Marcus Hagen is a 24-year-old journalism student from Columbia University.
Apparently we absorb over 90% of the information around us with our eyes. If we now also take in consideration that we also use our hands to feel objects, then there's really not much left for our ears. Despite that, there's a lot of information that our ears absorb and process. There are instances where they can save lives. Whether it's while crossing the street or even while battling in a virtual battlefield.
Which is especially important with the latter as you need to know from which exact angle the enemy is approaching from. Unfortunately, 7.1 headphones and speakers aren't exactly the cheapest. The technology is so new that it still requires quite a large budget. Or does it?
Maybe you can get just an external 7.1 soundcard and hook it up with a regular gaming headset? Like the Roccat Juke soundcard for example. Let's find out!
I have previously complained about how boring it is to review a mouse pad. I have to admit that it's even more boring to talk about how the Roccat Juke looks like. Simply put, it basically looks like a piece of cable that is thicker at the ends. One of the ends has separate inputs for a microphone and headphones. The other end has the most typical USB connector. And at the same time, everything is made out of a rubbery plastic material.
Okay, the endings do have more to their design than just a boring cable. They have this type of a futuristic cyborg design. The microphone-headset input has got a Roccat blue indicator light. It lights up when the soundcard is connected to a computer.
But still, Roccat could had still covered the short piece of cable with textile. Or at least something that would make it look premium. At the same time, there are plenty of companies who would had completely ditched the cable and created a weird USB drive looking device. Overall the Roccat Juke is incredibly small and that's why there's not much to write about the design.
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For the first time in years, Roccat managed to surprise me with their software. That said, there were a couple of things I didn't like that much. Overall the program was full of features, just like I'm used to with Roccat. But for some reason the user interface reminded me of Windows XP. A strong take back Thursday vibe.
Browsing through the settings and testing different effects, reminded me of the first Creative soundcards that I used some years ago. They also allowed you to set different effects to sounds, like bathroom, stadium and cave. I felt around 10 years younger again. You most certainly won't find any machine learning from the interface. It made me feel like the program isn't developed by Roccat but some old school Windows enthusiast in a garage.
Despite the old looking interface, the program still has plenty of different features. In my opinion, there are even too many configurations for a regular person. Either way, it should take a while before you get to discover all of the settings.
Setting It Up
The Roccat Juke is single-handedly the easiest device you can ever use. Roccat hasn't even included a user manual, which I mean is something that all devices generally have. All you need to do is download the Roccat Juke software, install it and restart the computer. Next plug in your headphones and microphone to the Juke and connect it to your computers USB port. You will then notice a Roccat Juke icon appear at the bottom right corner of your screen (under the system tray). You can click that to open up the program and from there you can configure everything. The icon appears only when the soundcard is connected to a computer. The rest of the time it's invisible.
Now if we go into the main topic, which is the 7.1 sound, then I have to say that it's hard for me to criticize it. Sure, the 7.1 effect is virtual. Still, it will most definitely fool the average person. What I mean is that it sounds convincing. The audio moves from side to side just like it should. Unfortunately, I couldn't compare it with a full 7.1 hardware set. But besides the 7.1 effect, I also felt like the audio quality improved overall as well. Maybe that was just a placebo though. I don't have any actual evidence of it actually improving the original quality.
Besides messing around the sound effect, you can also have fun with the equalizer. They have included a bunch of configurations for different music genres. You can also adjust them to fit your taste.
What I really like about the Roccat Juke is the whole package. Compared to other external soundcards, it's virtually invisible. There isn't a large separate box that takes up half of your desk. It's more like an extension cord for a headset.
We can first start with the price. Being able to get 7.1 surround sound for just $20, sounds really incredible. Especially since having experience with Roccat build quality, I'm confident that I'll be able to use the device for many years to come. And if I need to protect my back on virtual battlefield, then it's one of the cheapest investments I could ever make. Perhaps a good mouse pad as well but even those cost more.
So if you enjoy playing Call of Duty or any other FPS games, then I can recommend buying the Juke soundcard as well. In addition, you can also use it to improve the sound quality of regular music as well.