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Razer Barracuda Pro vs Arctis Nova Pro wireless: Which should you buy?



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Razer and SteelSeries are two of the biggest names in the gaming peripheral space, making some of the best gaming headsets, keyboards, and mice out there. When it comes to wireless gaming headsets specifically, Razer and SteelSeries have both just released new flagships that we’re going to pit against each other for you today. So, Razer Barracuda Pro vs Arctis Nova Pro wireless: which one should you buy? Let’s take a closer look to see how they differ and which one will come out on top.

Razer Barracuda Pro wireless gaming headset

Razer Barracuda Pro

Dual Integrated MEMS Beamforming, Noise-Cancelling

PC, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch

steelseries logo 1

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro wireless gaming headset

steelseries arctis nova pro wireless gaming headset

USB, 2.4GHz, Bluetooth 5.0

PC, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch

This battle will be an interesting one as these headsets have similar internal specs, but wildly varying feature sets. This means that it could be a close call as we aren’t just comparing comfort, audio, etc, but different features that could be dealbreakers/dealmakers for many. When it comes to gaming, the biggest difference here is that the Razer Barracuda Pro has dual internal beamforming mics, whereas the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro wireless utilizes the traditional boom mic. Additionally, both options feature ANC (Active noise canceling) technology for a more immersive experience. Let’s take a closer look at these features first, then we’ll examine the other aspects of these headsets.

Razer Barracuda Pro vs Arctis Nova Pro wireless: beamforming vs boom mics

The most visually notable and gaming critical difference between these two headsets is the microphone. Razer has opted for a dual internal beamforming setup, lowering weight and making the overall shape of the headset far more compact, making it more ideal for usage outside of gaming. However, as we noted in our Asus ROG Delta S Wireless gaming headset review, internal mics, beamforming or not, seem to have trouble isolating background noise which results in a lot of interference. This typically makes internal mics less ideal for co-op or competitive gameplay as communication can be problematic here and there.

The Arctis Nova Pro wireless avoids this issue by sticking to an old-fashioned boom mic and even throws in noise-canceling for the mic pickup pattern too. While it’s not as clear as a pro mic, current consumer beamforming technology as it is, it can’t compare to a boom-style solution when it comes to communicative clarity. For this reason, the Arctis Pro Nova Wireless wins this round, additionally, the boom mic fully retracts to become flush with the headset, keeping the silhouette smooth when not in use.

Razer Barracuda Pro vs Arctis Nova Pro wireless: Audio quality

published internal specs for gaming headsets typically don’t vary by much, presumably due to the shared factories, suppliers, and similar budgets/margins. This usually makes the spec sheet an all but copy-pasted bore to read, however, when comparing the Razer Barracuda vs the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro wireless we see an interesting discrepancy in a key area: the drivers.

this takes the form of a difference in size, with Razer offering a 10mm larger driver. While this tiny difference might not seem significant, it could have a very noticeable effect on the overall audio signature of the Razer Barracuda Pro. This might not necessarily be a bad thing, however, as it depends on the types of games you play and the type of music you listen to.

This is because larger driver diameters tend to produce better bass as they can move more air per pulse. However, the converse is also true as smaller drivers can change positions more quickly, allowing for better definition in the mids and highs.

Razer Barracuda Pro vs Arctis Nova Pro wireless: The design

Given the subjective nature of this category, there aren’t any hard and fast conclusions that we can draw. That being said, the Razer Barracuda Pro is far less gamer-esque with a smooth shape and an almost suspicious level of resemblance to the Sony WH-1000XM4s. This makes it clear that Razer is targeting not only online competitive gaming with the Barracuda Pro headset, but general use too, this explains the implementation of ANC and the removal of an external boom mic too.

This isn’t to say that the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro is badly designed, but it wouldn’t fit in on the bus or train quite as well, despite the retractable mic, it still has hints of a gaming-focused design. This means we have to go with the Razer Barracuda Pro in terms of design, but we feel compelled to reiterate that allowing us or any editorial outlet to sway your opinion when it comes to visuals doesn’t make sense, so when it comes to design, your choice is the most important one.

Razer Barracuda Pro vs Arctis Nova Pro wireless: The price

Here we see a huge $100 difference, with the Barracuda Pro coming in at ~$250, while the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless commands ~$350. But before you click through to Amazon to grab the Barracuda Pro and spend the spare $100 on one and a half AAA games, spare a thought for what SteelSeries offers for the extra cash.

Specifically, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Pro comes with the new and improved GameDac that we first encountered a few years ago in our Steelseries Arctis Pro +GameDAC Review. The version that comes with the SteelSeries Nova Pro Wireless has been redesigned and is a great addition to any gamer’s desk, allowing you to change volume, switch devices, and, most importantly, utilize what SteelSeries calls the ‘Infinity Power System’.

This is a novel system we first saw with the Arctis Pro Wireless and we love it. The headset comes with two hot-swappable batteries, and while one of them powers the headset, the other charges in the GameDAC. This produces functionally infinite battery life as the DAC can charge the second battery quicker than the headset can deplete the first one. This means that despite the chart-topping price of the Arctis Nova Pro, we consider it to win this round for the infinite battery life and included DAC.

Razer Logo

Razer Barracuda Pro wireless gaming headset

Razer Barracuda Pro

Dual Integrated MEMS Beamforming, Noise-Cancelling

PC, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch

steelseries logo 1

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro wireless gaming headset

steelseries arctis nova pro wireless gaming headset

USB, 2.4GHz, Bluetooth 5.0

PC, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch

Curious to see how other headsets stack up against each other? We’ve also written a SteelSeries Arctis Pro vs Arctis Nova Pro (wireless) page to see what the differences are between the old and the new version.

Razer Barracuda Pro vs Arctis Nova Pro wireless: Final Verdict

If you haven’t noticed by now, we have to give it to the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro as it’s far more feature-complete, and the Beamforming microphones of the Razer Barracuda Pro can’t compete with an old-fashioned boom mic in terms of clarity. Additionally, the included DAC and infinity power system is one of the more impressive paradigm shifts of gaming headsets that we’ve seen in a while.

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