After Turtle Beach acquired German peripheral maker Roccat back in 2019 many wondered if the gaming headset giant would influence the latter more, or the other way around. While best known for their exquisitely beautiful PC peripherals, like the 121 AIMO mechanical keyboard, the company also produces decent gaming headsets like the Khan Pro and Noz.
Or did make decent ones, anyway. Thanks to the Turtle Beach influence (and money) they’re about to graduate from decent headsets to great headsets – for those who want greatness on a budget, anyway.
Roccat’s Elo-branded gaming headsets are the first sign this new partnership is about to bear fruit with a trio of respectable options that blend Roccat’s signature styling and comfort with Turtle Beach’s game-enhancing proprietary features: the Elo X Stereo, Elo 7.1 USB and Elo 7.1 Air. We’ve tested each exhaustively, and we’re ready to share our findings.
This review focuses primarily on the Elo X Stereo Cross-Platform Stereo Gaming Headset, and you can find our reviews for the Elo 7.1 USB Surround Sound RGB Gaming Headset and Elo 7.1 Air Wireless Surround Sound RGB Gaming Headset.
How to best use this review:
Honestly, apart from different connectors and lighting, all three headsets are nearly indistinguishable from each other. All sport the same style, all feature the same self-adjusting, rugged (and very comfy) metallic/foam headband, all have the same removable microphone, and – most importantly – all sound fantastic. Overlap between the headsets means plenty of overlap between our reviews, and the only real differences really come down to compatibility, which is where things start to get wildly different.
We encourage those curious about snagging one of the Elo headsets to read through each review separately to see where each version differs significantly, if at all. We’ll include a handy comparison summary at the end of each review, with comments about each specific headset to help you make the best choice between them for your needs.
Design: Impossibly Comfortable
The Elo headsets not only look sharp, but they have a secret weapon to give you a competitive edge; they’re incredibly, almost impossibly comfortable. This is one area Roccat has excelled in other spaces and here their expertise is on full display thanks to a series of innovations that set the Elo headsets apart from most others.
The first is a self-adjusting headband, which looks strange at first but quickly makes itself almost indispensable. It feels bouncy at first, but latches onto your head with just the right amount of comfort with a secure, but not overly pressured, fit that’s both snug and satisfying. This means no fiddling with telescoping ear cups in a vain attempt to find the “perfect” fit; just put them on and let that magic headband do its work. Our testing found it conforms nicely to just about any size head (and we’ve got some big heads on the staff), so chances are you’ll have an equally nice, comfortable fit using them (though results may vary).
Both ear cups are encased in incredibly comfortable memory foam that manages to encase your ears in distraction-eliminating sound without the fatigue most mid-range gaming headsets leave after long sessions. Again, the Turtle Beach synergy continues with the inclusion of the ProSpecs Glasses Relief System, which means less suffering for spectacled users. The flexible microphone can be detached – and possibly replaced as it sports a 2.5mm jack. Windows gamers will need to use a headphone/microphone adapter for voice chat, which is included.
Housed within those comfy cups are 50mm Neodymium drivers that help deliver exceptionally deep and impressive bass with little distortion and clean separation. These aren’t revolutionary or anything, but still manage to deliver the necessary BOOM! when you need it the most. Both the 7.1 Air and 7.1 USB versions offer slightly more BOOM! than the standard Stereo version, thanks to being powered, but not significantly more.
The Elo X Stereo is also the lightest of the bunch, practically featherweight at just 314 grams for even more comfortable longtime sessions. Because it’s a 3.5mm device it’ll connect to anything that accepts the beloved cable, and a respectable 4 feet long cord means it’s long enough – and light enough – to go just about anywhere you want.
There’s not much in the way of controls, all located on the left ear cup and limited to sound and a microphone mute button (there’s no inline microphone level adjust on the Elo Stereo). This version is as basic as you can get, but that’s not a bad thing.
I really can’t say enough good things about how comfortable these Elo headsets are, which I felt were a smidge superior to Turtle Beach’s own (and pricier) Stealth 600/700 Gen 2 headsets. They really are that good.
Compatibility: The Deal Maker/Breaker
More than anything, the only thing that really distinguishes between the three versions is compatibility, which gets a lot stickier for the wired and wireless USB versions. This is where you’ll want to pay close attention as choosing the wrong version could mean only moderate, if any, compatibility with your favorite platform or device.
Far and away the people’s champ of compatibility was the Elo Stereo, thanks to its legacy 3.5mm jack, which means it plays nicely with anything that will accept it (even Apple devices, if you have the right adapter). For consoles this means direct compatibility with every major platform when attached to their respective 3.5mm ports. The Elo Stereo worked great on the PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Windows, Chromebooks, phones, tablets, etc. We even found the microphone worked great on most of them, too, though you might have to experiment if voice chat is a big deal.
In second place is the Elo 7.1 USB, which works perfectly with Windows (or any computer), PS4 and Switch. But there’s no Xbox One compatibility whatsoever, which wasn’t surprising. In last place is the Elo 7.1 Air, which kept Windows (and computer) and Switch compatibility just fine but working erratically, if at all, on the PS4. On Sony’s console it kept losing signal and when it did connect the sound output was mediocre to muffled, making it useless for play. Again, the Air doesn’t work with the Xbox One at all.
Another awkward issue was the inconsistency with volume controls across all the platforms. Despite having volume controls right there on the cup they don’t “all” work like they should, meaning sometimes the volume wheel changes volume levels, other times you need to adjust via the platform you’re using. Again, this wasn’t really an issue with the Elo Stereo, just the headsets using USB connectors.
Using the Headset: Plays Nicely with Others
Since the Elo Stereo was (by far) the most compatible we tested it with the most content, which included movies, music and – naturally – games. The headsets are so lightweight and comfortable (and battery-free) you’ll be tempted to use them outside the house, making them the most versatile of the bunch. It sounds harsh to say they merely enhance whatever you’re listening to, but given their price and how comfortable they are, that’s more than enough.
Worth noting: the microphone is the exact same on all Elo versions, detachable and with the same compatibility issues of the headsets themselves. You’re probably not buying these to use it anyway – and shouldn’t be – so rest assured it’s a decent microphone that sounds good enough if you need it.
Movies like Trolls World Tour and Scoob! sounded great (even when the movies themselves weren’t), though bass fans will rejoice hearing – literally – every BOOM! in action classics like Terminator 2 and newcomers like Ashfall as nature intended. Music through Spotify was also superb; just having added bass and clean treble is enough to recommend this headset over most desktop or display speakers. If you’re going to use them to listen to content inside or outside the home, they do the job exceptionally well.
So what about gaming? This is really where the Elo Stereo excelled, and not just because that 3.5mm jack made listening a lot easier (which it totally did), effectively making them “wireless” on consoles without the need to recharge any batteries.
The super lightweight Elo Stereo is a perfect fit for the Switch, making games like Super Mario Odyssey and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sound even crazier than ever. It’s also compatible with the Xbox One (the only Elo headset that is) so it’s easy to switch from playing Streets of Rage 4 and Halo on console to Windows, sounding equally awesome on both.
Of all three of Roccat’s Elo-branded headsets our favorite ended up being the Elo X Stereo Cross-Platform Stereo Gaming Headset, for obvious reasons. It’s the most compatible with just about everything under the sun (3.5mm FTW), it’s impossibly comfortable and sounds nearly as great as its more expensive, less-compatible stablemates. It doesn’t have fancy RGB lighting and there’s no 7.1 surround sound, but it delivers a consistently great audio experience across the board – and across all the platforms and devices you already have. It’s a rare thing to find such sophisticated sound and comfort at this price, but here we are.