It’s not long ago that you needed to buy Sony’s official wireless headset if you wanted to take advantage of the PS5’s 3D Audio. Now, though, 3D Audio is supported via plenty of headsets, giving those who want a personal spatial audio gaming experience a large number of options to choose from.
That’s where the Razer Barracuda Pro comes in. This flagship headset from the longtime PC peripheral manufacturer boasts exceptional battery life, an extremely comfortable design, and even noise-cancelling, but it’s significantly more expensive than the official PlayStation headset. Does it justify the extra outlay? As long as you’re not buying for the noise-cancelling (and you’re not gaming on Xbox), it sure does.
The Razer Barracuda Pro will set you back £250 / $250 / AU$440. That’s more than double what you’d pay for a PlayStation Pulse headset, which is priced at £90 / $99 / AU$159.
Razer is looking to justify that much higher price with a better build, extra features and, of course, more impressive sound. Both headsets are primarily designed to work with PS5 and PC, which they do via a USB-C dongle.
Razer has been known for its gamer-first designs for a long time, relying on bright reds, greens, and blues as well as what was often a rather loud, aggressive look. With the Barracuda Pro, Razer is moving in a different direction, building a headset for gamers who don’t necessarily want to be clocked as gamers by the headphones they’re wearing. Accordingly, the Barracuda Pro has a sleek, black, minimalist look that won’t raise any eyebrows.
Admittedly, there’s a lot of plastic used in the construction of the Barracuda Pro, which might be a letdown for some considering the price tag, but don’t be too concerned – this headset has a premium, solid feel, and when you couple that with its elegant design, nobody will mistake the Barracuda Pro for something cheap.
More important than anything else, though, is comfort. When you’re planning on long gaming sessions, you need something that you can forget you’re wearing, and the Barracuda Pro doesn’t disappoint there. These cans sit firmly on your head without applying too much pressure, and the cups are big enough to fit even those with larger ears without issue.
The controls of the Barracuda Pro are pretty straightforward. On the left cup, you’ll see your USB-C charging port, your status indicator light, power button, volume control, and mic mute button. On the right cup, you’ll see Razer’s SmartSwitch button, which you can press to cycle through turning ANC on, turning it off, and enabling an ‘Ambient’ mode that allows you to also hear what’s going on around you in the physical world. Double pressing the SmartSwitch button will switch your headset between connected Bluetooth and wireless devices.
You can hold the SmartSwitch button down to put your headset into Bluetooth pairing mode and, when connected over Bluetooth, the power button gets a load of other functionality you can use to play and pause music, accept calls, skip tracks, and more through a combination of single, double, and triple presses.
While the Barracuda Pro supports Bluetooth, its main way of connecting wirelessly is via a USB dongle that enables wireless transmission. Conveniently, there’s a right-angle dongle that’ll sit flush with your PS5; plus, there’s an included USB-A to USB-C cable you can plug the dongle into if your particular set-up requires it.
Compatibility PC, PS5, Switch, Mobile
Connectivity Wi-fi (via dongle), Bluetooth
Battery life 40 hours
Without ANC activated, you’re looking at up to a claimed 40 hours of continuous use on a single charge with the Barracuda Pro, so you won’t have to worry about your headset dying in the middle of a game. This figure comes in stark contrast to the relatively limited battery life of sets such as the Sony Pulse Headset, which clocks in at just around 12 hours. Even high-end Bluetooth headphones such as Sony’s WH-1000XM5 only have around 30 hours of claimed battery life.
You have to connect the Barracuda Pro via its USB wireless dongle or over Bluetooth – there’s no wired support – but between 2.4Ghz wireless and Bluetooth, you can realistically connect the Barracuda Pro to most devices, including PC, mobile, Switch and PlayStation.
However, if you’ve got an Xbox, the Barracuda Pro is not the headset for you as there's no official or even easy way to connect the two. You may be able to use this headset on Xbox with an external Bluetooth adapter, but it doesn’t come with official Xbox support out of the box so you won’t be getting the full Barracuda Pro experience.
There are dual integrated, noise-cancelling microphones on the Barracuda Pro, and you’ll also notice no awkward, obtrusive mic jutting out from it either, which makes the headset easier on the eyes. However, while the Barracuda Pro is generally pretty good at reducing background noise, the actual quality of the microphone system on the Barracuda Pro is only average. Fellow gamers will be able to hear you, but voices can sound a bit more grainy and distorted than they should.
The headline here is that the Barracuda Pro sounds great when gaming, especially when combined with the PS5’s 3D Audio.
Footsteps in Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War are always clear, and you won’t miss them even during chaotic moments, and the bass-heavy boom of gunfire doesn’t overpower other sounds or cover up finer details in most situations. What’s more, there isn’t a distracting tinniness to the highs on this headset, which can be a problem with gaming headsets.
The Barracuda Pro also excels outside of the world of first-person shooters. When you’re roaming the open-world of Horizon: Forbidden West, you’re able to hear every intricate little detail of the massive, artificially-intelligent monsters roaming around, and each one is accurately positioned in the three-dimensional soundscape. We're not just talking direction here, but also distance. This is great for atmosphere, of course, but it also helps in combat as you can quickly respond to threats that aren't on screen.
When it comes to music, throwing up Kanye’s Devil In A New Dress on the Barracuda Pro gives you a real sense of musicality and atmosphere. Gaming headsets tend to come with soundstages wider than your average cans, considering games rely heavily on positional audio, and the Barracuda Pro doesn’t disappoint here, providing a nice, open space for even a ton of different effects, instrumentation and samples playing simultaneously to distinguish themselves from each other.
Even softer tracks, such as renditions of Claire de Lune, play well on the Barracuda Pro, which is no small feat given how often gaming headsets struggle to handle quiet nuance. Of course, you won’t get as much detail and clarity as you would from a serious pair of hi-fi headphones, but the Barracuda Pro sounds good by gaming headset standards, offering up a smooth, laid-back listening experience with music in general.
There are a few things you have to keep in mind with the Barracuda Pro, though. First, don’t turn on noise-cancelling. Just don’t do it. Whether you’re listening to music or playing games, the ANC hugely downgrades the audio quality, muddying whatever’s playing to the extent that it sounds like a completely different and vastly inferior headset. If you’re on a plane, sure, maybe whack it on for the flight, but outside of special circumstances, we wouldn’t bother.
The same can be said for the Barracuda Pro’s Ambient Mode, which allows you to get the sound of the outside world pumped into your headphones via the Barracuda Pro’s microphones. In truth, this feature probably isn’t intended to be used for any length of time, which makes sense since the effect doesn’t sound particularly good, but it is there for when you need to hear something for a moment but don’t want to take off your headphones (you lazy so-and-so).
Thankfully, if you avoid these two processing modes, the Barracuda Pro sounds great. There’s a sophistication and nuance to its representation of sound that a lot of headsets lack. There aren’t any of the crazy balance issues either, such as bass getting blown out or treble being boosted to a grating degree, that often plague gaming headsets.
Put simply, the Razer Barracuda Pro is a very good excellent headset. Whether it’s music or gaming, whatever you’re listening to will sound impressive thanks to the Barracuda’s balanced sound profile and open soundstage.
This isn’t the headset for you if you only game on Xbox or if you really need noise cancelling, but for PS5 and PC gamers with big budgets, it’s a strong choice.
- Sound 5
- Features 4
- Build 4
Check out our PlayStation Pulse review
As well as our list of the best PS5 games
And our list of the best Series X games, too