“The Roccat Kave XTD Stereo headset fulfils all of your gaming needs and doesn’t break the bank; you can’t say much better than that.”
Recently, Roccat sent us one of their Kave XTD Stereo model headsets to take for a whirl. Priced at around the £50 mark on the Internet, the headset is past the entry level post and closer to the standard that your average gamer would probably be looking at picking up. What they would be expecting then is to be getting a high quality piece of kit which offers a lot of bang for buck, but without them spending all of their pocket money at once. Can the Roccat Kave XTD Stereo headset meet that standard then? Let’s find out.
First up let’s take a look at the headset in terms of style. It comes in a relatively appealing box which sets the black and blue theme of the headset itself. We have got a partial view of the peripheral through the clear plastic section of the packaging, and it looks pretty good so far. Opening up the box, you are met with a rather cheap-looking blue plastic tray, which doesn’t look as though it offers a lot of protection to our £50 gaming item, but the headset itself appears to be ok, so we can move on past the unboxing stage of the experience.
The look of the headset is very appealing compared to the package it just came out of. It is big and by no means flimsy, which makes it look like it was actually worth the money you spent on it. The colour scheme of black and blue works very nicely, with the Roccat logo printed on the one ear cup making it look like a very professional piece of kit. The headband is thick and well padded, as are the ear cups, which have some of the softest padding I have felt for the ears in a long time. The cables which come with the headset look of high quality too, maintaining the blue theme and with a handy in-line controller attached, which is always nice to see on gaming kit.
When you put it on, it does not look ridiculous either. In fact, despite its bulk, it looks quite natural on your head. Where some cheaper headsets can look like you have stretched a piece of plastic around your skull, the Kave XTD look like a much more normal piece of equipment when it is sitting there. It is something you would not be embarrassed to be seen wearing.
The only thing which doesn’t quite look as flashy as the rest is the microphone, but this still doesn’t look anything at all close to cheap. It can be positioned so that it is almost completely out of eyeshot without sacrificing its quality, which of course is beneficial to any gamer as it does not interrupt their viewing pleasure. Its design is not quite as manoeuvrable as other microphones on the market however, and whilst it is a detachable mic, if you do so you are left with a rather ugly hole in your ear cup to look at…
All in all, despite not being 100% on point, the Roccat Kave XTD does win style points for its design and aesthetics, especially compared to some other options on the market. As far as style goes then, this headset is in the green so far!
Naturally, it doesn’t matter how nice your headset looks if it isn’t a comfortable fit. Thankfully the Roccat Kave XTD does not fall victim to this problem either. As previously mentioned, the padding for the ears and indeed for the headband is very good quality, very soft, and has not been skimped on either. It seems as though a manufacturer has actually taken some care here to make sure you have a comfy head whilst you play!
However, there is an issue – the Kave XTD headset is heavy. You can really feel the bulk that previously looked like a sign of good quality when you place this bit of kit on your head to get going. Certainly when you move your head around or up and down, you can feel the weight of the headset move with you. After a little while of sitting still and playing it becomes less noticeable because you are distracted, but when you do move for a drink or a toilet break, you remember just how weighty the headset is.
Another slight issue is that the headset feels a bit tight at times. Adjustable though it is, and on a positive note the adjusters are more subtle and much more nicely designed than most, it is a little difficult to find a setting where you feel the headset isn’t too tight but is also still secure. Possibly as a result of this factor, although also down to the style of padding used, your ears can also become quite warm after you have worn the headset for a longer period of time. Whilst this is a pretty common problem amongst these peripherals, it is still a slight downside to this bit of kit too.
The Roccat Kave XTD then has been well designed for comfort, but there is certainly an increased weight to this peripheral compared with others which is largely down to giving it that look of quality. If you can get used to this and find yourself a comfortable size setting however, the comfort factor of the headset is not too bad.
Again, your headset can look nice and feel nice, but it is still bloody useless if it doesn’t perform the job it was made for. The Roccat Kave XTD doesn’t falter here either though, and in terms of quality, it is actually very good.
For starters, the volume at which you like to play your game or listen to your music or watch your favourite movie doesn’t sacrifice quality when it comes to this headset. No matter how loud you listen (at least to the bearable level which I tried) you get a super clear sound with no tininess or breakup coming in at the higher end. This is good news.
What’s more, the headset boasts some very impressive surround sound, and plenty of bass if that is something which you look for in your kit. Given that some of the similar Roccat models can cost twice as much as this one, those are some big factors to consider when you are deciding which one might be best for you. It is great for listening to music though, and you can combine this with game volume with no trouble at all; everything comes through nice and clear.
The microphone on the headset is also a very good quality bit of tech too. You can hear the occasional bit of minor buzzing in recorded audio, and naturally there is a slight bit of background noise which gets picked up too, but it would be a challenge to find a microphone at a similar price to this which eliminates these problems as well as the Kave XTD headset manages to. If you want to be heard and you want to be heard clearly then you won’t be disappointed by what you get.
In terms of quality then the Roccat Kave XTD headset is not the epitome of audio perfection but it does a damn good job of giving you a very high standard at a very reasonable price mark, especially against its competitors.
Value for Money
The last thing to consider is if this headset is good for the price and better than similar ones on the market. The best way I can compare this is to pit it against my previous two headsets; the Turtle Beach Ear Force Z11 and the SteelSeries Flux Luxury Edition headset.
The Z11 headset is highly popular for its great value for money, costing only £29.99 (RRP on Turtle Beach’s website) but offering a very decent quality of audio on both the mic and the speaker fronts, but not being the height of comfort or style as you might expect from the price.
The Flux headset on the other hand offers great speaker audio and even has leather ear pads for comfort (and comfortable they are!), but on the other hand it only has an in-line microphone and is an on-ear headset, designed much more for style than anything else. The price tag on these is around £66.79 (based on €89.99 RRP on SteelSeries’ website), which is around the same mark as the Roccat Kave XTD Stereo headset (RRP £64.99 on Amazon).
Compared to the Z11’s, the Kave XTD is a significantly better piece of kit when it comes to comfort. There is more padding and softer padding used on the frame and ear pads, and the round ear cups hold your ears more comfortably than the Z11’s oval shaped ones. There is a marked improvement in the audio quality you experience too, as you might expect from a more expensive headset. In all, the Kave XTD is good value in terms of the level of notable improvement for a higher price tag.
Against a similarly priced headset such as the SteelSeries Flux, the Kave XTD headset really holds its own. It has better tech on it, most notably the dedicated rather than the in-line microphone. The speaker quality is around the same, but naturally with the microphone being the style it is the quality here is much better than the SteelSeries’ alternative. Over ear rather than the Flux’s on-ear cups mean that the Kave XTD can simulate a more immersive surround sound for gaming too, and while the Flux’s leather padding is superior in comfort terms, the soft padding of the Kave XTD headset is still extremely comfortable to wear. The Kave XTD also looks a lot bulkier and feels as though you are paying for a more physical item too, and this is a bonus when it comes to style. The Flux however can pass as a traditional pair of headphones in public, and does earn some points in that department.
As a gaming headset however, the Roccat Kave XTD Stereo headset does surpass the Flux headset in terms of overall value for money, offering far more to the needs of the gamer than its opponent does for the price.
To round all of this up, the Roccat Kave XTD Stereo gaming headset is a great investment for the gamer who wants quality but who doesn’t want to spend all of their pocket money at once. At around the £64.99 mark, this is not a basic headset but not at the very top end of the market. Compared to other bits of kit at this price however, the Kave XTD is a great investment to go with.
With its only real weaknesses being its weight, the slight feeling of tightness and a detachable microphone which feels like you are breaking it if you remove it, the Kave XTD headset has for more strengths to speak of. Superior sound quality which is pretty close to perfect bar your usual, everyday microphone disturbances, fantastic comfort, and an appealing design are all ticks on the Kave XTD’s checklist.
As gaming headsets go, this one comes highly recommended from me, and I trust it will last me well for some time to come. The Roccat Kave XTD Stereo headset fulfils all of your gaming needs and doesn’t break the bank; you can’t say much better than that.
- Appealing style makes the headset look well worth the money you pay for it.
- Super comfortable padding and ear cup shaping makes it very nice to wear.
- Fantastic speaker and microphone quality create a solid audio experience.
- Great value for money against cheaper and like-priced headsets.
- You can really feel the weight of the headset whenever you move your head.
- The headset can feel just a little tight, even when settings are adjusted.
- It looks and feels as though you have broken the microphone off if you remove it.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.