Back in 2016 Razer, the hardware gaming brand purchased THX from Lucasfilm I was unsure what this could lead too. I assumed there would be plenty of THX branded headphones and speakers pouring onto the market from Razer, but was unsure what else they could do to excite people who already have headphones they love. That was until Razer announced and released the new Razer's THX spatial audio app.
The Razer's THX spatial audio app works in tandem with the headphones you currently have and offers the immersion of surround sound with the help of software on a windows PC. This is not a new concept, there have been plenty of software packages that offered surround audio in one form or another, in fact Microsoft has its own "Windows Sonic" feature. But the THX brand has weight behind it and includes some of the best audio people in the business. They know how to craft an audio experience that that immerses the listener in believable sound, and the THX spatial audio app is no different.
To put it bluntly, the Razer's THX spatial audio app is hands down one of the best immersive audio apps I have ever used. Costing $20 USD, the app was easy to set up and run. It has profiles in place that work for most people, and they can be adjusted to fit your needs and personal taste. But most impressive still was the fact it works with any headphones connected to the Windows PC, this includes 3.5mm, USB and even wireless, something I have not seen possible with other app-based solutions.
Granted, while it will work with any set of headphones you can find a way to connect to your PC, you will still want quality hardware to make the most of the sound. If you plan to plug in $5 earbuds to your desktop and expect to have theater feeling sound, you sadly will be out of luck. The software needs quality hardware to make anything sound immersive. You will also need to ensure the audio you are pumping though the headphones is of a high enough quality to get the most out of the effect.
Provided you have all these requirements in place, the Razer's THX spatial audio app works to give the feeling of being in a theatre, all from your desktop or while you are sitting on the couch with a laptop. From watching movies and trailers to jumping into a match of Overwatch, the app did its job, crafting an audio soundscape that felt far wider than could be heard by simply plugging the 3.5mm headphones into the laptop.
During the press briefing, the team got me to listen to the YouTube video demonstrating how spatial audio, and since installing the software, I have viewed the little video a good 10 times just to see how audio with the Razer's THX spatial audio app differs from standard headphones, and it honestly feels night and day depending on the audio source.
It should also be noted, that while it can be fantastic for games and movies, I felt it held little value for standard music. Since most songs are mastered in stereo, the potential of expanding that soundscape did little for most songs, and while interesting to experiment with, I ended up turning it off while listing to music.
Thankfully control of the app was easy, and I never found it a hassle to turn off the features when not using it, and adjusting settings to fit the task I had planned, or if I just wanted to dive deeper into what the Razer's THX spatial audio app could do. It is a well-designed software package, and I am excited to see how it evolves over time. The team working on it clearly know the sound, and it can only improve as they get feedback and put time into building out features.
The Razer's THX spatial audio app is currently avalable for download, where you can try the software for yourself on a trial. Costing $20 or $9.99 on upgrade from 7.1 Surround. While I have enjoyed my week with the app, and feel it added to my media experience while on a laptop, it is well worth giving a try, and see if it is right for you. If you have hardware and are finding you are watching more on your laptop than ever before, do yourself a favour and give the Razer's THX spatial audio app a try, it is well worth the download.