Technology

Razer’s Leviathan V2 is a great sounding soundbar trapped on PC

Soundbars are usually reserved for entertainment centers, but Razer is among the few companies that release soundbars designed specifically for the desktop PC Battlestation. It just announced the $249.99 Leviathan V2 sound system, following on from its previous iteration that launched in 2014.

The soundbar component maintains a similarly slim form factor that’s compact at just about 20 inches long and includes a wired subwoofer that connects via a long cable. The 65W soundbar itself is almost a pound and a half lighter than the previous iteration, making it easier to move around your desk when needed. On the downside, the subwoofer is about a pound and a half heavier and features a slightly larger 5.5-inch driver down.

The Leviathan V2 is packed with a few improvements, some more obvious than others. For starters, it has a strip of RGB LEDs on its underside that can be programmed to glow as wildly or not as you like in the Razer Synapse software for Windows. From a design perspective, the Leviathan V2 looks more like a modern entertainment soundbar than its predecessor, with more subtle markings. As for the LEDs, having some paint splatter on the surface of my desk looks pretty cool. However, one of my favorite additions is the included interchangeable feet, which allow you to tilt the soundbar up to better fit your ears.

Internally, the Leviathan V2 has two full-range drivers and two tweeters, like its predecessor, but adds passive radiators to the rear, allowing the soundbar itself to deliver palpable bass. But of course the wired subwoofer is there to further amplify those booming low-frequency sounds.

I’ll go into more features below, but at $250, the main stumbling block for Razer here isn’t just convincing gamers that this is a good product (which it is). It tries to convince them why they shouldn’t instead get their audio correction from another, more versatile type of speaker system for a similar (or less) amount of money. The main reason I’m bringing this up is that if you’re into console gaming or want to hook it up to your TV for streaming then there’s no way you should be getting this as there’s no way to hook it up to these types of devices.

Razer Leviathan V2

Each key behaves as expected. The leftmost button can switch to a secondary audio source.

Razer Leviathan V2

Passive radiators on each side of the Leviathan V2’s tail are new to this model.

This soundbar lacks an HDMI port and other common connections like a 3.5mm jack and an optical audio port (both of which were present in the original Leviathan) to route a variety of audio sources that would make them usable in the living room. Instead, it relies solely on USB for its wired connectivity. While it supports Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connection to phones, tablets, and other sources, that might not be enough versatility for you.

Even if you don’t know what features the Leviathan V2 lacks, it’s entirely possible that your taste in design leans towards the understated. There are numerous options out there that vary in price, but I’ve made my choice Kanto’s sleek self-powered YU2 bookshelf speakers. These connect to my PC via USB (same as the Leviathan V2), but also support audio-in via a 3.5mm jack. This allows them to work with my PC as well as my turntable or a TV if I had an audio receiver. These usually cost $269.99, but I was able to find an offer for around $150. Of course, this is just one of the many possibilities that exist.

Razer Leviathan V2

This soundbar is seriously lacking in ports unless you’re just on the PC.

Razer Leviathan V2 subwoofer

Here’s the new wired subwoofer that’s included. Sega Dreamcast for scale.

While the first-gen soundbar focused on Dolby’s audio technologies that were popular in 2014, the Leviathan V2 features THX Spatial Audio, which is a bit too complicated to use but sounds pretty awesome. As well as Razer Synapse, you’ll need to use the free THX Spatial Audio app to turn it on (it’s installed during setup when this product is connected to your PC). From there you need to set your main PC audio device as “THX Spatial Audio” and then enable the feature in the dedicated app. Note: There is a toggle between “Stereo” and “THX Spatial Audio” in Synapse, which would make this process much easier, but it doesn’t seem to do anything currently.

So yes, spatial audio is definitely a cool feature for a spatial, virtual surround sound effect, and a growing number of PC games support it at this point. I enjoyed it enough that I left the setting on, but some music sounded better to me with the setting off.

There’s also a new software-based “Center Focus” mode in Synapse that claims to put more audio right in the middle. While Razer said it works best with content with multi-channel audio, for me it didn’t significantly affect the listening experience with games or other content types.

I enjoyed listening to music on the Leviathan V2 as much as I enjoyed my gaming audio. On PC, it’s far from overpowered for my needs; I usually had it set to the lowest volume that could fill my delegated workspace in our studio apartment. Suffice it to say, you could bring the house down with this soundbar system. The sound from this soundbar is direct, clear and robust, offering a wider soundstage than I expected.

Razer Leviathan V2

The Leviathan V2 looks even more elegant if you decide not to use the RGB LEDs.

Razer Leviathan V2

Razer has thoughtfully included interchangeable feet that allow the soundbar to be tilted upwards.

If your PC space is anything like mine, it’s already a rat’s nest of cables that the Leviathan V2 adds. In addition to the power cord and USB cable, the subwoofer is wired. Given that many entry-level home entertainment soundbars typically include wireless subwoofers, I can’t understand why Razer left them out of this $250 system.

One cool feature to customize in Synapse is the source toggle button, the left-most button on the top of the soundbar. You can program it to switch to another audio source by tapping and holding this button in case you need to route audio to your headset on the fly. Another addition I like about the Leviathan V2 is that it can be controlled remotely using the Razer Audio app for iOS and Android. From the app, you can toggle between equalizer settings, adjust soundbar volume, change songs, and more.

If you’re someone who uses your PC as your main source of entertainment, the Razer Leviathan V2 will likely be the source of a lot of enjoyment. It’s not a soundbar for everyone, and that might be fine for some people. But given the somewhat steep price tag, it’s hard to ignore the many devices this soundbar just can’t connect to.

Photography by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

https://www.theverge.com/23033515/razer-leviathan-v2-pc-soundbar-system-review Razer’s Leviathan V2 is a great sounding soundbar trapped on PC

Fry Electronics Team

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