If you are looking for an extremely comfortable gaming headset, then the Razer Barracuda Pro is a stylish and well-made piece of kit to put on your head. This big fish shows off its sharp teeth with a wide range of functions but has to face tough competition from the likes of the similarly priced EPOS H3PRO Hybrid.
For just under 290 euros, you get a surround-capable gaming headset that requires a little fine-tuning in terms of sound, both for playback and the microphone, to allow it to bite its way through the churning waters of the gaming headset market.
The Razer Barracuda Pro is the latest addition to the recently upgraded Barracuda range, which now consists of the Barracuda X, the Barracuda and the Barracuda Pro. While the Barracuda X has been given a technical upgrade to compliment the new addition to the family, the Pro comes with interesting new features: hybrid noise cancelling, 50-millimetre TriForce bio-cellulose drivers and THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (THX AAA) technology, which is supposed to reduce noise levels, distortion and power consumption to a minimum. This all sounds very good on paper, but what about in practice?
The Razer Barracuda Pro arrives securely packaged in Razer’s customary green and black sleeve together with an environmentally friendly cardboard box. Inside, you will find a 150 cm USB-A to USB-C cable for charging and an equally long USB-A to USB-C extension cable with a socket. A small wireless transmitter (approx. 37 mm x 13 mm x 6 mm) with a USB-C connector, a hard case with a pocket and a quick-start guide including a Razer sticker complete the package.
Design, workmanship and feel
The Razer Barracuda Pro are a pair of circumaural, closed headphones that are completely finished in matte black. Only the discreet logo on the ear cups and the company name on the headband give away the manufacturer. With its design and styling, the Barracuda Pro appear contemporary, minimalist and “sleek”. The headband is made of soft protein, the ear pads of soft imitation leather, and the memory foam filling makes for pleasant pressure distribution.
The ear cups can be rotated 90 degrees for transport; the size adjustment is graduated in twelve steps and was extremely smooth in the model we tested. A slight shake of the earpieces is all that’s needed to adjust them. The contact pressure of this headset is neither too tight nor too loose, and even after hours on your head, it does not become uncomfortable. The non-changeable ear pads (approx. 6.5 x 4.5 cm inner diameter) completely enclose the ear cups and provide good passive noise attenuation.
As with the Barracuda X, there is nothing to complain about in terms of workmanship. The black surface of the components proved to be less sensitive to grease in our test; the ear pads were two centimetres thick and comfortable, as was the headband.
The Razer Barracuda Pro can be operated using the buttons and controls on the ear cups. On the left, there’s the microphone mute button, a volume wheel, the power button (which also handles media control) and the USB-C socket for charging the gaming headset. On the right ear cup, there is only one button (SmartSwitch), which serves several functions: a single press switches between noise cancelling, transparency mode and neutral, a double-tap switches between Bluetooth and wireless, and a five-second press activates Bluetooth pairing mode. A triple press followed by a two-second hold turns on gaming mode, which operates at lower latency.
Handling & Practicality
As mentioned above, the Razer Barracuda Pro handles two modes: in conjunction with a wireless stick (2.4 GHz), the headset connects to PCs, laptops and game consoles. It’s worth mentioning here that the wireless dongle, which has been specially redesigned for the Pro and has an L-shape, now takes up less space on computers. The dongle was recognised immediately on a Playstation 4 as well as on a Mac and Windows PC, and the Barracuda Pro was quickly ready to use.
In terms of Bluetooth, Razer relies on version 5.2 as well as the SBC and AAC codecs for its new model. The connection proved to be pleasantly stable: we only heard the first drop-outs after about 15 metres. Switching between console and smartphone during a session of “Horizon Zero Dawn” worked without a hitch when the phone beeped. However, if your mobile phone plays media content via Bluetooth or the PC via dongle, this is automatically paused when switching but not automatically continued. In this case, you have to reach for the external player.
Purely analogue operation is missing – Razer has removed the mini-jack, and audio via USB-C cable is also not possible.
However, this gaming headset was not entirely bug-free during our tests, despite the latest firmware: connected to an Apple iMac (macOS 12.4), the sound sporadically dropped out when changing the volume with the wheel, only to resume immediately afterwards. The headset also picked up the typical noise of mobile phones when they were in the immediate vicinity. Fans of wearing hoodies should also be careful with overly violent head movements because the volume knob is quite smooth, and so it can easily be the case that the volume gets accidentally changed by rubbing against your hood.
The manufacturer promises 40 hours of runtime on one battery charge, but we did not quite achieve this in our practical test. Of course, this depends on various factors, such as volume or ANC use. A complete charging process takes about four hours, although they can be used during overnight recharging.
We were curious to hear how good the Razer Barracuda Pro sound because this is the first time the manufacturer has used the new TriForce drivers with a diameter of 50 millimetres that are made of bio-cellulose. According to the manufacturer, the new material and the thin membrane, together with the THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (THX AAA), improve the sound image, reduce distortion and offer hi-fi sound.
It is this last point that suggests that the Barracuda Pro possess audiophile qualities. But without sound-enhancing measures, the headset sounds somewhat unbalanced. The bass pushes at higher volumes but is far from being loud. The lower mids seem slightly subdued, while the upper mids had presence, almost an overemphasis. This – together with the treble – makes for a lot of sharpness at high volumes in appropriately mixed songs. This boosts voices, but your ears get tired faster. We liked this when gaming because dialogue stood out well from background music and effect sounds, so we had less trouble following conversations during an overloaded battle.
In Bluetooth-only mode, the Razer Barracuda Pro acts differently again: even at 50% volume, the sound from the headphones was extremely loud and sharp, and it was anything but balanced.
Synapse Audio Software & Razer Audio App
It’s a good thing that Razer provides us with “Synapse” software (Windows 10 and 11), which allows for some fine-tuning thanks to the 10-band equaliser, and this can tame the aforementioned “skewness” of the sound quite well. Furthermore, the Razer Audio App is available as an iOS and Android version for those who don’t use a PC. Both Synapse and the smartphone apps offer a similar basic set of functions, but detailed fine-tuning is only possible with the Windows programme. Here, you can not only deactivate or activate THX Spatial Audio globally, but also programme-specifically, switch the bass boost, and process and pre-listen to the microphone signal with a 10-band EQ or Voice Gate.
Conclusion: The Synapse software delivers a powerful, comprehensive experience and neatly functions as a hub for all kinds of Razer hardware including cloud connection for seamless integration.
Noise cancelling and transparency mode
The ten-stage hybrid noise-cancelling does a pretty good job, but doesn’t come close to the quality of the Sony WH-1000XM5 or the Apple AirPods Max. The Razer Barracuda Pro successfully suppressed low, static noises, while the midrange and treble remained perceptibly muffled. This was accompanied by a slight background noise that was only really noticeable in quiet passages or silence. In terms of sound, the sound image remained largely stable, even with the ANC feature activated.
Although the transparency mode increases the noise level and sounds somewhat artificial, conversations could be followed without any problems.
Barracuda Pro Microphones
Razer uses beamforming microphones that are hidden in the two earcups. This is also where the noise cancellation works, filtering out unwanted background noise. However, the headphones tended to swallow softly spoken words and the frequency band seemed narrowed. Podcast recordings should therefore be done with external microphones, but our Teams colleagues could still understand us well while we were playing, and Skype conferences were just as easy. In addition, you still have the option of tweaking the quality of the signal via Synapse, even if this doesn’t quite improve the voice quality as much as we would have liked.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance32 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)96 dB
- Weight without cable340 g
- Cable length150 cm
What's in the box
- USB-C charging cable
- USB-C adapter cable
- Wireless dongle
- Transport case
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC
- BT version: 5.2
- Compatibility: PC (USB-C 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 5.2); PlayStation (USB-A to USB-C adapter, 2.4 GHz); Mobile devices (USB-C or Bluetooth 5.2); Android & iOS