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ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air Review: Superhuman Hearing comes to the PC [Video]

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Building on its impressive line-up of peripherals, ROCCAT, the PC branch of the Turtle Beach ecosystem, now offers a full lineup of gaming headsets. With a one-size-fits-all headband, 24 hours of wireless battery life, and 7.1 virtual surround sound, the top of the line ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air is packed with features for the $99.99 price point. So how does it perform? Head below to watch the video and see it in action.

Out of the Box

Overall, the headset has a fairly large design thanks to the earcups and one-size-fits-all headband. Those large cans do rotate 90 degrees to lay flat on your collar bones when not in use and have plenty of range of motion for getting a good fit.

On the outside of both earcups are RGB logos. The left earcup features the ROCCAT cat logo while the right side has a smaller ROCCAT text logo. Both of which can be changed within the Swarm App.

All of the controls are located on the left earcup. Starting at the bottom and working our way up, we have the USB-C port, the power button, microphone mute button, mic monitoring dial, and overall volume dial. This is the first time I’ve seen a dedicated dial to mic monitoring and works pretty well, though it seems a bit unnecessary. I can’t say that I would need to dial this in often instead of just setting the level I like and toggling it on or off with a button.

How does it feel?

With large, leatherette wrapped memory foam cushions, I found the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air to be comfortable. It didn’t blow me away in terms of a plush fit, but it doesn’t upset my ears, either. The self-adjusting headband works great for me to get the right fit, though I can’t speak for everyone. But ROCCAT says the point of this is to fit all forms of gamers.

How does it sound?

With some massive 50mm drivers, the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air hits hard and low and also high with the standard 20-20,000Hz frequency response. Bass heads will be happy to see the custom EQ settings within Swarm that also have a dedicated Bass EQ setting that can be dialed in from 1-10. You can push the low-end even further beyond that, but it will result in muddy audio and is pretty unnecessary. But, even when pushing the bass limits, I never heard any distortion.

ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air: Video

Listening in the default EQ mode, the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air sound profile is fun, full, and clear.

Stereo separation is good, but as a closed-back wireless gaming headset, it won’t provide the massive soundstage you can get in more dedicated headphones.

How about that 7.1 Surround?

One of the main features here is of course the 7.1 virtual surround sound mode, but I still have a hard time leaving these settings turned on. It ends up sounding too unnatural to me. The only gaming headset with virtual surround modes that I actually use is the Razer BlackShark V2 with its THX Spatial Audio mode.

Superhuman Hearing

One of the biggest features here, in my opinion, is the Superhuman Hearing setting. A fan favorite on the Turtle Beach console gaming headset lineup, this mode compresses incoming audio and tweaks the EQ to highlight game-critical sounds like footsteps and reloads, and is very helpful in picking out opponents.

It takes away some of the natural sounds of gameplay but is easy enough to toggle on and off within the Swarm app if you think it’s too much. In Escape from Tarkov, for example, it can be a bit excessive if you’re already wearing an audio-enhancing headset in-game. But, if you’re a lowly scav without any added ears, it can be helpful.

Microphone

Moving on to the microphone, I would say it’s better than a lot of the competition at this price point. Often these gaming headsets forgo a natural sounding voice in favor of clear comms with teammates, but the Roccat is pretty decent in my opinion.

One interesting thing here is that there are some tweaks you can make to the microphone within the Roccat Swarm app. But, while they are kind of fun, they aren’t as useful as I would have hoped. With the “magic voice” setting turned on, there are options for monster, cartoon, female, and male voice settings. This kind of acts like a voice modulation system and is more comical than useful, in my opinion.

Maybe they’re aimed at a younger audience who doesn’t want to sound like a child with a higher-pitched voice or someone who wants to mask their voice, but I would have loved to have seen some useful settings on the microphone for adults who don’t want to sound like a monster even with the “male” setting turned on.

Swarm App

Within the Swarm app, there are plenty of tweaks you can make to the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air. One cool feature here is that you can pin some of your favorite or most-used setting categories to a pinned page so they are easier to find. So, if you just use Superhuman Hearing and want a status update on battery, you can leave these pinned to the front and get a quick look at the most important settings without digging into the other menus to make quick tweaks.

One thing I don’t really care for is that the apply button must be pressed to save any changes. So, when trying to make some quick tweaks to EQ or microphone settings it won’t automatically update these changes and give real-time feedback without actually moving the mouse down and clicking apply every time. A few times I found myself not actually making a change simply because I forgot to hit the apply button.

ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air: Final thoughts vs some Competition

Overall, for $99, the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air is a good wireless gaming headset. With 24 hours of battery life (RGB lighting will alter that I’m sure), it lasts longer than some of the competition and has some unique features with the useful Superhuman Hearing Mode. But, it comes at a tough time with competition like the Razer BlackShark V2 and now V2 Pro.

While the wireless BlackShark V2 Pro comes in at $179.99, the wired variant which has all of the same features as the Pro just with a cord is the same price as the Elo 7.1 Air at just $99.99. With both the ROCCAT and the Razer, you’re getting a good headset, but I feel the BlackShark V2 is a bit more comfortable and has the only virtual surround mode that I’ve actually chosen to use with its THX Spatial audio. But, if wireless is a must-have, the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air with its mic quality and Superhuman Hearing is a good choice for the price.

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