Tom's Hardware Verdict
With excellent and immersive sound quality, the Roccat Elo X Stereo is a great set of cans for pairing with games, especially if you don't want virtual surround sound.
Excellent immersive sound quality
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Editor's note: This review was originally published on October 17, 2020 with 3.5 stars. Since then, Roccat reached out to tell us that this isn't typical and we likely received a faulty product. Our replacement unit had a much better mic, so we've updated the microphone section of this review and increased the headset's rating to 4 stars.
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 to do some tweaking, be prepared to be left wanting.
Roccat Elo X Stereo Specs
|Driver Type||50mm neodymium magnet|
|Frequency Response||20 - 20,000 Hz|
|Microphone Type||Unidirectional, removable|
|Weight||0.7 pounds (314g)|
|Cord Length||5.4 feet (1.65m)|
Design and Comfort
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.
Update November 4, 2020:
When we first published this review, we reported that the Elo X Stereo's unidirectional, detachable and flexible mic showed poor performance. While noise cancelling was effective and audio was audible, my voice sounded low in volume and somewhat tinny. After we posted our initial review, Roccat contacted us informing that it suspected the microphone was fault and sent over a replacement unit, and the results were much better.
While video chatting with my daughter to discuss raising her allowance, she mentioned that I sounded great and asked if she could have the headset if she can't get the allowance raise. So, 1 point Roccat. When I sat down to record voiceover audio for a project, the sound quality was really good. The Elo X Stereo's mic caught the depth and timbre in my voice excellently. Mic performance was impressive enough that I could see this working for recording and livestreaming with no problems. It also did an excellent job of blocking out background noise and staying focused on my voice. The tinny recording experience I had with the original microphone was non-existent, and it was a pleasure to go about my day taking Zoom meetings, chatting while playing games and denying my child a raise in her allowance.
Note that the Elo X Stereo has a one-year warranty. You can find details here.
Feature and Software
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.
Tweakers will miss the option for software though. And if you're into virtual surround sound, you might want to opt for the similarly priced Asus TUF Gaming H3.
But for those seeking an affordable gaming headset with amazing sound, the Roccat Elo X Stereo is a solid choice.
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