After reading a Thread about gaming headphones I noticed that there where lots of regular headphones there but I only saw 2 or 3 headphones design specifically for gaming, so I decided to take my Roccat Kave's out of the "Hibernation mode" and give them some use again of course using that opportunity to review them!
After browsing throw this forum I discovered that there was a phrase that was very common in a lot of the threads and it was, " By no means am I an audiophile...". Taking advantage of this cliche, I'm really not an audiophile, I'm a guy who has a great pleasure listening to his music and loves to do it with the best equipment I can afford (don't forget I'm a student so I don't own any hd800, I don't even own a pair of ath-m50's!). So what qualifies me to review audio gear?
From a very young age I showed an interest in music and started taking piano lessons when I was 8, then Saxophone lessons and later learned how to play the guitar. I really enjoy recording my own music and love the process of mixing and mastering. That gives my ears the training to determine if a pair of headphones is good or not.
There's two more things I would like to had before starting to talk about the roccat's, this is my first review ever and I'm not from an
English speaking country (I'm Portuguese) so I'm sorry for the grammatical and syntactical errors that are going to be made during this review.
Some information about these headphones:
- You need a USB port to use them;
- You need a sound card with 3.5mm plugs for bass, center and rear to take full advantage of them (you can only plug the green plug and use them in stereo);
- The Roccat's have a convenient remote in the cord:
- With a switch to choose movie or game mode (I can't notice any difference);
- With sub, center, rear and front volume levers;
- A button to mute the mic;
- Another button to mute the sound of the headphones;
- And a nob to control the overall volume.
As a gaming headset this headphones should have a design that was comfortable to wear for hours, the truth is that these cans are very heavy and the padding in the headband and ear pads is very thin, that makes the Kave's a very uncomfortable pair of headphones. To be honest yesterday when I started using them again after 30 minutes of wear I started feeling the headache that is so characteristic of the Kave's, this is a result of the horrible design of the headband padding it starts digging into your head and the hard plastic doesn't help at all. After an hour you start feeling the weight of the headset on your neck and half an hour later I have to take them of because they turn very uncomfortable.
The mic is removable and that's a great thing but at the same after some time you start noticing problems with the connection. The good thing is that it can be replaced with a new one. The quality of the sound captured by the mic is better than the mic built-in my MacBook Pro but that isn't saying much... it's an ok mic.
The ear pads are easily removable and use an interesting system but that system leaks some of the sound, not much just a little bit. They're covered in faux leather and are filled with a very comfortable foam. The major problem of these ear pads is their thickness as I said earlier their very thin for the size and weight of the headset.
The Roccat Kave is mostly made of plastic but wait! The parts most prone to problems (which are the hinges) are made of metal. These hinges give the headset the ability to fold into a very portable shape that doesn't seem fragile at all.
These headphones have three drivers in each can, so they are not really 5.1 surround sound headphones, but don't let yourself be fooled by this, the surround sound on these is great! The sound as a V shape to it, very powerful bass and, if at high volumes, highs that stab your eardrums. Although the mids are almost non existent and not very defined.
- For Gaming:
For gaming the sound of this headphones is amazing! Using my a good sound-card and a game with good sound effects (any Battlefield will do) you can take the most out of this headphones and the surround sound comes to live if you like to camp it is going to be hard for somebody to backstab you, you're going to hear them before they see you and you will know exactly from where they coming from and you will be ready. Once I was playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 and I started hearing some strange noises coming from behind me, being alone on the room I paused the game took the headset of and started looking for what was making that noise, after doing that for five times I realised that it as a sound from the game, but it really felt that it has coming from the closet behind me. That's the kind of thing that happens when your combine a game like Battlefield, a good sound-card and these headphones. You have for sure an advantage over your adversaries, for an hour and an half the you have to take them off because you feel like somebody was hammering your head for the entire time.
So for gaming the sound is very detailed, directional and when a bomb explodes... if you have the bass in the remote of the headphones maxed out, the ear cups literally shake! Sound wise it's an amazing headphone for gaming.
This one is going to be quick. It's simple don't use them for listening to music, their not made for it, the highs are too aggressive and the bass is muddy and to strong, it all becomes a strange mess of noise.
The only example I'm going to give is when yesterday I was listening to Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9. This Symphony as lots of quiet passages that progress into very full and complex melodies, in the quiet passages the Kave's reproduce a decent sound, but when those loud and complex parts come... God help me! The highs rape your eardrums they are simply too harsh, and you loose all the detail once again it all becomes a loud mess of sound that came make you deaf.
I have mixed feelings towards this headphones. I love them for playing games (you know where everybody is, for several times I was banned from Counter Strike servers accused of using the wall hack cheat), but they become very uncomfortable after a while. For music it's simple, no way.
Would I recommend these to a friend? No, I would lend them mine for a week and ask them to use them for long periods of time and let the decide for themselves. That is the problem of reviewing Audio Gear it really varies from person to person and every single one of us has got their own preferences. My advice is to try them for a long time and decide for yourself, but PLEASE DON'T BUY THESE FOR MUSIC!
Hope that my first review was of some value to everyone of you looking forward for some feedback.
(I will post some photos as soon as head-fi gives me the permission to do so.)