Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Audio Card
Author: Frank Stroupe
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 01-03-2007
Provided by: Razer

The AC-1 software package includes the drivers and the dashboard. Unlike most other gaming/listening sound card manufacturers who burden their drivers with ASIO drivers (which are used only for digital recording), Razer's drivers are streamlined. You won't see the problems that you have with your card made by a company that rhymes with "downcaster". I have had the drivers installed for about six weeks at the time of this writing with no BSOD or any other single problem.

Actually, for the past several days, I have been running the latest drivers, released late December. No problems with them either. You can find the latest drivers at Razer's website.

Here is the Razer Barracuda AC-1's dashboard. I guess I'll start at 1 o'clock and work my way around.

First, the output selector. As you can see, choices are: Barracuda HP-1 headphones, stereo headphones, stereo, quad, 5.1 and 7.1. You just click on the selection you desire.

Next is the selector for S/PIDF output.

Here are the "soundstage" options. This is the default screen in stereo speakers.

Here is what it looks like with 7.1. If you click the "3D Test", notice the little ball on the left side of the guy. You will hear a helicopter in the speakers. The ball will move erratically around the sound stage, and that is where you hear the helicopter. It is a good way to make sure all of your speakers are working.

And, if you click on the speaker in the upper left corner, you get options to adjust each speaker. Default is 0dB, and you can boost it from there. Boosting above 0 gives some significant boost, and really made my speakers kick.

I'm going to skip the Razer ESP section until I break the headphones out.

Here is the volume control.

And the recording level controls.

Above that is the "audio system status", telling you in large font what setting you are in and a graph, which shows volume levels per frequency.

If you click the "advanced" tab at the lower right side of the dashboard, you get the equalizer. The equalizer is extremely effective, as good as any that I have used in music editing software. Equalizers often tick me off because they usually don't do much if you are attempting some light tweaking here and there.

Under the equalizer is the bass "threshold frequency". I'll play with this some after I get the headphones on.

To the right of the equalizer is the equalizer preset menu. You might like it, but I'll do my own tweaking. Seldom does any audio software have presets that I like.

And to the right of the dashboard is the Razer 720 degree mode adjustments, and "environmental effects" which is reverb.

If you click on the Dolby icon when in stereo speaker mode, you get two options, "reference room mode" and "wide mode", which gives the effect of moving your speakers farther apart. It is a pretty cool effect, something that I have seen called different things in different sound editing software.

The reverb effects are pretty good, as good as higher end digital recording software.. Usually, most music already has the right amount of reverb for me, but I occasionally like to play around with it a bit. Under the drop-down menu are three house icons, which changes the "room size", and you get further adjustments with the presets.

I suppose that some might find the dashboard a little crowded, but I didn't. Everything is there, easily accessible. I like the layout.

That pretty much covers the areas of the dashboard until I break out the headphones. I'll do that next.

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