Roccat‘s 5.1 surround sound gaming headset – the Kave – has been out for quite some time and I’ve had my gamer paws on it for a couple of weeks. With a sturdy design, excellent sound quality and intuitive controls, the Kave‘s are perfect for any gamer who wants quality at a reasonable price.
The Kave‘s are a well designed and assembled piece of kit, they’re stylish without being over the top, comfortable for reasonable periods of time and the parts used are quality and not cheap or tacky. There’s quite a lot of flex available in the headband and the fact that the ear cups swivel slightly allows for more movement. The cups are attached by aluminum hinges and both cups can fold inwards so you’re free to carry them around with you without any fuss. The headset features 10 levels of height adjustment, which I’m sure will allow them to fi anyone’s cranium – large or small.
The headband features three square pads used to equally distribute the weight across the top of your head, sadly for me, this just didn’t work. After long periods of game time, I would find the pads would dig into the top of my head, causing discomfort, adjusting the headset a little further forward or backward solved the problem for a little while but it seemed to be a recurring issue. The headset is also quite heavy and it will take some time to adjust, if you’re not a fan of heavy headsets then I suggest you find something else.
The ear cups are well designed and the padding used is comfortable, however, I found that the material used doesn’t breathe well. After long periods of gaming, I found my ears would get hot and this issue wasn’t apparent when wearing my Turtle Beach’s which use a breathable material. The left cup houses the mic which can be removed if need be, surrounding the mic is a circular LED which constantly glows blue so long as the computer is powered on or is still hooked up to the mains.
Unlike other companies who say they have “surround sound”, the Kave is true 5.1 surround sound and Roccat has fitted four dynamic drivers aligned at a 12-degree angle into each cup to produce perfect surround sound quality for both games and movies. In order to use the 5.1 surround of the Kave‘s you’re going to have to invest in a sound card that allows 5.1 playback, the sound card I used during this review was ASUS Xonar DGX 5.1 and at a low price of only £25 it’s a steal if you’re on a low budget but want something that will provide. You could just use a basic stereo sound card for stereo playback, but you won’t get to hear the amazing audio that’s on offer and that’s what the Kave is all about.
The sound from games is mind blowing, I could really tell the difference between my old Turtle Beach headset and the Kave. I spent most of my time playing Battlefield 4 multiplayer the 5.1 surround sound allowed me to listen to player direction. Because of the headsets unique driver placement I felt fully immersed in the gameplay, the headset definitely brought me closer to the action and I’m sure that many FPS players would enjoy the sound quality produced by Roccat’s design.
Another point to mention here is the fact that the cups are noise canceling, outside noises such as general movement and even conversations are reasonably blocked out. I struggled many times to keep up a conversation with my headset on, I would often find myself asking “What did you say” or even shouting it because I couldn’t decide whether I was talking normally or too low. This is by no means a negative point, in fact, not being able to hear the outside world in a full on positive, way to go Roccat!
The main focal point of this headset is the included Tip’N’Control desktop remote. On the left of the remote is a volume wheel which can be turned clockwise and anti-clockwise continually, meaning there is no back and forth once the wheel reaches a certain point. At the top is a blue LED and when the center of the wheel is pressed down the audio is muted and the LED begins to flash to notify you of this – so no more talking to yourself in chat because you’re still muted. Below the wheel on the side of the remote is a mic mute button which is pretty standard for most headsets these days.
On the right of the remote is a lid which you pop open, this reveals the set of speaker controls which you can adjust. Because the Kave‘s use true 5.1 surround sound the control panel allows you to change the levels for the center, front, rear and sub speakers on the fly. Below the speaker adjusters is a sliding bar which allows you to change the audio pre-sets from games to movies, so you can adjust the sound with minimal fuss if you’re not interested in the micro adjustments.
The desktop remote sits on two rubber feet meaning it won’t slide around as you play or watch, the box is also weighty enough to stay put in one spot.
The mic, as mentioned already, is fully detachable. I never had a reason to remove the mic completely during my time using the headset, in fact, I didn’t even remove it after my initial opening of the packaging. There is the option to rotate the mic 360 degrees should you wish, allowing you to place it wherever is most comfortable and you can store it in the upright position when it’s not in use. The end of the mic is bendable and can also be adjusted to your liking and moving the mic away from my mouth didn’t affect the sound quality for the receiver.
The mic can be muted but confusingly the LED at the tip will light solid blue when muted, something which I would have thought would happen when un-muted only. A confusing choice on Roccat’s part but it’s a part of the design that doesn’t affect the overall product or this review. The audio quality produced by the mic was clear and crisp, I spent many hours playing games with friends to test the quality – no static or hissing.