Is there anything Razer can’t do? Any demographic of gamer for whom they can’t accommodate? One of the peripheral giant’s latest pushes has been into the still-rapidly growing broadcaster market. People looking to get started on Twitch are always in search of the right gear and Razer are ready with an array of toys purpose-built for high quality live streaming. The Razer Seiren Elite microphone is one of the most recent additions to the hardware maker’s growing stable of broadcast tools and is easily one of its best.
After the success of their Seiren X microphone, Razer was clearly looking to up the ante with a premium-tier version for those who take their broadcast hardware seriously. The Seiren Elite does everything you could possibly want in a streaming mic — there’s audio pass through, there’s a red light indicator to tell you when you’re peaking (ie: being too noisy), adjustable gain controls and a windshield to keep you from popping while speaking close to the mic. It’s got a great look, you can easily mount it on a boom arm if you have one and it will fit right in with the myriad other pieces of hardware on your desk.
While larger than its cousin, the Seiren X, the Seiren Elite is still quite compact and much easier to travel with than a larger competitor model like the Blue Yeti. The mic’s face features your Volume and Gain knobs and a mute button, while underneath hides a micro USB port for power and a headphone jack. The mic comes with a solid, weighty circular baseplate for your desk but can also be mounted on a boom arm or separate stand should your streaming set up differ.
One of the Seiren Elite’s unique features is a High-Pass Filter switch on the base beneath the headphone jack. This feature is designed to filter out any errant low-end or low-frequency sound like the gasp of your aircon or bassy woof of your pet St Bernard from somewhere in the backyard. The mic also features built in digital/analogue limiting to keep distortion out of the picture, and the free windscreen to keep you from popping off is nice — you usually have to get those separately.
The downside? It’s $300 AUD. For the aspiring streamer, that’s a lot of money. For someone who’s relatively well-situated in the Twitch space, unless you’re Ninja or NL_Kripp, that’s still a lot of money. When competitor Blue Yeti is charging half the price and offering comparable features and sound quality, that’s a point Razer badly need to address.
In terms of sound quality, its quite hard to tell the Seiren Elite and the Blue Yeti apart. They both sound great — the audio is clear and clean. From what I could tell, the Blue Yeti was the slightly louder of the two — I found myself having to coax a bit more gain out of the Seiren Elite to get my levels right than I have on other mics. I honestly couldn’t detect much difference between sound recorded with the high-pass filter on and with it off. It certainly wasn’t enough to defeat the thudding of the three construction sites within two blocks of my apartment (luckily my apartment has its own built-in high-pass filter, our soundproofed balcony door). The high-pass filter did, however, come into its own when I deliberately started bumping and prodding the mic during a recording to see how it would react when accidentally knocked around.
So, in the end, where does this leave us? For now, I’m still recommending the Blue Yeti. It’s cheaper and more versatile with its cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional and bidirectional modes of use (for its part, the Seiren Elite is cardioid only). That said, many of the Elite’s features like the high-pass filter, the peaking light and windsheild are unique value adds in a mic that sits in this higher price range. If what you’re looking for is clean audio rather than an array of recording modes, then this is the mic you want. I think Razer have the scaffold for a mic that could take on the industry heavyweights here. I’ll be very interested to see how the next few iterations of this hardware look and sound.
Score: 8.0 out of 10
Highlights: Great sound; Feature-rich; Free windshield!
Lowlights: Woah that’s pricey; Not even trying to compete with Blue Yeti
Price: $299.95 AUD
Reviewed using a retail review unit provided by the manufacturer.