Putting it to the test
Playing Battlefield 3 with this headset has been a blast. I use BF3 in my headset reviews because of its award-winning ability to process and distribute fantastic sound effects to a multi-channel environment, but I feel the Kave really delivers a special surround experience. I could better identify my relationship with my surroundings, making it difficult for enemies to sneak up behind me, and likewise easier to tell when my buddies were following my lead. Being able to raise the Kave’s surround channels on the fly was very handy while playing as infantry, but I could easily turn it down while in a muddier, more confined sound space, such as a tank. I once found myself jumping out of my seat when bullets cracked and whizzed past my head. Turning up the “Sub” fader did in fact boost the in-game LFE track, making plosives much more punchier and vivid - the cups even start to shake!
Being able to listen to a movie with 5.1 surround sound information on more than two headphone drivers is a real treat. I would load as many 5.1 movies as I could, and try isolating the different faders on the control unit, listening to the individual audio tracks while still keeping relevant spaciality. The control unit has a switch between a Game and Movie mode, but this difference is only noticeable while watching a movie that has surround tracks. Switching to Movie mode causes the center channel to become more prominent, which is where the majority of dialogue is mixed in any movie.
I wanted to test this tech further by seeing if I could mix one of my side projects (a short film) in surround, however the Kave seems to have a high noise floor and lower output compared to other headsets, making it difficult to accurately hear my recorded tracks. There was no difference between my mainboard’s Realtek HD Audio, and my two dedicated Creative X-Fi cards. I know this was a stretch, being a “gaming” headset and all, but I thought it was worth a shot.
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