Located in Hamburg, Germany, ROCCAT manufactures gaming peripherals. They are also the sponsors of TEAM ROCCAT, a professional League of Legends and Starcraft II esports team. On December 8th, 2016, ROCCAT released their latest product, the ROCCAT Cross. The Cross is nowhere near the latest and greatest technology. Instead, they are built for the multiplatform gamer.
“… we developed the Cross specifically for you, not your device. The Cross is the multiplatform over-ear stereo gaming headset that’s equally at home on your PC, Mac, PS4 and Xbox One, as it is when you’re on the go with your mobile device.” – ROCCAT’s Website
Specs and Audio Quality
The ROCCAT Cross is fitted with 50mm neodymium drivers, which provides a quality bass line. This was the first thing I noticed during my tests. While playing Battlefield 1 and Rocket League, the bass for the music in the menus and cutscenes were deep and clean. In fact, the bass is the most consistent aspect of the Cross’ audio quality. I am conflicted with my opinion of the microphones that come with it. That’s right, I said microphones.
The Cross comes with two types of cabling options. One of them is a 1.2m single plug audio cable with an in-line mic for mobiles and consoles. The other is a 2.35m dual plug audio cable with a boom-arm mic for PCs. Though I am not a fan of the boom-arm mic being part of the audio cable, I do like the ability to alternate between the two. This is the basis for ROCCAT claiming that these are multiplatform headphones. The quality on both cabling options is identical and generic.
When it comes to the overall audio quality, its a different story. After playing Battlefield 1 for a couple of hours, it was evident that the sounds were overlapping and muffling each other. It sounded like all the different sounds were playing as they were one file. Though my tests on binaural sounds were great, this effect ruined it when playing games that have a lot going on. I could hear footsteps, gunshots, explosions, and enemy chatter, but had a hard time telling from which direction they originated.
Aesthetics and Build Quality
The ROCCAT Cross has a slim and light design. It doesn’t have RGB LED, but I am okay with that. They are a very simple, minimalistic build. I like simple. ROCCAT branding on the headband and ear cups, L and R indicators, and a volume wheel on the back side of the left ear cup. I do wish that the L and R were easier to see, but after a while I knew which ear cup were left and right when picking them up.
The ear cups are not oversized, but they are a bit small for me. However, if your ears are an average size or smaller, these will fit you perfectly. The tension the headband provides is just tight enough to stay on your head. I hate getting headaches from having headphones that apply too much pressure on the sides of my head. I did not experience any of that when using these for 3+ hours. The padding on the ear cups is quite soft, but after about an hour, it felt like hard plastic.
Though majority of the Cross is made from plastic, they feel solid. I had absolutely no worries that I would break them. The headband itself is extremely flexible. Twist and turn it all you want, this thing will not creak. This is great for people like me with a 2 year-old that constantly tests my patience.
The ear cups do not have much x-axis rotation, but still feel comfortable when you hang them around your neck. The ROCCAT Cross headphones are built to last. I haven’t had them long enough to see if the material on the headband or ear cups will tear or peel, but I am confident that it will hold for longer than most of their competitors.
Realistic Use & Lifestyles
The Casual Gamer
This is great for those that play games a couple of hours a week. If you only play on console, you won’t be using the boom-arm mic audio cable. It’s a simple “unplug and plug” to switch between playing games on your Xbox One and listening to music or answering calls on your phone. Listening to music and watching movies will be great, but not phenomenal.
The Hardcore Gamer
The bass is fantastic, but you’ll want a sound quality that is more vibrant and individual. The boom-arm mic will feel gimmicky and you’ll find it cumbersome to have to switch audio cables if you change from PC to phone often. You may want to look at spending $10-$20 more, for headphones like the Razer Kraken Pro V2s.
However, if you play MOBAs, fighting games, or any other game that doesn’t require binaural effects or have tons of sounds all at once, these are solid. I had no complaints when using them to play Diablo III.
What Could Be Better
Though it is intended to give the headphones a slim, sleek look, I would have preferred if the boom-arm mic was built into the headphones themselves. I love the bass, but wish there was more focus on creating clear audio. Isolate each sound as to not overlap or muffle. Metaphorically, having 6 people pass through 5-6 doors is easier than having 6 people pass through 1 door.
As for design, its hard to see the L and R. Using a vivid, contrasting color for those and the branding would have given it a bit more of a premium look. A softer ear cup cushion would make them more comfortable for extended use. The last thing I would say could use improvement is the width of the ear cup. My ears are not too large, but I have to fold them to fit them in the headphones.
For the low price of $69.99, the ROCCAT Cross headphones provide an excellent value. Great bass lines, durability, versatility, and they’re simplistic. These are not intended to be compared with top of the line headphones, so I would say that they are slightly above average. All in all, the ROCCAT Cross headphones are like if you just now played through Uncharted for the first time. Satisfying, but nothing special.