Current testing methodology is v1.2
April 17, 2014
Price not available
8.27 x 7.01 x 3.94 in
Razer is a gamer brand. “For gamers, by gamers”, they would brand themselves.
And to most ends, they’ve done just that—releasing everything from gaming mice and keyboards to laptops and webcams.
They seek to offer just about everything you need to live the gamer life that you want (assuming, of course, that it falls in line with their aesthetic).
So why, then, would they decide to release DJ headphones?
In this review, we will be checking out the Razer Adaro DJ, a pair of headphones released during a time when the gaming brand forgot what a “gamer” was.
Razer Adaro DJ
A failed foray into non-gaming headphones with all of Razer’s textbook failings
The Razer Adaro DJ is a pair of headphones by the gaming brand Razer in an attempt to break out of their “gamer” box. It was discontinued several years ago.
Little more than a pair of retooled OEM headphones, the Adaro DJ serves as an obscure but interesting piece of the brand’s history.
With substantial bass and a decent midrange for its original retail price of $149, you’d be better off with something more affordable that offers far better quality.
- Headphone Type: Closed-back in-ear monitor
- Driver Type: 50mm dynamic
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
- Max. Input Power: 50 mW
- Sensitivity: 103 dB / mW @ 1,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ω
- Connector: Straight 3.5mm connector
What’s in the Box?
- Razer Adaro DJ headphones
- Hard carrying case
- 6.35mm screw-on adapter
- 1 x 1.3m Straight cable
- 1 x 2.0m Coiled cable
Stuff I like
- Decently comfortable
- Satisfying bass response
- Collapses and folds flat
- Generous accessories package
Stuff I like less
- “Tin can” tonality
- Cheap feel and durability
- Tiring to wear on the head
Comparable products to consider
The ATH-M50x is widely considered the king of portable pro headphones—a title it doesn’t concede to the Razer Adaro DJ by any stretch of the imagination.
Overview and History
In this now saturated landscape of gaming peripheral brands, Razer is still the name that most people associate with the “gamer aesthetic”—edgy blacks, searing rainbow lights, you know the kind.
But just as a snake molts as it grows, the three-headed snake has had to adapt to the evolving gamer market. And through the 2010s, the very concept of the gamer was changing.
During this time, all the big gaming brands realized two things: one, that just about anyone could be a gamer even if it was just playing “soo-doo-koo” on their phone; and second, the gamers actually do lead lives outside of their choice of the battle station.
In response to this, Razer released several products that fall under an umbrella that can only be described as “gamer lifestyle products” and these were products that had very little to do with actual gaming, but instead were just regular lifestyle accessories with that gamer aesthetic.
Now, they’d released merch like clothing and backpacks before, but this new wave also introduced things like the Nabu smartwatch, a fitness tracker a la Fitbit that partly failed because of the long-running stereotype of gamers being the kind of people who never leave the house.
That, and the Nabu was just… not good.
Part of those products was also the Adaro series of headphones, of which the Adaro DJ was the most expensive.
As the name and branding would suggest, the Adaro DJ was a headphone intended for the musical types that were “hip” and “cool” and “with it”.
And at a price point of $149, it was clearly trying to take on the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, but we will soon see in this review why it never took off.
As an aesthetics-first kind of company, it isn’t much of a surprise for the Adaro DJ to have a rather appealing presentation to it.
The box has decent printing and a fold-out front flap that opens to show the included hard case and accompanying box with accessories.
The two included cables—a slim straight cable and a thicker coiled one—remind me of the offerings from the Beats Pro I reviewed last week, save for the lack of an inline remote on the slim cable.
A cute detail is in the included mesh bag that’s meant to store these cables. It’s got a velcro strip on the bottom that’s meant to stick to the inside of the Adaro DJ’s hard case, giving it a pocket of sorts inside the case.
As a brand, Razer was never known for having particularly good build quality.
In fact, for a lot of their product, they were more than happy to just turn to an OEM’s existing units, redesign them ever so slightly, and release them with their own branding.
We have seen this with their mechanical keyboard switches (which they deny), and I think we also see this with the Adaro DJ.
Now, I want to make it very clear that redesigning OEM products is by no means a bad thing. It’s actually a very common practice. That said, I do still believe that the Adaro DJ is an OEM product for a couple of reasons that I’ll cover throughout the review.
One reason I have for this is that it feels cheap.
It has that similar kind of cheap feel to it that you find from headphones like the OneOdio Pro 50 or the Maono MH-601 or the Rane RH-2. Like those examples, the Adaro DJ is patterned after that generic DJ headphone template with earcups that both collapse and fold flat.
At the very least, though, it has the benefit of being quite lightweight.
There’s also a bit of metal in the build, which I see in reinforcing elements in the headband and adjustment mechanism. That adjustment mechanism uses both plastic and metal in its construction, which is a nice detail.
The plastic is molded in with notches similar to the Razer Kraken V1 that gives good audible and tactile feedback as you find your right size. This is then backed by metal strips that keep the whole thing quite rigid.
Some parts aren’t reinforced, though, like the plastic piece that hides the edge of the headband padding. While it hasn’t broken yet, part of it has started cracking from the stress of stretching it apart—something you would do pretty often as you take the headphones on and off.
Fit and Comfort
The Adaro DJ was also decently comfortable.
The pads were plush, had a decent depth to them, and were actually over-ear.
Since they were circular, there’s a decent chance for those with larger ears to have a less-than-stellar time, but I don’t see it being a problem for most people.
What may be a more common problem, though, is the pressure coming from the headband. In the context of most other headphones, it isn’t actually all that bad, but the lack of similar force from the earpads makes it a lot more noticeable than it should be.
For a pair of what are meant to be marketed as DJ headphones, I’m also a bit disappointed by the rather limited isolation that they offer.
It speaks further to how little Razer actually decided to commit to their own marketing for these headphones—cans that are supposed to handle the noisy, rough, and tumble club scene.
Earlier in this review, I talked about how the Razer Adaro DJ is basically a rebranded OEM headphone design, with a few notable giveaway qualities.
Again, I want to clarify that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
While we’ve seen a few of these qualities, I feel the most significant is in the sound. In many ways, the Razer Adaro DJ is quite unlike the sound that we expect from Razer from this point in its history.
Let’s break down why.
Like most other Razer products at the time, the bass offered by the Adaro DJ is pretty substantial, with lots of mid-bass punch and a decent amount of extension.
What surprised me, though, is that the Adaro DJ is nowhere near the bloated, muddy mess that I had expected to come from the brand that gave us the Razer Kraken V1.
This, in fact, was what first tipped me off to the idea that Razer may not have actually designed this headphone at all.
Even in songs as complex and busy as Virtual Riot’s “REDLINE (color bass doggo VIP)”, the Razer Adaro DJ manages to achieve a surprising amount of separation between the bass and the rest of the sound which is kind of uncharacteristic for the brand.
I’d be kind of impressed if Razer hadn’t pulled this off completely by accident.
The midrange is also a surprisingly decent aspect of the Adaro DJ.
Thanks mostly to the bass not overwhelming the rest of the sound, the Razer Adaro DJs still manage to stay clear throughout the midrange.
Of course, these headphones are still definitely bass-heavy, as is demonstrated by songs like “THREE STRIKES” by HONNE. While Khalid and HONNE’s vocals in the song shine through competently, the deep 808s used throughout the song still fill the space.
There’s a bit of a hollow, almost echo-ey quality to its tone, though. Some songs display this quite prominently, like the horn intro in Coldplay’s “People of the Pride”.
The top end of the Adaro DJ is what I can only describe as “unrefined”.
Rough throughout the range with annoying peaks and strange dips, it’s one of the common hallmarks of cheap headphones made with neither the budget nor willingness to properly tune them.
In songs like “Lifejackets” by Secrets of Kaplan, the differences in treble peaks from the snare drum, ride bell, and the sibilant esses from the vocals are all handled very differently by the Adaro DJ, resulting in a rough presentation that’s difficult to listen to for extended periods.
The soundstage is another common point that cheap headphones tend to overlook, and is one to which the Razer Adaro DJ also falls victim.
I already noted that the midrange has a bit of hollow quality to its tone. I have reason to believe that these headphones aren’t properly damped on the inside of the earcups, creating unwanted resonant peaks.
If that explanation is a bit too complicated, a different way to put it would be like listening to music through a half-cut tin can.
As is often the case with discontinued headphones, it’s hard to accurately judge what sort of value of money the Razer Adaro DJ has now when they can’t easily be bought anymore.
In my case, I had to source my pair from the used market for about $40, which should give it a pretty positive impression for me.
Surprisingly enough, that’s not the case.
Despite being long discontinued now, there are still some retailers selling new old stock units of the Adaro DJ for full price. And at its ask for $149, it’s really not worth it at all.
What is a gamer? Is it the legends competing for millions on stages with the whole world watching? Or could it be the gacha game addict with every waifu and husbando built to optimal stats?
By 2016, Razer would come out with the Razer Kraken V2, a gaming headset launched to much louder fanfare from their audience, effectively putting the final full stop on the Adaro series’ rather a short story.
The Razer Adaro DJ was the half-assed attempt of a gaming brand to break outside of their “gamer” box. It seems to me that they tried their hardest to put to market a broader definition of what a gamer is.
But they didn’t need to. Those who wanted gaming headphones would look for them. Finding DJ and “lifestyle” headphones on Razer’s storefront was probably just confusing to buyers if anything else.
So what is a gamer? It’s everyone.
This post was last updated on 2024-02-29 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.