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ROCCAT Syn Buds Core
January 20, 2022
Most gaming headsets on the market are big over-ears, with lots of bells and whistles like surround sound and colored LED lights, which means it can be a little hard to find something cheap, versatile, and lowkey. The ROCCAT Syn Buds Core is a pair of wired earbuds with a cheap price tag and simple appearance, marketed primarily toward Nintendo Switch and mobile gamers.
These earbuds attempt to satisfy the on-the-go gamer while maintaining a budget-friendly price. Do they really hit the mark?
Who is the ROCCAT Syn Buds Core for?
What is it like to use the ROCCAT Syn Buds Core?
The ROCCAT Syn Buds Core has a really nice, simple design—it’s all black with a ROCCAT logo on each earbud. It comes with three ear tip options and a carrying case, handy for the out-and-about gamer. It also has an in-line microphone with audio controls. The earbuds connect through a 3.5mm headphone jack, so make sure you have a dongle if your phone no longer has one.
The Syn Buds Core should be relatively comfortable for most people, though it isn’t for me, since I have especially small ear canals. Wearing it for more than half an hour initially causes a painful stretching feeling in my ears, though I got used to it after a few sessions. My partner has bigger ear canals than I, and the earbuds feel great in his ears.
See also: How to connect your gaming headset
How is gaming with the ROCCAT Syn Buds Core?
Gaming with the Syn Buds Core is great. Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons with these earbuds is really enjoyable, as the gameplay experience is vastly improved with a more bass-heavy sound, so the many great songs throughout the game sound significantly better than just through the Switch’s tinny built-in speakers. Environmental sounds and the sounds of balloons and bugs all sound great and make the gameplay feel a lot more complete. The earbuds’ isolation also makes it easier to focus on the game, as sounds in your immediate environment won’t be as distracting when you’re trying to catch fish.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild also sounds great with these buds. Environmental sounds are accurate and enjoyable, and every small sound from a sword clanging to a Bokoblin snarling sound fantastic. The bass-heavy sounds from the earbuds aren’t at all overwhelming in this game, and instead just make sounds like thunder or the ground rumbling a lot more enjoyable.
See also: The best gaming headsets
How well does the ROCCAT Syn Buds Core block out noise?
The Syn Buds Core is only good at isolating you from sound on the higher end of the frequency spectrum, which is typical of earbuds like this. If noise around you is a real problem, you’ll need to opt for something with active noise cancelling (ANC). When using the buds, I can still hear my mechanical keyboard, though it’s a lot quieter than usual. When I wear them while washing dishes, I can hardly hear the water running. Best of all, the sound of my neighbor playing guitar and singing loudly doesn’t come through at all.
How does the ROCCAT Syn Buds Core sound?
The ROCCAT Syn Buds Core sounds great. The frequency response chart shows that this pair of buds follows the gist of our consumer curve (pink), but with notably exaggerated low frequencies, as well as a boost in the highs (2-7kHz). Bass-boosting is typical for gaming headsets, and it makes for a great listening experience for music as well if you enjoy lots of low end in your music. If you don’t, these might not be the buds for you.
Lows, mids, and highs
When listening to Alberto Balsalm by Aphex Twin, the bass-boost sounds great. No aspects of the track are masked by the bass though, making it an all-around very enjoyable listening experience. The mid and treble frequency synth parts still come through clearly.
Monomyth by Animals As Leaders similarly sounds great on these buds. The intense, fast bass line sounds fantastic with the buds’ boosted bass, and the guitar arpeggios and more melodic guitar parts are still audible even through that. The bass drum feels more prominent in these earbuds than usual, but it doesn’t affect my ability to hear the higher pitched percussion sounds.
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How is the microphone on the ROCCAT Syn Buds Core?
The microphone is exactly what I would expect from a pair of $25 USD earbuds. Voices come through clearly for the most part, although sibilants (S, SH, Z, ZH sounds) are a bit distorted. This microphone is fine for a phone call while you’re out and about, a voice memo, or even gaming, but it’s just not comparable to microphones on full, over-ear gaming headsets. It picks up background noise like cars and wind, but you should still be audible even with that noise.
ROCCAT Syn Buds Core microphone demo (Ideal):
ROCCAT Syn Buds Core microphone demo (Street):
How does the mic sound to you?
Should you buy the ROCCAT Syn Buds Core?
Anyone in the market for cheap earbuds should consider these, especially if you like bass-heavy earbuds. For $25 USD, you get that bass-boosted sound, a microphone, in-line controls, three ear tip sizes, and a nice little carrying case to top it off. Mobile gamers and Nintendo Switch gamers alike will enjoy the ease, portability, and versatility of ROCCAT’s earbuds.
You might like: ROCCAT Syn Pro Air review
What should you get instead of the ROCCAT Syn Buds Core?
Another similarly priced pair of gaming earbuds is the JBL Quantum 50, which has great sound quality and a comfortable fit for $5 more, though it can go on sale for $25 USD from time to time. The housings are a bit larger and don’t have the stemmed shape of the Syn Buds Core. We like the shape of the JBL Quantum 50 because, even though it lacks wing tips, the middle part of the housings create enough friction with your ear to keep the buds in place.
If you’re in the market for true wireless gaming earbuds, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro is exactly that. It’s much pricier at USD $99, but it’s IPX4 water-resistant, has active noise canceling, and an in-app equalizer. It’s in a much different ballpark from the Syn Buds Core or Quantum 50, but it’s a solid choice for gamers looking for something small but much more souped-up.
Related: The best cheap gaming headsets
Frequently asked questions about the ROCCAT Syn Buds Core
No, they are not, so definitely don’t wear these in the rain without a hood or umbrella.
The ROCCAT Elo 7.1 Air and Elo X Stereo are both over-ear gaming headsets with external boom mics. You’ll find that both headsets are less portable than the Syn Buds Core, but potentially more comfortable since the ear cups encompass your ears. If you have a tight budget, and want one of ROCCAT’s full-sized gaming headsets, the Elo X Stereo is more affordable with its original $49 USD retail price that occassional dips into $35 USD territory. The microphone is great but the design is pretty plain. Still, some gamers may find the lack of LEDs refreshing.
If you want a more advanced gaming headset, the Elo 7.1 Air makes more sense because you get a more comfortable suspension headband system, 7.1 surround sound, and a wireless connection with the included 2.4GHz dongle. You pay a premium for wireless connectivity since this originally cost $99 USD.