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Friday | December 9, 2016
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Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog Review

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog Review

It would be fair to say that our past experience with Roccat headsets, and their  products in general, has been a positive one. Their Kone XTD for example is one of the best mice we have ever tested. A while back we reviewed their Kave XTD headset and found it to be a quality product. Now they have released a new revision and today we test that in our Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog Review.

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog Review – Packaging and Bundle

roccat-kave-xtd-5-1-analog-review-box roccat-kave-xtd-5-1-analog-review-bundle

Roccat stick with their standard packaging for this new revision of the Kave XTD and tweak the various product details to highlight the features of this particular model. It is nice to see a big window on the box with pretty much the full product on show. Then inside we find product documentation along with an extra item, a desk stand for our control pod.

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog Review – The Headset

roccat-kave-xtd-5-1-analog-review-headset roccat-kave-xtd-5-1-analog-review-cups

Shown above is the Kave XTD 5.1 Analog and it looks very much like  the “standard” model. Roccat also offer a stereo and a USB based 5.1 version with military branded alternate option. This version uses a mix of matt, soft touch coating and gloss finish. Our ear cups use leatherette over the foam padding and the padded headband goes for a fabric cover.  In terms of weight, the Kave XTD is 335g (headset only).

For specifications we have 2x40mm drivers (Neodymium magnet, 12 degree angle) in each ear cup and the headset is rated for 20-20,000Hz. The max SPL at 1kHz is 115dB (+/-3) and we have a  maximum input power of 50mW with impedance of 32Ohm. The sub, or Vibration Driver as Roccat call it, is a 30mm unit in each cup with frequency response of 20-100Hz with 300mW maximum input power.

roccat-kave-xtd-5-1-analog-review-mic

 

There is minimal blue branding on each side of the headset. Our microphone (which is detachable, just pull it off and features a blue mute LED near the end) is an omni-directional noise cancelling model which has a 4×1.5mm driver diameter. The frequency response is 10-10,000Hz and sensitivity at 1kHz is -32dB (+/-2dB). Our signal to noise ratio at 1Khz is 50dB and we have impedance of 2.2kOhm +15%.

roccat-kave-xtd-5-1-analog-review-controlsroccat-kave-xtd-5-1-analog-review-plugs

A rubberized cable leaves the left ear cup of the Kave XTD and after around 1m reaches the above control pod. This has a clip on the back which allows us to mount it on the bundled desk stand or on our clothing. The control pod has a master volume on top and then down the sides, four dials which control the centre, front, rear and sub individually. Also on the pod is a switch which can be set to Movie or Game mode and a microphone mute button. Then, extending 2m from the pod we have our main wiring which ends in a USB plug (for power) along with the 3.5mm connectors for each channel. Also built in is Zero Noise Technology which is an interference isolator, minimising electromagnetic issues.

Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog Review – Conclusion

Starting with build quality, other than the reconfigured drivers the design of the Kave XTD 5.1 Analog is pretty much identical to the stereo model we previously reviewed, here are the key points:

“With the build quality of the Kone XTD we have a headset which very much impresses. If we were to be super picky having some metal extenders on the arms would maybe be nice but the plastic used here does feel durable. The soft touch coating feels great and we very much like the minimal branding along with blue highlights on each cup. The fabric used is noticeably softer than some competing headsets and the foam offers enough resistance to clamp the headset tight on our head. Having a removable mic is always a bonus for those who might want to use it with a stand alone model, but we would change a couple of things. Firstly, it would be great to have the mic mute by pushing to a vertical position. It is much easier than fumbling for the control pod. Secondly, for the same reason we would move the master volume control to the ear cup. At least one competitor offers both of those design aspects and they work very well indeed. Of course there would need to be some extra thought about how to keep the mic removable, and allow vertical mute… but it is do-able.”

Setup of the Kave XTD 5.1 Analog is fairly simple. We need a soundcard which supports 4×3.5mm connectors for the 5.1 audio (most modern motherboards do, as do specific add-in cards). Just plug it in to one of those, connect the USB power cable and set 5.1 in your sound card’s control panel. Done!

Once up and running it should come as no surprise that the Kave XTD 5.1 Analog performs well. We found the mic to be decent for a headset model and the drivers the audio, a little muddy in music tracks however for movies and games (its main focus) the sound was good. Plenty of detail in voices and environmental sounds. Loads of bass when needed and as an added bonus, loads of volume available. All too often virtual 5.1/USB headsets are limited in volume levels, that was not the case here. The ability to fine tune each channel with the various dials is also another plus point for this model over competing models with software based surround sound. As for the Surround experience. Very good indeed. A nice spacious audio stage and good positional effects which allow us to pinpoint other gamers in the heat of the battle.

Summary: The desktop stand and removable mic are nice design ideas. The overall build quality is good. The Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog really shines in gaming and movie use, especially when supplied with content which is designed for 5.1 systems.

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Stuart Davidson

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