Razer Leviathan Review - A Sexy Sounding Beast
It’s safe to say that I’m pretty much biased towards games with good sound design. I would even go as far as that I would forgive a game that has sub-par graphics but excellent sound design. Audio and audio fidelity matter to me so I tend to be a bit picky with my audio peripherals.
I was honestly skeptical about the quality of sound that a tiny soundbar could produce.
When the Razer Leviathan landed on my doorstep, I was honestly skeptical about the quality of sound that a tiny soundbar could produce. I was also doubtful about its ability to enhance my gaming experience, since I am accustomed to using a headset whenever I play. I’m glad though that the Leviathan blasted my skepticism away and made my ears fall in love with it.
Packaging and Unboxing of the Razer Leviathan
The box of the Leviathan is well… huge. In fairness, there were 2 large components inside the box: the sound bar and the subwoofer. Note the use of secure packaging foam. Something to consider if you plan on ordering this behemoth online and having it shipped to you.
Setup & Configuration
Setting up the Leviathan was a pretty straightforward process. There are just a few ports for the Subwoofer, AC adapter, 3.5mm audio cable and an Optical cable / SPDIF port (if your sound card supports it). Once you have everything plugged in, it’s pretty much plug and play. No need to install any fancy drivers or anything; just make sure that the output mode on the soundbar is on the correct setting and you’re good to go.
Function & Features
Because I have a small desk for my gaming rig, I like how the Razer Leviathan is respectful with your space. It’s compact and should fit neatly between your keyboard and monitor. I do also like the cavity in the center of the sound bar for your other peripheral cables to run underneath it. The subwoofer is also designed to respect your space. It’s small and only has one wire that runs up to the sound bar.
The Razer Leviathan also comes with 2 pairs of foot pads for the sound bar. One pair keeps the sound bar in place while the other optional pair angles it either upwards or downwards depending on how you install it. This is useful if you need to position your sound bar pointing downwards above your head. Alternatively, like most people likely will, I positioned the sound bar on my desk pointing upwards as recommended by the manual.
The buttons in the center of the sound bar are straightforward. You have volume increase/decrease buttons; an output selection button to toggle between 3.5mm, Optical, Bluetooth (more on that later!); and a button to toggle between audio presets for gaming, movies or music. In addition there is a button to toggle Dolby Digital on and off if you have the Leviathan hooked up with an optical cable. LED-lit icons let you know which output and audio preset is currently selected. My only complaint is that the there is no indicator for your volume levels. You are left guessing at the volume level and this can sometimes be irritating when you switch between various media with varying audio levels. Although this is not a total game breaker, it’s quite annoying to have to reach forward and quickly change the volume when you switch between media.
Keeping up with the times, the Razer Leviathan also has NFC and bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to pair your NFC-enabled mobile device. Simple wave your device around the NFC sensor on the right portion of the soundbar and your mobile device automatically pairs with the Leviathan with little fuss! Even to this day, I still find this whole NFC technology amazing and convenient.
Sound Quality & Experience
Now we finally get into the meat of this review: how is the sound quality of the Razer Leviathan? For a quick and easy test, I loaded up Spotify and picked “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk which I was very familiar with. Once the song started playing, I felt the song wrap around my head. It was a really strange, but euphoric feeling. I could easily distinguish between the different instruments on the track, and the bass that was produced by the subwoofer was also perfect. It was solid enough to make me feel the beats through my chest, but did not bleed into the rest of the mix. Listening to music with the Razer Leviathan was definitely a sweet sweet experience.
Listening to music with the Razer Leviathan was definitely a sweet sweet experience.
After I’d gotten lost in some music, I wanted to test the Leviathan out with gaming — which is what the Razer brand is really known for. I opted for an FPS for this test: Planetside 2. I picked a spawn point on the map and was once again enveloped in the Leviathan’s sound. The rich ambient audio and sporadic gunfire from afar helped to build immersion. I soon spotted an enemy unit, got my gun sights up and proceeded to take some potshots at the sucker. I’m happy to report that the Razer Leviathan produced a very satisfying cycle of gun shots. The sound felt nice and punchy, and I wanted to keep my finger on the left mouse button just so I could continue hearing the wonderful sound that my gun was producing. I can safely proclaim that gaming with the Razer Leviathan is also a wonderful affair.
The only complaint I have is that compared to a headset, the Razer Leviathan couldn’t produce a good discrete surround sound effect. It felt too wide and it was a bit difficult to pinpoint the direction of some sounds. It could be that I’m too used to wearing headsets, which (in my opinion) produce better positional audio than speakers. The Razer Leviathan is still a solid sound bar that is enjoyable to use for gaming nevertheless.
I can safely proclaim that gaming with the Razer Leviathan is also a wonderful affair.
I also tested the Razer Leviathan as a home theater sound bar. Yes, I know comparing the Leviathan to a dedicated home theater sound bar may seem a little unfair, but I was genuinely curious about how it would fare against more conventional brands of sound bars. For reference, I own a Yamaha YSP-2200 and I use it everyday for watching Netflix, so I have a pretty good baseline for comparison. I hooked the Leviathan up to my TV and placed it on top of the Yamaha sound bar for a more consistent experiment.
On Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, with its good mix of action scenes involving plenty of shooting and car chases, the Razer Leviathan performed admirably, but it simply could not match the performance of the Yamaha sound bar. The distance between me and the Razer was now about 2.5m, up from its usual 0.5m, and at that distance, I felt the audio was unidirectional and just plain loud. The surround sound effect had been lost. This sound bar is really made to be experienced at an arm's length away from you at the most.
The Razer Leviathan really did exceed my expectations. Bear in mind, this product is meant to be deployed as close to you as possible; it was never intended to be a fully fledged home theater system. Instead, what it is is a very straightforward sound bar that is perfect match for your gaming rig, especially if you consume different kinds of media on your PC.
Price Philippines: P9,495 Singapore: $279.90
Official tech specs could also be found in their site