Most gaming headsets are over-ear headphones with boom microphones attached. The in-ear Razer Ifrit, on the other hand, is a plastic halo with earpieces that dangle from the sides and a boom mic that extends forward, making it an appealing option for streamers and Let’s Players who want to record commentary without messing up their hair. It’s even more appealing for duos who want to record together, thanks to an included USB sound card with two headset jacks for simultaneous audio playback and capture. It’s disappointing, therefore, that the headset’s sound and mic quality simply don’t live up to its $99.99 price, especially compared with other models from Razer.
The Ifrit headset is a simple black plastic headband that wraps around your ears and the back of your head like backwards glasses. Individual earphones on short, five-inch wires extend from just behind the ear hooks, ready to pop into your ears. An eight-foot wire terminating in a four-pole 3.5mm plug runs down from behind the left earphone cable. A boom microphone capsule with a black foam cover sits on a flexible arm that runs forward from the tip of the left ear hook.
The headband is designed to be one-size-fits-all, and its flexible plastic build has enough give to rest fairly comfortably on my large head. It isn’t the most secure or comfortable fit, though; the ear hooks don’t pinch, but the headband still exerts a very light, steady pressure across the back of the head.
The earpieces appear to be very similar to Razer’s Hammerhead earphones, with 10mm dynamic drivers built into textured black metal cases with green Razer logos on the back panel of each. The headset comes with a pair of dual-flange silicone ear tips and multiple sizes of single-flanged silicone ear tips, but no hooks or fins to stabilize them in the ear.
USB Sound Card and Connectivity
The included USB Audio Enhancer (available on its own for $19.99) is a sound card built into a small, rectangular plastic box mounted on a six-foot USB cable. It features a single large microphone mute button on the top panel, joined with green and red LEDs that show mic status. A volume rocker sits on the right side of the box, and can be pressed to mute all audio.
The most interesting aspects of the USB Audio Enhancer are its two 3.5mm ports on the bottom panel, opposite the USB cable. Each four-pole ports supports a full headset, which means up to two users can plug their headsets into the box and both listen to system audio and speak into their mics at the same time. This is a useful configuration for any recording or streaming setup where two people are providing commentary. Curiously, there is no two-Ifrit bundle to work with the Audio Enhancer, and the Ifrit isn’t available on its own, so you’ll need to get a separate headset.
The Ifrit and USB Audio Enhancer are intended to be used together with a PC. However, since the Ifrit is a stereo headset with a 3.5mm plug, it will work on its own with any modern game system, or any phone or tablet with a headphone jack.
This bundle is primarily for streaming and recording, so you won’t find many game-oriented bells and whistles with the headset or the sound card. There’s no simulated surround sound, no colored lighting, not even a programmable equalizer through Razer’s Synapse software (which this product doesn’t work with). The “audio enhancer” part of the USB Audio Enhancer is specifically for the sound going into it, providing analog-to-digital conversion of the microphone input. You’ll get perfectly fine stereo sound from the Ifrit, but you won’t get the surround sound or customizable audio performance you get with Razer’s Kraken Ultimate or Nari Essential.
The microphone on the Ifrit sounds good, producing test recordings of my voice with full sound and no sibilance. The mic isn’t quite as good as the capsules and audio processing found on the Kraken Ultimate or Nari Essential headsets, though. I detected a bit of faint hiss, likely from the fans of my computer, and my voice wasn’t quite as clean or crisp as it is through the headsets.
Of course, if you’re really serious about recording or streaming, you should consider getting a dedicated USB microphone.
The Ifrit can put out some powerful, mids-focused sound when connected through the USB Audio Enhancer. Its digital-to-audio conversion (DAC) function sends a strong signal to the headset, which can get very loud even at modest volume levels. At maximum (and unsafe) volume, the bass drum hits and synth notes in our bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” sound nearly head-rattling. The earphones don’t reach too deep into the sub-bass realm, but they offer some strong bass response.
Yes’ “Roundabout” demonstrates the Ifrit’s general audio balance, which leans toward the mids. The opening acoustic guitar plucks get some string texture and resonance, but don’t sound quite as crisp as headsets with more high-frequency finesse. When the rest of the track kicks in, the electric bass, drums, and guitar strums can all be clearly heard, and the vocals get enough presence in the busy mix. The Ifrit doesn’t reach for extremes, but it provides a solid sound that covers all of the important aspects of the track.
The driving backbeat in The Crystal Method’s “Born Too Slow” doesn’t dominate the mix like it can with headsets that reach deeper into the lower frequencies, but the drum hits still properly set the pace against the guitar riffs and screeching vocals. Again, the higher frequencies don’t get too much presence compared with the mids, but the relatively low dynamic range makes for a balanced sound that keeps all of the elements in the mix clear and distinct.
A Unique Approach
The Razer Ifrit is an interesting headset with a unique design, and the included USB Audio Enhancer lets you connect an additional headset for two-player commentary. Its sound quality doesn’t quite measure up to its $100 price, though, especially when Razer has excellent headsets like the Nari Essential that offer better, over-ear sound for around the same price.
The Ifrit’s boom mic, rare in in-ear headphones, can be handy if you don’t already have a headset with a good microphone, but again Razer’s similarly priced over-ear headsets already have superior mics, especially the noise-canceling Kraken Ultimate. The other headsets also let you tweak audio performance through Razer’s Synapse software, which the Ifrit and its sound card don’t support. With that in mind, you’ll probably be better served by getting the USB Audio Enhancer on its own for $20 and the Kraken Tournament Edition or a dedicated USB mic with bidirectional or omnidirectional configurations for recording multiple players.
Razer Ifrit and USB Audio Enhancer Specs
|Connection Type||USB, Stereo 3.5mm|
|Active Noise Cancellation||No|