Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
For all the audio products we review at APH Networks, it takes quite a bit of experience and training of the ears before we can assess with fair judgment. Even for many audiophiles, it can be hard to produce an exact or accurate evaluation of a product without a familiar product to use as a reference. While I am still relatively new when it comes to audio testing, I have worked with Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Kwan for some basic training to accurately evaluate the audio quality. There are no true objective measurements for audio sounds quality, but as a reviewer, I will put the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air through a series of subjective tests to try and come up with the most objective rating as I can. The audio tests were conducted on my PC with the USB Type-A transmitter plugged into one of my front USB ports.
After taking some time to get used to the fit of the ROCCAT syn Pro Air, I put the headset to the test. All tracks are uncompressed or high bitrate audio files. Equalizer settings were set to flat for testing purposes. For gaming, I played VALORANT and osu!. First-person shooter games are probably the most important games to test these headphones with, as the gameplay can heavily rely on hearing to gain information. I find that playing rhythm games like osu! can also be very important to test latency, but in other cases, the latency is less relevant.
I started testing the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air’s lower frequencies. In this section, I found the headset produced a nice deep and round sound. The headset was not too boomy, being a trait I find with a lot of lower quality headphones or earbuds I have experienced. The bass was heavy enough to produce a solid sound while maintaining a smooth output. In games like first-person shooters, bass sounds would correlate to things like footsteps. Footsteps were very easy to listen for with the Syn Pro Air. If you use these for music, the bass will feel overshadowed when you compare it to the upper midrange, but it could be useful for gaming audio.
Moving on to the midrange, this is where this headset starts to sound quite interesting. Although the sound was quite natural and clear, it was also heavily boosted in the upper-midrange section. This boost made listening to the lower frequencies much harder as it would often overpower them. When trying to listen to the lower-midrange and bass, they were still audible, but much fainter. Although the midrange is not that important for strict gaming like the bass for footsteps and treble for glass shattering, it is still useful for hearing what your teammates are saying or your abilities. This boost will aid in hearing these voices and abilities, making it easier to react to them.
Continuing with the treble, the sound is very recessed compared to the upper midrange. This section is the least clean, having a very dry sound. The upper end is also rounded off, making the higher pitches sound a bit more recessed. In games, the treble would be recognized as glass breaking or guns reloading. Glass breaking or reloads are still audible with the recessed nature of the treble, but can be missed at times. Overall, the sound signature of the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air is quite strange with its upper-midrange boost. The sound signature of this headset looks like a single hump on a camel’s back or a lowercase n-shape.
The soundstaging was adequate for most gaming scenarios. I found it to be good enough as I could easily understand my opponent’s general location when sound was produced. When it came to music, it was much harder to distinguish the instruments as the depth and width cover a relatively small range, making the instruments sound close together. In other words, soundstaging for music was not great, but this is a gaming headset, and it does what it is designed to do. Furthermore, there are always limitations to the closed-backed design that we must consider.
When it comes to layering, I found the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air to be fine for gaming in regard to detail and precision. In music, the detail felt a little more jumbled with all the different instruments and voices. The frequency separation was not very distinct, especially in the upper-midrange and the treble. From the lack of separation, came a lack of cohesion and cleanness.
Because the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air uses a closed-back design, there is not much sound leakage in comparison to an open-back headset. The choice of athletic fabric instead of leather does allow for a bit more sound to leak through though. With this combination, the sound is isolated to the user adequately. I personally do not have much preference in the matter of sound isolation, but I understand this is important for some gamers.
As for the microphone quality, I used Audacity to record and export the audio as an MP3 file. From this, you can hear the microphone is able to pick up my voice quite easily. However, I was quite underwhelmed about how the microphone actually sounded. After listening to my voice recording, I found my voice to be quite muffled. There is some fuzziness to the audio, making my voice sound a bit sandy. For voice communication, I would say this microphone would suffice. If you were looking towards a streaming path, I would recommend you buy a dedicated microphone, or at least a headset with a higher quality microphone like the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro.
As the ROCCAT Syn Pro Air is a wireless headset, it is important to consider the battery life and wireless connectivity. ROCCAT claims the Syn Pro Air can last up to 24 hours on a single charge, I assume with the RGB LEDs off. In my personal use, I found it to last 20 hours with the RGB LEDs on. Despite not reaching the 24-hour mark, likely due to the fact I have had the RGB LEDs on, this is still a very impressive battery life. You will likely never run into issues with it running out of battery if you charge it once every couple of days.
The part I found interesting was the wireless connection as the range is quite large. I was able to walk across my entire house without having any connection issues, but when I was sitting beside my computer, it would randomly disconnect itself. I believe this is due to the headset being low on batteries, but I cannot confirm this as the software did not properly display the battery percentage during my time of testing. Worry not, for the Syn Pro Air does charge quite quickly. ROCCAT also claims with 15 minutes of charge, you will get up to 5 hours of use. I cannot confirm whether or not this is true, as the software would usually claim itself to be sitting at 00% battery life like the screenshot on the previous page. Other than that, I observed basically no wireless delay. Even when playing rhythm games like osu!, I felt as though I was wearing a normal wired headset, which was excellent.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Audio Analysis