Last year around this time, we got a chance to look at the Razer Barracuda X, which, while not the pinnacle of town, was a really good headset. But there were some issues with using it as an all-day listening option. With the release of Razer’s new Barracuda range, we’ve seen an increase in functionality that covers previous criticisms, bringing this headset painfully close to perfection for all-day use.
What is it?
The Razer Barracuda Pro is a wireless headset with multiple connectivity options (Bluetooth and Wireless USB-C Dongle) that is compatible with Windows, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation. Razer continues their recent trend and has released another device adorned with striking RGB lighting. While this may diminish the gamer’s appeal, it opens up a significantly larger market for everyday users who are on the go all day.
What’s in the box?
Just as you would expect from any quality manufacturer, what you need is in the box. This includes the headset, USB-C connection dongle, a sturdy and somewhat hefty case, cables to charge your headset and one to provide a connection option for machines that don’t have USB-C.
The combination of the cables and Bluetooth connectivity options results in the already mentioned wide compatibility. It’s a really slick headset that I would use without hesitation in a professional setting or at home for gaming. Partly because of the looks and partly because of the improved technology, there is no detachable microphone, but the built-in microphones are quite capable of delivering high quality speech for calls and chatting and reduce the captured noise.
Design and operation
When you open the box you are presented with the carrying case which (with the headset and cables inside) is quite heavy. However, the case looks like it will protect your headset very well while traveling in a bag. Opening the carrying case reveals the headset which looks great, if a little dull by Razer’s usual visual standards.
One of the reasons the case is so physically large is the fact that the headphones don’t fold to reduce storage space. There’s still plenty of customization for different users, though, with the headband having the usual sliding feature and the earcups hinged both up and down and horizontally.
Once you put them on, the padding around the ears and over the headband quickly molds to your head and ears. This brings a level of comfort and physical balance that you have to experience to understand it. Provided you adjust the headband to your comfort level, the other adjustments will of course happen by positioning the headset normally.
Personally, I am a tactile person and while touch controls are very functional, I prefer physical buttons when relying on touch. So to me, the controls on the Razer Barracuda Pro made a lot of sense with the right ear having a single push button for controls (ANC on, ANC off, Ambient) from ANC mode.
On the left ear, the top button is a push button to mute the microphone, so you can easily know if your microphone is on or off with one touch. Underneath is a volume roller that feels great, so you can carefully adjust the volume of what you’re listening to. Finally, at the
at the bottom of the controls you will find the power and play/call control button.
Something I really enjoyed with the Barracuda Pro is the smart switching capabilities while gaming. You can quickly and easily switch the audio stream from your PC to your phone at the touch of a button, so you don’t have to take off your headset to pick up your ringing phone when you hear it.
During testing, I wore this headset all working day with the ambient sound option
Sound quality and noise reduction
This is one facet of a multipurpose headset that has the potential to be brilliant or a deal breaker. Sound balance and tuning are important to all listening habits and change depending on what you’re doing.
As a general statement, I found the sound quality of the Razer Barracuda Pro to be very clean. Even on the standard equalizer it was fairly well balanced, but not brilliant for playing music without a bit of bass.
If you want to get the most out of your Barracuda Pro, installing the Razer Audio app is a must. It brings one-touch access to features including ANC controls and preset EQ settings for games, audio playback and movie, as well as a standard (flat) and custom EQ. The preset options are pretty good for most users, but if you want to narrow down, you’ll quickly hit the custom option.
If you’re working or playing in a noisy environment or using the Barracuda Pro while commuting, the noise cancellation is welcome. The capabilities are not up to Sony’s standards and do allow voices from people around you, but that feels like a conscious decision to raise awareness and given the weight (340 grams) of this; Not sure if I would recommend them for air travel.
However, there are some very good reasons for that weight, so don’t discount them for that. The first is that the drivers are 50mm, a major contributor to the audio range on offer and a minor contributor to the weight. Perhaps more importantly, the THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (THX AAA) provides significantly lower sound distortion and reduces power consumption.
In normal listening, this is not as prominent as you might think. But for supported games and movies, you’ll hear an impressive depth of sound that really enhances your listening pleasure.
A year of development has tackled almost every single problem
Last year, the Barracuda X was a great headset, but there were some issues with it. The lack of connectivity options is solved with the Bluetooth addition to the Pro. The USB dongle now has the connector on one end, meaning laptops with two USB-C ports won’t get one blocked during use.
The case is really solid and will provide excellent protection for your headphones in a bag or while traveling. This is also where the necessary cables and the USB dongle (in its own special pouch to avoid losing it) are stored, so you always have what you need with you. The only problem is that you need a big bag for it, as the headphones (like the Sony WH-1000XM5) don’t fold to reduce storage space.
The THX AAA results in adequate volume, so much so that listening at high volume for more than a fleeting moment or two was uncomfortable.
It feels like last year’s Barracuda X was testing the waters, learning from feedback and delivering something outstanding a year later. Yes, it’s a significantly higher price – MSRP AU$439.95 – and a more expensive device, but it really feels like Razer has done everything they set out to do here.
As mentioned, the look has been rolled back from some of the more typical bright and flashy RGB settings we’ve come to expect from Razer. However, this means that its use is beneficial not only for the gaming niche, but also for office and commuting use. With a battery life of around 40 hours, it’s unlikely you’ll be caught without your headphones.
Ultimately, headphones are about audio quality and these have performed well. Well balanced with good sound response and easy to tune via preset EQ options to suit your preference and what you are listening to at the time.
While there are others that can do the job, this is the first headset I’ve used that can really easily switch between work, play, commute, and general communication needs. Even with the price being a bit steep for some users and the weight above that, I’m genuinely impressed with what Razer has delivered here.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Barracuda Pro headset, you can check it out at the Razer Store† Mwave Australia† Scorpion or Center.com for $439.00
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