The Kuven Pro 5.1 -
The Kuven Pro 5.1 is an interesting design and is also on the heavier side of the bulkier side of the market. The ear cups are rectagonal and also attached to the head bar at a slight angle. This along with some other design choices gives the Kuven Pro a very blocky and industrial appearance. Overall the construction is heavy gauge plastic with brushed aluminum on the ear cups as well as inside the head strap.
Focusing on the ear cups for a minute you can see that they are not the standard oval, but Tesoro made them rather deep which could indicate a comfortable fit despite the odd shape. Inside the leather (?) pads and hidden underneath a thin layer of foam Tesoro has squeezed four actual speakers (center, front, rear and sub). These combine with the provided amp to give you 5.1 surround sound. Tesoro does not list the size of the drivers in their headset, but from looking they are about not very large (call it 20-25mm). Still as we have found size does not always matter if the cabinet is constructed correctly.
Tesoro has opted to hardwire the cord to the left ear cup on headset which is not a bad thing until the cable gets kinked or you have an unfortunate impact on that area of the headset. This cord is a little thicker than most so it is pretty obvious that Tesoro was thinking about this during design.
The ear cups also rotate 90 degrees which should help in storage and portability. The hinge is part of a large and blocky connection into the head strap. The head strap is, like the rest of the headset, very bulky. It is quite thick and also padded very well. The Tesoro name is embroidered on the top which is a nice touch. The arms inside the head strap are wide which gives them a solid feel when adjusting them.
The microphone is connected to the outside of the ear cup instead of underneath it like we find on many other models. This placement, while odd actually works well when you want to lift the mic out of the way. The mic book is flexible allowing you to bend it to where you like it. There is a light at the end of the mic that lets you know when it is active.
Like many recent 5.1+ headsets the Kuven Pro 5.1 uses their own amplifier and mixer. This mixer uses USB to connect to a PC. This means that your sound will be bypassing the audio on your motherboard and using the built in audio processing chip in the Kuven mixer. Now in some cases you can simply plug the headset directly into your system, but Tesoro decided to use an HDMI connector to make sure all 5.1 channels are properly passed from the mixer to the headset. We did try plugging this into a GPU and using the HDMI audio function, but that failed to power the headset meaning you are stuck using he mixer if you want audio.
The mixer does allow independent channel adjustments as well as muting the mic and headset all together. You do have to download and install an application to get it to work.
This driver/application did become an issue for us as we had problems getting it to work on a couple of different systems. Most notably on an Asus UX303L laptop where the mixer failed to register at all. This is most likely a fault in the laptop’s USB 3.0 chipset and not the Kuven Pro, but it is something to be aware of.
Overall the Kuven Pro 5.1 is a blocky design that is surprisingly light with the right amount of tech to keep your interest. Now let’s take a look at how well it performs.