Contrary to what Richard says every time a set crosses his desk, speaker systems are one of the most fun things to review. Mainly all it involves is playing your favourite games, watching some high-quality videos and listening to some music. Then you fiddle with the settings, try the other connectors and try it all over again.
The only downside to the whole malarkey is that fiddling with the connectors and setting up the speakers, re-positioning them and so forth, usually requires a lot of crawling around on the floor. That’s not much fun when you’ve got a bad knee and the frustration of getting all your identical cables tangled for each of your 7.1 surround system doesn’t help much.
Those psychic-snake designers over at Razer have obviously been reading our minds though and have attempted to create a set of 2.1 speakers that provide the same experience as a 7.1 set up. The company has even done some interesting things with the cables too, which we’ll get to in a bit.
The Razer Mako 2.1 system (left) and Subwoofer close-up (right), click to enlarge
The basic premise behind the Mako speakers is simple. Rather than doing a Saturn impression and surrounding yourself with a ring of satellite speakers, the Makos use a pair of 2.1 speakers to fill the room with noise [i]by aiming the noise away from you. The sound is actually aimed downwards. Simply, the idea is that you bounce the noise upwards and try to fill the room with it.
It’s that unusual approach which is the reason behind the rather distinctive design of the Makos. This is why they look more like obsidian doorstops than £250 speakers. They don’t need to have speakers facing the user, they don’t need to be tall and they don’t need to follow the rules of conventional design.
All they do need is a white base and a matching colour scheme, though Razer has also made sure that the top of each speaker, and the similarly designed sub-woofer, is flat and adorned with an embossed Razer tri-snake logo. That’s pretty handy if you want to put a cup of water on top of a speaker, turn the volume up and re-enact that bit where the T-Rex escapes in Jurassic Park. Don’t pretend you weren’t thinking about it.
The control disc (left) and Razer Mako speaker(right), click to enlarge
A distinctive, almost bulbous speaker system can’t be let down by its volume control either, so Razer has included wide and flat control centre with the Makos. Sturdy and heavy, like the speakers themselves which weigh in at around 500g each, the control panel is completely touch sensitive.
On the left it has a touch-sensitive section which you can slide over to control both volume and bass, while extra toggle between Line 1 and Line 2, as well as muting the output. Holding down on the Razer logo for a few seconds turns the speakers on or off. At the front the control disc has a headphone and line in socket too, which is handy if you want to avoid plugging your headphones in at the back of the PC when discrete gaming is required.
The real question though is; does this innovative new take on audio design actually work, or does the desktop reap all the benefits of this downward facing sound while we have to cope with muddled ears and an empty wallet? Read on to find out.