A few months back, we were introduced to the Razer Mako, a 2.1 speaker system featuring solid audio delivery and well-designed aesthetics. When we finally received a review unit, we found that there were more revelations lying in wait for us to discover.
Whilst un-boxing the Razer Mako, the first noticeable thing will be its substantial weight. Though both satellite speakers are of reasonable proportions, the same can't be said for the woofer, which is one heavy pod for its size. Still, its dome-shaped design gives the Mako a pleasing futuristic look.
Unlike conventional speakers, Razer utilizes propriety jacks akin to an Ethernet port for its satellite connections. Two output ports are available, with a 3.5mm audio jack from the woofer to the audio card output and a RCA port that allows you to utilize the Mako as a pseudo home theater system.
The Mako's touch sensitive control pod gains full access to the unit with the woofer acting as the main hub. Its control interface includes the following functions: the power button, indicated by the glowing Razer logo, a switch for Mute, Line 1, Line 2, Volume and Bass and lastly, a scroller that controls either Volume or Bass levels. Though some might find it similar to Logitech's Z10 interface, the Mako's control pod definitely isn't what the Z10 is. With the Mako, the need for a full contact point to operate the control pod places unnecessary hassle on the user, since more pressure is required to register an input.
Coming to the test proper, we chose a few selected compressed audio tracks at 192kbps and 128kbps bitrates to determine audio fidelity. The Mako sounded a little underpowered with its 120Hz crossover frequency, and delivered average performance on bass levels through its 50W satellite speakers on Fatboy Slim's bass-heavy "Right Here, Right Now" track. Lower frequency ranges on the other hand were decent with minimal distortions at high volumes, and vocals were well defined at mid-range, as tested with "Hell Freezes Over" by Eagles on an XRCD2. On a gaming level, we took Petroglyph's "Universe At War" for a spin, and true to its purpose, the Mako delivered an impeccable audio experience surrounded with the game's mechanized voices and alien war machines.
Further tests were conducted to determine the audio quality based on its ClassHD digital amplifier technology, which is really a double-edged sword. By providing varying power on the amplifier based on its necessity, distortion is reduced drastically but tests on THX certified films such as "The Lion King 3" showed that there was a compromise in its loudness due to a limitation of its power delivery to the amplifier to lower distortion levels.
While conventional 2.1 speakers tend to send audio output in a single, narrow direction, we were impressed with the Mako's omni-directional satellite output. More importantly, the downward-firing design of the satellite speakers utilizes your desktop as an intermediate medium, which amplifies the audio waves and creates a virtual 360 degree experience.
With a track record of producing state-of-the-art gaming peripherals, Razer's foray to excite gamers with its very own audio system for gaming purposes could provide stiff competition for its fellow rivals such as Bose's Companion 5 and Harmon Kadon's SoundSticks II. Priced at a hefty S$629.99, consumers should expect an above average 2.1 sound system, which is excellent for gaming, but not one that can yet replace your current home theater system.