Testing and Results
Testing a Gaming Headset like the Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog is always difficult because the results are extremely subjective. Just because the headset is comfortable and sounds good to me, doesn’t mean the same is true of everyone else. With that in mind, I assembled a group of friends and a group of headsets. We used a scale of 1 to 5 and rated the headsets in the categories of comfort, noise isolation, overall sound quality, and surround sound quality.
- CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminum Gaming Headset – $89.99
- ASTRO Gaming A40 Audio System – $199.99
- Logitech G930 Wireless Gaming Headset with 7.1 Surround – $99.99
- OZONE Gaming Rage ST Advanced On-Line Gaming Headset – $39.99
- JVC Black Series HA-S650 On-Ear Headphones – $69.99
The first area we rated the headsets in was comfort. This is a much more critical area than you might think at first. The comfort of a gaming headset is critical, and not just the immediate comfort level. I put on a lot of headsets that seem comfortable at first. After an hour or so of constant wear, however, heavier headsets, or ones that don’t fit perfectly, start to hurt.
When I’m focused on a game, or even a movie or music, that’s what I want to hear. If I put on a headset, it’s because I don’t want to listen to everything that’s going on around me. Some gaming headsets come with active noise cancellation. That’s great, but they also tend to be a little more pricey. A lot of gaming headsets are relying now on materials and other technology to create noise isolation. That helps keep the game in and the room out. Check out the chart to see how the Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog held up in the noise isolation category.
Surround Sound Quality
In the games we play, stuff is happening all around us. This is especially true in first person shooter games, but certainly present in many genres. The problem is, a lot of headsets rely on only two speakers to give us that surround sound experience. With simulated surround technology, many two-driver headsets do a great job providing an immersive experience. I, however, definitely prefer headsets with multiple drivers in each earcup. The Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog gaming headset, for example, angles the drivers to provide a more intense surround experience. The chart shows how the Kave 5.1 Analog stacks up in surround sound quality.
Finally, a good gaming headset has to be versatile. Believe it or not, there are some occasions when I am not gaming. While I am writing this review, for example. At such times, I am often listening to music or other audio. I’m not going to change out my headset for that, so my gaming headset needs to have a good overall sound quality in addition to its surround quality. Some single-driver headsets might fare better in this category because the emphasis is on producing high quality sound. The chart shows how we rated the Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Analog Gaming Headset in overall sound quality.
That does it for the tests. While most of us generally agreed on which headsets were better in each category, the numbers were anything but identical. What you see in the charts is an average of our ratings, which occasionally varied widely. That just goes to show you how subjective rating a headset can be. Your best bet is to find someplace that will let you try on the headset and listen to it so you can decide for yourself.