With excellent and immersive sound quality, the Roccat Elo X Stereo is a great set of cans for pairing with games. But we’re glad we can remove the mic because its performance is barely passable.
The Roccat Elo X Stereo is the brand’s latest affordable ($49.99) over-the-ear cans for gamers. Competing with the best gaming headsets in the budget category, it succeeds in bringing high quality audio at an affordable price. The satin black metal and plastic headset with soft leatherette (what happened to calling it pleather?) are lightweight and really comfortable. It’s also handy for those battling across multiple gaming platforms (PC, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation and smartphones).
But if you want a pair of cans that’s also good for communicating with your teammates or even conference calls, be prepared to be left wanting.
Roccat’s lineup of Elo headphones are all very similar in design with different colored logos alerting gamers to which pair they’ve purchased. The Elo 7.1 USB and wireless Elo 7.1 Air both have RGB logos, but our review focus, the lowest end of the Elo line-up, is LED-free.
The Elo X Stereo uses an adjustable metal headband, and underneath the metal headband is a plastic one. The latter is seamlessly covered in the same soft leatherette and memory foam used on the ear cups, while the rest of the unit is made from quality plastics to ensure they remain lightweight. In addition to the cozy leatherette, the Elo X Stereo’s ear cups have excellent memory foam that makes wearing these headphones a pleasure. Overall, the Elo X Stereo has some of the feel of higher end over-the-ear headphones. At just $49.99, you’ll feel (literally) like you’ve gotten a good deal.
The onboard controls for the Elo X are on the left ear cup. A well-incorporated slider knob controls the volume level, and right beneath that is a mute button.They both work as they’re meant to and perform solidly.
On the right ear cup we find the Roccat silver logo, and removable microphone area. The microphone detaches and reinserts easily and firmly, again letting you know this is a well crafted pair of headphones.
The Roccat Elo X Stereo’s 50mm neodymium magnet drivers reproduce sound so excellently that you’ll think you spent more than $49.99. Immersion is the name of the game. When I played Grand Theft Auto V, every crash, every scream and every screeching peel out was fantastically reproduced. Rich sound came from every direction, making me feel like I was actually inside the vehicle causing mass quantities of mayhem and destruction.
While playing Batman: Arkham Asylum, The Joker’s laugh came through with the bone-curdling chill expected. I thoroughly enjoyed the bone crushing audio reproduction of Batman’s punches as they landed squarely on the jaws of The Joker’s evil minions. Also, the timbre in Batman’s gruff voice came through beautifully, tense and angry, as the caped crusader spoke. I also enjoyed every step I took around Arkham, thanks to the audio’s immersive nature. I even noticed subtle differences in tone when stepping through wet ground.
I grew up in a home of audiophiles, so I turned my attention to John Coltrane’s 1961 My Favorite Things album, and it came through wonderfully on the Elo X Stereo. The highs of Coltrane’s horn were eloquently reproduced, and the mids and highs of the entire album sounded as magically as intended.
Next, I wanted to hear how the Elo X’s 50mm neodymium magnet would reproduce the deep baselines of my teen years. While listening to Boogie Down Productions’ KRS-One rap about how “Love’s Gonna Get’cha,” the thick baseline came through flawlessly and with delicious depth. There was no distortion to be found as the Roccat Elo X Stereo produced the warm rhythmic bass of my youth as I ended my listening flashback with the smooth jazzy bassline of Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life”. Again, I have to say, for $49.99 you can’t go wrong.
Overall, the Elo X Stereo’s unidirectional microphone performance is poor, especially when compared to the excellent sound quality of the headphones. To say the mic is disappointing is an understatement; it’s like purchasing a fast car with bad breaks.
The detachable and flexible microphone on the Elo X Stereo offers audible audio, but sounds low and somewhat tinny. The mic has noise cancelling and proved effective enough for barking out commands during a night of Call of Duty. However, if you’re a streamer or someone conducting business during the day via Zoom calls, the weak performing microphone is not for you.
I would recommend streamers use a USB mic, like one on our Best Gaming Microphones page, if you want your listeners to hear you clearly and accurately.
As with any new device I review, I went in search of compatible software to enhance the user experience. Sadly, the Elo X Stereo isn’t compatible with Roccat’s Swarm or Talk FX software. Both apps are meant for Roccat’s higher end headsets and grant gamers finer audio control, as well as control of the RGB lighting, including those on other Roccat peripherals. In this case, software might have been able to help the microphone experience with the Elo X Stereo. Maybe in the future Roccat will come up with software for their mid-tier and lower end headsets — one can dream.
The Roccat Elo X Stereo sounds great with games, offering a surprisingly immersive experience. You get driving bass, warm mid tones and wonderful highs, all for the low price of $49.99.
However, the poor microphone performance truly disappoints and steals from the potential of these stylish, sturdy headphones. If you’re a serious streamer or seeking excellent mic performance, you should skip these. For one of the best headset mics we’ve tested, consider the Corsair Void RGB Elite USB for just $10 more as of writing.
But for those seeking an affordable gaming headset with amazing sound, the Roccat Elo X Stereo is a solid choice.
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ROCCAT, Stereophonic sound, Headset, Microphone
World news – CA – Roccat Elo X Stereo Review: Excellent Audio Meets Disappointing Mic