Usage and Testing
Setting up and using the Kave is an easy process, just plug in the USB cable along with the audio connections into your PC’s soundcard and you are good to go. When I started using the headset, the first thing I noticed was that this is a substantial piece of equipment. The headset has a definite weight to it, which also gives it a quality feel. You can pretty much tell right away that it’s built to last.
Based on the build quality of the headset, I was hoping the audio quality and performance matched. To test out the headset, I ran it through my go to gamut of games starting with Counter-Strike. The large ear cups do a great job of forming a seal around your ears and block out background audio that might otherwise distract you from the game. I used the headset switched to the game audio position and everything was extremely clear and it was also quite easy to pinpoint with the headset’s 5.1 surround sound. This can be tweaked even further by using the inline desktop controls for each separate audio channel without having to go into your soundcard’s audio manager. I also used the headset with two of my other favorite PC games, Diablo 3 and The Witcher 2. The Kave does a great job of helping to immerse you in the game with its audio performance.
Since the Kave also features I preset “movie” sound profile, I decided to test that out with the Alien Anthology Blu-ray that I recently picked up. Again, I was impressed with the audio separation and overall quality. While the “movie” mode sounds good, I actually preferred using the “game” mode for all around use as to me it has a cleaner sound to it where as the movie mode has a more inflated sound to it. Again neither mode sounds bad in any way, and I’m sure some may actually prefer the movie mode in this situation. Along with movies, music really shines through with the Kave. I listen to a wide range of music from rock to electronic and everything sounds great and the bass response is good.
The desktop controller is another main selling point of the headset, and in my testing I didn’t have any issues with it. The construction, like the headset, is solid and well made. The main volume dial spins to increase or decrease and it has a nice clicking resistance to it. The center mute button is large and easy to hit, and the blue LED indicator will blink for a short time letting you know the button was pressed. The front edge of the controller also as a mic mute button. Once activated the blue LED at the tip of the actual mic will light up to let you know it has been muted. The hinged lid that covers the individual volume controls seems to be pretty durable and snaps tightly in place.
The microphone also worked well in just about every situation I used it in. From in game chatting, Ventrilo, and Skype the mic audio was clear and did a good job of not picking up a whole lot of background noise. I also didn’t receive any complaints due to static or audio distortion when using the mic, which is always a good thing. As mentioned earlier, the microphone can be removed with not in use. The removable mic along with the fact that the headset can be folded up makes it very portable and easy to toss in a bag and take it on the go.
Check out an audio sample of the headset below, along with the other recent headsets we’ve reviewed.
When I first picked up the headset, I was a bit wary about long term comfort due to its weight. It seems like Roccat tries to alleviate this by using segmented cushions along the headband. Each cushion moves just a little bit, but unfortunately I don’t think it does much when it comes to extended sessions with the headset. After about a couple of hours or so I did notice that the Kave started to create hotspots along the top of my head due to pressure. I would then need to slightly readjust or move it to relieve any discomfort. Again this was after a fairly long session with the headset on, so some discomfort can be expected. Under moderate use, the headset is comfortable. One thing I really liked about the Kave in terms of comfort are the cushions for the ear cups. I own and have used some pretty high end headphones, and the cushions on the Kave are some of the more comfortable I’ve come across.
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