Manufacturer: Roccat
MSRP: $109.99
Sound Produced: 5.1 Surround
Type: Wired
Primary System: PC
Also Compatible With: N/A
Connection Method: USB and 3.5mm (four ports required)

Basic Description:

The Roccat Kave is a serious contender in the headset circle, though the brand might not be as well known as the other names on our manufacturer’s list. The Kave offers 5.1 surround with adjustable drivers and two audio modes designed to give the user the best possible experience both while gaming and watching movies. Though it may be one of the heavier headsets out there,well-designed padding also makes it one of the most comfortable.

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What’s in the box?

Headset, four 3.5mm cables, one USB, removable mic, control panel with sliders.

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Aesthetics and Durability:

The Kave is all black save for the blue Roccat logo printed on the earcups. “Roccat” is also embossed on the headband and finished with a gloss as opposed to the matte surface of the rest of the headset. The ear cups are padded with plush foam and covered very soft, pliable faux leather. The underside of the headband also holds three separate padding sections that are vaguely reminiscent of the suction cups on a tentacle. These sections are covered in the same faux leather and foam padding as the ear cups. The band is adjustable on both sides and has numbered notches to help users remember their preferred headband setting. The earcups can be folded in for storage and do articulate enough to adjust to the wearer’s head shape on their own.

The microphone is removable and easily adjusted according to the user’s preference and remains firmly in place once attached. There’s no fear of this thing popping off and doing its own thing. When muted, the tip lights up to alert the user, making it incredibly easy to figure out why your buddies can’t hear you.

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Ease of setup and use:

The Kave requires four open 3.5. mm ports in order to deliver the 5.1 surround experience, but you can get decent quadraphonic quality out of this headset if you choose to leave the subwoofer and center speaker unplugged. Unlike some of the more basic PC headsets that allow you to keep speakers plugged in simultaneously, the Kave will force your speaker system out of the way if you’re looking for 5.1. Once you’ve got all your cables in place, that’s about it. Just adjust your sliders until you’ve got your audio the way you like it. The control panel is very easy to use and far less busy than other versions we’ve encountered, like Tritton’s AX Pro. There’s a switch below the sliders labeled “Game” and “Movie,” which adjusts your audio settings automatically once you’ve switched modes.

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Sound Quality and Performance Notes:

The Kave offers a crisp, clear sound inside two circumaural earcups, and boasts external noise-cancelling. They create a kind of bubble, keeping sound in and ensuring you’re listening to your movies or games the way they were meant to be heard. I experimented with some music that was heavier on the bass and found the Kave handled it like a champ. Unlike the Tritton AX Pro, I didn’t need to adjust my levels in order to get the sound I wanted. Right away, I was experiencing what I wanted. I may be the exception, though, as I’m sure our personal preferences vary greatly, but I found that the Kave required the least bit of fine tuning of all the headsets I’ve tried. The control panel itself is more like a circuit breaker with a flip cover, but if you’re like me, you’ll find you don’t have to tackle it too much to get the arrangement you want. I left my control panel on the top of my PC case and let it be.

The mic performs admirably, but can’t go toe to toe with the Turtle Beach PX11. The samples I captured were just too hollow for my liking The Kave is sort of a no-frills headset, delivering a strong, clear sound without the bells and whistles that accompany similar 5.1 headsets like the Chimaera and AX Pro.

 

Recording sample:

 Roccat Kave 5.1

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Comfort:

After all the headset’s I’ve tried, the Kave is probably the absolute most comfortable. Once I experienced this particular foam/faux leather combo, I’d made up my mind. Despite my eagerness to mock the tentacle-like arrangement of the headband padding, the distribution of weight there was really quite wonderful. The cups do feel large, but not awkward. Nothing causes any strain or weighs you down. The noise-canceling effect is especially welcome, as the circumaural cups seemed to cut off the rest of the world for me and deliver me to a realm of brand new sounds while shutting out anything that might interfere with my experience. You can still hear bits of the outside world, but it’s very much minimal. I’d highly recommend these for long-term use. The bottom of the cups rest just above the jaw at the bottom of the ear, ensuring you won’t feel any pinching after a few hours.

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Differentiating Features

Almost entirely comprised of 3.5mm cables; suction-cup like headband padding offers fantastic weight distribution; this particular foam and faux leather combo is one of the best available.

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Accessories required/recommended

None

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Conclusion

The Kave is an excellent upgrade for players ready to take the plunge into 5.1 surround, but aren’t quite ready to shell out the cash or deal with the hassle of similar wireless systems. Price-wise, it’s on the lower end of the 5.1 systems, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to lose any of the sound quality by saving a few bucks.  If you have the ports to spare and don’t necessarily need a headset that can handle high-quality recording, the Kave is a worthy candidate.

 

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