in Audio

Roccat Kulo 7.1 USB Virtual Surround

Testing

Methodology

This is where I can wax a bit more lyrically about the  Kulo 7.1, as its in the sound that Roccat have made some changes. To check out what effect the virtual 7.1 surround sound card had on the sound quality of the headset, I tested it in several games, with a few movie scenes and some different musical tracks; with the USB sound card enabled and not.

For a rundown of what the Kulo sounds like in its standard form, have a look at my original results here.

Results

Gaming

The games used for testing were:

  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  • Trackmania

While the sound quality for the Kulo at standard is not bad at all, I was quite impressed with the virtual 7.1. The stereo mix was as strong as when the USB sound card was not enabled, but you did gain some semblance of rear and in front. While it certainly wasn’t as good as a real 7.1 speaker setup, I was quite impressed with how if I threw a grenade and turned around, the explosion did indeed sound like it was behind me. More immediately behind me than far away, so I don’t think distance is quite down, but directionally Roccat have got it spot on.

With Trackmania, directional sound is less important, but I definately felt a stronger all round feeling and a more natural sound. It was a little muddied compared to the non 7.1 setup, but it was clear enough and I certainly felt a more raw engine noise from mine and surrounding cars.

Movies

The movies I used for testing were:

The Incredible Hulk – Final fight scene
Final Fantasy Advent Children – Bahamut fight

Here once again, I was actually pretty impressed. There wasn’t so much of a surround sound feeling; but I absolutely felt more part of the action. The scenes were full bodied in their sound and the action felt somewhat all around me. When switching between standard play and the 7.1 USB sound card, I noticed an obvious difference in immersion. In the same way that when you watch a 3D movie and seem to be viewing an actual scene as opposed to a 2D screen, that was the difference between stock sound and this virtual 7.1 sound card.

Music

Music was very impressive. Bass was quite strong for a little stereo headset and I found mids and highs to be equally compelling. Interestingly, while I had had trouble with the original Kulo in it muddying sound and losing clarity, I didn’t have this issue with the 7.1 USB sound card. Likewise, the volume issue I had experienced, was still there if I didn’t utilise the 7.1 feature, but when activated, I had all the volume I needed. Suddenly the Kulo got some balls, and it’s more than loud enough; believe me.

Cost

The Kulo 7.1 is a little expensive at £70. This means that that little sound card costs At least £25. Is it worth it?