Razer Mako Review Editor's Choice

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$399
Editors' rating:
The Pros

Powerful bass; Crystal clear audio; Excellent gaming, movie, and music experiences

The Cons

Very expensive; Requires more space than other desktop speakers

Verdict

This premium PC audio system is well worth the splurge.

Razer's Mako speakers are made for the gaming set who spare no expense. This $399 speaker system is the first to feature THX Ground Plane and ClassHD digital amplifier technology (which helps eliminate distortion while adding amplification). In other words, it delivers an excellent audio experience.

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Setup and Design

The Razer Mako speaker system doesn't even look like a speaker setup; rather, it looks like a medicine ball connected to two bocce balls. The matte black speakers all connect to each other using Razer's proprietary cables instead of standard speaker wire, but the setup was just as easy as any other system: simply plug the two satellites to the subwoofer, and run a single 3.5mm headphone cable from the woofer to your notebook.

An innovative volume control the size of a hockey puck plugs into the woofer as well. The puck features a touch-sensitive surface: press the center to turn the system on, and run your finger along its border to control the volume, which is represented by blue and red backlighting. You can toggle between bass and speaker volume, as well as two line-in controls for iPods or other multimedia devices. You can also attach RCA cables for outputting to a receiver.

Razer suggests setting up the speakers on a desktop at least 6 inches from any edge, and no closer than 3 inches from any wall or other object. This is so that the speakers, which have small slots on their undersides, can more effectively bounce audio waves off the surface and, using THX Ground Plane technology, create better low-frequency sounds. The ClassHD digital amplifier manages the speaker's power levels to prevent audio distortions.

Gaming

Our appreciation for the Mako's performance in Far Cry 2 began even before we started actual gameplay. The African-themed introduction music, which featured drums, a violin, and wind instruments got our heart pumping. While playing the game, we felt we had to turn the volume down for fear that neighbors might think we were firing a real gun. Our soft footsteps were easy to make out, and we could even hear a grenade splash into water after we threw it off a cliff. Birds were audible in the background, as was the breeze blowing through the foliage. A grenade tossed under a foe's car caused an epic explosion that rattled the glasses on our desktop and left us breathless.

Music

The light cymbal tap during the beginning of Dire Strait's "So Far Away" sounded like it was directly in our left ear and the incoming snare surrounded us as Mark Knopfler began to sing the first vocals. At higher volumes, the bass was clean but forceful enough that we felt gentle thumps in our chest. At full volume, the Mako speakers retained full clarity and we didn't experience any muffling or distortion whatsoever.

Then we played Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein," a song with a jubilee of instruments and with plenty of high and low notes; the drum solo just past the middle of the song was astounding, and the synthesizer build-up that followed was crystal clear as it bounced from the left speaker to the right. The entire song had depth to it, too; we could feel the guitars and synthesizer close to us and the drums in the background. While playing Jay-Z's "Say Hello," the vocals were much more defined on the Mako speakers than on less-expensive sets, and the floor bass thumped enough to shake the coffee in our mug.

Movies and Streaming Video

During the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade we could actually feel the waves crashing onto the boat. Even the whipping wind was enough to set the Mako's bass into full effect. Not only did the voices come through perfectly, but the background instruments during the theme song came through so well that a bedroom felt like a small movie theater.

While streaming Saints and Soldiers on Hulu.com, we were able to hear a noticeable amount of light clipping through the speakers while the video was playing back full-screen. When we switched to the high-def 480p version of the video, the audio was noticeably clearer and the clipping was gone.

Verdict

The Razer Mako is our favorite high-end speaker set. Even though it requires a fair amount of space to set up, anyone with discerning ears will appreciate the bass and clarity that these speakers offer.

Accessories Type Speaker Docks
Size 20.2 x 14.7x 11.4 inches
Weight 20.9 pounds
Company Website http://www.razerzone.com
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