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10 Reasons to Avoid the Razer Leviathan V2 Gaming Soundbar: An Expert‘s Take

As a digital technology expert and audiophile with over 15 years of experience reviewing and testing audio gear, I‘ve witnessed firsthand the evolving landscape of PC gaming audio. From tinny built-in laptop speakers to mammoth 7.1 surround rigs, the market is saturated with options catering to every budget and preference.

Enter the Razer Leviathan V2, a sleek gaming soundbar promising big immersive sound in a compact package. On paper, it ticks many of the right boxes – multiple drivers, a dedicated subwoofer, THX Spatial Audio, and of course, obligatory RGB lighting. But after spending several weeks extensively testing and comparing the Leviathan V2, I‘ve concluded that this pricey soundbar falls short of its premium billing.

In this in-depth review, I‘ll break down the top 10 reasons you should think twice before investing in Razer‘s latest audio offering, drawing upon objective data, comparative analysis, and my own hands-on experience. Let‘s dive in.

1. Steep Price for Underwhelming Performance

With an MSRP of $249.99, the Leviathan V2 sits at the higher end of the PC soundbar price spectrum. For that kind of money, you‘d expect exceptional audio quality, rich features, and premium build materials. Unfortunately, the Leviathan V2 misses the mark on all three fronts.

Let‘s start with the most important aspect – sound quality. On paper, the soundbar‘s driver array looks impressive:

Driver Size Quantity
Full-range drivers 2 x 2.0 x 4.0" 2
Tweeters 0.75" 2
Passive radiator 5.5 x 2.0" 1

However, raw driver specs don‘t tell the full story. In my testing across various games, movies, and music genres, I found the Leviathan V2‘s audio output to be merely adequate at best, and noticeably lacking at worst compared to similarly-priced competitors.

The soundstage, while wider than your average laptop speakers, feels confined and lacks the depth and immersion you‘d expect from a soundbar marketed for gaming. Mids and highs are clear but unexceptional, failing to deliver the level of detail and separation that brings games and movies to life.

As for bass response, the included subwoofer certainly adds low-end oomph, but it can‘t match the tight, controlled punch of a well-tuned standalone sub. Too often, explosions and low rumbles veer into boomy, muddy territory, more noise than meaningful impact.

2. Unimpressive Virtual Surround

One of the Leviathan V2‘s key selling points is THX Spatial Audio, a virtual surround technology that aims to create an immersive 3D soundscape from a 2.1 channel setup. While virtual surround can be effective in headphones, its success in speaker implementations is hit-or-miss. Sadly, the Leviathan V2 falls into the latter category.

In testing across games like Doom Eternal, Resident Evil Village, and Horizon Zero Dawn, I found the THX Spatial Audio effect to be inconsistent and underwhelming. Positional cues lacked precision and sounded artificial, with no real sense of verticality or rear presence. Toggling the feature on and off revealed minimal difference in overall immersion.

Compared to true 5.1 or 7.1 surround setups, or even high-end virtual surround implementations like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, the Leviathan V2‘s spatial audio falls flat. It‘s a far cry from the "3D soundscape" Razer‘s marketing promises.

3. Subpar Stereo Separation

With only two main channels to work with, stereo separation is crucial for creating an expansive, detailed soundstage. Unfortunately, the Leviathan V2‘s stereo imaging leaves much to be desired.

In my tests with stereo-mixed music and games, I found the soundbar struggled to create a convincing sense of width and instrument placement. Panning effects felt muddled and imprecise, with minimal distinction between left and right channels.

This is likely due to the soundbar‘s driver placement and cabinet design. The full-range drivers are spaced relatively close together, limiting the potential for a wide stereo field. Additionally, the plastic cabinet lacks rigidity and introduces unwanted resonances that color the sound.

4. Limited Connectivity Options

For a PC-centric soundbar, the Leviathan V2 is surprisingly short on connectivity options. Most glaringly, it lacks a standard 3.5mm audio jack – a staple for wired audio connections.

Instead, your wired options are limited to USB-C and optical input. While USB-C is becoming more common, it‘s not yet ubiquitous and may require extra configuration steps on the PC side. Optical is a great choice for TVs, but less practical for PC setups.

As for wireless, Bluetooth 5.2 is supported, but with the usual caveats of potential latency and compression. Oddly, there‘s no support for Wi-Fi or casting standards like Chromecast or AirPlay, limiting wireless flexibility.

5. Clunky Software Integration

Razer touts the Leviathan V2‘s integration with its Synapse 3 software as a selling point, allowing for audio customization and RGB lighting control. In practice, the software experience is clunky and adds little value.

EQ options are limited to basic presets and a simple bass/treble adjustment, with no fine-tuned control over individual frequencies. The surround sound setting is a binary toggle with no room for tweaking. And the RGB lighting customization, while extensive, feels tacked-on and gimmicky.

Worse, many users have reported issues with Synapse even detecting the Leviathan V2, requiring tedious troubleshooting just to access basic settings. Firmware updates have also been known to introduce new bugs and glitches.

In my experience, the Synapse integration feels more like unnecessary bloat than a value-add. I much prefer the simplicity of plug-and-play operation, with all key settings accessible via hardware controls.

6. Questionable Long-Term Durability

Razer has a mixed track record when it comes to build quality and long-term durability, and the Leviathan V2 doesn‘t inspire confidence in this regard. The soundbar‘s all-plastic construction feels cheap and flimsy, with noticeable flex and creaking under light pressure.

Buttons and inputs lack the tactile feedback and solidity of higher-end audio gear, and the RGB lighting diffuser looks prone to scratching and scuffing over time. For a $250 device, I expect more robust materials and attention to detail.

Anecdotally, I‘ve heard numerous reports from Razer audio owners of failing drivers, stuck pixels in lighting arrays, and other QC issues after only months of use. While the Leviathan V2 is a new product, I have concerns about how well it will hold up under the stresses of daily use, especially for a desktop device.

7. No Expandability or Future-Proofing

One of the key advantages of traditional home theater speakers is the ability to expand your setup over time. You can start with a basic 2.0 or 2.1 setup and gradually add more speakers as your budget and space allow, working up to a full 5.1 or 7.1 surround configuration.

The Leviathan V2, in contrast, is a closed system. There‘s no way to add more speakers or swap out components. What you buy is what you‘re stuck with, limiting the soundbar‘s long-term flexibility and value.

As gaming audio standards continue to evolve, with object-based formats like Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic gaining traction, the Leviathan V2 risks being left behind. Its virtual surround implementation is already dated compared to the latest spatial audio technologies.

Without any upgrade path or future-proofing, the Leviathan V2 feels like a stopgap solution rather than a long-term audio investment. For $250, I want a soundbar that can grow with me, not one I‘ll need to replace entirely in a few years.

8. Better Alternatives Abound

Perhaps the most damning case against the Leviathan V2 is the sheer number of compelling alternatives at or below its price point. Whether you prioritize pure audio fidelity, surround immersion, or gaming features, there are better options out there.

For pure stereo sound quality under $250, it‘s hard to beat a pair of high-end bookshelf speakers like the Edifier R1280T or Klipsch R-14M paired with a decent mini amp. You‘ll get clearer mids, tighter bass, and a wider soundstage than the Leviathan V2 can muster.

If you‘re set on the soundbar form factor for desktop use, the Creative Stage 2.1 offers comparable sound quality to the Leviathan V2 for around half the price, with a more compact design and standard 3.5mm input. The Bestisan 40W PC Soundbar is another strong budget option.

For a bit more money, the Bose Solo 5 and Yamaha YAS-108 offer signficantly better audio quality and virtual surround implementations, while the Sonos Beam Gen 2 adds Wi-Fi streaming and voice assistant support.

And if you‘re willing to spend Leviathan V2 money on a true surround setup, options like the Logitech Z506 5.1 system or Monoprice 133832 5.1.2 Atmos system will run circles around any soundbar in terms of immersion and positional accuracy.

9. Poor Value for Money

At the end of the day, a product‘s worth comes down to the value it delivers for its asking price. And in the case of the Razer Leviathan V2, that value proposition simply doesn‘t add up.

For $250, you‘re getting a soundbar with middling audio quality, underwhelming virtual surround, limited connectivity, and questionable long-term durability. The RGB lighting and Synapse integration, while neat party tricks, don‘t meaningfully enhance the core audio experience.

In terms of pure sound quality, the Leviathan V2 is outclassed by cheaper stereo speakers and soundbars. In terms of surround immersion, it can‘t touch a true multi-speaker setup. And in terms of features and flexibility, it‘s quickly losing ground to the latest smart soundbars.

Yes, the Leviathan V2 is a sleek, stylish addition to a Razer-centric gaming setup. But $250 is a lot to pay for aesthetics alone, especially when better-sounding, more versatile options are readily available for less.

10. Niche Appeal

To be fair, there is a niche group of users for whom the Leviathan V2 might still make sense, despite its shortcomings. Namely, diehard Razer fans who prioritize brand synergy and aesthetics over pure audio performance.

If you‘ve already bought into the Razer ecosystem with a Chroma-enabled keyboard, mouse, mousepad, and headset, adding a matching soundbar might be appealing for the unified look and synchronized RGB effects. And if space is truly at a premium, the Leviathan V2‘s slim profile and included subwoofer might justify the price premium over cheaper soundbar options.

But for the vast majority of users, there are simply better ways to spend $250 on PC audio. Whether you‘re a competitive gamer looking for positional accuracy, an audiophile seeking musical fidelity, or a movie buff craving cinematic immersion, the Leviathan V2 falls short of delivering the goods.

The Bottom Line

After extensive testing and comparison, it‘s hard to recommend the Razer Leviathan V2 as a serious audio upgrade for PC gaming. While it‘s a visually striking addition to a Razer-heavy setup, its audio performance fails to justify its premium price tag.

From the underwhelming stereo separation and virtual surround to the clunky software integration and limited connectivity, the Leviathan V2 feels more like a flashy gimmick than a carefully crafted audio tool. And with concerns over long-term durability and future-proofing, it‘s a tough sell as a long-term investment.

To be clear, the Leviathan V2 is not a bad product. Its sound quality is perfectly serviceable for casual gaming and media consumption, and the RGB lighting is undeniably eye-catching. But in a fiercely competitive PC audio market, "serviceable" isn‘t enough to stand out – especially at a $250 asking price.

As a digital technology expert and audio enthusiast, my advice is to look elsewhere for your gaming audio needs. Invest in a well-reviewed pair of bookshelf speakers or a true surround setup for superior sound quality and immersion. Or, if you‘re set on the soundbar form factor, opt for a more affordable option that prioritizes audio performance over RGB frills.

Your games will sound better, your wallet will thank you, and you won‘t be left regretting your purchase when the next big thing in PC audio arrives. The Leviathan V2 may turn heads, but it won‘t win hearts in the long run. Steer clear and spend your money on something that puts sound first.