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Razer Mako Speakers Review

Category : Sound
Manufacturer : Razer

Posted by: on 2010-03-27


Razer Mako Vs Logitech Z2300

Manufacturer: http://www.razerzone.com
Price: £250 inc VAT
Best Price: http://pricebomb.co.uk

Perennial mouse manufacturer Razer has been branching into other industries for some time, adding a range of headsets, keyboards and now speakers to its high-quality peripheral line up. At £250 the Makos are aimed squarely at the enthusiast crowd and at users with somewhat limited desk space as they are a 2.1 channel set. Whilst many gamers will baulk at such a steep price tag for a bundle comprising of merely two channels, these speakers’ specifications are top notch and with no less than 300W of RMS power available they are more than a match for other products competing for your cash. The all-important frequency response specification also speaks volumes about the Mako's capabilities - it stands at an impressive 25-20,000 Hz which is respectable even by Hi-fi standards. As they are downward-firing, the Mako’s 50W satellites are omni-directional, throwing their sound further than traditional designs. The aim of this is to produce a surround-esque soundstage from just a pair of speakers, and in our gaming tests it certainly delivers the desired effect.

Razer Mako

Speakers and Inputs

The Makos looks much more interesting than most competing PC speaker sets, with egg-shaped satellites and a sub woofer that shares more in common with Michael Schumacher's F1 helmet than it does with regular cubiod bass boxes. The satellites connect to the subwoofer via flat cables that use a rather unusual interface, namely CAT 5 network connectors. Razer wisely advises idiots against plugging their network cards into the active sub woofer; that will definitely kill your motherboard. In terms of ports there is a single 3.5mm jack designed to be plugged into  your PC, and a secondary pair of phono plugs that allow you to plug the Makos into a DVD player or other multimedia device. Razer connects the control pod to the sub woofer via a serial port which you can screw in for extra security. The lack of a digital input, be it optical or coaxial, is deeply disappointing for a speaker set at this price point, but as it's the only real negative we can apply to the design of these speakers we can forgive them this one foible.

Mako Inputs

Control Pod

The control pod itself is a beautifully designed piece of kit and is entirely touch sensitive. Initially we had serious trouble changing the master volume using the pod as it seemed inconsistent and unwilling to respond to our commands. After referring to the instruction manual we discovered the reason why. Most people instinctively press the LEDs themselves, mashing them ever-harder in order to garner a response. In actual fact the touch sensor is about 5mm inside the ring of LEDs and if you touch this area it will respond first time, every time. The rest of the Mako's controls are accessed via the centre of the pod where you can swap from output 1 to output 2, change the bass level and mute the device entirely if you need to take a quick phone call. Holding down the Razer logo in the centre turns the Makos on and off. A final nice touch is provided by two additional 3.5mm inputs integrated into the pod. The first allows you to plug in a pair of headphones whilst the second is a third line-in, which overrides anything plugged into the sub until it is removed - perfect for connecting a friend's iPod.

Razer Mako Remote

Razer Mako Vs. Logitech Z-2300

In order to properly compare the Makos to something similar we purchased a set of Logitech Z-2300s; another THX-certified 2.1 set that prospective Mako customers will probably find themselves considering. At  £115 Logitech’s finest are half the price, but are the Makos twice as good? In a nutshell, yes they are.

Logitech Z2300

Bass from the Logitech’s gutsy subwoofer is certainly louder, and it hits you right in the chest when listening to heavy rock tracks like Filter’s One. However, when playing back subtler tracks like Air’s La Femme D’Argent, they lack the required finesse to properly distinguish varying bass notes properly. The Razer speakers are more restrained and by this virtue produce a much more sophisticated sound. Don’t get us wrong, the Razers are still ludicrously loud, but the control pod restricts you from over-amplifying the sub woofer to levels where sound becomes distorted.

Whilst this might annoy the kind of user with a propensity to fill their 1991 Vauxhall Nova with 10,000W of 18” subwoofers, music aficionados will certainly appreciate the decision. Logitech’s satellites, although decent, also lack the mid-range of the Mako’s which makes them far less pleasant for softer rock, ambient and classical music.

Vauxhall Nova

Propa PHAT bass!

Obviously Razer’s target audience is the hardcore gamer and when playing first person shooters the Makos produce a suitably immersive soundstage. Crysis Warhead’s explosions were meaty enough to send pens rolling off the desk, whilst the pseudo surround technology was convincing enough to have us regularly looking over our virtual shoulders. The eerie sound track was also captured perfectly with deep rumbling bass complementing the soaring highs. The speakers were also superb for dialogue based games, with Dragon Age Origins sounding better than ever over this exceptional speaker set.

Conclusion

Whichever way you slice it £250 is a lot of money for PC speakers, but in the grand scheme of things it isn’t a lot of money compared to the kind of hi-fi you’d need to produce this kind of sound quality. For that reason we heartily recommend these speakers to those looking for a healthy dose of detail, clarity and precision from their music, games and movies.

Ian Jackson

Editors Choice

We Like   Verdict Score
- Oustanding sound quality
- Great acoustic balancing
- Extremely powerful
- Superb aesthetics
- Oustanding mid-range
  If you don't have the space for a 5.1 surround set but still want serious sound quality and superlative immersion in your games, the Razer Makos are undoubtedly the best PC speakers you can buy. Highly Recommended 91
We Don't Like
- No digital input
- Pricey for a 2.1 set


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