Razer’s Thresher series of gaming headsets offer a selection of wireless gaming audio options across three tiers. There’s the basic stereo Thresher, the surround sound-capable Thresher 7.1, and at the top is the Thresher Ultimate. The $249 Thresher Ultimate builds on the Thresher 7.1’s design with a more capable base station that supports optical audio pass-through, and a convenient stand to rest the headset when not in use. It’s very solid all around, but it doesn’t really justify a $100 premium over the Thresher 7.1 and its USB dongle, and its performance doesn’t quite hit the peaks of high-end wireless headsets in the $300 range.
Big, Comfortable, and Slightly Awkward
The Thresher headset is big and chunky, with large, circular earcups that hold 50mm drivers behind plush memory foam earpads covered in faux leather. The headband consists of two solid strips of black metal over a separate, springy strap wrapped in fabric and faux leather and suspended on two thin, flexible metal rods. The strap rests on the top of your head, providing flexibility thanks to the springy suspension and keeping the metal strips lifted off of your scalp. The earpads are large enough to completely cover most ears, and surprisingly don’t seem to heat up as easily as some other foam-and-fake-leather earpads we’ve used. They also feature small, barely visible indentations of softer foam across the front, to put less pressure on glasses. The result is a comfortable fit you can wear for a fairly long time.
Controls on the headset are minimal. The left earcup has a small power button, a micro USB port for charging, and a narrow voice/chat mixing dial on the bottom edge. A similar dial on the bottom of the right earcup adjusts volume, and the two dials can be clicked to mute the mic and headset audio, respectively. The controls are a bit small and awkward to reach for, but you can get used to their position with practice. The boom microphone is a small, cylindrical black capsule on a flexible black metal arm that extends and retracts from the left earcup. A light ring on the tip of the capsule glows red when the mic is muted.
Besides the mute light on the microphone and a small green LED above the power button, the Thresher doesn’t have any lighting gimmicks. Very Razer-like green plastic highlights on the earcups give it some flair, but there are no glowing accents. This has been the recent trend in high-end gaming headsets, to reduce the Tron-like appearance of bright lights and make them look like more serious devices.
Transmitter and Stand
The Thresher Ultimate’s wireless transmitter is a 4.7-by-4.5-inch near-square that sits just 1.2 inches high, with tapered walls and a Razer logo on the top. The front holds a wide power button, which glows green along with an otherwise invisible light strip on the bottom edge. A small Dolby button on the upper right corner of the top panel toggles simulated surround sound, glowing green when it’s on.
The back of the transmitter holds two optical audio ports for input and output, a micro USB port for power and connecting to a computer or Xbox, and a USB port for charging the headset. A small switch between the optical and USB ports puts the headset in
A plastic stand sits on top of the transmitter, offering a hook to hold the headset when not in use. The stand is removable, so you can just use the transmitter if you don’t want a nine-inch length of black plastic towering over your desk or next to your TV.
Microphone and Game Performance
The Thresher Ultimate’s microphone sounds generally very clean. Test recordings were easy to understand, though they had a hint of fuzziness in the higher frequencies, keeping speech from having a very crisp edge.
Fortnite sounds powerful and deep on the Thresher Ultimate. An incoming storm gets plenty of
Overwatch also sounds strong on the Thresher Ultimate. Even at modest volume levels, explosions and gunfire sound punchy, with the clicking of Junkrat’s reloading animation coming across very clean and crisp. The action is easy to track through the stereo mixing, with voice cues from teammates readily picked out against the swelling soundtrack.
The headset’s bass-heavy balance comes through in
Styles of Beyond’s “Outta Control” sounds excellent on the Thresher Ultimate. The bassline and drums
A Solid, Slightly Overbuilt Headset
The Razer Thresher is a powerful wireless gaming headset with a comfortable design and plenty of power, even if its small volume dials are a bit finicky. However, it’s pretty pricey at $250, considering the only real difference from the Razer Thresher 7.1 is a base station that offers little functionality besides optical audio pass-through. It’s still a bit more affordable than similar high-end wireless headsets like the Astro Gaming A50 and Steelseries
The Razer Thresher is very nice, but both the Astro and Steelseries flagship wireless headsets edge it out just a bit in performance and design. If you’re looking for a solid wireless gaming headset but don’t want to spend quite as much as any of those options, the Astro Gaming A20 offers excellent performance, but with a less luxurious build.