Heard of Roccat? Unless you are into professional gaming, live in Germany, or have been searching for menacing sounding cats, probably not. To simply put, Roccat is to Germany, what Razer is to…well, most of us. Much like its American counterpart, Roccat are also known to produce hardcore gaming peripherals with solid build quality and a gamut of features. Oh, and they also believe in black.
Only recently founded in 2007, Roccat isn’t easy to find beyond Germany, with gamers mostly having to resort to dealing on eBay to get their hands on some Kaves and Kones. Fortunately, the company is expanding its reach and one of their latest stop is the United Arab Emirates. To kick start things, Roccat has been kind enough to bestow us with some of its latest products, one of which is the Roccat Kave REAL 5.1 Surround Sound headphones.
When they say REAL, they actual do mean it, as its exquisitely detailed box tries to convince us. The real surround sound is promised from a special 12 degree angled set of speakers, which is apparently the magical degree to get true surround at such close quarters. Excited and doubtful, we tore (not literally) into the box and put the cans through its paces.
The best way to describe the Kave is…chubby. They are so perfectly round, it’s hard not to go ‘oogly-woogly wuush!’ on them. Despite that, the headphones still manage to look alluring, and more importantly, gamer-ish.
There is no gloss here, just one single coat of smooth subdued matte black. The only thing that gives it a fashionable strut is the round blue glow on the base of the mic attachment, and a tiny LED on the included controller.
The cans and the headband are of special notice. Covered in high grade leather, the thick padding on the cans is hand stitched, and the fine craft is very noticeable. The headband uses three small paddings, instead of single foam, in order to provide a more stable headrest and better fitting. The whole package can be compacted by folding the cans, though it does not make much of a difference to the size.
The microphone can move 360 degrees and is flexible as well. It is detachable too, so it can be removed when not needed, or for a safer transportation. Interestingly, the mic has a small band that glows when it is muted, giving us a quick glance before we launch into a spat-ial attack against our wife/girlfriend/mother to defend our excessive need to pop heads in lame virtual worlds.
The Kave is powered by three 3.5mm jacks and a USB. This can be a bit of an issue – if you are using a sound card that only has one set of jacks for the center, front and rear, it will have to be either your speakers or these headphones that will occupy the slot. Of course, a simple solution would be to use one of them with the onboard sound card on your PC’s motherboard, but for some, that may not a feasible option.
Also included in the package is what Roccat likes to call the Tip ‘N Control Desk Remote. At first glance, it only offers a large radial to control the volume, and a mic on/off button. But pop open the lid that covers the rest of the unit and you will find possibly the most important controls for the headphones: the center, front, rear and subwoofer adjusters. More on this the coming sections.
It also has a Movie and Game preset switcher, though there is hardly any difference between both. However, I do feel that the Movie preset gives a better surround than the Game preset which appears to ‘normalize’ the sound throughout.