Published on August 4th, 2023 | by Daniel
Razer Moray In-Ear Gaming Headphones Review
Summary: The Moray boasts a lot about its capability, but comes up short in almost every way. A good idea, that is lacking in spirit, but they're heading in the right direction.
Cutting edge technology, excellence and sustainability. Three words that Razer use to describe their range of computing electronics and peripherals. Priding themselves on their high-performance gaming utilities and gaming laptops, rivalled only by some of the biggest names in the gaming industry. Recently I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to review a pair of their newest gaming headphones, so without further ado, let’s dive right in.
The Moray, ergonomic and built for all day streaming. If you’re a gamer like me who; spends most of their free time online, you know that when it comes to long periods of gaming, you need the best gear, headsets, earpods etc, that provide long lasting comfort and game breaking sound. Gear that even with wires, somehow doesn’t feel like it’s getting in the way. The Moray is here in hopes to answer all those problems and more. But what does it offer?
Even before I opened the box, I knew from the start the first issue these little earpods were trying to tackle. The problem with everyday wired in-ear headphones, is that often, the wires drape drown the front of your chest, getting in the way when you’re trying to do things. One personal issue I have with them, is how a lot of them simply fall out as the weight of the loose cable hanging from your ears slowly, but surely, tugs at them until pop. There they go. But not with the Moray, these little guys have two features that combat this, one I’ve not seen done before and another that has, over time, been improved upon. The first is that the cables on these bad boys, are detachable. Yes, you heard me right. Detachable. Meaning you can put these suckers in your ears and find the right comfy spot, before you plug them up and start listening!This is a handy if somewhat tricky feature to get a hold of at first, but once you get the hang of it. Become a real gem, meaning I don’t have to fumble with cables as I try to wiggle the ear pieces around in my ear to find the right spot.
The second, is the over-ear cabling itself. This is not a new feature, many a brand has tried and failed to tackle this type of headphone over the years with most falling to the way side. This feature is both great and terrible in itself, at least when it comes to me, let me explain why. I very much love the idea of these headphones, the fact they curve around the ear just makes the wires sit neater and tighter to my neck and don’t really flop around like other wires do. The section that wraps around the ear is unique from the rest of the wires as it features special memory loop tubing. Meaning that the more you use them, the more they adjust to the shape of your ear, supposedly increasing comfort whilst boosting is ability to stay in your ear. The weight is taken away from the base of the earpiece and instead rests on the top edge of your ear joint. This would be fine, if the material itself wasn’t so uncomfortable. The stiff nature of the memory loop tubing presses down on my ears, which are, for me, unfortunately quite sensitive and easily irritated.
It probably wouldn’t have mattered if not for the fact that each earpiece has two, count them, two wires connecting to them. Does it do the job intended? Absolutely, my only advice, which is less of a Razer problem and more of a me problem, would be to find a different material, something softer to have wrapped around these wires. The last feature is a simple one, but one that is a very well received one. Memory foam ear tips. These make even the biggest ear tips, fit comfortably in the smallest of ears, like my own. At first, they feel uncomfortable as they adjust to the size of my inner ear, but after a short period of adjustment, they’re as comfortable inside as the HyperX gaming headset I recently tried out. An added benefit of the nature of in-ear headphones paired with memory foam, is an almost perfect noise cancellation effect, it’s said that they’ve been tested to block up to -36dB of outside noise and I’m inclined to believe them. The handy carry case is a lovely addition too and makes these accessories feel very classy.
Speaking of comfort, whilst the memory foam ear-tips provide seamless and soft, noise cancelling comfort. The same can’t really be said for the rest of it’s design. Before this pair, I’d never seen in-ear headphones sporting such a design before. The quirk in question is this little ridge above the ear piece itself. It’s designed so that it fits snuggly into the crease just above the ear canal and you can even feel it. The moment you press it into your ear, you can feel it, almost like a pop. It gives a feeling as though it’s locking into place, akin to the sound or sensation when you click a lid closed over a container or clasp a padlock closed. It’s an odd feeling to describe, even after seeing comparable headphones, none have such a pronounced, or “large” ridge on them and I suspect with very good reason. At first, it feels very comfortable and it definitely gives the sense that they’re locked firmly into place. I even tested them by shaking my head vigorously or even jumping up and down and boy did they stick perfectly in my ears the entire time. In this sense, I believe they achieved what they likely set out to do, but with prolonged use, even just a few hours, I was already starting to feel discomfort. Perhaps once again, this is simply a me problem with my relatively small ears, even with the smaller ear-tips, I came across the same issue.
Apart from that, build quality is amazing. The earpieces are built from a sturdy plastic that seems pretty hardy, the wires themselves are coiled together. Almost like a woven thread, with the memory loop tubing feeling even hardier with the additional layer. I do very much like the ability to connect and disconnect the wires from the headphones. I think this is a great feature and makes them very easy to store, with or without the carry case, furthermore making the act of putting these headphones in your ears a much nicer experience. Of course if you find yourself not adjusting to, or liking, the memory foam ear-tips, they’ve already got you covered with the inclusion of standard silicone ear-tips. Personally, I prefer the memory foam, but I do find myself concerned for it’s longevity, as I firmly believe that the silicone ear-tips will far outlast the former.
It’s a pretty long cable too, if I had to guess, I’d say about 1.2m. This is great when you consider that gamers and streamers alike, need to be able to move freely and even get up for a stretch or two when gaming or streaming for the long hours that some do. The cable length and the ability to tighten or loosen the ear-pieces up to what I’d roughly say is a 45cm range of adjustment will allow for greater range of comfort to suit all types of gamers. A lot of competitors run with either 1m cables and although it might only be 20cm difference but it makes the difference.
This is yet another place the Moray seems to fall flat in. With the silicone ear-tips on, the Moray doesn’t seem to have quite the right grasp on sealing. Even for one with smaller ears like me, I just felt it didn’t have quite as much noise cancelling potential compared to when I used the foam tips. The foam tips on the other hand, were just right when it came to fitment and sealing. It just felt like there was less audio escaping, so that I was able to experience the sound quality to its fullest potential. A potential, which unfortunately just doesn’t cut it, high to mid frequencies sound okay, if a little grating on the ears. But it’s when the IEMs try to provide bass that the full extent of its poor performance rears its ugly head.
Maybe this is just my bias to OEMs but the sound quality just falls flat. In fact, my Sony true wireless earbuds feel leagues above the quality I experienced wearing the Moray. And when you consider these IEMs, brand new, are going to cost around the $199 mark, compared to my $129 Sony wireless earbuds that are has a far better sound quality for all things. The few positives it does have, starts to tank heavily.
Going back to the overall sound quality. As gaming headphones, they do the job. But for anything else, like music, movies or series, there’s simply no excusing it. You could argue that they were designed for gaming, so why would you use it for anything else? Well I would argue, why would I have a set specifically for just gaming? Especially when there are better options for gaming headphones/headsets out there at comparable prices. The sound lacks depth and sounds feel very far away, this leads to feeling less immersed in what I’m doing. Bass falls very flat, this is most apparent when trying to listen to music, the sound of footsteps sound dull where normally you would be able to tell distance just by how deep the sound becomes as they get closer. It’s not all bad though, trebles are definitely the forte of the Moray. Going back to the high and mid frequencies, they’re not so bad and they land somewhere in the middle for quality.
I stated in my last piece, where I reviewed the HyperX Cloud III, that I’m a gamer on a budget. So when presented with tech that performs at such an average level, whilst expected to cost an exceedingly large amount, doesn’t sit right with me. Especially when I have bought older products that do a better job in almost every way, for a much cheaper amount. I honestly expected more from Razer, I have, in fact still use some of their other products. Their Tartarus for example, is a godsend for my forays into the MMORPG games that I play. So it’s a big shame to see something from a leading supplier of gaming peripherals get something so utterly wrong.
Build quality and innovative design can only take you so far. And unfortunately for Razer and the Moray, it hasn’t taken them very far at all. Durability is good, features are okay but the real meat of the products it’s sound. Fall flatter than I do after a night on the town. An average experience all-round that I wouldn’t recommend to buyers when the market is saturated with better quality, cheaper options. It is my hope that Razer can learn from this feedback, as I don’t think this concept should be given up on, but it needs a lot more before I think it’s a viable competitor.