Home » Electronics » Audio » Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital PC Gaming Headset is an Affordable Performer for Any Level Gamer [Review]

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital PC Gaming Headset is an Affordable Performer for Any Level Gamer [Review]

I have only recently started to get more and more into PC gaming. It took a while. Mostly due to lack of equipment that was capable of playing higher end AAA titles coupled with the fact that I was never very found of playing online with other people. One can only replay the same single player story line for a game so many times before you need to venture to a the mulitplayer side. As gaming progresses, I am finding that there are more and more titles that are bringing online multiplayer only or mixed story-line with a heavy emphasis…

Review Overview

Design
Build Quality
Sound Quality
Value

The Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital sound great, look great and function well for the price

Summary : The three drivers and 12 degree angle mixed with the soundcard and software gives this headset some amazing sound qualities. The price fits the average gamers budgets. If you have cats that like string and cords, you might want to wrap the cables with something tougher.

User Rating: 3.3 ( 2 votes)

I have only recently started to get more and more into PC gaming. It took a while. Mostly due to lack of equipment that was capable of playing higher end AAA titles coupled with the fact that I was never very found of playing online with other people. One can only replay the same single player story line for a game so many times before you need to venture to a the mulitplayer side. As gaming progresses, I am finding that there are more and more titles that are bringing online multiplayer only or mixed story-line with a heavy emphasis on muliplayer. To get the most out of these games you need to be able to communicate with others verbally. Let’s face it, trying to type out where you are, what you are doing or what you see really hinders your game play. To get the most out of it all you really should have a good headset and the Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital offers a solid mix of looks, feel and usability that can deliver that gaming experience you are craving.

The Control Unit

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital  Review
The Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 headset offers so much to the user that it might almost seem like too much. On the outside you have a USB connectable headset that will connect to your PC. Following the up cable you come to a control unit that gives you quick access to basic audio controls such as a volume knob to adjust the volume with a quick twist. The present volume level is displayed on the controller via a series of blue LED lights.

When pressed, the knob will mute your audio. You are also greeted with the same volume lights flashing to visually remind you that you have done so. There are a few other quick access buttons on the control unit as well. One will put the audio into a pre-set configuration for Movie enjoyment. The other will toggle the sound from the headset to an external speaker source, if you wish to wire one up to it. To do that, Roccat has provided a series of 3.5mm plugs on the rear. You will also find a “Channels” button for quick switching between Front, Center, Woofer and Rear speakers. The button to the bottom right will mute your mic.

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital  Review
The final button on the control unit is a Bluetooth button. Long press this button to put the control unit into pairing mode. Grab your phone and look for the headset. Once connected the Roccat Kave XTD’s do something pretty interesting and unique. They allow you to answer and make calls while gaming. When a call comes in it rings through to your ears, if you answer the call your games audio is muted and the call takes audio priority. It works quite well and is a rare feature that can certainly keep the gamer with a significant other out of trouble due to missing calls. Best part, the gaming audio is muted and the other party wont be able to tell you are gaming.

The Headset

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital  ReviewRoccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digita headset Review
Moving up to the headset its self we find a soft plastic band with ample padding both in the arch for the top of your head and for the ear cups. The earcups are large enough, and uniquely designed, to sit squarely over your ears, rather than on top of them. On one side you find the mic. The mic is detachable and rotates in any direction. This allows you to have the mic on the right or the left side of you face. Which ever is more normal and natural feeling to you. Although, the earcups are marked as right and left, so your audio might get a little off kilter.

The mic has a blue LED light on the tip that is visible from your peripheral vision that lets you quickly see if the mic is muted or not. Another great addition that helps keep you from being the obnoxious gamer who wants to talk when needed, but doesn’t want to drive everyone crazy with your barking dogs and screaming kids in the background. The mic is also noicse cancelling, so even if you don’t mute it, a good amount of noise won’t cross through to your game.

The Sound

Inside the headset we find another great design quality that makes the sound superb. Each earcup carriers 3 drivers all angled at 12 degrees. This triple driver and angled approach is part of how this headset delivers a 5.1 digital surround sound experience to your ears while sitting on your head.

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital  ReviewRoccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital (7)
There are two other aspects that work together to deliver the sound quality you desire. The control unit is more than just a box with inline controls. It is its own 5.1 digital sound card. Mix that with the Roccat Kave XTD software and you have the makings for a damn near perfect sound combination that is extremely versatile.

When you take the time to set up the software you can create an extremely dynamic gaming experience. For instance, in Battlefield 4 I can now hear the direction of footsteps, gunshots and vehicles. In the Evolve Alpha I could hear the creatures, the bids and the sounds from the game along with which way they were coming from.

The voices from other player in-game were always crisp and clear. At least as much as it could be depending on their equipment. Those with decent quality audio and mic devices came through sounding great. I asked a few of them during gameplay of Evolve how I sounded and they all said I was crystal clear with no muffled sounds or distortion. The same went for phone calls over Bluetooth. No one noticed I was on a headset and I was even told I sound clearer than usual. That is a real perk, especially since I was play The Crew beta during many of those calls.

I didn’t notice a huge difference in movies over gaming when switching to the Movie profile on the control unit though. It is possible that my gaming set-up was so close to the movie set up that it wasn’t drastic enough of a change for me to pick up on.

It is hard to judge or interpret the quality of sound from something like this since so many variables can come into play. You have your sound console for the headset, you have your PC and its sound settings plus you have your game or media sound settings. You can quickly over do everything is you amp up things in all areas. I found that setting the PC and game sound settings to defaults and then tuning the headset to work out best for me. That might be different for you. It is worth mentioning thought that there is a vibration driver buit-in. When you get into those big wrecks and big bombs explode, the headset literally vibrates on your head. It is the craziest experience ever.

The Software

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital software(2)
For average users that use their PC speakers or a regular pair of headphones for gaming, the mention of specific software for the Roccat Kave XTD’s might seem out-of-place. I assure you, it is a necessary component and one that will take plenty of fiddling to get exactly the sound you are looking for. In side the sound console you are able to set up five profile slots with five different configuration setups. In English, you have the ability to set up 25 individually tuned profiles for your gaming needs. This is handy when switching from say Battlefield 4 to Grid 2. The sound you want to hear from BF4 might not mesh well with Grid 2’s engines.

Roccat included a fun little extra in the main settings control panel called XEAR Magic Voice. You guessed it, it is an outgoing voice changer that can make the manliest man sound like a woman or the girliest gamer sound like a man. There is also a monster and rubber duck in there for good measure.

Under the Advanced and Equalizer tabs you get even more control to your sound and mic.

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital software(1) Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital software(3)
These are not your average headphones that will never sound any better than they do when you plug them in. Fine tuning and experimenting with the various settings will really make your gaming experiences exciting. It can give your favorite game a whole new life.

The Build Quality

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital (10)Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital (9)
Roccat did a pretty superb job on construction of the gaming headset. The materials are lightweight, the headset weighs 335g, but don’t feel cheap. The headset is durable and flexible. The fact that the headset can bend and flex to a large degree without becoming bend or broken is a really win in my book. My previous experience with headphones that had a more rigid metal or hard plastic build usually ended poorly with cracks, broken off pieces and permanent bends. You can really abuse the headset, rather it be an angry gaming frenzy that results in your throwing them on your desk after a loss, or children who pull on the side to get your attention to talk to you, they have plenty of give.

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital (2)
The cushions on the earcups and the band that goes over your head is soft to the touch and very supportive. I spent many hours playing various games and listening to music while wearing the Roccat Kave XTD’s and never found them to be uncomfortable, nor do I recall any heavy sweet or perspiration building up. The cups padding is covered with a  material that seems to breathe fairly well. It also doesn’t hurt that I have some what average, to almost small, ears. They fit comfortably inside the earcups without being bent, forced or requiring the headset to sit on the top at all.

The cord distance from the USB plug to the control unit is adequate for most people. We generally keep our PC towers fairly close to us. The cord from the control unit to the headset is also ample in length for my use where the control unit is just to the right of my mouse for fast access.

I do have a few conflicts with the physical cords though. Due to the nature of how the headset works, the audio cable from the control unit to the headset is hardwired in. Not usually an issue. However, the cord is wrapped in a traditional rubberized material that is easily bendable and easily cut into. This, in particular, can pose a rather stressful situation and one that I have found myself in. The wires inside the cord are thin and rather fragile, if bent or snipped at all, then you are hosed. In my case, a new cat in the house found the dangling cable a delightful toy and clawed and chewed on it a bit, rendering the headset useless now.  Being that the cable is hardwired into the control unit there is no way to replace the damaged cable without buying a whole new headset. I would love to see any future headsets offer braided cable cords or, at the very least, be a proprietary USB cable of sorts that can be purchased separately for a respectable price. That wouldn’t be a terrible idea especially if they sold them in various colors and lengths. As it sits right now, everything is black with blue lights and a small blue Roccat logo on the earcups.

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital (18)Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital (1)
The Value

The Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital are listed for a regular retail price tag of $169.99 but are showing up on Amazon for $136.99. Even at the regular suggested retail price you get a lot of bang for buck. They are superbly comfortable for long periods of gaming, the audio is crisp, clear and fully customizable, you get a multi-channel sound card built-in to the control unit with multiple outputs, quick and easy button access, Bluetooth connectivity for your phone and noise cancelling fully removable mic. For the price they deliver everything a novice to hardcore gamer could need. You could easily spend more on a set of headphones that don’t offer half as much or sound half as good.

Final Thoughts

I did not kill the cat in the making of this review. However, the thought of giving it away or sending it packing did occur to me on multiple occasions, pretty much every time I want to game for a little while. I do still have the Kave XTD’s hanging by my desk, for now the control unit serves as the output for my other, more traditional, headphones. Everything about them was great. The cord wrap and being hardwired in, is my big let down. I understand why a traditional 3.5mm output jack just wouldn’t work for the Kave XTD’s, 3 drivers and 5.2 digital sound needs more that what a headphone cable can carry, I would still like some sort of replaceable option. I can see these getting damaged quite quickly from being run over by your chair or getting caught in the arm. The cable issue is the single biggest complaint and the primary reason the design and build quality scores suffered.

By all means, pick up a set as soon as you get the chance. You will be amazed at the difference a quality gaming centric headset can bring to your life and your gaming.

 

About Stormy Beach

I have been a tech nut for many years. Android has had a special place in my heart since it originally made its debut with the T-Mobile G1. Prior to that I sported a number of windows devices including the T-Mobile Wing. After I was married and we had our 3rd child, is when I really got into phones. Since then my passion for tech and has grown into somewhat of a monster. Always looking for something that I haven't seen a million times everywhere else. Always looking for things that will benefit me, my family and people long term, not just for the few short months they have a certain device. I don't claim to know everything, but one of the best parts of tech is, and always will be, learning as much as possible.