I wouldn’t call myself an audiophile, but I am a bit fussy about sound. To me, quality and depth of sound are non-negotiable. A good sound stage in gaming kicks up the immersion level, but poor, homogenized sound can take you out of the experience. Is it possible to get good sound without paying a fortune? Is there value in paying a little bit more for higher audio fidelity for your gaming experience? ROCCAT seems to think so on both fronts. This is our review of the ROCCAT Khan AIMO.
- MSRP: $119.99
- 7.1 Hi-Res sound with built-in 24-bit 96KHz DAC sound card
- Frequency range: 10Hz - 40KHz
- 50mm Neodymium drivers
- Passive noise cancellation
- Microphone frequency range: 100Hz - 10KHz
- RGB lighting with 16.8m possible colors
- USB 2.0
The first thing that I noticed about the Khan AIMO is that they were a whole lot smaller than I anticipated. This concerned me at first because I am not a small individual and I wear glasses.
Typically, the latter factor can cause discomfort while wearing a headset for extended periods of time. What I discovered was that the softly padded, spacious, articulated ear cups and light weight frame did not press my glasses into my head; there were moments that I forgot I was wearing a headset all together!
The construction of the Khan AIMO is sleek with some features for the longevity of the headset. The lightweight frame is mostly plastic with a metal headband for structural reinforcement and supple housing for what wiring you actually see. These design details may not seem like a big deal, but these are the part of the headset which are going to be the most prone to damage or wear. Sadly, I know this from experience.
With this attention to detail and design quality, I am a little concerned about the joints connecting the ear cups to the headband. They are not the worst designed joints I have seen in a product, but they feel weaker than the rest of the build. I’m not sure that I would trust this headset to travel with.
And that is the worst it gets with ROCCAT’s Khan AIMO.
The sound quality in this headset is remarkable! The 50mm neodymium drivers are highly responsive with a broad frequency range that creates a full sound stage without being loud. Your ears (and your speech and hearing pathologist) will thank you for this consideration!
Let me share this another way:
As a guitar and bass player, one thing that comes up in conversation with other musicians when talking about amplifiers is the importance of headroom. Headroom is the space between where the volume of your device is currently and where it can go. Having that space affords flexibility in volume without losing tonal quality.
This is an important distinction in a set of headphones, specifically a USB headset. Typically, USB headsets struggle at lower volumes, sounding anemic with digital artifacting. This isn’t the case with the ROCCAT Khan AIMO. It achieves this in no small part thanks to the digital audio converter (DAC) sound card that is built in. Its 96KHz 24-bit sample rate gives audio fidelity that I have never experienced in a USB headset before. The bass response reaches into extremely low registers without losing mid- and treble tone quality.
To tough test this, I played a wide swath of games on both PC and PlayStation 4 from Far Cry 5 to Warhammer Vermintide II, Heroes of the Storm to Diablo III and indies galore - all of which sounded fantastic. I gave it the musical tough test as well: metal to EDM, funk to orchestral scores, punk rock to podcasts to simple frequency testing sine waves. The sound quality checks out whether you are gaming or chilling out to your favorite tunes.
The Khan AIMO also has a built-in microphone which mutes when the microphone is in the vertical position. This has a solid signal response, providing vocal clarity while eliminating a fair amount of background noise. Here is a sample audio clip.
When you combine this hardware with ROCCAT’s software and AIMO controller and you have a headset that you can tweak for the sound and aesthetic that you want out of them. The software includes a 10 band EQ with game genre presets and control for the Khan AIMO’s subtle RGB lighting. It is important to note that ROCCAT’s AIMO-equipped devices will carry color and lighting patterns between the devices for consistent theming for the RGB-enthusiasts.
We began by asking a question about quality and cost. So, let’s talk price point.
The ROCCAT Khan AIMO costs $119.99. This puts it above the range of a number of solid choices like Razer Kraken 7.1 V2, SteelSeries Arctis 5, and Logitech G231, all at $99.99 USD. However, remember the original question: is it worth paying a little bit more for higher audio fidelity?
If you care about that sort of thing, consider this: the frequency range of each of these competitors is 20Hz - 20KHz compared to the Khan AIMO’s 10Hz - 40KHz, giving the Khan an edge with frequency headroom. As an owner of one of the competitors listed above, it is a noticeable difference.
However, if price is an issue and you aren’t fussy about RGB lighting, ROCCAT offers the Khan Pro with similar specifications at $99 USD, but with some limitations on software configuration. You can check out our review here.
While much of its build quality falls into the category of unremarkable, the points that ROCCAT did reinforce make sense with the wear and tear of normal use. After spending a few weeks using the ROCCAT Khan AIMO for gaming, listening to music, and monitoring podcasts, I am stunned by the depth of sound this headset offers from both an output and input perspective. It creates a vibrant soundscape even at lower volumes, bringing the gaming experience all the closer.
- Light weight with extremely comfortable ear cups
- Great depth and quality of sound
- Software support give end user excellent levels of control
- Connection between the ear cups and headband feel like a weak point
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.