ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 Digital USB Gaming Headset - Installation and Features In-Depth

Article Index
ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 Digital USB Gaming Headset
Features and Specifications
Installation and Features In-Depth
Testing the Kave XTD
Final Thoughts

Installation:

Installation was extremely simple but the Kave XTD also comes with a quick setup guide if help is needed. Basically it’s a simple plug the USB in, (3.0 compatible), then hook your 5.1 surround speakers into the color coded ports on the control unit and install the drivers from the disc and you are good to go.

Control Ports

 

This type of setup for the inline controller unit is by far much better than their previous setup.

Control Module Top

 

Features, In-Depth:

The first of the many features of this head set is the removable microphone with the mute LED. As with the previous version, the mic is connected via an RCA like connection which makes for simple connects and disconnects. It also allows you to rotate the mic 360° without issues. The other great part about this version of the mic is that it is way sturdier than the previous version. The last version there was a lot of flexibility with the microphone but because this new version is so well made, there really is not much of a need for flexibility though it still does have some in case some is needed.

Microphone

The microphone mute LED feature is one of the few features that stayed the same from the previous version of this headset and quite rightly so. It’s a great feature to have and lets you know when you are talking to yourself or to other people. What’s better about the new mic design is that the light is mainly located on the inside part of the mic making it very visible. 

Some of the physical features that did change about this headset are the ear cups, the headband and the headband padding. The ear cups feel thicker and more firm but still have a very nice cushioning to them. The other part about them that is very nice is that they have extra padding on the back side of the pads so that it evens out the pressure all around the ears. To go along with the ear cups, the headband padding is completely redesigned. The padding on this headset is much softer and feels almost like memory foam and feels so much more comfortable on the head than the padding from the previous version of this headset. With just both of these simple yet very comfortable changes in padding, instead of wearing this headset for long hours, it can almost be worn for the whole day. Another nice feature about this headset is the subtle change in the band has the snap grooves that allow you to change the length of it. What makes it a great improvement is that it also has numbers to indicate the level on both sides. These numbers range from 01 to 08 but there are notches in the band to allow for half increments such as 03.5 which allow for 16 different settings on each side. Now there is no more guessing if both sides are even, you now have a visual aid to tell you what both sides are extended to, which in my case is 04.

Kave XTD

 

As you can see the shape of the in-line control unit is a little bit bigger than the control unit on the original Kave but at the same time it’s more innovative. The cord of this headset is long enough that the control unit can be maneuvered to just about anywhere on your desk while keeping it at arm’s length. The volume control dial is right at the center of the control unit along with five function control buttons around it. The volume dial has some smooth rubber-like grips for easy gripping and turns very smoothly yet has enough resistance that you can’t accidentally spin the dial causing extremely high volume. Right below the volume dial there is a nice display indicator that lights up and shows the current volume level.

 

The first function control button is the microphone mute button which lights up when enabled. The next is the very innovative Bluetooth phone button that allows for the pairing of a smart phone. The great part about this is that phone calls can be taken and made without even having to take off the headset and to top it off, calls won’t be missed because of wearing this headset. In order to start the pairing process with a smart phone, the phone button must be pressed and held for about 3-5 seconds in which the Bluetooth display symbol will start flashing. Once paired, the display symbol will stay lit until the phone is unpaired or out of range. When taking a call or making a call the phone button will light up for the duration of the call and all background volume will be muted so that the person calling or being called can be heard. 

Now before moving on to the other function control buttons, the first and most important part about the in-line control unit is that it contains its own inbuilt 5.1 sound card which is pure genius in design terms. Not only does the sound quality improve dramatically with this innovative feature, but it also allows for line out ports to a 5.1 surround sound system. In my review of the previous version of this headset, one of the things that I did touch upon was the fact that I was unable to hook up both my speakers and my headset at the same time. It looks like ROCCAT sure listened because with just the push of a single button I can switch between this headset and my speakers, and I love it. One nice thing is that it is easy to tell when speaker mode is active; the speaker button lights up and the volume display turns off. The next neat function control button of this control unit is the movie button. This function button will be touched upon again later in the review but no matter what is being watched or listened to, a movie, a TV show, a recorded concert or even a live stream, the pressing of the movie button enables an enhancement that makes the sound fuller and gives it an even more surround sound effect to make it feel like being at the actual venue or event.

The last and final function control button on this in-line control unit is the channel button. With just a couple button presses, cycling between the audio channels (front, center, woofer, and rear) became really easy. The default control for the center dial is volume but once the channel button is pressed, the dial then controls the volume for the selected audio channel but after about ten seconds of inactivity, the dial is then defaulted back to volume control.

The final amazing feature about this headset is not of the physical kind but that of a digital kind, the Kave XTD 5.1 sound console. There are a ton of enhancement options packed into this console. As mentioned earlier, the audio channels can be controlled via the in-line control unit, but with the addition of the sound console, the ability to control the audio channels became even greater. Of the four tabs in the sound console the “Main Control” tab gives the ability to change not only the master volume and the Bluetooth volume but also gives the ability to change the audio channel volumes in each ear cup! On top of that there is the option to change the headset mode from stereo to 5.1 surround and vice versa, with the option to mix stereo to 5.1 channels when 5.1 surround is enabled. I highly recommend using both the 5.1 surround with its mix stereo option. Also in this main control there is an option to change the sampling rate between 44.1 KHz and 48 KHz for the output audio. To finish out the main control tab, there is an option for Automatic Volume Normalization and the Xear Magic Voice. The Xear Magic Voice gives the ability to change the outgoing mic stream between four different choices of monster, rubber duck, man, and woman.

The next tab of the sound console is the Advanced Control tab. Two of the adjustable options in this tab are mic recording volume and mic sampling rate. Though there are only two options for mic sampling rate, 44.1 KHz and 48 KHz, it is far better to have choices than no choices as can be seen with many other headsets. On a side note though, I was told that the mic on this headset sounded really good and better than some other top name brands. Another setting that can be enabled or disabled is the Incoming Voice Clarity which enhances all received speech. The final two settings in this current tab are Brilliant Audio and Dynamic Bass. Dynamic Bass allows for the adjusting of the virtual bass level along with the bass threshold while the Brilliant Audio enhances compressed music quality though it enhances all other audio as well.

 

In skipping over the Equalizer tab for the moment, we move to the Update/Support tab. Here there is information about the audio drivers installed along with a button link for the driver download page. Another nice part that is not seen too often is the ability to send an email request, though an email client is required to be installed to function properly; it is still a very nice function to have. Should the email request links not work there is still a support page button that will direct to ROCCAT’s support page which contains the support form and email link.

The final tab of this Kave XTD Sound Console that really makes it something wonderful is the Equalizer tab. There are only two settings windows in this tab, the equalizer settings and the equalizer presets. When initially activated, the default settings are used but right away it is apparent that the audio gets enhanced dramatically. The amazing part of this tab is however is the presets options. Eight presets are given which are default, metal, bass, electro, CS, WoW, action, and movie. Though I have not used all of the presets, these presets are really amazing and really bring the audio to life. I love the electro and movie presets so much that I feel like a spoiled kid in a candy store. The quality of the equalizer presets are so amazing that it makes it extremely difficult to not use them. On top of that they even give a setting with the ability to edit and save custom presets of your own! I took full advantage of this by using the CS preset as a starting point and modified it so that I could create my own Black Ops II preset. If that wasn’t amazing enough, ROCCAT included a sound profiles bar at the bottom of the console that is always visible no matter what settings tab is selected. The best part is there are five profiles that can be saved where each one can contain different sound settings based on the purpose of the profile, whether it is for music or gaming or even movies. Once saved, changing profiles is just a click away and losing those settings will not be a worry unless of course life happens.

On the next page, we'll strap these on and take a listen as we share our thoughts.