I’m a simple man when it comes to gaming headsets. Up until about a week ago, I still used the free earbud mic that came with the PlayStation 4…on the PlayStation 5. I don’t like change. Anyway, gaming headset prices have absolutely skyrocketed in recent years, likely due to the rising popularity of the super-cool internet steamer types. Everyone wants the biggest and best headsets these days. This has led to an average price of $100+ for a decent quality mic. Well, that’s at least what they say. I never had any issues using the ‘budget‘ microphones. Sure, they might not have been the most comfortable things on earth. And they certainly weren’t the flashiest of the bunch, but they always did the job. My point is; I never bought into the idea of dropping large amounts of cash on a gaming headset. And I kept that same sentiment when the folks over at Razer asked me to check out the new “Barracuda X” multi-device headset.
First thought out of the box was relief. Its design is a sleek, more muted and fully black scheme, opposed to the god-awful RGB light nightmare that is apparently what all the cool kids do these days. Not sure why people seem to prefer this rainbow vomit, but give me minimalist black visuals over that noise any day. The headset itself is extremely lightweight. Granted, it’s made of plastic rather than metal, but I think that’s a completely acceptable trade-off. I’d much rather have a light, albeit slightly less “durable” headset, than one that feels like I’m preparing to enter deep space.
The quality of the build feels great, with very soft memory foam in both the earcups and headband, it just feels nice to wear. Nothing digs into my head or ears, and it’s snug without being too tight. After wearing these for multiple hours, I never felt any level of discomfort. Both earcups can swivel and pivot, making for a great fit for even my enormous skull. The noise cancellation is just right for my taste as well, blocking enough outside noise to permit me to focus on the gameplay, without allowing for a posse of bandits to break into my house unnoticed.
The sound quality is exceptional as well. While I’m not expecting to upload any videos of myself listening to music with this headset and crying profusely due to pure unadulterated auditory ecstasy, the sound of these are on par with the fairly high-end headphones I use with my turntable.
The microphone quality is about what you would expect with a wireless headset. It’s nothing you’d want to use for professional recording in my opinion, but that isn’t the point of this product, to begin with. The pickup area is what really shines with the Barracuda X. It has an extremely precise voice pick-up area located just around the microphone itself. This eliminates nearly all background noise. Without any tweaking on my console, I was able to have videos playing in the background while in a Warzone match, and not a single teammate could hear. The mic itself is detachable, to avoid having a dumb-looking stick and mic bulb jutting out in front of you if you’re just wanting to listen to whatever device you may be using.
What I consider to be the absolute best feature of the Barracuda X is its ability to work with nearly every device you would want. Without any setup, software, or pairing whatsoever, you can simply plug in the small USB-C dongle, turn on the headset, and go. It’s so wonderful to finally have a headset that works with all my gaming consoles and even my PC without any setup, and all with no hassle or configuration. Not to mention it is fully compatible with the PlayStation 5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech. One downside is that it doesn’t seem to be compatible with the Xbox console. But frankly, that doesn’t affect me, so I don’t care.
It holds an astounding twenty-hour charge via its USB-C charging cable, and can also be swapped into a wired mode via the included 3.5mm jack. This ensures you’ll never really be without a microphone, even if you forget to charge it.
In the end, the Razer Barracuda X gaming headset is an excellent choice for those who just want to plug and play. With no setup or hassle, you’ll be able to enjoy great quality audio without having to drop loads of cash or forty-five minutes of setup time on.