As you can see from the chart below we’ve got three dBA scores for each headset. Direct is measured by placing a decibel meter directly between the ear cups and cranking the volume as high as it goes. The next would be myself wearing the headset while leaving the decibel meter on my desk at a distance of 0.75m with the volume at 100% and then again at 50% volume. I’ve chosen a specific piece of music and a specific time frame of that song for this test, which is the first 90 seconds of Devin Townsend’s – More, with each test performed three times to ensure results that are as accurate as possible. For reference, the ambient room noise was a steady 38dBA.
The peak volume I recorded was 93 dBA, pretty powerful and more than loud enough to give you a mighty headache after a long session at max volume, not that you would want to do such a silly thing of course. The closed back design of the ear cups works incredibly well at keeping noise in and ambient noise out, you really are alone with your audio when you’re wearing the XTD headset.
Music tests showed there was a lot of range to the Kave XTD driver performance, this is mostly thanks to the very handy software that allows you to make massive adjustments to the EQ without causing any distortion, so screaming hits, low mids, thumping bass is all easily attained, and there are a number of presets included for you to pick through and find something you like. Initially, I didn’t like the default sound of the headset, it was very distant sounding and not very dynamic, but the ease of customisation means you can quickly define the sound you desire. I love having lots of settings to play with, I love it even more when they’re easy and understandable.
You can toggle through a few modes on how the 6 drivers in the headset are used, stereo, stereo mixed to surround and surround are the basics of it all, and it really is a matter of preference on which works best for yourself, or the source material you are listening to. Overall though it all sounds pretty great, nothing ground-breaking, but still great.
Playing native 5.1 content is when you awaken the beast, as soon as I ran some 5.1 mixed FLAC audio files, blu-ray movies and of course some games that run in 5.1 my head was almost blown off with the amount of sound on offer. Once you wake up the subwoofer quality of this headset, especially those bonkers 30mm vibration units which give such a thump to the headset, it feels like your head is at the cinema, it’s actually rather incredible the effect these little units provide. The only downside is that the vibration of the bass occasionally tickles my ear.
Gaming performance is incredible in stereo, really rich and clear sound much like I saw on my music and movie tests. Any games that support surround (which is pretty much all of them these days) really benefit from the 5.1 capabilities. Actually being able to hear your opens behind you, bullets flying around your head, the wind blowing around Skyrim and more, is mind-blowing. Then you get those monstrous bass tones fire up and your treated to some incredible bass that leaves the mid tones and the trebles unharmed.