Arriving at my doorstep recently was a package from Razer, a new gizmo for me to test out in my infinite wisdom as a Video Games Man. This time, the device of the day is the Razer Seiren Elite microphone, the elite-est mic in the Seiren series.
First things first, the most important quality in a microphone: how does it look? Actually, pretty muted for a Razer device. Contrary to the intense lighting and Razer green highlights of the Blade Pro laptop we recently reviewed, the Seiren Elite is a classic black, without even a highlighted logo to be found. Set on its own free-standing base, the Elite can also be detached and mounted on to a boom arm or other mic stand that you may have as your preferential setup for audio capture.
With the important aesthetic review out of the way, we can move on to features. The Seiren Elite features the usual checklist necessary for a mic; adjustable-angled stand, volume and gain controls and a headphone jack, and connects to your PC via USB – no mixing board required. The device also comes packaged with a pop filter to help block out any plosives from those hard ‘p’ sounds when you’re screaming, “Oh crap oh crap oh crap” on your Twitch stream of Scary Horror Game. It’s a handy inclusion, as plenty of mics in this vein would require you to buy this separately.
Stepping beyond the stock-standard features, the Elite does have a few handy bells and whistles for the modern audiophile. There’s an inbuilt high-pass filter to help block out any background noise while capturing audio, especially helpful for blocking any sounds caused by knocking your mic or noisy hardware in the room, though your mileage may vary on how effective this is. A digital/analog limiter helps to prevent distortion in your audio, which does come in handy when your volume is all over the place. There’s also an LED light ring around the mic that acts as a peaking indicator, lighting up red whenever your levels may be blowing out. From a bit of experimentation, this seems very responsive to mic-knocks, table bangs and screams. My neighbours may be concerned about me at this point in the reviewing process.
In terms of the actual recording experience, I found the Elite to be a pretty hard-working little device. My voice was captured well both close-up on the device and when sitting at a distance, although the background hum of my PC and a nearby fan weren’t completely blocked out. Despite its ability to capture sound at a distance from the mic, I still found the overall volume to be lower than I’m used to with other mics, meaning I had to dial up the gain more than usual – possibly contributing to the issues with background noise making it through.
I’m not sure what exactly being “streamer-certified” means – as the box proudly claims – but I assume it means it’s passed the test for capturing both screeching and offensive epithets that you never get in trouble for (topical!). On its own merits however, the Seiren Elite is a pretty decent mic for its price point of around $299 AUD, and the extra features do work well for a streaming setup. The low-key design is also less distracting if you’re going to be onscreen, though depending on your stream style the LED ring may be more a nuisance than an aid. There may be more cost-effective tools for beginners, but if you want something that’s going to make you sound like a pro right off the bat, Razer’s got you covered.