Michael Brown Jun 30, 2010

Razer Moray Plus Mobile Gaming Communicator

Wow, these earbuds have an eely long name

Engineers designing earbuds face a choice these days: Should they build earbuds that support a variety of devices and perform a host of functions, or should they focus exclusively on audio quality? The engineers who designed Razer’s Moray Plus Mobile Gaming Communicator decided to go for the gusto—and they almost made it.

The Morays can do a lot more than pump the latest Eels album down your ear canals. They come with an iPhone-compatible, in-line, omni-directional microphone; adapters for Sony’s PSP 2000/3000 and Nintendo’s DS/DS Lite handheld gaming systems; and a split stub cable you can plug into your PC’s headphone and mic jacks. Razer also thows in a padded carrying case that you’ll actually want to hang onto: It zips shut, includes mesh pockets for each accessory, and doesn’t look like your sister’s jewelry bag .

Listening to straightforward rock, acoustic, or classic music on the Morays was a pleasant enough experience. We could hear Paul McCartney stretching to hit his harmonies on “She’s Leaving Home,” from Sgt. Peppe r’s Lonely Hearts Club Band ; and little Greg and the late Duane Allman’s southern classic “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” from Eat a Peach , reached our eardrums without protest.

Switching gears to the more dynamic mixes inherent in hard rock and funk, on the other hand, put the Morays in a nastier light—especially when played above mid-range volume. The Raconteurs’ “Level,” from Broken Boy Soldiers , sounded as though it had been recorded at 11, with that track’s dueling distorto guitars producing the well-known crackle and crunch that reveals a playback device’s upper limits. Meanwhile Flea’s bass on “The Brother’s Cup” ( Freaky Stylely ) sounded anything but Red Hot.

If making your music collection sound new is what you seek, we’ve tested several competing products that sound better and cost about the same, but omit the fancy features: Check out Audio Technica’s ATH-CKM50A or Sennheiser's CX 280 . If phone features are a must, you can’t go wrong with Klipsch’s Image S4i —even if they do cost twice as much as the Morays.

Razer manages to cover a lot bases with these earbuds, and they've priced them right; but any product that attempts to be so many things to so many people is going to fall short in one or two areas—and the Morays don't escape that fate.

Razer Moray Plus Mobile Gaming Communicator

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