ROCCAT continues to pump out high quality PC gaming hardware at every turn. Their newest item, the ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 Digital headset, looks to overthrow its competitors within the PC gaming headset market.
The ROCCAT Kave XTD is extremely comfortable even during hours of continued use. The cushioned padding surrounding the headband’s inner section is soft and does not have any pressure points which can cause irritation or headaches. The ear cups are equally as comfortable sporting a nice leather look and feel. The handband has several settings to accommodate just about any head size including the ability to select half-size adjustments. The overall construction is what you would expect from ROCCAT. The unit is manufactured using high quality plastic which does not feel cheap or easy to break. The microphone, while maintaining the same build quality, is not flexible like most other headsets on the market today. It is removable primarily to keep it safe during transportation, but since portability is not the Kave XTD’s strong suit, this was an odd choice. As far as sound goes, the microphone seemed to be lower quality than usual in recorded and live conversations.
Most headsets on the market are borderline obnoxious when it comes to looks and presentation. From an aesthetic standpoint, the ROCCAT Kave XTD looks like a million bucks. With a glossy finish, and muted blue tint when turned on, this headset steals the show when compared to the available competition. There are subtle ROCCAT logo accents on the right and left side which break up the overall black tone.
One area where the ROCCAT Kave XTD stumbles over itself is the awful cabling. Instead of the high quality braided cables ROCCAT has used in the past, customers are faced with rubber cords that are tacky to the touch and become easily tangled together. The irritation factor is doubled when other cords, even braided, come into contact with the ROCCAT Kave XTD. Attempting to move the cables around in preparation for a gaming session is beyond annoying. This is a perplexing issue because ROCCAT has always offered some of best PC peripherals around today.
The ROCCAT Kave XTD is connected to a built-in sound card enclosed in a USB-powered receiver. All of the basic functions are available including a circular volume control, mute and a few other features including the option to answer incoming calls via a compatible smartphone. As described by ROCCAT, Smart Link can be used to connect a smartphone to the receiver. This allows players to answer calls through the headset without having to stop gaming action. The player can also adjust individual channel settings on the fly. The receiver matches the build quality found in the headset itself. Each button on the receiver unit gives a satisfying click when struck down. It is not overly heavy or clunky and the feet do not slip once placed on a desk.
Being attached to the receiver means portability is an issue. If you are a desk-dwelling PC gamer, this is a moot point. However, if your thing is moving around within a room or smallish area, the Kave XTD will be disappointing. While the cable is fairly long, it does not provide the flexibility of being able to sit back in a chair more than a few feet away. Even then, the tackiness of the cables come back into play here.
The sound quality of any product will always be subjective depending on individual tastes. Keeping that in mind, the default settings may need some tweaking to get just right. Out of the box, the audio is a bit hollow and not as defined as it could be. After a few minutes of trial and error, the sound becomes extremely immersive. For gaming, the ROCCAT Kave XTD sounds beautiful. Surround sound audio gives a great sense of atmosphere when playing shooters, intense RPGs and the like. Moving into the realm of motion pictures, this unit once again shines through immersing the listener into a beautiful cornucopia of quality surround sound. The only drawback is, at times, the overall sound could be described as thin. The bass channel comes off lacking in some areas, but this is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.
There is another aspect to the ROCCAT Kave XTD that is hit and miss depending on who you are and your humor level. The Voice Changer setting disguises player voices to various over-the-top personalities. You can switch from a growling monster to The Chipmunks to a voice that resembles that of the Minions in Despicable Me. There are sure to be those, especially in multiplayer matches, that will either be muted forever or loved like no other.
One the best selling points has nothing to do with sound quality, construction or looks. It is the ability to switch quickly between desktop speakers and the headset. Instead of having to jump back and forth between settings within the Windows Audio Control Panel, you can just press the Speaker button on the receiver. For anyone who has both speakers and this headset, your PC gaming life is now less complicated.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
Overall, the ROCCAT Kave XTD is a solid piece of PC gaming hardware which should last quite a long time. With all things considered, if portability is not a concern, and you can get past the terrible cables, the asking price of $169.99 is a great value.