Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware and Software
While we have taken a look at the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 and Stealth 700 Gen 2 in the past, the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air does not seem to share a lot from those headphones, at least not on first glance. The biggest difference can be seen from how the headphones sits on your head. The ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air utilizes a suspended headband to adjust to your head with some tension bands. The top metal bars exist just to provide structure to the Elo 7.1 Air and therefore should not make contact with your head. Otherwise, the entire Elo 7.1 Air comes in a muted black finish with no glossy portions. ROCCAT logos can be found on either side of the headphones with the left side rocking the aggressive cat brand, while the name can be found on the right side. The Elo name can be found on each side of the headphones too. Otherwise, the whole headset is made up of plastic with some synthetic leather found on the ears and the headband. We also have a different mesh fabric on the side of the top that makes contact with your head. The overall appearance of the Elo 7.1 Air is pretty gamer-centric, especially with the suspended design and large logos on the side. In terms of build quality, the plastic is solid, but you can definitely hear creaking when adjusting the headset. It is not too extreme, but I would like to see an improvement to reduce these extraneous noises.
Moving to the ears, the cups are wrapped with a pleather finish. Memory foam is fitted here too for a comfortable fit. Similar to other Turtle Beach headphones, we have their ProSpecs Glasses Relief System on each earcup with a slightly softer cushion where the arms of your glasses would be located. This creates a bit of a groove and reduces the pressure between your glasses and the side of your head. Each earcup is also lined with a mesh lining to ensure users do not feel the plastic frame against their ears. These are an over-the-ear design headphone, so your ears would fit inside these cushion rings. After removing each foam cup, you can see the 50mm neodymium drivers on each side of the ear. These drivers have a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, which matches the typical human hearing range. Finally, the ears themselves pivot on a swivel point so they can fit better to the side of your head. You can also rotate them so that they rest flat when you take off your headphones and rest them on your neck.
As we have mentioned already, the top of the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air is where you can get a better look of the suspended headband design. Rather than using extending arms on each side, this lets the headset do the work in adjusting to the size of your head. This does mean the Elo 7.1 Air should fit on most regular sized heads. Otherwise, the top is not a simple layer of fabric, but rather has some foam in between the pleather outer layer and the mesh underneath. It sits on a plastic band that is part of the whole mechanism. I am glad there is this extra padding here to further increase comfort and reduce pressure on your head.
In terms of overall comfort, I think the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air was decent. There is a bit of clamping force on the ears, but I personally did not find the ProSpecs implementation here to be as helpful. It is possible the placement of this softer plush does not fully align with my glasses, so I sometimes felt a bit of side pressure. However, the other problem I find that is related to the fact I could not always get the same seal around my ears. As such, sometimes the side foam on the earcups were aligned well, but sometimes they were not. This also creates a bit of variance to the perceived audio quality. Moving on, the synthetic leather used here translate into the ears warming up after a while, but this is pretty typical. In terms of weight, the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air weighs 345g, which is on the heavier side for gaming headsets, but understandable considering this wireless one contains the battery and other wireless-related components.
All of the controls and inputs are on the left side of the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air. Starting at the most back dial, you have the dedicated volume wheel and a microphone monitor volume wheel. This second wheel allows you to monitor your own voice through the headset. However, both of these dials feel exactly the same as each other. I often found myself adjusting the monitoring volume when I wanted to adjust the overall volume. I should also mention that adjusting the volume on the headset does change the overall volume on your computer and is not dedicated to just the headphone output itself. I also found myself accidentally changing the volume while the headphones were resting on my neck. Next, we have an oval microphone mute button. Finally, there is a small LED and power button. The LED shines white during regular operation and blinks white when it is searching for the transmitter to connect to. During the charging process, the light glows red until it is finished charging and the light turns off. A USB Type-C input is the last thing in the photo, and this is used to charge the Elo 7.1 Air.
When it comes to the other things that are provided with the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air, we have a long 2.0m USB to USB Type-C for charging. Next, we have a small USB transmitter and receiver. This one is marked with a ROCCAT logo, but it looks very familiar to the Turtle Beach transmitters that we have seen previously. It has a white LED that blinks while the headset is pairing and illuminates a solid white when the headphones are paired. The light also changes to red with a breathing effect when the microphone mute is active. Finally, we have the detachable microphone that plugs into the left side of the headphones with a 2.5mm audio connector. I am a bit surprised ROCCAT did not go with the folding microphone design that we have seen on aforementioned Turtle Beach headphones, as this would eliminate the need for a microphone mute button altogether. Even so, this microphone is a unidirectional one positioned on a long flexible boom arm. It is flexible enough to move into any position while also rigid enough to stay in a position. There is not much else for the specifications of the input device, but we will test the quality of this microphone on the next page.
When it comes to the wireless capabilities of the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air, I found the headphones to be generally pretty good. I was able to get around twenty-four hours of continuous usage with the side RGB lights turned off. Keeping them on reduced the battery life to around sixteen hours, which is still pretty good. Recharging the device via USB took around three hours. Wireless range is pretty good as I was able to walk into other rooms without losing connection or noticing any hiccups. However, what was quite frustrating with using the Elo 7.1 Air was the pairing experience, which I often found would fail to pair when first powered on. Instead, I found myself often unplugging and plugging the USB dongle as well as power cycling the headset. Once it was paired, the headphones did stay connected, but this initial pairing issue was an annoyance. Even with the latest software and firmware updates, this continued to happen during my time with the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air.
Once again, the ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air utilizes the Swarm software for making adjustments to the different connected peripherals. Even in the screenshot above, you can see I also have the Vulcan TKL Pro and Burst Pro set up in Swarm for customizing. The utility is available from ROCCAT's website and it is a 157MB download. The setup process is pretty easy to work through and adding additional peripherals is quite easy. I also received several updates during my review, so I know ROCCAT is continually retooling and pushing fixes for their users.
After selecting the Elo 7.1 Air at the top for configuration, you can see there are three tabs for changing options on the Vulcan TKL Pro. The first one is marked by a thumbtack and is used for users to "tack" the configuration options they choose on the next three tabs to save their favorite options to a single page. The first named tab is marked Settings. This section covers everything from modifying the equalization settings, volume, surround settings, microphone monitoring, microphone settings, wireless settings, and Turtle Beach's Superhuman Hearing. Surround settings is where you can turn on the virtual surround sound for a 7.1 audio experience. Under microphone settings, you can toggle the noise cancellation and also a voice changer setting called Magic Voice. These voice filters are not the most realistic, but they are a little fun to play around. You can also reset all of the settings to the default ones here. Finally, the last tab is marked illumination. This lets you change the effects of the lighting on the side of the headphones. This lets you choose typical static, breathing, and reactive modes. They also have their AIMO lighting for a fluid reactive and learning lighting that is said to learn your application usage and react accordingly.
There are two more tabs underneath for managing profiles. These profiles can automatically activate based on the program you are currently running. Overall, I still think ROCCAT Swarm is a straightforward piece of software to use. It is clear they have not updated this application visually for quite a while now, but at least it functions as you might expect.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Audio Analysis