Perennial peripheral manufacturer Razer rarely does anything by halves, with its range of keyboards, mice and headsets amongst the finest on the market. With the Makos the firm has entered the highly competitive speaker market, where it faces stiff competition from established players like Logitech and Cambridge Soundworks; a division of Creative.
With a rating of 300W RMS the Makos are amongst the most powerful 2.1 speakers we have seen for the PC, though with an asking price of £250 they are also some of the most expensive. The first thing to strike you about the Makos is their impressive aesthetics. Down-firing drivers mean both the satellites and subwoofer are spherical rather than boxy, a feature that allows for non-directional pseudo-surround sound from just two speakers.
In practise the effect is highly impressive, with the Makos providing a rich, room-filling sound. With a dedicated tweeter and larger mid-ranged cone in each satellite, the Makos sound considerably fuller than speaker sets like the Cambridge Gigaworks or Logitech Z-2300s, which have a tendency towards sluggish mid-tones.
Highs are also handled with suitable aplomb, with the speakers sounding terrific when listening to ambient and classical tracks. The bass is more subtle and refined than Logitech alternatives, but by keeping the relative volume in check, you’ll hear nuances in your music that would have been lost by the overbearing subwoofer in lesser sets. Rest assured that when the speakers are properly cranked up the bass is powerful enough to hit you right in the chest, delivering impressive performance from heavy rock and hip hop tracks.
In designing the Makos, Razer has made some interesting and unique design choices. Rather than conventional speaker cable, Cat 5 network leads and ports are used instead; long the choice of innovative DIY speaker aficionados.
The volume control pod is also unique, as it features touch-sensitive controls and glows with the now customary Razer blue hue. Initially we had some problems with the control pod, as we found it sluggish and unresponsive. This was actually caused by our own reluctance to read the manual. Rather than press the glowing LEDs themselves, you actually have to gently touch the area of the control pod just inside the volume indicators, where only the most delicate of contacts is required.
Razer’s primary audience is of course gamers and we chose Need for Speed: Shift and Crysis to properly gauge its prowess. Even with the volume at a mere 20 percent the Pagani Zonda’s raucous engine was enough to prompt complaints from neighbouring floors, whilst the minigun’s rattle was enough to bring a smile to our faces a full two years since last picking up Crytek’s seminal shooter.
The pseudo surround technology really works as well, with the Makos delivering a more expansive and enveloping sound field than competing speaker sets.
Many readers might be wondering if the Razer Makos deliver sound quality that justifies an asking price of £250, especially when other THX-certified sets like Logitech’s Z-2300s are available for less than half the price.
The answer is a resounding yes. Whilst the Logitech’s are undoubtedly powerful PC speakers in their own right, their lust for bass at the expense of other acoustic fidelity rules them out for serious audio aficionados, and although the Makos are no substitute for the finest quality hi-fi monitors, they are undoubtedly the best PC speakers we have ever heard.
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