Tesoro Kuven Headset Review
We’ve seen a few products (keyboards and a mouse) here at pcG from peripheral manufacturer Tesoro, but this is the first time that we have had the chance to look at one of their headsets. Today I’ll be taking a look at the Tesoro Kuven (Devil). The Kuven is a stereo headset featuring 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound courtesy of its USB sound card. The headset features 50mm Drivers (with a Frequency Response of 20Hz-20KHz), a rotating boom microphone with noise cancellation and the headset itself can be fed its audio via either the supplied USB sound card or via standard 3.5mm (Headphone/Microphone) Jack plugs.
The Tesoro Kuven (7.1 Virtual Gaming Headset) arrived at pcG in an unusual shaped box that was mainly black ‘n purple (the regular Tesoro colours), the front of the box also has a plastic windows allowing a sneak peek at the headset within. The front of the box also highlights the following:
The back of the box simply lists the features and specifications of the Tesoro Kuven in a multitude of languages. See Specifications/Features below for more information…
The left side of the box shows that the Kuven is available in both black (Devil) and white (Angle) colours. There’s also some basic headset/microphone specifications listed.
The right side of the box shows off the 7.1 sound card, 2m (braided) extension cable and the (very useful – if you want to use your own sound card) Y type 2 to 1 convert cable/adapter.
As you can see from the image above the packaging is nothing short of adequate and the presentation is a little poor! I do feel that Tesoro could have done a little better here…
In the box other than the headset itself, there’s the USB sound card, Quick Start Guide and a Tesoro brochure. In addition to this Tesoro have also included a 2m braided extension cable and the aforementioned 2-1 Y cable adapter.
At the time of writing the Tesoro Kuven headset is retailing for approximately £42 on Tesoro K Devil A1 7.1 Virtual Gaming Headset and comes with a 1 year warranty.
courtesy of Tesoro
First impressions are well a little poor, although I did know this before I started to be honest! That’s because I’m not really a lover of the look of the Kuven headset, to me it just looks a little plasticy (made up word!) and cheap! In the hands it proves its not as cheap as it looks, it’s actually quite well made and features decent materials. I think it might be a design that works better in the east than the west, but as we all know ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ anyway…
Both ear cups feature a striking metal plate (with a bolt in each corner), the plate in turn has a white Tesoro logo (a face) with each half of the face appearing on opposing sides. It looks striking but in practice, and up close it doesn’t really look that good and lends the Kuven that slightly cheap (tacky!) look. The left side also feature a subtle Kuven logo while the right features the Tesoro slogan ‘Break the Rules’. Both ear-cups have a small degree of vertical swivel and a far larger degree of horizontal swivel in an aide to keep the cushions flush against the side of the head, thus helping overall comfort. The design/shape (or is that the angle of the ear-cups) is also a little weird (at least to look at), it also means that the headband sits forward of the centre of your head. Overall comfort seems fine though, it just looks and feels a little odd when you put it on your head for the first time.
The top of the headband is covered with a plastic material and features an embossed Tesoro logo, it’s subtle but looks quite smart. The inner part of the headband has a nice large foam cushion that’s up to 20mm thick in the centre, again this should help to aide comfort levels. This will be helped by the Kuven’s relative light weight at only 330g.
The headband is adjustable by approximately 28mm per side, but the size of the headset itself is only medium to start with. Meaning that with only 28mm of adjustment per side, big heads may need to look elsewhere… 😉
Each of the Closed Back ear-cups feature leatherette covered, foam filled cushions, the padding’s not as thick as one may have hoped for, but it seems adequate enough. Inside the ear-cup a small thin piece of black material protects your ear from the 50mm Driver hiding within.
The left ear-cup features a swivelling boom microphone that can be rotated into position near the mouth when required, the boom is also (somewhat!) flexible allowing for some fine positional tuning.
300mm from the headset and in-line with the 1.2m braided cable we find the Kuven’s In-Line Control box (ILCB). On the top of the ILCB there’s a Tesoro logo and name, while the left side features a microphone mute switch and the right side features a volume control wheel. The ILCB is basic at best, but the important controls are here, although I’d prefer to see a button (as opposed to a switch) for mute as you often want to press it in a hurry…
Overall the Kuven seems well made and features a decent build quality, especially when you consider its mid-range price. I’m still not a lover of its design though thanks to those opposing (almost imposing!) Tesoro face logos on the sides.
The Tesoro Kuven can be connected to your Gaming Rig by using either the supplied USB sound card, or to your motherboard’s on-board sound or your own dedicated sound card. This is made possible by the fact that the USB sound card simply connects to the headset by the regular x2 3.5mm Jack plugs (Headphone/Microphone). The choice is therefore yours…
I will be testing using mainly the USB sound card as that’s what the headset is sold as, but I will also test what it’s like when connected to a dedicated sound card such as the Creative Sound Blaster Zx.
The Tesoro Kuven was tested using our Test Rig, running Windows 7 64bit (service pack 1) with all necessary Drivers installed. A fresh installation of Windows 7 64bit (service pack 1) was installed and version 184.108.40.2062 of the Tesoro Kuven’s software was downloaded (Tesoro Support), installed and used throughout testing. In fact the Tesoro Kuven headset installs itself as a USB PnP Device with the software supplied by Cmedia.
GAMES/BENCHMARKS USED IN TESTING:
- Metro Last Light (benchmark)
- Unigine Heaven (benchmark)
- Unigine Valley (benchmark)
The performance of a headset is predominately based upon what it sounds like, therefore what we have here is my opinion on what I think about the audio performance of the Tesoro Kuven headset; of course this is somewhat subjective…
I did the majority of my testing with the supplied USB sound card, which to be fair (and as some of you may know) I’m not normally a fan of! This is because they often deliver a somewhat muted sound and also sometimes lack any real punch/power. Luckily the USB sound card coupled with the Kuven headset proved me wrong! The sound produced is actually very good and far better than I thought that it would be. The headset actually has a rather unique sound signature in that the mid-range is really very good indeed, this is an area that’s often overlooked in search of deep bass and shrill highs. And the good news doesn’t stop there as you would expect that the bass and or high-range would suffer but no, both are very good. What we have hear (haha get it!) then is a good all round headset.
Testing with the Metro: Last Light benchmark proved that the bass was up to the task of delivering the rumble as the attack approaches and the 50mm Drivers were also capable of delivering some impressive, shrill gun-fire and picking out the ricochets. All of this was heard above the musical score that was playing in the background to beautiful effect. The fact that the mid-range is so good also helps with voices in Game which is good, as there’s nothing worse than hearing muffled instructions that might only be said once.
As some of you know I’m not a big lover of Virtual Surround Sound as not only does it just change the sound signature but it can also dumb down the stereo effect of a headset. Enabling the Kuven’s surround sound via the supplied software, not only changes the sound (adding echo and reverb) it also increases the volume too! This has the affect of making you think that you’re now hearing surround sound, but really all your getting (IMHO) is a modified sound signature that helps to lend immersion to Games and movies. Does it work, well I guess so, the effect is quite dramatic with the Kuven headset, although I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s actually any better. But the overall effect on the sound is negative, as there’s a definite lack of control in the upper volume levels with the Surround turned on, but to be honest this isn’t uncommon with USB based sound cards…
Switching to a dedicated sound card (because of the supplied cabling you can) and gone is the lack of control and more usable volume becomes available. This allowed the Kuven to really show its true colours and they are very good indeed, with the sound produced by the 50mm Drivers sounding crisper, clearer and overall control is much better. The balanced range is still there with those impressive mid-tones, proving that the Kuven headset itself is more than capable of delivering an impressive sound…
Despite the odd appearance of the Tesoro Kuven (due to the angle of the ear-cups and the way the headband sits forward on your head) the headset was found to be very comfortable overall. This is thanks to a light weight at only 330g and a generous headband inner cushion. Only during those very long play sessions (3-4hr) did I find that my ears were becoming a little sore, where they we touching the inner part of the ear-cup that’s covered with black cloth. Suggesting that there could be a little more padding in those ear-cup cushions.
On-line testing with our VOIP program of choice (Razer Comms) proved that the noise cancelling microphone worked well and there was no complaints from my online friends. Sensitivity was also good, with me having to dial in a 66% sensitivity Level in Windows to get the balance right.
Of course the ILCB does have that badly placed and slightly awkward microphone mute switch, that’s you’re sure to fumble when that impending sneeze is coming…
I have seen this Csmedis software before and it’s still not really up to scratch for 2015 I’m afraid, here’s what I said last time which still holds true for the Tesoro Kuven software.
I must admit that I really struggled with this first tab (Main Setting), as I had no idea what it was all about, but I think I have it sussed now. By default the Virtual 7.1 surround sound is off, to turn it on you click the blue coloured box on the left that moves it into position on the right!? The System Input and Analog Output also confused me, as surely the software must know what input it has as it’s only connects by USB and surely the output will always be Headphone. Besides if I have to come to this software every time I change what I’m listening to it’s going drive me mad…
The Mixer tab is nothing more than a clone of the Windows functions for Volume Control and Microphone Levels.
The Effect tab allows you to mess with a ten band Graphic Equalizer and also provides various effects and room configurations to play with, best leave all of this on it’s default setting if you ask me. 😉
The Karaoke/Magic Voice tab allows you to mess with the outgoing voice, you can add echo and even become a monster or have a cartoon voice by enabling Magic Voice. Great fun, for 5 minutes…
The final tab (Information) simply provides basic Driver information etc.
It’s always good when a product surprises you and betters your expectations, that’s what the Tesoro Kuven (Devil) has done. I wasn’t expecting too much from this mid-range headset, but the performance and comfort has won me over, it’s just the looks that I’m still unsure about…
The Tesoro Kuven came to pcG in an odd shaped box in an odd colour, but of course purple is Tesoro’s colour! The packaging left a little to be desired, with all of the contents just surrounded by a simple plastic tray. Packaging was good enough, but presentation suffered. Once out of the box I was unsure of the design of the Kuven, it looks odd with those angled ear-cups and I’m also unsure about the metal side plates with Tesoro head logos on the side, it’s striking but it looks, well, a little cheap/tacky to me! Which is shame as the build quality and the materials are actually quite good considering the asking price.
From a performance point of view though the Tesoro Kuven scores well, impressive as it uses a USB based sound card, something I’m not normally a big fan of. But, the sound produced by the 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound USB sound card is actually quite good, and more importantly it has an unusually impressive sound signature. Unusual in the fact that the mid-range is the most impressive part, yet the normally over emphasized lows and highs are still well represented.
The 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound, enabled via the software, mixes things up a little adding more echo, reverb and rather surprisingly more volume! Now while I admit that this tends to add a little more immersion to Games; the fact that the sound signature changes doesn’t now mean you’re listening to surround sound!
Decoupling the Kuven headset from the USB sound card and connecting it to one of our test Creative Sound Blaster Zx sound cards allowed the Kuven to really shine! Proving that the underlying headphones are actually rather bloody good!
Comfort is also good, despite the fact that the headband sits forward on your head, thanks to the unusual orientation of the ear-cups. Comfort levels remained high even during long 3hr plus Gaming sessions, although my ears did get a little sore, where they were touching the inner black material that covers the 50mm Drivers.
The swivelling boom microphone also worked well during Gaming and whilst using VOIP, and there was no complainants from my online friends.
Overall I would say that the Tesoro is a good all round headset; it has a very pleasant sound signature, has plenty of punch, and (while we’re on the subject of punching) punches above its £42 asking price. But I still have reservations over the looks, I’d have to say it’s not for me, but then, beauty is in the eye… Well you get the idea!
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Many thanks to Tesoro for providing this sample for review