Blue has been indomitable in the streaming mic market for years now, and you get the sense that’s really starting to get under its rivals’ skin. Take Razer, for example. There’s nothing really wrong with its Seiren mic range in design or audio reproduction. They’re just not quite as beautiful-sounding and feature-rich as a Yeti, which represents some of the best gaming microphones around.
And that partially explains the super-small, super-cheap Razer Seiren Mini. At $50 it’s designed to take on the Blue Snowball Ice in the beginner streamer market, offering an incredibly simple setup that’s ready to broadcast within the second you plug in the USB cable.
At the same time, the Seiren Mini foregoes all on-mic controls, including a mute button. That sounds limiting on paper, but it’s not as if software isn’t capable of muting mic inputs, is it?
But there’s a line to walk here. Beginners don’t want a TV studio’s worth of kit esconcing them in cables and draining the whole neighborhood’s power just to begin streaming, podcasting, or whatever it is they’re just getting into. On those grounds it’s great to not have a confusing array of buttons. On the other hand, by taking all the controls away from the physical realm and leaving it up to software, does the Seiren Mini actually make things more difficult for newbies?
Razer Seiren Mini Specs
|Frequency Response Range||20 Hz – 20 KHz|
|Sample / Bitrate||48 kHz / 16-bit|
|Headphone Amplifier Impedance||N/A|
|Dimensions (extended in stand, LxWxH):||2.2 x 3.5 x 6.4 inches (55.9 x 88.9 x 162.6mm)|
|Weight (microphone only):||0.6 pounds (272.2g)|
What a cute mic. Our review sample is the quartz pink colorway, which really highlights the soft lines and pill-like shape of the mic capsule itself. If you’re looking for a more traditional look though, you can get the Seiren Mini in black or a mercury white that more closely matches the Snowball Ice’s vibes.
The Seiren Mini is significantly smaller (2.2 x 3.5 x 6.4 inches) than the travel-size Snowball Ice (12.8-inch circumference), and the mic itself without the stand weighs just 0.6 pounds. Even the most hardcore “travel light” types can find room for this mic, then.
Instead of the braided cables we usually see on streamer mics, the Seiren Mini’s cable is rubberized, and its attachment at the mic end is shaped to complete the curve of the body, sitting flush with the pill shape.
The mic can be used on a boom arm, but comes with a small stand that allows for quite a bit of positional angling — about 30 degrees in any direction. That’s great for getting the mic facing up towards your mouth if you’re talking directly into it on a desk.
However, as we see from the Snowball Ice and other pint-sized mics of this ilk, including the older Razer Seiren X, the small stands that come with these small mics don’t make it easy to get in close when you’re recording. That means you can either run it hot and, thus, amplify other ambient noise when recording, or live with a roomier sound. Razer does address this in part with its supercardioid polar pattern though, which we’ll cover in more detail down in the sound quality section of this review.
As mentioned, there are no control buttons at all on the mic, only a small light on the front to indicate it’s being powered by a USB connection. There is also no headphone jack, which isn’t common but slightly more so on budget mics such as this. Apple itself would applaud the simplicity and elegance — though perhaps not the quartz — which is quite fitting, given how much Razer has obviously looked at the California tech giant’s playbook for its packaging and branding.
Here’s the short version: You can’t get better audio than this for $50. Not without working the waveforms you record to within an inch of their lives with plugins and EQing — or taking it to Brian Eno. And that’s out-of-the-box audio, too.
Since the only variable here is your position relative to the mic, you’re assured of a nice flat, crisp response with just a tiny bump in the upper mids for sibilant consonant sounds.
This is a single polar pattern mic that’s wired for supercarioid pickup only. Just as it sounds, supercardioid is a narrower variant of the cardioid pattern, which means it’s deeply directional. While that’d be a nightmare for a studio mic intended for anything other than close-up single vocals, it’s perfect for a streamer’s needs. The Seiren Mini doesn’t magically noise-cancel away all the noise from your best gaming keyboard fitted with those confounded mechanical switches, but the clicks are less noticeable than when using a Snowball Ice.
And in a straight shootout for sound quality between the two, who comes out on top? It is, inevitably, a matter of opinion. The Snowball Ice sounds like it’s already been through a bit of compression and EQ by the time it reaches your ear from your recording software. The Seiren Mini, on the other hand, achieves a really high fidelity, dry, flat sound in the best possible sense. There’s no flabby bass, no artificial mid-scooping. Some might say it sounds a bit lifeless next to the Snowball Ice, but this reviewer’s ears prefer it. And not just when I listen through a pair of studio cans, but even when hearing the rendered audio through a smartphone or Macbook speaker. Audio is tight and restrained, not as showy as Blue’s signature sound but just as clear and broadcastable. The Seiren Mini’s sound quality is, perhaps, even easier to work with if you were considering dropping in a few plugins.
Features and Software
We won’t be long — there really aren’t many features to talk about here. On the hardware side, the feature list begins with a USB input and ends with the power light. Despite Razer’s unfortunate proclivity for sneaking seven different programs onto your SSD whenever you hit that download button on a product’s support page, this mic doesn’t need any. In fact, installing bloatware runs completely contrary to this little pill’s design ethos.
So when you want to control the gain or mute yourself, you’re going to have to do that at the software stage, using OBS, Ableton, Bandicam, Discord or full-blown Pro Tools — whatever your choice. While that doesn’t in itself require a higher education qualification in computer engineering, it probably does require a two-monitor setup if you’re streaming a game live. You really don’t want to be alt-tabbing mid-round in PUBG to make your adjustments.
And perhaps you’ve already got that two monitor setup ready to go. But a lot of aspiring streamers who’ll be drawn to this for the $50 price won’t, so this is definitely worth flagging up. If you’re wondering what the catch is for a mic that sounds this good at this price, it’s the lack of gain or mute controls.
When it comes to simplicity and value, the Razer Seiren Mini is a top contender. If you’re new to streaming or want something that’s easy to travel with and lets you get right to business, this is a fitting mic.
It’s certainly not ideal to broadcast without gain or mic controls, but the $50 asking price really does negate that inconvenience. Although, if you’re a hardcore streamer, want more premium sound quality or software control, you’ll have to be willing to pass the $50 price range.
What Razer offers with the Seiren Mini, in black, white or eye-catching pink, is a plug-in-and-play solution that sounds as good as mics twice the price and quite literally couldn’t be simpler to use.