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Old 04-06-2007, 02:54 AM   #1
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Default Razer Barracuda AC-1 Sound Card

With the anticipated release of the Razer Mako loudspeakers, we have a look at Razer’s Barracuda AC-1 audio card, and compare it to two other common audio solutions. The Barracuda AC-1 boasts an impressive feature set, and its audio chipset has an excellent reputation for sound quality. Will it be a fitting partner for the new Mako speakers?

You can read the full review here and discuss it here!
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:36 AM   #2
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Pick this one apart, gentlemen, since this review is my first sound card review, and it will set a lot of precedents for how I conduct sound card reviews in the future. I welcome your input and any suggestions you can offer for improvement.

The first improvement I can think of is in the way I conduct the testing of the card's audio output -- in the future, I'll likely use a separate machine with a high-quality card or an external USB preamp to provide the input for RightMark Audio Analyzer, to eliminate potential variance caused by each individual card's input stage. However, the more research I do into third-party testing of audio cards, the more it seems like the SNR ratings that I measured in the loopback testing for this review are reasonably accurate, which suggests that the SNR rating of a particular sound card's audio chipset only tells half the story, and that it doesn't always translate to the sound card's true output SNR.

I also had wanted to talk more about the massive -20dB to +20dB adjustment range provided by the Barracuda AC-1's graphic equalizer function. When I pushed the faders in the bass region to the max and cranked the master volume, instead of 'clipping', the sound card simply compressed its own output. This is a huge step to improving audio quality because it prevents the random crackling sound of a clipped waveform from interfering with the experience. This was one impressive sound card in that respect. I just didn't see where it would fit in well in the review, so I made only a passing mention of the broad range of GEQ adjustments.
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Old 04-06-2007, 11:54 AM   #3
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The review was awesome. A big part of the decision for me would be $ rather then quality. The only thing I was left with wondering about... how does the LED Razer logo look when it's dark?
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Old 04-06-2007, 02:43 PM   #4
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Very nice review and very detailed. Too bad you couldn't compare it with an X-Fi but the Audigy4 shouldn't be that much different.

I can't wait to see those new Makos
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Old 04-06-2007, 05:07 PM   #5
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Default Does this thing work in Vista?

Does this thing work in Vista?
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Old 04-06-2007, 07:29 PM   #6
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Unfortunately, it looks like Razer's Vista drivers for the Barracuda aren't ready yet -- the beta drivers are expected by April 10, but that's still very much subject to change (as anyone familiar with software development knows). Personally, I run Windows XP on all my machines, and will continue to do so until driver support for Vista is there, and the first service pack has been put out.
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Old 04-07-2007, 02:29 PM   #7
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Ok. I did a bit more research into the Vista Drivers question, and I found that C-Media actually has a beta driver for the CMI8788 chipset that is already available. This driver is missing DDL (Dolby Digital Live) and DTS surround encoding functionality on the digital output, but everything else works. This is what Sondigo recommends using for their Inferno for the next few weeks until C-Media's Vista drivers become available. From my own testing, it appears that the Razer Barracuda AC-1 has complete functionality under C-Media's CMI8788 drivers, so I suspect that you could limp along with that solution until Razer's own Vista drivers and control panel become available.
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Old 04-13-2007, 10:09 PM   #8
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This card now lists on Newegg for $179. It's still pricey, but I think it was $199 when I wrote this review. I don't recall for sure - it may have been the HP-1 headphones that cost $199.
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Old 04-23-2007, 07:26 AM   #9
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Default HP-1

Any Idea how these work with the HP-1 headphones? is it a worthwhile investment?


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Old 03-15-2008, 11:03 AM   #10
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Does this card support EAX?
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:53 AM   #11
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This card only has EAX support up to EAX 2.0. However, the ASUS Xonar series recently added support for up to EAX 5.0.

As regards the HP-1 headphones, this card works well with them out-of-the-box, and also features the "HD-DAI" connector that's designed to offer quick-connect and quick-disconnect convenience when used with the HP-1 headphones. If I were using the HP-1 headphones, I'd definitely also want to pick up this sound card to use them with.
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:54 PM   #12
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Default sound card

I recently bought this sound card. Quick question though. I am building HTPC, therefore I need good audio to my receiver. Anyway, here is my question. When you put in DVD movie to dvd-rom, it convert the audio to analog then send it to motherboard. Assuming, you dont have sound card here. Unless you connect dvd-rom SPDIF to motherboard SPDIF and your motherboard has optical out. That way, you can get digital from source going out to receiver. Since, if you have soundcard now, which is pci bus. So, the audio source from above sinerio gets convert to analog at some point? Or the audio go straight to sound card with out converting to analog? Also, there is no SPDIF connection on this sound card.
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Old 06-26-2008, 06:21 AM   #13
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Default Razer Barracuda AC-1 Opamp Placement

For the Razer Barracuda AC-1 Sound Card, does anyone know which of the opamp is for the front l/r channels, center/sub, rear surround, and back surround?
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:40 PM   #14
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Good question. I don't have access to that specific information, though sometimes it's possible to tell (if the card manufacturer is using better opamps for the front left and right channels). The Barracuda's opamps are not user-replaceable, so I wouldn't agonize too much over this -- if you need better-quality electronics on the analog end of things, I'd choose one of the ASUS Xonar D2 cards (D2, D2X).
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Old 08-20-2009, 11:48 AM   #15
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im really happy with the headphones but i dont have the card.i think ill get one.
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