Manufacturer: Razer
MSRP: $99.99
Sound Produced: Stereo with separate bass channel
Type: Wired
Primary System: PC
Also works with: Mac and Mobile (Headset Buddy required)
Connection Method: 3.5mm x2

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Basic Description:

In many ways, the Tiamat 2.2 is the big brother to the mobile-focused Electra. If you read that review, you’ll know that is a very good thing. While the form factors of the two have a lot in common, the Tiamat 2.2 is outfitted with two more drivers than the average stereo headset. Each ear boasts an additional 40mm driver dedicated to booming, skull shaking bass. To compensate for the additional weight, the headband sports a dual arch configuration similar to that found on the SteelSeries Siberia. This also enhances the comfort during extended gaming sessions while chatting with friends using the slick retractable microphone.

 

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What’s in the box?

Just the headset, but do you really need more?

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Aesthetics and Durability

As I mentioned at the outset, the Tiamat 2.2 feels like an evolved version of the Electra. It’s got the same ultra-comfortable soft touch leatherette earcup padding and the same general shape to the outer earcup. The big difference is that the Electra has traditional, discreet adjustments. The Tiamat, on the other hand, is very similar to the SteelSeries Siberia’s dual headband design. The implementation is altered, though.

This format includes an upper, rigid piece to give the unit shape. Beneath that is a padded segment that connects with the wearer’s head. Instead of having traditional adjustments, the Tiamat 2.2 offers dynamic sizing due to a flexible, yet heavy, plastic band that seems to coil out of sight when retracted. Whereas the SteelSeries gave me pause because of two thin wires on each side of the padded piece, Razer has allayed those concerns by designing the Tiamat in a more solid, sturdy fashion.

The Razer name is emblazoned on the top of the inner headband and the traditional serpentine logo appears discreetly on each earcup. The microphone tucks away neatly when not in use, but the inner rigid piece in combination with a flexible extension does not retain its form placing the element further from the wearer’s mouth (more on that later). The in-line controls handle volume and mic muting. It’s discreet and easy to feel out when in the middle of a game or podcast.

The outer earcups are hard, matte plastic that look good and feel like they would stand up to a beating. The outer headband is made of the same material, and even though it has large openings, feels equally sturdy. Just as with the Electra, Razer has balanced form and function quite nicely.

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Ease of Setup and Use

For most PC owners, you’re going to simply plug the 3.5mm headphone plug and 3.5mm microphone connector into their respective ports. For Mac. mobile and those PC users with a combination port, you’re going to simply use the headset connector, leaving the microphone plug dangling, but you’ll only get audio in. The in-line control unit features both a volume control and a mute button. The sound dial works perfectly across the board. The mute, however, is tied to the microphone part of the cable and there is no way to use the outgoing audio features out of the box for devices that support a 4-pole connector. This means that if you are using the Sibera V2 with a Mac or a Mobile phone, you need an add-on cable. These are most frequently found under the name “headset buddy,” and serve to combine a microphone and headphone cable into a single 4-pole connector. These retail for approximately $15. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is something of which Apple users and those wishing to pair the headset with a phone should be cognizant.

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Sound Quality and Performance Notes: 

BOOM. OK, I probably should go into a little bit more detail. One of the main things that sets the Tiamat 2.2 apart from every other stereo headset we’ve looked at (and listened to) is the additional set of 40mm drivers that are solely responsible for making your face shake. This has the exact effect you would expect (both positive and negative). The lower end of the range is full and ear quaking. At the same time, the muddiness you would expect by having a set of bass drivers is present.

If you’re a bass fiend, this is one of the best headsets in the stereo field to scratch that itch. Unfortunately, without the ability to tune the amount of the low end in the mix, it might prove too much for some listeners. I prefer something a bit more balanced, and wish I could have tweaked things just a little. The result is that dialog in games and lyrics in music seem a bit more distant than is ideal.

On the flip side, explosions, gunfire and the heavy bass track found in the dubstep that dots so much of gaming these days sounds amazing. I popped on Skrillex’s take on the theme from Syndicate, and I think my face is still rippling. As with everything in our headset guide, finding the right one is a matter of matching up  your needs and preferences against what’s on offer. If  you like standing next to the speakers in clubs, this is the at-home equivalent.

The microphone isn’t the best we’ve run across, but it’s significantly better than what we were able to get out of the Chimaera 5.1 (as you can hear in the sample in that write up). The microphone is partially rigid, with a flexible end. The malleable piece doesn’t hold shape, so it’s impossible to move it closer to your mouth and have it stay. The pickup is a bit hollow and distant sounding, but there are no significant pops and the noise isolation of the unidirectional element does a fantastic job. It’s currently noisy in my house with hammering going on and kids being kids. You can’t hear any of that in the sample below.

Recording Sample:

Razer Tiamat 2.2 Sample

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Comfort:

In my review of the SteelSeries Siberia V2 headsets, I talked about how comfort must have been a driving factor of the design. The more customized fit of dynamically adjusting headbands means that you won’t ever have to find the closest setting. Each time you put it on, the unit adjusts to your head shape and hair mass (in case you need a trim).The six protruding, additionally padded segments that actually make contact with the skull spread the pressure out effectively, but also create a more secure feeling than if they weren’t there. The thick plastic piece that allows for the extension also seems to have enough resistance that finding the right place on your head from front to back never feels overly loose, which is something that can happen with dynamic adjustment bands.

The leatherette used on the earcups is softer and cushier than some others. While it still left me a bit sweaty (as all leatherette does), the unit sits more comfortably around my ears. I’m vulnerable to overly heavy units and typically get an uncomfortable feeling on my left side around my ear and down my neck. I never had any of that thanks to how the weight is distributed by the headband.

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Differentiating Features:

The Razer Tiamat 2.2 is one of only three units in the guide that features dynamic adjustments. It is the only stereo model that offers a set of bass-exclusive 40mm drivers.

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Accessories Recommended/Required:

For use with a Mac or PC with a combination port or for optimal use with a smartphone that supports 4-pole connectors, consider purchasing a “headset buddy.” These devices combine the separate microphone and headphone plugs into a single 4-pole connector. You can pick one up from many electronics stores for approximately $15.

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Conclusion:

The Tiamat 2.2 is the most bass-centric product in the RipTen Gaming Headset Buyer’s Guide. With the use of a headset combiner, this unit will work with any computer and even mobile devices (though you may want to make sure you can secure the extremely generous braided length of cord). The retractable headset is a nice feature for those times when you’re playing solo, and even though the microphone isn’t the best in the bunch, it most certainly gets the job done (especially in the area of noise isolation).

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Products to compare:

 

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