Pretty headset for (WoW) gamers
Design and Features
The design of the Kulo headset is really a two-edged sword. On one hand, it has successfully avoided all the ridiculous LED lighting effects that are supposed to attract gamers, but on the other hand, instead of offering sleek, modern design with sexy curves, the Kulo is very angular and edgy. Whether one likes this design direction or not, depends entirely on one's tastes, but I found it no worse than many of the other “gamer” headsets out there.
One definite positive in the design is that the headband is built around a metallic membrane. This should definitely increase the longevity of this headset. However, the earpieces are supra-aural, meaning that they don't surround your ear, but rest on top of them. The thick padding still keeps the outside sounds away relatively well, but you don't get the kind of “shut out the outside world” experience as good circum-aural earpieces give you. However, supra-aural design is definitely better for those of us with vision-enhancers, as they don't press your ears against the temples. The cushions are soft and comfortable and are covered with faux leather. Faux leather is definitely better than fabric (which gathers dust), but I'd really like to see some real leather on headsets someday – it would definitely help with the sweating problem. The faux leather in the Kulo headset also easily sticks into your ears, which helps with the stability, of course, but does not feel that good when you are ripping the cushions off your ears at the end of the gaming session.
In addition to the sturdy design, another great aspect of the Kulo headset is definitely the weight and size. Weighing less than 180 grams, you will hardly notice that you are wearing a headset – and it stays on without problems even when you move your head around. Another great design feature is that the microphone turns off automatically, when you rotate it up.
The rest of the specs are as follows:
Driver Units: 40mm Neodymium
Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
Impedance: ~50 ohms
Sensitivity (1kHz): ~102dB
Microphone Type: Noise-Filtering
Frequency Response: 70Hz ~ 20kHz
Sensitivity: ~-47 dB
We ran the headset through a variety of tasks in order to evaluate the sound quality and the virtual surround effect as well as we could. Unfortunately, the fact that you have to go to the Kulo drivers to choose the correct number of input channels for anything that you might want to try out with virtual 7.1 sound made this process somewhat of a bore and we must wonder how many gamers are willing to go through that extra trouble before they start up a game.
However, even in stereo mode, the headset provides a great sound with a lot more bass than we were expecting. The car engines in Mafia II, for example, roared much better than they do with most regular headsets. The virtual surround sounds were also rather easy to detect in-game and shooting down cops and armed civilians (for testing purposes only) was rather easy when you could hear where the shots were coming from. However, virtual mix is always a virtual mix and if you want true immersion, I'd advice you to turn your attention to more expensive high-end headsets. This was true especially in situations where you had a very busy soundscape – the virtual surround effect audibly mulled down in these sections.
In online chat the microphone provided good sound quality with very little background noise. As said above, you can easily switch the microphone off by turning it up and away from your mouth.
As usual, we’ve rated the Roccat Kulo Virtual 7.1 USB Gaming Headset in a variety of categories on a scale of 1 to 10.
Design and Build Quality: 8.5/10
Sound Quality: 8.5/10
Our score: 8/10
The biggest downside of the headset is that it does not offer real surround sound, but if you are not looking for that, then there's no reason why you should not give Roccat Kulo headset a try. The build quality is great with the metal membrane and the cushions are very soft – although it does not feel good to rip the faux leather off your ears when you take them off. At least they didn't take my ears with them...
For a supra-aural design, the headset provides relatively good sounds and even blocks the environmental sounds decently. While the angular design may turn some people off, I still like Roccat Kulo better than those competing headsets that have been adorned with enough LED bling to distract commercial airplane pilots. Overall, if you find the price affordable, there's no reason why you should not give Roccat Kulo a try.