Almost every audiophile is familiar with Turtle Beach. For those who don’t know, Turtle Beach is one of the leading names for audio peripherals in the industry and has been producing stellar devices since day one. We’ve previously reviewed their Stealth 600 and Stealth 700 Headset, so we were excited to get our hands on the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air Surround Sound RGB Wireless Gaming Headset. Roccat is Turtle Beach’s gaming accessories brand and the 7.1 Air is the most expensive headset in the batch. Let’s take a look at whether it lives up to its price tag.
What’s in the Box?
The box hosts a detachable mic, a 2.4GHz USB dongle, a charging cable and, of course, the cans. Though none of the accessories are too fancy, they’re appropriate considering the price of the headset. The mic is made of good-quality plastic and is detachable, so that’s a relief. It’s also light, subtle and not right in your face when it’s bolted on. The USB-C to USB-A charging cable is pretty long and made out of the kind of rubber that takes a while to get worn out.
The USB dongle has the Roccat logo emblazoned on it that lights up when it’s in use. The company made sure to stamp the Roccat cat on every single accessory: the USB, the charging cable and the headset. It’s not a big deal, but it’s one of those little details that make your accessories look cool and adds a little something special to your gaming setup. I always give the brand an extra point for thinking of these seemingly minor features.
How Well-Designed is the 7.1 Air?
Looks-wise, the 7.1 Air isn’t the most appealing pair of cans I have ever come across. So, if a stunning headset is what you’re looking for, look elsewhere. The headset is bland and rather bulky. The actual weight of the headset isn’t a lot, but the extra material on it gives you the illusion of it carrying unnecessary weight. There is a metal suspension band that curves outward way too much. The adjustment strings look like they’ve just been thrown right in the center; the strings look rather messy and distract you from appreciating the device’s aesthetics.
The 7.1 Air’s material is not even close to being premium. In fact, it looks and feels like low-end plastic. I’ve come across multiple headsets in the same price range that have included much better materials in their body or have opted for a design considerably more well-thought out, so I know I’m not asking for too much. The wireless headset is also RGB, so it does sport extremely cool lights on the exterior of its earcups. If you’re into RGB lighting and don’t really care about anything else, it’s safe to go for the 7.1 Air. I had no quibbles with the lighting.
Is the 7.1 Air Comfortable?
This RGB Gaming Headset is one of the most comfortable headsets that my cranium has ever been blessed with. I wanted to take back my critique of its metal suspension band and adjustment strings because of the role they played in making sure it’s convenient to wear. The suspension band has plenty of give and can be adjusted to any head size. The memory foam stuffed inside the headpad and the earpad is covered with leatherette and feels immensely soft against your head. Especially designed to accommodate bespectacled people, the parts of the earpads that are in contact with your glasses are covered with extra cushioning.
Leather doesn’t seal your ears shut as tight as velour pads do, so the 7.1 Air’s earcups didn’t hug my ears with a lot of pressure. But it was snug enough to not be constantly shifting on my head. I actually preferred a not-so-tight seal. It gave my ears space to breathe and facilitated a long gaming session.
What are the 7.1 Air’s Controls Like?
The navigation on the 7.1 Air could have been a lot better. All the controls, which are a lot to begin with, are crammed on the same earcup—a mistake a lot of headphone manufacturers make. The right earcup hosts two dials, two switches and two ports. The headset’s volume dial and the mic’s volume dial are not only right next to each other but are designed in the exact same way, so be prepared to mess up a few times. Then there’s a switch for mute followed by the power switch. Additionally, a charging port is found at the end of the line with the mic port right next to it. The controls could’ve easily been divided equally on both the earcups. Or they could’ve been designed a little more intuitively, especially the dials.
How Well Does the 7.1 Air Sound?
For a $99 headset, the 7.1 Air sounded pretty decent. Its companion app, Roccat Swarm, enabled surround sound on the cans that obviously enhanced its audio. While the app is useful for switching between a couple of EQ presets, it’s poorly designed and isn’t ground breaking by any means.
The 7.1 Air has one grave problem in terms of sound. Its earpads are incapable of keeping both headset audio inside and ambient sounds outside. Offering absolutely no passive sound isolation, there is a lot of sound leakage on these cans. I tested this with my cousin who said that he could tell exactly what song I was listening to. The lack of sound isolation also resulted in me being able to hear every single ambient sound. Considering the headset doesn’t come with ANC technology, I didn’t expect background noise to be completely muted, but I was certainly hoping for the refrigerator’s hum to be at least somewhat muffled.
Treble on the 7.1 Air is pretty good. Usually when the volume on a pair of headphones is cranked all the way up, its treble loses the sharpness and clarity that it retains at a lower volume. On the 7.1, even at the highest volume, the gunshots had that shrill in them. The sound was piercing and crystal clear, free of any distortions. With that being said, the low-frequency on this device could have used a little improvement. You do feel some bass, but it doesn’t pull you out of your seat.
What is the 7.1 Air’s Mic Like?
If I were to rate its mic out of ten, I’d give it a seven. It isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t impress. It’s painfully average. I turned to Roccat Swarm’s microphone options to see if the app can make it a little better and quickly regretted my decision. There are four mic presets on the app: male, female, monster and cartoon. As the names suggest, two of them are supposed to be used as comic relief during a gaming session. However, with the male preset being the only one worth using, I questioned Roccat’s thought process when deciding to add the rest.
The female and the cartoon presets are completely identical. I don’t know what females the people working at Roccat are surrounded with, but this is certainly not what we sound like. With the presets adding no value to the headset’s mic, the company would have been better off not adding them.
Any Other Features Worth Appreciating?
The 7.1 Air’s battery comes through with almost as many hours as its advertisement claims to offer: 24 hours. I used the headset for two to three hours every day and its battery lasted over a week. The 7.1 Air also has great pairing. My gaming didn’t even stutter for a second, letting me enjoy lag-free gaming with no interruptions.
Is the 7.1 Air Worth Buying?
The 7.1 Air clearly has problematic areas, but considering the price it comes at, I don’t think it’s a bad investment. It has decent sound and offers immense comfort. If those are areas you gravitate towards, then go for it.
Is It Hardcore?
The Roccat 7.1 Air Gaming Headset’s controls and design could use some improvement, but with decent audio and a comfortable fit, $99 isn’t a big price to pay for this headset.