The Razer Mako 2.1 speaker set is absolutely phenomenal.
Without a shadow of a doubt, it's the best looking and best sounding 2.1 desktop system we've ever come across.
And that's high praise indeed, because there are some pretty damn good PC speaker systems out there.
Best speakers ever?
"Imagine the best orgasm you've ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you're still nowhere near it," - Irvine Welsh used that phrase to describe the pleasures of heroin.
But actually, he's got the Razer Mako speakers pretty much nailed, too.
The system comes packing a whopping 300W of total system power, so between the two satellite speakers and the weighty sub, it's an exceptionally potent set-up (the fantastic Acoustic Energy Aego M 2.1 set is only 90W). It also costs an eye-watering £300, so while you're getting a lot of bang for your buck, it's a hell of a lot of money to spend on a 2.1 system.
That price is likely to be the sticking point for a lot of people. But it completely depends on how much you value high-end audio and whether you think it's worth paying extra for.
This product is not for you if you can listen to a small 5W FM radio in your kitchen without feeling the burn of low fidelity. Nor is it for you if you've already got a powerful hi-fi and amplifier system in the room you're planning on putting it in.
So what is it exactly that makes this system so sexy?
With most desktop speakers, the sound gets slightly distorted and muffled because some of the sound waves travel straight to your ears, while other waves bounce off your desk (and other objects) and then hit your eardrums. This uneven ear-level frequency response is undetectable until you get rid of it.
The Razer Makos address these desk-bounce and comb-filtering issues by using THX's innovative 'Ground Plane' and 'Slot Speaker' technologies.
THX Ground Plane works by facing the speaker downward and firing sound directly, and exclusively, onto the desk surface. This controls reflections and distributes crisp, room-filling sound with minimal interference from the desktop.
Room to move
This means that to use them properly, each satellite needs some clearance space all the way round. Busy, cluttered desks do not lend themselves at all well to that. But if you clear a space, you'll soon notice the difference.
At the same time, THX's Slot Speaker design is very different from most other speakers out there. Like the name implies, THX Slot Speakers distribute sound from a very narrow opening. This supposedly allows for better control and directionality of the sound image - creating wide, spacious sound stages.
It works too. Because the round nature of the speakers, and the fact that sound comes out all the way round, means no matter where you are in the room, the audio is fantastic. There's none of the 'spot lighting' that you get with most other 2.1 sets.
Bye bye spot-lighting
What this all results in is an incredibly bassy, crisp sound that doesn't degrade as you move around the room - not even behind the speakers themselves. The sub is reassuringly heavy and the overall audio performance is nothing short of fantastic.
As you'd expect from a 300W system, the volume can be cranked up to ear-burstingly loud volumes. And crucially, there's not a hint of distortion to be heard until you really do reach peek (absolutely deafening) volume.
And music isn't only what the Razer Mako speakers are good at. We played a selection of games including Rainbow Six Vegas 2 on the PC, and GTA IV on the PS3. The sound was fantastic and enhanced the gaming experience no end.
Gorgeous control pod
The control pod is also a marvel to behold. It's puck-shaped and curiously connects to the subwoofer using a serial port.
The great thing about it is that it's touch-sensitive, so you glide your finger over its surface to control volume, bass and to switch between two different audio inputs. Levels are displayed using neon-style LEDs on the puck, which looks incredibly cool on your desktop
The verdict here is that this is a breathtakingly brilliant speaker system. Razer's audio scientists co-developed this system with the masterminds at THX. And what they've produced is extraordinary.
The price is steep, yes. But with the extra money, you get extra power and extra quality. And for people who don't have room for a full-blown hi-fi set-up, this offers a perfect, compact option.
The sound these speakers create is smooth, creamy and incredibly hypnotic. For that reason, you've got to hear them to believe it. And if you buy them, there's no way you'll ever want to give them back.