Razer Barracuda IAS update

You might have read my previous post about the Razer IAS system. I didn’t give a final verdict on this soundcard/headphone combi because I thought my headphones were broken.

I contacted Razer about my concerns and they told me they were aware of these ‘no bass’ problems and would get back to me within a week, or two.

After no news from Razer in a month I started mailing them again. Turns out I need to send in my current headphone for an RMA. This RMA package would have to be sent to Germany, making it an international package.

I won this soundcard and headset in a contest, it got delivered 6 months after the contest ended and when it finally got there it was broken.
Nice prize….

I’m not sure if I’m even going to try sending it in, because it also turns out that my HP1 might not even be defective at all. The worthless rear channel speakers are ‘supposed’ to work like that. They’ve even made a ‘support’ page about it.

PROBLEM
I am not getting enough bass.

SOLUTION
For improved bass response in your music with the Razer Barracuda HP-1 Gaming Headphones, we recommend that you first lower the volume of the Front/Rear/Center/Subwoofer channels, and increase the Front and Sub-woofer channel volume, and then adjust the Center and Rear channel volume accordingly to get a more balanced audio output. You will enjoy a richer and fuller audio experience.

This of course is no ‘solution’ at all. If you hook up an iPod directly to the HP1 (with the USB-connector of the HP1 still in your computer for power) you’ll still get the same rubbish sound from the rear speakers.

Sound from the front speakers is nice, but still low on bass compared to other headphones. The rear speakers are just the high tones.

To illustrate how this sounds, I’ve made three MP3 files that (on normal speakers/headphones) illustrate how poor the HP1 performs. To do this, I hooked up my speakers to the PC and the HP1 to my iPod. I started playing the same track on the iPod and the PC. Now I used Winamp’s equalizer to change the output on the speakers so they’d sound roughly the same as the sound of the HP1 connected to the iPod. When they sounded about the same, I recorded a minute of the song with those equalizer settings.
Listen to the original first, and try not to cry when you listen to the HP1 versions.

Original:

Original

HP1 Front Speakers:

HP1 Front Speakers

HP1 Rear Speakers:

HP1 Rear Speakers

The sound from the HP1 is actually a little worse still than these two “HP1″ mp3’s.

Conclusion

The AC-1 adds nothing new. It doesn’t have the mainstream support as Creative’s EAX/XiFi has, doesn’t add any new substantial features.

The HP1 is a comfy headphone, too bad it has no bass at all on the rear channels, making it a worthless headset for anyone who depends on surround sound. My trusty Logitech Z5500 is way better at telling me where an enemy tank is coming from. The HP1’s microphone is noisy and sounds hollow compared to the microphone on the Sennheiser PC150.

The Barracuda IAS is a very expensive kit that just isn’t worth it. For the same money you can get a XiFi, a decent headset and a stripper. That’s no choice at all.

0 thoughts on “Razer Barracuda IAS update

  1. Pingback: Arie’s blog » Blog Archive » Razer Barracuda IAS (AC1 + HP1) review

  2. I have to disagree with your assessments. This combo is kick ass if set up properly, and I blame Razer for not being more descriptive with regards to BASS.

    The BASS when the actual BASS drivers are set to kick, will vibrate your head off. I have never felt BASS like these phones ever and I have tried most brands.

  3. Yes, the dedicated bass driver does literally shake your head.

    However, there’s a huge gap between the ‘lowest sound from rear drivers’ and the ‘subwoofer’. This results in problems with directional sounds, because you won’t be able to hear a substantial part of the low frequencies ‘behind’ you.

    So in Battlefield 2, tanks behind you will sound much quieter compared to those in front of you.

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