear section image of the microphone (section with its logo) along with the list of its features & functions towards the rear packaging. When you open the package, the top container has all the documentation and the microphone’s accessories. Razer provides a single 5-pin XLR to dual 3-pin XLR cable, a paracord sleeved USB cable with a mini USB connection for the mic and a small 3.5mm jack extension cable for the headphones. As you can see, the microphone is well protected within the two layered foam.
Features and Specifications
- HD recording with outstanding clarity
- 4 adjustable recording patterns (Cardioid, Stereo, Omni ,Bi–directional)
- Quick controls for pattern switching, headphone volume and mic gain
- Built in headphone amplifier with zero latency output
- Recording via XLR or USB connection
- High-pass filter – filters frequencies below 100 Hz
- Power required / consumption: 5V 300mA (USB) / 48V DC (analog)
- Sample rate: 192kHz
- Bit rate: 24bit
- Capsules: Three 14mm condenser capsules
- Polar patterns: Stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional
- 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
The microphone comes with a one-year warranty. I would like to see microphones of such class and function to have a two-year warranty.
Make no mistake! The microphone is built like a tank and no part of it show any result of cost cutting. The mic and its stand are all metal with the obvious exception for the control knobs. The USB cable has a good length with a paracord sleeves. The XLR cable’s built quality is also good as the same is said for the connectors.
The Seiren Pro is a very tall microphone with a table-top stand providing a base-to-tip height of 1 feet. It is a spherical symmetrical tube with metal grilles on top, upper and lower section with the mid section housing the controls on either side. Surprisingly the logo does not have any backlit just like in its non-pro version. The base has a good weight which helps to keep the mic in place. The base diameter is 4.72 inches and its stand height is 8.26 inches. It does have an almost 360-degree swiveling support, allowing you to adjust the microphone as you see fit. The microphone is all-black but has a matte finish all the way with two metal trims. The adjustment knobs on the side of the stands help to tighten or loosen the mic’s articulation to set the best possible position for recording.
One of the neat parts about the Seiren Pro is the OLED display to indicate the currently set polar pattern, its mic gain and monitoring headphone volume. Another key feature is the high-pass filter. The Seiren Pro can be used either via USB or an XLR interface while having multi-polar patterns to record in different situations from streaming to interviews, a round table discussion, teleconferencing or podcasting.
That OLED display can be powered up via its USB and XLR interface. While using the XLR, it needs the 48v power from a USB interface, mixer or field recorder. The mic uses a 5-pin XLR where you need to use the provided 5-pin to dual three-pin XLR cable which is then connected to a USB interface. The bit rate of the Razer Seiren Pro is up to 24-bit and the sample rate goes as high as 192 kHz. Its frequency response is 20 Hz to 20 kHz. This microphone also has a high-pass filter switch which filters out the frequencies below 100 Hz. This microphone has a latency free monitoring via its 3.5mm jack and also, Razer provides an extension cable for it. This is a good idea as some headphones may have a large jacket for its 3.5mm connector which will be an obstacle.
The controls are spread on both sides of the microphone. While some may prefer having all the controls towards one side, the display makes it easy to identify. There are two control knobs at the rear and it’s unlikely anyone can be confused with it. The front of the microphone is the part where it has the OLED display, the headphone volume knob and the mute switch with a green/red indicator in it. The rear has two knobs- ‘P’ for polar patterns and ‘G’ for microphone gain. You can identify the polar pattern that you’ve switched to as its symbols can be seen on the OLED display. The letters on the knobs do not move with it. The headphone volume knob is stiff while the polar pattern knob has a click feel every time you change it. The microphone volume is a bit smoother.
There are three 14mm condenser microphones inside its metal shell. This is needed as the mic has multiple polar patterns. It is important to function as one with least possible (preferably none) loss in quality and dead space. The 360 degree and top mesh grille are needed as one of its polar pickup pattern in Omni-directional.
The XLR and the mini USB are plugged in towards the underside section of the mic. Thanks to the swivel action you can move this section towards you and make the proper connections. There are two threads at its center- one smaller for a pop filter and the larger one for boom arm. The 3.5mm headphone jack and a high-pass filter switch are placed here. The high-pass filter helps to remove or reduce unwanted noise such as vehicles driving around or sound from any nearby electrical systems. It also removes bass as a result of talking closely to the microphone as much as possible to produce a cleaner sound during recording sessions. This will always stay enabled during podcasting, recording, a round-table conference in not-so-quiet environments. While there is no indicator for the high-pass filter, the switch gets pushed in when enabled.
Towards the front, the OLED display is very clear with easy to identify symbols whenever you set your volumes and polar patterns. The microphone mute switch is perfectly placed as some mute switches on some microphones are in the opposite direction with no type of indicator. What’s missing on this microphone is an indicator for audio clipping. Typically, most USB microphones which have a Power LED will glow red when you’re talking too loud for the recording to clip.
The stand is well made for the mic of such caliber. Though it is not a shock mount, the thick spongy base may dampen some of the shocks when banging on the desk or moving it around. You can remove the microphone from the stand and connect it to the boom arm.
Razer Synapse Overview
This microphone needs Razer Synapse one-utility-rules-all-Razer-products for the microphone to function via USB. It is strange as you would like a microphone to function as an independent plug-and-play, even if it is running at the base bit rate of 16 bit and 44.1 kHz sampling rate. I was able to listen to my voice via the Razer Seiren Pro’s headphone jack. But the system did not recognize it as a microphone to start recording on-the-fly. Everything worked the way it should with the Synapse utility installed. And there could be a good reason why it does that.
A reason for mandatory utility installation?
I believe the microphone has a sound card built internally for the mic and headphone, as the system’s playback setting changed from the motherboard’s controller to the Razer Seiren Pro. I can also listen to the system’s sound through the microphone’s headphone, unlike in USB microphones such as the Samson Q2U. In that microphone, I can listen to my voice via its latency free monitoring headphone jack- with the exception of Team Speak. You can change the playback settings in your system. After switching the playback audio, you can still use the microphone’s headphone jack for latency free monitoring. I would have appreciated if the Synapse has a toggle option for it. This isn’t the first microphone to have such function. But the USB microphones such as the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB+ has a dial to toggle between latency free monitoring only or system sound.
While I can’t say if AT2020 USB+ has a latency-free monitoring with the system sound, I can confirm the functioning of latency free monitoring with system sound playing through Seiren Pro’s headphone jack.
During this time, I got two free utilities- one for the Razer Surround Pro which apparently converts all headphones to 7.1 simulated surround sound and another Razer Cortex Gamecaster Pro for three months.
But still, Razer Seiren Pro should function with base bit rate and sampling rate out of the box as a plug-and-play device. Imagine you have to connect to a PC without Synapse for a teleconference that’s happening quickly. A plug-and-play device should function as a plug-and-play device or have an inbuilt flash memory which will automatically install the base driver to make it work.
The packaging is so good it might as well be a carrying case so all it needs is a handle. the lid of the box has a small velcro strip to hold it together. If you have a handle for a cardboard box, a little DIY gets that done but Razer could do that as well!
Should Razer sweeten the deal??
I would have liked if Razer provided the pop filter with the microphone for both the variants. Instead, it’s sold separately. Some microphones such as the Rode NT-USB microphone includes the pop filter and the Rode Podcaster has an internal pop filter mechanism inside its grille. A little incentive goes a long way.
Always room for improvement
A numerical value on the OLED display will help to set the microphone and headphone volume accurately. Many podcasters and users for such microphones carrying such units around so they will plug, unplug and maybe accidentally change the knob settings. It also needs an indicator for showing audio clipping during recording. The mute button’s LED when unmuted can flash red if and when the microphone clips.
Why the need for Razer Synapse when it does this??
Razer should provide the standalone drivers rather than having the user to download and install Synapse which will detect the Razer Seiren Pro and download the drivers. The driver installation file stays in the Razer Synapse filed under the Program Files folder.
Quality of Recording
The quality of these recordings via the Razer Seiren Pro is really good. With a proper acoustical foam padding on the walls to remove reverberation, the end result in quality can be better. But in the Seiren Pro’s bi-directional polar pattern, the recording from the rear grille section is softer compared to the same polar pattern recording towards the front. That wasn’t the case with Omni-direction which is using all three of its 14mm condenser capsules within. Even with the high-pass filter, the Razer Seiren Pro microphone picks background noise depending on your surroundings and pickup pattern. That’s the nature of condenser microphones and there are three of these inside.
The quality of the microphone is great and effective in most of the polar pattern tests. The plosives are not annoying as in Samson Q2U given there are no pop filters. Even the sigh of relief recordings are crisp and did not show obvious signs of clipping.
What gamers buy Vs. What gamers need!!
Naturally, this question will come up. Razer is a brand that makes gamer-centric peripherals, add-ons and accessories. I never understood why would anyone recommend a condenser mic for streamers and podcasters who would not have a proper acoustical setup. For those who are podcasting, streaming and doing voice over for videos, you need that one microphone that does one job very well. There’s a similar and older microphone that has the same function called the Blue Yeti and Blue Yeti Pro. Yet both are preferred by streamers and gamers for some reason. In the end, they’ll use one of the two- Stereo or Cardioid. I would like to see Razer have a well built dynamic microphone with unidirectional pickup pattern functioning via USB and XLR interface bundled with a shock mount, a desk stand and a filter.
The need for a complete kit!
People want a complete kit to get the job done. Even if such a microphone from Razer would cost between the Seiren and Seiren Pro, it is very beneficial for streamers to do that one job and have a complete desk mic kit. We will need a choice along with USB microphones like Audio-Technica AT2020 USB+, Rode NT USB and even Rode Podcaster as the number of streamers and voice over recording are increasing with the times. None of these have XLR connection but don’t cost as much as the Razer Seiren Pro. Razer Seiren Pro’s advantage here is the option to use the XLR, OLED display that works even via XLR and accessible controls. But compared to two of three microphones, Razer provides a tall design to be placed on the desk. I can simply sit upright and start recording.
Should you short list the Seiren Pro to purchase one?
For those who have that microphone that has multiple functions, I have no restrictions in recommending this. Yes, there are cons which can be solved easily only when and if Razer wants it to. For what it does, this microphone function well and it is almost a complete package. I would have recommended Seiren from the Seiren Pro but it does not have a high-pass filter. Instead, the button on the USB-only Seiren headset turns off the green LED on the Razer logo. Why couldn’t Razer provide a high-pass filter for that?
But you have to set the mic gain and the system’s mic gain properly. During the initial days of testing, the recording quality picked up everything and the audio was clipping. It was later I realized that there were two volume controls and you need to set them as you would require. The in-mic gain between 35% to 50% and system’s mic gain to up to 65% is ideal.
Excellent quality in almost all polar patterns
Fewer plosives distortion
Ability to use the OLED display via XLR interface
USB and XLR
Excellent built quality
Desk stand height
Swivel desk stand
Option to listen to in-system sound via mic’s headphone jack with latency-free monitoring function
In bi-directional, the mic pickup from the rear is lesser in gain compared to its front
No pop filter
only 1 year warranty
No indicator for audio clipping
No plug-and-play support
Needs the user to download Synapse to download the standalone drivers
— Hardware BBQ (@HardwareBBQ) August 6, 2017