Online play isn’t just about individual performance now days; a majority of the games soaking up our time online are team oriented efforts which require strong communications. So if you're going to play online, especially competitively, then you are going to need tools to communicate with your teammates and enemies alike. In addition to having a quality gaming keyboard and mouse, dedicated players are also going to want a solid headset in their arsenal before the first shots are fired online. I have been spending a lot of time with one such option recently. The Tiamat 2.2 is the little-brother of Razer’s mack-daddy surround sound offering of the Tiamat 7.1 which John reviewed
earlier this year. Scaled down to accommodate non-surround sound audio sources, this stereo set still offers great performance and unparalleled comfort.
One of the first things users will notice about the Tiamat 2.2 is their size; these are a hefty pair of headphones for a stereo offering. The increased size stems from Razer’s flexible, over the head design which helps ensure comfort for extended gameplay sessions. The earcups are connected by a large, plastic arc that never touches the top of your head. This framework is here to maintain the shape of the headset and house all of the various wiring and technological tools required to deliver the audio experience.
As big and intrusive as the plastic arc appears, it never comes in contact with the user’s head thanks to the use of an elastic head band that lies beneath it. It is this form-fitting band that secures the headset to your head and adjusts as needed depending on the user’s position and head-size. You won’t need to physically adjust the headset with each use as the band wraps around you as you put them one, ensuring a snug and comfortable fit contoured to the head of each individual user. The combination of this headband design with large, padded ear cups creates a very comfortable audio experience. The cups are designed to be on the ear but their large style almost makes them over-the-ear for smaller-eared gamers. This means that very little outside sound is allowed in and the audio signals you want are kept inside the aural-area.
The microphone used for the headset is housed inside the left headphone. Users can slide it downward and then forward when they want to utilize it or keep it stored when it isn’t necessary. It isn’t a very long microphone and is kept a few inches away from your mouth; thankfully, the performance isn’t inhibited by this and it stays out of your way during intense gameplay sessions. That is a problem I found with previous headsets that I have owned; many of them incorporated long mics that wouldn’t stay exactly where I wanted them. I found myself occasionally hitting them when I physically moved my head from side to side which was both uncomfortable and created unwanted feedback and noise. That has never been an issue with the Tiamat 2.2.
Sure, the physical design of the headset is nice but how about the technology that drives its performance? Razer has done everything in their power to ensure that the Tiamat makes the most out of the simple, stereo sound signal. One of the first thing I noticed was the incredible sense of bass present in the sound; that is because the headset houses two individual subwoofer drivers that boost the bass levels in all signals. These drivers, combined with the base audio drivers fueling the entire set does an awesome job at simulating three-dimensional sound. This isn’t real surround sound, and not comparable to the 5.1 or 7.1 experiences, but offers enough variation in the sounds that players can get a sense of depth and position based on audio cues. Aside from that, the audio feed is rich and crisp, which is everything that you can ask for in terms of a stereo feed.
The headphones utilize a wired connection to your audio-input and -output sources. As with most of Razer’s products, the cord is constructed using a thick, braided design that is both sturdy and helps eliminated tangling issues. It is a pretty long cord, measuring nearly 10 feet. There are two 3.55 mm jack connections on the end for the audio and microphone connections. Perhaps a single USB connection would be more effective at this point in order to make things more convenient. Roughly 3 feet down from the left earcup is an in-line volume control switch that allows you to adjust the volume and mute the microphone at will.
I used the Tiamats in a variety of situations for testing purposes. This included gaming online with such titles as Left 4 Dead 2, Dark Souls, and Team Fortress 2, and a variety of music and move options for locally and streaming. I also spent quite a bit of time using them attached directly to the PlayStation Vita for gaming and media experiences as well. The performance didn’t vary regardless of my usage; I has solid, crisp audio each and every time. The mic also did a great job of capturing and relaying my voice without having to adjust anything at a software level. More impressive than the solid audio performance is the amazing sense of comfort offered by the set in extended gameplay sessions. After a while, it doesn’t even feel like the Tiamats are there; the framework floats above your head and the pressure placed on your ears with the on-the-ear design is very minimal.
The only real complaint that I have with the Tiamat 2.2 is with their physical size and lack of portability; now days, when I think of a stereo headset, I envision them being compact and easy to transport. That definitely isn’t the case here; although comfortable during usage, these are extremely cumbersome and meant to be used in stationary situations. With today’s technology, if I am utilizing a stereo sound signal, it is very likely that I am looking more for convenience and portability; these don’t offer either. You won’t want to cart these around while you are on the go as they will be taking up quite a bit of real estate in your bag(s) and on your head. It is very clear that these haven’t been designed with portability in mind. The physical design of the plastic arc also adds to this issue as they don’t fold or allow you to compact them down in any ways.
The Tiamat 2.2 has proven to be another solid offering from the house of Razer. Although a bit on the large side, the headset is incredibly comfortable and easy to adjust quickly as needed. The elastic design of the headband makes it easy to throw them on and get gaming in a matter of seconds. The solid construction is matched only by its performance, which is top notch on the stereo level. The included technology does a great job of amplifying the details in the sound feed(s) and does a great job simulating three-dimensional effects. While this is far from the performance of the 7.1 surround sound version
of the Tiamat, it is one of the better offerings on the stereo level, as long as you aren’t looking for a pair of headphones to use on the go. If you are looking for a set that you can carry with you in your travels, these won’t fit the bill.