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Razer Barracuda Professional evaluate: Lively noise ruination


  • Stable construct high quality
  • Considerably weighty however reassuring building
  • Muted aesthetics make it usable wherever
  • Improved bass in comparison with Razer’s earlier flagship wi-fi headset


  • Turning ANC on flat out ruins some video games’ audio
  • USB-C dongle’s design makes it a possible downside
  • USB-C port would not assist audio or firmware updates
  • Lacks 3.5mm assist for wired use, regardless of the cheaper model together with it

Razer’s previous few generations of flagship PC gaming headsets have been its most divergent. First, the Blackshark V2 line arrived, trying much less like Razer’s conventional Kraken aesthetic and extra like one thing a helicopter pilot would put on. Then, the Kraken line itself (V3, to be particular) was up to date with cleaner strains and smaller-looking earcups. 

Now Razer is once more breaking the mildew for its refreshed Barracuda line of “hybrid gaming & road” headsets. Identical to the Blackshark V2s earlier than it, this line eschews design cues from its predecessors in favor of a method seen elsewhere: premium noise-canceling headphones from the likes of Sony, Bose, and different premium audio gear makers. 

This formed the Barracuda Professional I am reviewing at the moment into a wierd mixture of options that nails media consumption use circumstances whereas abandoning core priorities the corporate is understood for. The result’s a tool that hardly appears to be like like a headset (because of the dearth of any recognizable microphone) and struggles to justify its worth level as a result of a significant flaw within the very characteristic meant to outline it. Let’s check out Razer’s most complicated and irritating product in years. 


Sort Over-ear wi-fi 
Connections 2.4GHz wi-fi or Bluetooth 5.2
Audio specs Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz | Imedpance: 32 Ω | Driver dimension: 50mm
Charging USB-A to USB-C cable supplied
Battery life  40 hours
Microphone   “Twin Built-in MEMS Beamforming Noise-Canceling”  
RGB lighting   No
Supported platforms   PC, Mac, Nintendo Change, PlayStation 4/5, cellular units  
Weight   340g (0.75 kilos)  

Razer's Barracuda Pro headset

Regardless of being nearly completely plastic, the headset feels strong in hand.

Michael Gariffo

Kind and construct high quality 

As talked about above, the inspirations for the Barracuda line are clear. Additionally apparent is the truth that Razer needed to create a headset you would be completely happy to put on in all places. 

The one branding on the Professional mannequin is a modest black-on-black Razer brand on the earcups, and the one use of the corporate’s trademark shade of inexperienced is a tiny accent on the mic mute button. This creates a smooth, clear aesthetic that any on-the-go listener must be comfy sporting in public. 

Although the Barracuda Professional is constructed nearly completely of plastic (excluding the metallic inside headband), it feels reassuringly sturdy. All pivot factors flip easily, and its changes click on into place satisfyingly. It feels prefer it ought to final a few years underneath something however obscene quantities of abuse. 

Inside Razer Barracuda's earcups

The earcups aren’t very deep, however the supplies inside make up for it with their softness and lack of any annoying friction.

Michael Gariffo


The Barracuda Professional simply feels cozy. Its comfortable leatherette materials and reminiscence foam ear cushions create sufficient of a seal to assist in passive noise isolation — with out inducing any undue warmth or sweating. The earcups are additionally lined with foam that covers the 50mm TriForce Bio-Cellulose drivers. It is ultra-soft, making any contact together with your ear a pleasing expertise.

I ought to notice one minor gripe: the earcups solely rotate in a single route. This implies when you like rotating them flat when worn round your neck, the drivers must face outward. It is a lower than splendid situation for consolation and defending the built-in drivers.

Extra: The best gaming chairs

Razer’s headbands have all the time had a number of the largest adjustment ranges of any gaming fashions I’ve used, and the Barracuda Professional isn’t any exception. It simply match my above-average-sized head with room to spare, and the included padding let me put on all of it day with none hotspots, stress factors, or different annoyances. 

Razer Barracuda Pro's control cluster

The controls are straightforward to make use of by really feel when you get used to their placement.

Michael Gariffo


The left earcup consists of the USB-C charging port, a digitally managed quantity dial (which instantly alters your OS quantity stage), a mic mute button, and an influence button that may additionally function a play/pause and monitor skip button. 

The one management on the proper earcup is the SmartSwitch button. One faucet of this toggles via ANC on, ANC off, and Ambient modes (every audibly introduced by the headset). The final one makes use of the headset’s exterior microphones to instantly go sound to your ears if that you must hear the world round you a bit higher.

Razer Barracuda Pro's SmartSwitch button

The SmartSwitch button controls each your itemizing mode (ANC on/off and Ambient) and your means to swap between the two.4GHz audio supply and a Bluetooth supply.

Michael Gariffo

I’ll say the load added by the included ANC expertise was noticeable. Regardless of the Barracuda Professional solely weighing 20g greater than the Razer Blackshark V2 Professional I take advantage of every day (340g versus 320g), it felt heavier than anticipated. I am undecided if it is the load distribution, however I clocked the distinction instantly.

Extra: Razer Blackshark V2 Professional headset evaluate: A potent weapon for the proper gamer

Nonetheless, the Barracuda Professional is without doubt one of the most comfy gaming headsets I’ve worn because of its materials selections, ergonomically formed earcups, and wonderful cushioning. 

Razer Barracuda Pro headset in case

The case is hard-sided and features a small compartment for the entire required equipment with a pleasant magnetic lid.

Michael Gariffo


The Barracuda Professional helps 2.4GHz wi-fi and Bluetooth 5.2, which you’ll be able to swap between by double-tapping the SmartSwitch button. The previous is the preferable mode for gaming use, because of its decrease latency. The latter lets the headset connect with absolutely anything that helps Bluetooth audio, together with smartphones, tablets, PCs, streaming units, and so forth. 

This versatility is the idea of the most effective case one might make for the Barracuda Professional’s $250 price: it really is an all-in-one answer that may perform as a headset for gaming, taking voice calls, listening to music, and streaming audio from movies. This provides it the potential to switch a number of different headsets.

Razer Barracuda Pro accessories

Left to proper: USB-A to USB-C charging cable, 2.4GHz USB-C dongle, and a USB-A to USB-C extension cable for the dongle.

Michael Gariffo

2.4GHz efficiency

The two.4GHz connection requires the included USB-C dongle to perform. Razer’s design for that dongle, whereas considerably smaller than USB-A equivalents, may be far more problematic. 

Moderately than extending straight out from the port, the transmitter is L-shaped, with the precise USB-C connector situated at one finish, as you may see above. This could block ports situated subsequent to the transmitter or make the dongle unusable in ports situated too near a PC case’s sidewall. The inherent means for USB-C connectors to be inverted will ameliorate this considerably, however it might nonetheless have unlucky penalties for some customers. Even the included USB-A to USB-C extension cable that may right this challenge finally ends up trying odd with the USB-C dongle protruding of 1 aspect. 

Extra: Sony INZONE H9 evaluate: The XM5 of gaming headphones

The precise 2.4GHz connection supplied by the dongle, nonetheless, is superb. Even in a room with appreciable RF interference, together with from one other Razer wi-fi headset, it carried out very properly, reaching its ascribed vary and solely chopping out a couple of times — for a cut up second — over a full day’s use. 

Bluetooth efficiency

Bluetooth efficiency was equally regular in regular use for music and video. Nevertheless, the Recreation Mode that Razer has supplied in its Razer Audio App and on the headset itself was extra finicky. It makes an attempt to cut back the latency that makes Bluetooth insufficient for severe gaming use, however it does so at the price of appreciable vary and a few audio constancy (a minimum of in my testing). This meant I needed to keep a lot nearer to the audio supply. 

This is not problematic if that supply is a smartphone held in hand, however it’s much less viable for any further-flung units.

Razer Barracuda Pro headset on a blue glass head

You’ll be able to cost the headset whereas it is being worn and used, however your audio connection nonetheless requires 2.4GHz or Bluetooth connectivity.

Michael Gariffo

Energy and charging

Charging is completed through the included USB-A to USB-C charging cable, which plugs into the left earcup. I discovered the headset principally matched its claimed 40-hour runtime — assuming I had ANC off for many of that and stored my quantity at a average stage. This included a mixture of each 2.4GHz and Bluetooth use.

If you happen to hadn’t guessed, all of these variables (connection sort, ANC, vary, interference, and so forth.) meant the battery length might fluctuate significantly, however that is true of nearly any headset. I would say most customers will not must cost this unit greater than as soon as every week with a median quantity of use. 

Extra: The proper USB-C charging cable: Energy meter included

That charging course of is fast and simple to trace because of the truth that Razer lastly added a real share indicator to its companion software program. No extra squinting on the tiny battery icon to guess what the precise cost stage of your headset is, which was essential for some previous fashions. 

I ought to notice the USB-C port seems to be for charging solely. I wanted to replace the unit’s firmware, a 20-minute course of I will clarify momentarily. However, even with the cable plugged instantly into my PC, I nonetheless wanted to ascertain a 2.4GHz connection to ensure that the replace to start out. 

There’s additionally no 3.5mm port for wired use, nor can the USB-C connection provide audio. You’ll be able to, nonetheless, use the headset usually through its wi-fi connections whereas it is charging. 

Razer Barracuda Pro left earcup

Right here is without doubt one of the headset’s microphones used for each voice pickup and ANC on distinguished show.

Michael Gariffo


That is the place the wheels begin to come off. As a Razer product, this headset is marketed to avid gamers. Like every gaming headset, you may clearly nonetheless use it for music, motion pictures, and so forth. Gaming headsets sometimes excel at gaming, whereas offering various, typically inferior, ranges of high quality when used for different functions. This was undoubtedly not the case for the Barracuda Professional. 

The large downside with the Barracuda Professional

The principle challenge with the headset grew to become obvious after I ran a take a look at of its in-game directional sound, an completely very important portion of gaming headset efficiency for FPS gamers. To be clear, I used to be in a position to shortly and precisely find sound sources utilizing the headset, even with my eyes closed.

Nevertheless, throughout testing, I observed the gunshot sounds that I am so intimately aware of from earlier assessments, sounded…incorrect. They had been hole, subdued, and there was some odd reverb being added to them.

At first, I attributed this to the truth that I would ignored the headset’s notification {that a} firmware replace was accessible for it upon first making an attempt it out. So, I lower my take a look at session quick and commenced the method of updating the firmware. 

Extra: The 5 greatest noise-canceling headphones

As talked about above, this took 20 minutes. The firmware set up itself accounted for 5. The remaining was taken up by the prolonged, sadly frequent must replace Razer Synapse. Thoughts you, I’d simply up to date it for my evaluate of the superb Razer Viper V2 Professional. Regardless of that, it nonetheless wanted a multi-stage replace with a PC restart. Solely after this is able to the firmware replace proceed. 

With that lastly completed, I re-entered the take a look at situation and nothing had modified. The sound was nonetheless hole; the bizarre reverb was nonetheless there. I started to surprise if a setting was tousled, resulting in an prolonged interval of tweaking each variable in each the sport’s sound settings and in Razer’s Synapse. 

What ended up being the offender, after a lot investigation, was the system’s personal energetic noise-cancelation mode. And that, as you may guess, is an enormous downside. 

Razer Barracuda Pro right earcup

Right here is the proper earcup’s equal microphone.

Michael Gariffo

However with ANC turned off…

With out the ANC on, the sport sounded wealthy and immersive, with wonderful sound staging, good directionality, and bass that is a lot improved over the Blackshark V2 Professional headset (which has been my private foremost for a couple of yr). Merely put, it gave the impression of a mid- and even high-end gaming headset ought to.

That is the place I have to notice the Barracuda Professional sells for $100 greater than the usual Barracuda (MSRP: $150). The one profit over the cheaper headset is the added ANC performance and the Professional’s compatibility with Razer’s Android and iOS apps — which exist, partly, to regulate that ANC. In the meantime, the usual Barracuda is 20g lighter and consists of the three.5mm connectivity for wired use that the Professional mannequin lacks.

Extra: The perfect headphones for exercises and working

To be clear, the distinction in sound high quality between having ANC on and ANC off assorted from sport to sport. Whereas it was detectably worse throughout all titles, the distinction was nearly negligible in Halo Infinite, middling annoyance in Apex Legends, and downright disastrous in Overwatch and the continued Overwatch 2 Beta. Nobody needs to gamble with whether or not or not a headline characteristic (one they’re paying a $100 premium for) will spoil the audio of their sport of alternative. 

Razer's promo image for the Barracuda Pro microphones

The identical hidden microphones that energy the unit’s ANC are additionally what replaces a increase mic for voice chat functions, as seen in Razer’s promo imagery.


The tragedy of all of it

And it is a specific disgrace as a result of that noise cancelation is kind of spectacular, as I found considerably accidentally.

I used to be testing out the Barracuda Professional in Halo Infinite after I felt my very giant golden retriever making an attempt to stuff himself within the very small area beneath my desk. Questioning what had scared him into his traditional secure spot, I eliminated the headset to seek out {that a} extreme thunderstorm was in progress. By the appears to be like of issues as soon as I opened the shades, it had been storming for a while. I would heard none of it. 

There may be excellent news about this battle between audio high quality and ANC: it would not have an effect on music almost as a lot. Whether or not over 2.4GHz wi-fi or Bluetooth, music sounded superior to every other Razer headset I’ve examined. That richer bass I discussed was joined by clear vocals, quiet areas between instrumental notes, and satisfyingly sharp highs throughout vocals and devices. 

Extra: The 5 greatest PC gaming headsets: Premium audio, no drops

Every little thing I’ve stated about music can be utilized to motion pictures, however to not video games. The one scenario the place I can see ANC offering a greater general expertise for video games is that if your environment are so loud that ongoing ambient noise would worsen your audio expertise greater than the detrimental impression of ANC itself. 

Outdoors of these cacophonous situations, I am unable to suggest utilizing ANC for gaming, particularly when you’re making an attempt to be aggressive. The downgrade in audio is simply too impactful in your common means to take pleasure in and acknowledge in-game sound, even when you can nonetheless inform the final instructions your enemies are approaching from. 

Microphone efficiency 

As all the time, I feel one of the simplest ways to expertise how a mic sounds is to listen to it for your self. So, I created the above demo of the Barracuda Professional’s built-in mic, and I included a comparability with the extra conventional increase mic that ships with Razer’s earlier flagship Blackshark V2 Professional headset. 

Like most wi-fi headset microphones, the Barracuda Professional’s mic sounds satisfactory however not nice. It suffers from the identical barely compressed-sounding voice high quality because the Blackshark V2 Professional’s mic did, however it’s kind of more durable to get to an sufficient quantity with out including distortion, because of the bodily placement of the microphones referenced previously a number of pictures. I additionally discovered it extra liable to ambient noise interference for a similar purpose. A number of the built-in processing settings detailed within the video might help with this, however the impact these settings have on audio is noticeable. 

Extra: Greatest microphones for streaming: From Twitch to podcasts

The built-in mic within the Barracuda Professional will definitely get you by for the fundamental call-outs wanted throughout most in-game voice chat, however I actually would not try and kick off your profession as a podcaster or streamer utilizing it. 

Backside line 

Regardless of what could appear to be a typically bleak outlook on the general audio efficiency of the Barracuda Professional, it is necessary to notice that this might nonetheless be a superb audio answer for the proper particular person. If you happen to’re proud of utilizing the headset with ANC off throughout gaming and ANC on for music, that is an enormous level in its favor. However, to justify that $250 worth level, I would say you’d want to make use of this headset for all of your audio wants. 

If you happen to’re changing one thing just like the aforementioned Blackshark V2 Professional (which sells for round $100-$125 now) and a strong pair of noise canceling, over-ear cellular headphones, like well-known fashions from Sony or Bose ($200-$400), this headset is the higher worth proposition: you are changing $300 to $525 price of kit with a single, $250 merchandise. 

Razer Barracuda Pro headset back view

If you happen to’re a fan of unpolluted and easy aesthetics, it is laborious to dislike the Barracuda Professional’s appears to be like.

Michael Gariffo

Nevertheless, I am unable to say the Barracuda Professional is actually superior to the Blackshark V2 Professional for gaming, neither is it a full match for one thing like Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones. Sure, we’re approaching a “jack of all trades, grasp of none” scenario right here. However that is not essentially a disqualifying issue, only a limiting one. 

If you happen to occur to be an individual concurrently in want of strong, comfy, and reasonably priced options for each your gaming headset wants and your media consumption necessities, the Barracuda Professional remains to be price a glance (particularly if it sees the eventual reductions Razer merchandise are likely to over time). Conversely, when you want a single-purpose gaming headset, I am unable to suggest spending $100-$150 extra on this than Razer’s former flagship or the usual Barracuda mannequin — not for ANC that won’t even be viable to your sport of alternative. 

If Razer finds a technique to right this through software program or firmware replace, I will replace this evaluate to mirror that. Till then, there are far more reasonably priced choices on the market with equal sound high quality, even in Razer’s personal present lineup.

Options to think about 

If you happen to like every part concerning the Barracuda Professional headset however would fairly skip the problematic ANC points, its cheaper sibling retains each different characteristic intact for $100 much less.

Razer’s earlier flagship wi-fi headset has made its method underneath $100, making it an unimaginable cut price when you simply need a meat and potatoes aggressive gaming headset. Learn my full evaluate right here. 

Steelseries’ flagship is a bit pricier than the Barracuda Professional, however ZDNet’s personal Rebecca Isaacs discovered its ANC a lot much less problematic in her full evaluate, and its cleverly hidden increase mic presents a extra conventional voice chat expertise.

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