Endorsed by streaming legend, Dr. Disrespect, ROCCAT has released its next wave of PC peripherals after being acquired by Turtle Beach early last year. This new lineup includes 3 distinct headsets, the Elo X Stereo, Elo 7.1 USB, and the Elo 7.1 Air, which I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to review. How do these German engineered cans stack up against the competition? Let’s find out!
Retailing for $99.99, the Elo 7.1 Air headset is a 7.1 simulated surround sound headset with customizable RGB lighting designed to work in tandem with other RGB enabled products from ROCCAT. The headset sports a two-part self-adjusting headband, with a sturdy metal outer frame combined with a breathable sports band that rests on top of your head. Like other headsets that use a similar design, this keeps the headset feeling weightless while worn, but does add to the overall dimensions and gives the headset a “gamer” look.
For the ear cushions, The Elo Air borrows from Turtle Beach’s proprietary “ProSpec” memory foam, in which a portion of the ear cup has a thinner padding, allowing gamers who are ocularly-challeneged to be able to wear these headsets in comfort without added pressure from glasses frames. The rest of the cup is leather wrapped and the memory foam padding contours nicely to the side of the head. I always prefer more breathable solutions such as a mesh covering, since leather-wrapped headsets always cause the side of my head to sweat after extended wear. This is true of the Elo Air, but the leather wrapping does lend to a more quality look and feel. The sides of each ear cup are finished with an RGB enabled logo, which is customizable using ROCCAT’s Swarm software.
The body of the headset is made from a durable plastic with a semi-gloss finish and includes a detachable mic that connects to the left ear cup, along with all of the controls. The Elo Air comes with two volume knobs, one to adjust game volume, the other to adjust the mic volume. No need to blow out the ear drums of your discord party chat! My only complaint with the dual volume knob is the fact that the primary knob (the one for game sounds) is located at the top of the ear cup instead of closer to the bottom where it would feel more natural. More than once I found myself trying to adjust the wrong wheel, but quickly adjusted.
Overall, the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air headset feels comfortable to wear, and thanks to the self-adjusting headband, it feels nearly weightless even after hours of use. It’s much wider than most headsets I’ve used in the past, but since they’re only for use on PC, the only one that has to see them is me, and maybe my Twitch audience.
I mentioned earlier that ROCCAT was acquired by Turtle Beach back in 2019, and while I can’t say if this changed the audio profile from previous ROCCAT headsets, I can say that these cans sound great! Using precision-tuned 50mm neodymium drivers, the Elo Air’s produce convincing 7.1 surround sound without the need for an expensive sound card. Mids and highs sound great, while deeper bass tones are sometimes lost. Gunfire and dramatic music for example don’t feel as heavy, even though the clarity comes through great.
Like other headset mics, the detachable mic on the Elo Air 7.1 system is sufficient for party chat and Skype calls, but lacks the crispness that comes from a standalone desktop mic. Speaking of which, I would much rather have preferred a fold away or retractable mic over the detachable one. I find that I tend to lose detachable mics when not in use, and having one that I can just fold out of the way when not needed or when the headset is on its stand just makes for a cleaner look and easier user experience. Perhaps the detachable mic is part of the trade-off for the low price of entry.
The headset connects via a standard USB dongle and Windows had no issues detecting the new device, adding it to my growing list of audio output options. In addition to being able to customize the RGB lighting, the Swarm software also allows users to fine-tune their audio settings to their liking with a built-in EQ. Using the Swarm software, you can flip between 7.1 and 2.0 surround sound, as well as optimize for audio clarity or voice clarity, in which the headset will detect spoken dialog over background noise and music to make vocals sound clearer and more pronounced. In addition to adjusting sound and RGB settings, Swarm also lets users play with a built-in voice modulator. Its simple, but mostly effective and can be a fun distraction on Skype or Discord, but not something that I imagine most people will use very often, but then again I’m boring.
The ROCCAT Elo Air 7.1 headset is great headset for a great price. I have a few issues, such as the detachable mic and its overall quality when recording, and even though they look nice, I would still have preferred to have a mesh covered, or even an open-back design on the ear cups. That said, this set absolutely earns its Air name thanks to light design, and the self adjusting headband. These are truly one of the lightest wireless headsets I’ve ever worn, even compared to other headsets that also sport a similar headband design. At just $99, I don’t think anyone in the market for a new wireless PC headset is going to have any issues with ROCCAT’s latest offering.