The Roccat Elo 7.1 Air Wireless Headset is the top-end model in the Elo series. Acquired by Turtle Beach in 2019, Roccat has now become the company’s official PC gaming accessories brand. So the Elo Airs boast Turtle Beach’s patented Superhuman Hearing sound setting. In theory, that means you should know when you’re about to get fragged from behind.
I was skeptical about this whole ‘superhuman hearing’ thing—I thought it was hogwash, honestly. But now I'm convinced it's doing something. These things are damn accurate. The 7.1 channel surround sound means that, when scouting for enemies in Arma, I was able to pinpoint the exact degree to correct my aim by. On top of that, you can hear the rumbling of inbound tanks a mile away, so you know when you need to get the hell out of there or get some C4 down.
At first, I wasn’t enamored with the sound, but once the drivers were installed, the difference in sound quality was incredible. Having the ability to play around with the equalizer in the software is pretty sweet, though I wish it made changes live so you know what's working and what's not. You can also set, import, and export different game profiles with your preferred sound and light settings (of which there is a comprehensive list, though not as extensive as some).
Roccat claims one full charge is enough to last a week, based on approximately 3 hours use a day, which equates to a 24-hour battery life. There’s a handy widget to keep track of the power level, which is supposed to also warn you when it’s too low, but I just watched it jump from 100% to 75%, and it says something completely different in the software, so I’m not sure how accurate this feature is.
Speaking of accuracy, one of my pet peeves is RGB’s that tease you with a full-color range, then put out white instead of light orange. This headset is one of those, unfortunately. However, it does run on AIMO intelligent lighting that responds to what’s on-screen with (mostly) appropriate color adaptation, to give you another level of immersion in-game—or just look pretty.
In terms of comfort and fit, the Elo 7.1 really grip your head, so you can dance around and headbang without them shifting about too much. However, that does mean lengthy gaming sessions may leave your face feeling a touch compressed. I’ve been wearing them happily for the best part of a week, though, and my ears haven’t yet mangled into an unidentifiable pulp. I have been informed there is only a slight (yet bearable) pressure in the case of the wearer being bespectacled. They’re also only 12oz and the leatherette headband is very gentle on the cranium.
Drivers: 50mm Neodymium magnet
Battery life: Up to 24 hours
Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz
Features: detachable mic, on headset controls, true 7.1 surround
There’s some great swivel movement in the ear cups so you can adjust easily to your face shape, and they’re secure so they don’t flap about like some do, meaning they’re likely to last longer. The metal casing bodes well for durability, but there's that odd resonant ‘clong’ inside the ear cups when you tap the side, which can annoy. However, they also offer pretty good sound isolation—I don’t have to listen to the people in the apartment above me thumping around anymore!
The side dials are a bit awkward, with the housing on the left side (odd position if you ask me), and the volume control doesn’t work independently of the system volume, which isn’t preferable. However, it’s always a joy to be able to move around the house while in voice meetings, or while listening to music, and the Elo Airs have a range of 10 yards before you start to get any kind of interference.
On the note of free movement, you’re not likely to be taking them out and about. For one thing they are pretty bulky and, although the detachable mic would be a great portability feature, they only connect via the USB dongle. So unless your portable device has USB ports, you’re out of luck.
I was a little dubious about the detachable microphone, actually, but it actually doesn't pose any issues with buzzing, and I can remove it while chowing down (please, learn from my example, don’t put your friends through that). Anyway, the mic is clear with no feedback issues, being able to hear and check your own voice with the playback mode is great here, and the TrueVoice technology relays a very faithful rendition of my voice. So, rest assured if you meet up with your online friends, there won't be any of the standard “Wow, you sound so different in person.” That is, unless you have been playing around with the magic voice changer, which had my colleagues in stitches.
So, laughter aside, the Roccat Elo Airs deliver punchy, quality sound in terms of both input and output via the USB-A transmitter. They’ve got a fantastic battery life, and are charged by USB-C connectors, meaning faster charging. On the downside, I’m unable to properly match the RGB colours of all my peripherals with these, and my face is beginning to feel a bit squished.
But, aside from that, these are some quality engineered headphones, and I definitely recommend them for anyone who paces during online calls, especially as they’re a bit of a steal at an RRP of $100, compared to the major competitors on the market.