ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 Digital USB Gaming Headset - Testing the Kave XTD

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

Testing:

As mentioned earlier in this review, the most important part about this new in-line control unit is the fact that it has a built-in 5.1 sound card. The quality of sound that comes from this card is amazing. The first time I used this headset, I was blown away. Not only was I surprised at the sound quality from a USB headset, but I was floored at how far better it was than what I currently had (an analog headset). I am not going to lie, I was using a top quality analog headset with a top quality name brand sound card and in the instant I first heard audio out of his new Kave XTD USB headset, I was floored. One of the best parts about this headset is that when the audio stream is switched from headset to speakers, there is no major change in the way it sounds and that’s even with throwing in all the variables that come from using the equalizer in the sound console. With my old setup, there was a noticeable difference in the way the audio sounded when switching between speakers and headset.

Before performing any tests, I checked all my computer system audio levels to make sure they were at their default values. For my tests, default system volume will be at 100% so that all volume control will be done either by the in-line control unit or my system speakers. The movie preset on the control unit will also be off by default and default Sound Console settings will include 5.1 surround with mix stereo to 5.1 channels, all sample rates will be at 48 KHz, and an inactive equalizer. Equalizer presets that will be used during testing are as follows, default, metal, electro, movie, and a custom preset.

 

The first test that was performed was an audio test in which I chose a couple songs from different genres and then applied the default, metal, electro and movie equalizer presets for additional results.  

The first song tested was Afrojack (feat. Wrabel) - Ten Feet Tall, which with the default settings as listed above sounds very good on all levels including the vocals. After enabling the equalizer with the default preset the song really opens up and becomes even fuller and clearer on all levels with an increase in bass.  After changing the preset from default to movie the audio is improved even more on all levels but once the preset was changed from movie to electro, it was quite evident that it was the perfect match on all levels. After testing the song with these presets, the movie preset on the control unit was enabled and really gave the song a fuller surround sound like a 3D effect.  The next song tested was Bass Cannon - Flux Pavilion which on the default settings sounded pretty good overall on all levels though the bass was a tiny bit low but definitely not anywhere near worth complaining about. Quality was definitely a great improvement over the performance from previous version of this headset. Once the equalizer was enabled on the default preset, the song really exploded with fullness on all levels, and after switching to the movie preset it became even more enhanced though it did sound like the vocals get muffled a bit. Alas just as with the previous song the electro preset was a perfect match everything sounded spot on, on all levels.

The next song tested was U2 - Invisible (Red) Edit Version and just like the previous songs sounded really good on just the default settings. As with the previous songs, this song was greatly enhanced with the enabling of the default equalizer preset. However unlike the other two songs, the movie preset dampers the vocals a bit more and maybe becomes a little heavy on the bass albeit the movie preset was never intended for only music. Oddly enough, the electro preset does in fact enhance the vocals more and can be heard much clearer but also improves all the levels as well. Personally I like it; however, the base could be a bit much for others. Over all, the default preset might go best with this particular song. The next song chosen was Dirty Money Feat Skylar Grey - Coming Home, which on default settings sounds a tiny bit flat but still sounds far better than with my previous headset and soundcard combo. The flatness I hear could just be me getting spoiled by the equalizer presets. Just like all the other songs, the default equalizer preset truly brings this song to life and improves all levels. Like the last song, the movie preset dampened the vocals but for some reason it is a little bit more noticeable with this particular song. Vocals aside, all the other levels with the movie preset sounded really good. As with most of the other songs, the electro preset really enhances everything about the song, though as with the previous song, the bass levels could be a little too high for some people. The final song that was tested was, Linkin Park - Paper Cut. Even though this sounds repetitive, the song sounds really good with default settings and really breaths life when the default equalizer preset is enabled as all levels and clarity are improved across the board.

 

With this particular song I thought the metal preset might sound decent but I was clearly wrong as the default preset sounds much better. With this particular song the default preset is actually better than the movie preset on all levels, but like the last two songs, the electro preset might be a bit much on bass for some people. Personally speaking though, I love the electro preset and use it when listening to music.

The next test that was performed was a movie test in which a section of a movie was watched with default settings, then with the default and movie equalizer presets, and then with the in-line control unit movie preset. The movie used for this test was Bottle Shock and with just the default settings it sounded crisp, clear and full. Far better than what I have experienced in the past. With the application of the default equalizer preset, the audio becomes so much richer and fuller on all levels and gets closer to sounding like a movie theater. Not to mention the directionality of all the sounds is superb. When switching to the movie preset everything becomes fuller and more robust and with the surround sound it’s like being in a movie theater. After enabling the movie preset on the in-line control unit, the surround sound and directionality is enhanced greatly making it feel like being in a personal home movie theater.

The final test of all the tests was gaming in which two different games were used in this testing, Call of Duty Black Ops II and Titanfall. With Black Ops 2 the default settings, the game sounded muffled with way too much bass, though the bass could be affected by game sound settings too.  With the default equalizer preset enabled the percussions sound much clearer and everything sounds much fuller but as with the default settings there is way too much bass for this particular game. After enabling the custom equalizer preset I made based off of the CS preset, the percussions sounds become much clearer and the bass is greatly reduced allowing for better directionality of sounds. With Titanfall, the default settings sound really clean, clear and balanced on all levels and with the default equalizer preset all the sounds become so much fuller and well rounded while keeping the balance, clarity and crispness. When changing the equalizer preset to movie, all the game sounds just get louder and fuller and more complete with the surround sound so much so that one could say they sound life like. The same can also be said about the electro preset as well but I feel the movie preset works best for Titanfall.

On the last page, we'll wrap things up with our final thoughts.