Roccat Cross Gaming Headset Review 4

Roccat Cross Gaming Headset Review

Microphone Performance »

Audio Performance

I'll split the audio performance analysis into two parts - gaming and music. Even though the headset produces the same sound regardless of what it's being used for, you won't necessarily look for the same things while annihilating your virtual opponents as you will when listening to your favorite tunes.


For gaming, you want the headset to be dramatic enough for explosions, blasting bullets, screeching car tires, and screaming sports fans to sound fun. At the same time, it should have the subtlety needed to detect enemy steps and the width of a soundstage necessary to figure out the direction from which danger approaches. Of course, the quality of human voice interpretation is important too, so that the commands and pained moans of your teammates remain understandable.

Roccat Cross delivers in all these fields. If I had to point out a part of the sound spectrum which it seems particularly focused on, I would have to say it's the bass. Luckily, unlike some of its competitors, Roccat has successfully resisted the urge to make the bass so bloated and dominant that it spills into the midrange. It still hits hard, creating a rumble that's going to put a smile on your face, but it never becomes muddy or sloppy.

Thanks to this, the Cross is great at interpreting the dynamics of virtual warfare, racing and sports clashes, but at the same time does provide excellent spatial positioning of targets - something closed-back headphones cannot usually boast. I had no trouble figuring out where my enemies in Battlefield 1, Battlefront, and CS:GO came from, and regularly waited for them at the ready. I liked the warmth of sound and its general presentation in games like Witcher 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda, where there is a greater emphasis on speech. Considering the price of this headset, I can't possibly ask for more.

Is it worth it to pair this headset with an external USB sound card instead of using a motherboard's integrated sound card? Absolutely. Even a cheap external sound card, such as the Creative Sound Blaster E1, further enhances the coherence of the acoustic presentation, hardening the bass and extending the soundstage.


Aside from diving quite deep, the bass is pretty quick and precise, and the mids and highs are satisfactorily clean and well-defined for a device that is basically a gaming headset. This means that the Cross will not only be suitable for rap and electronic music, where some sloppiness can be tolerated, but that it is a good fit for a whole host of other genres, including those focused on guitars and classical instruments.

I have to admit that going into this test and review, I wasn't expecting to praise its music performance, but I have no choice - in this price category, the Cross is one of the acoustically most well-rounded gaming headsets around.

The soundstage is surprisingly wide, and absolutely no one should have complaints about the headset not being loud enough either, regardless of whether the sound source is an integrated or external sound card or a mobile phone. Let me put it this way - if the volume dial is set to maximum and bass-heavy music is played, your entire head will vibrate. What would happen over a prolonged exposure to such an onslaught of sound, I dare not think of.

Since this is a closed-back over-ear headset, it's worth mentioning that people around you won't be able to hear what you are listening to, but nor will you hear them. The passive noise isolation is good enough to completely keep out members of your household, as well as urban traffic and the murmurs of your fellow public transport passengers. Just be careful when crossing the street!

When checking the headset's price on Amazon, I glanced at the user reviews and was surprised by a few negative comments regarding the sound quality. Some of them were backed by recordings in which the Cross really does sound quite bad. Bad enough for me to think that there might be a few different available revisions of the same headset. To investigate and bring some clarity to the topic, I contacted Roccat's customer support and received the following reply:

Thank you for your request. There is only one revision of the Cross available so far. The difference in sound quality could be caused by a faulty device used by one of the testers, different playback and recording setups, or by a production issue in one of the batches. This is hard to say without comparing the devices directly next to each other.

With that in mind, if the sound of your Cross is not in line with the impressions I have outlined here, you should probably get it replaced.
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May 25th, 2022 05:42 EDT change timezone

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