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Peripherals Any real surround sound headphones?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by g2tegsown, 27 Mar 2011.

  1. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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  2. DaveODeth

    DaveODeth What's a Dremel?

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    Argh conflicting opinions... my brain has melted.
     
  3. smc8788

    smc8788 Multimodder

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    Yes, but I think you may be overestimating how well that translates into surround sound headsets. The problem is there is nowhere near enough separation between each of the 5 speakers in 'true' surround headsets, so they all tend to blend into one large sound source and behave like a pair of stereo headphones would anyway. Try making a sound very close to your ears both in front, to the side and behind, then do the same but 1 meter away from your head. The difference is massive because there is much greater distance between each sound source, so it is much easier for your brain to work out exactly where the sound is coming from.

    Gaming headsets sound nice in theory but it's not until you actually use one that you realise how much of a gimmick they really are. I suspect the only people who evangelise their benefits are just comparing them to the sound coming directly from their LCD TVs, which in the vast majority of cases is absolutely terrible making the comparison worthless.

    In my own experience, I have found very little if any difference between a dedicated 5.1 gaming headset and a pair of hi-fi headphones, and the gaming headsets always have vastly inferior audio quality.
     
  4. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    The brain can interperate sounds coming from different directions by the subtle differences in frequencies that have to travel through or get absorbed by parts of your head before they get to your ears

    I had the same problem with some other earbuds, but I changed to the smallest size earbud, maybe if the smallest that came with the Skullcandy isn't small enough then you may find smaller replacements online.


    Here's another great example, again much more effective with headphones:
    Fancy a haircut?

    Would also be interested to hear about any good sounding headsets that will use all 6 channels from a surround sound source.

    Never been too impressed with Dolby Surround, but that might just be the games I was playing at the time.

    CMSS3D over headphones sounds pretty bad, loads of frequencies are cut and messed with,
    It's great for putting a stereo source through all your speakers though but for the above reason, I much prefer the Surround mode to the Expand mode.
     
    Last edited: 28 Mar 2011
  5. Strudul

    Strudul ~

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    I recommedn Sharkoon X-tatic. They are same as Astros, but only £110ish
     
  6. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    Compared to other gaming headsets, they're not bad.

    Compared to real headphones, they blow.
     
  7. DaveODeth

    DaveODeth What's a Dremel?

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    so what would be a good comfortable set for the same price range then?
     
  8. 3lusive

    3lusive Minimodder

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    The Sennheiser PC 360 is a good all rounder with a nice boom mic and good stereo speaker drivers. Its about £120. If your gaming on the pc this would work really well, for xbox and ps3 you'd have to use it with an astro mixamp
     
  9. DaveODeth

    DaveODeth What's a Dremel?

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  10. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Given the total lack of any clear winner, and so many differing opinions I'd say that the answer to the question in the thread is....No
     
  11. 3lusive

    3lusive Minimodder

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    True, all I would say is make sure wherever you buy it from you can return it no questions asked for a different model should you not like it. Don't be stuck with a headset you don't like (and that could happen even with strong 'recommendations', given the very subjective nature of determining what is good sound quality and what isn't).

    Just to clear up a few points though...

    You can either have:
    1) A standard stereo headset
    2) A standard stereo headset plugged into a Dolby surround sound processor for 'simulated' Dolby surround sound (like any 5.1 Dolby certified sound card, ie Xonar DX, or a separate decoder box if you game on console, ie Astro mixamp or TB DSS) *this is the setup you want*.
    3) OR A true 'discrete' surround sound headset, which will have more speaker drivers in each ear and will send each sound channel to each individual speaker driver (like the AX Pro or the Turtle Beach HPA2).

    Setup 2) is the best IMO, but if you just had a stereo headset and did not put it into a 5.1 Dolby capable soundcard or decoder box, for all intents and purposes the sound is not *that* much better when its processed into Dolby surround (especially if you're just talking about soundwhoring in FPS). When I turn it off and just go stereo, the sound is slightly less subtle and clear, but its your choice whether you want to pay for a proper Dolby soundcard or decoder box to get the surround sound 'enhancement'. I have to say, though, on MW2 it sounds really sexy in Dolby surround (you can pick out really subtle gun reloads and silenced weapons etc).

    Also, if you didnt currently have a Dolby surround sound capable soundcard, you might just want to buy the Astro Mixamp, because this will not only give you the surround sound, but also let you control the volume of chat and ingame sound without messing with windows slider controls. Its very pricey for what it is though.
     
  12. Fizzl

    Fizzl What's a Dremel?

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    So how can I identify where something is in a 3d space with just my two ears? Any why do I notice the difference between stero and surround? Your argument is flawed.

    I hear this a lot from people on this forum, you may have two ears but they are shapped in a specific way so noise gets reflected and arives at different times/volumes based where it came from, your brain then calculates the positioning information.

    Unless the sound people played by the stereo headphones has been designed with this in mind then you will get less information than surround sound.
     
  13. Yslen

    Yslen Lord of the Twenty-Seventh Circle

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    Sounds from behind you are partially blocked by your ear, so they sound different. That's why you have ears that stick out from your head; it allows you to accurately interpret the direction a sound comes from.

    By comparison, birds don't have external ears, they just have holes in the side of their head. That's why they tilt their heads and turn their heads sideways when they're looking at you - it's the only way they can be sure you're the one making the noise, not something behind them, by literally placing one ear in front and one behind.

    We hear in stereo.
     
  14. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    But that's exactly how our brain interperates it, and how some psuedo surround sound emulates 3D positioning, by cutting the frequencies that are absorbed by the parts of our bodies when sounds come from behind. We still see in 3D even though we have 2 eyes.
     
  15. Picarro

    Picarro What's a Dremel?

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    Get a decent pair of comfortable Sennheiser over-ear headphones, and a separate mic from eBay for 15$ and be done with it! :)

    Edit: But maybe I have a flawed opinion. I game with a pair of 400$ electrostatic headphones ..
     
  16. Yslen

    Yslen Lord of the Twenty-Seventh Circle

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    When listening to movies the stereo track has of course been designed like this, assuming it's a relatively recent film (post-surround sound). For games you need some software to do that processing in real time. This can be part of the package that comes with your Asus or Creative (etc) sound card, or it can be software that comes with the game. Rapture 3D, the software processor used for Dirt 2 is a good example of this. It's free and it works very well, giving you surround sound with stereo headphones.

    If you don't have a sound card that supports positional audio and the game you're playing doesn't come with its own 3D sound system then yes, surround sound will be better than there stereo you hear... but only if you mean surround speakers. Surround headsets are not surround at all. The drivers are all so close together there's no way they can make something sound like it's behind you. There are only two ways to do that; 1) produce a sound behind you (used in real life and with surround speakers) or 2) alter the sound digitally to make it appear to come from behind you. Surround headsets that do neither are not giving you surround sound. Surround headsets that rely on digital processing are a waste of money, you might as well buy a sound card to do the job and improve your sound quality at the same time.

    EDIT - the Sharkoon X-tactic mentioned earlier in this thread is a good example. Note the external brick to process the sound.
     
  17. adam_bagpuss

    adam_bagpuss Have you tried turning it off/on ?

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    LOL awesome FACT

    3D sound from 2 ears therefore we hear in more than stereo.

    i remember people been asked "would they like to be able see in 3D without glasses ?" and most idiots replied back with yes i would LOL
     
  18. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Ok so since the OP hasn’t posted for a while I don’t feel bad asking this:

    I play Battlefield: Bad Company 2

    I have a Gigabyte H55N-USB3 which has “six 3.5mm audio jacks providing the full 7.1 High-Definition surround sound experience. The audio is provided via the latest Realtek ALC892R codec, which includes bit-streaming Blu-ray audio support audio over both HDMI and the analogue ports.”

    I can’t buy a new soundcard, because the above board is ITX – and doesn’t have any spare PCI/PCIe slots to put it in.

    I also have a Logitech Z-5400 (basically the same as a Z5500), which I use for surround sound. They have Dolby Pro Logic II and can supposedly simulate 5.1 sound from stereo sources. It has a headphone jack and goes into headphone mode when you plug headphones in.

    I also have a pair of Logitech G35s but I’m not that impressed with the surround sound, at least not in BFBC2

    I’m wondering what the best option is: Do I buy a different USB headset with inbuilt soundcard, a high quality stereo headphone and separate mic and just give up on any kind of surround sound and just use stereo, or is there a way to get my computer to simulate surround sound through a stereo headphone?

    Oh man.
     
  19. sb1991

    sb1991 What's a Dremel?

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    Simulated headphone 'surround sound' isn't that great really. I can certainly tell the difference if I turn it on in games (my sound card does all the dolby stuff), but I wouldn't say it helps in BC2 and it's hard to say whether it actually sounds 'better'. I also find that music doesn't sound as good, so I tend to keep the effects turned off. I would definitely go for good quality hi-fi oriented headphones and forsake the extra sound processing you can get with gaming gear. You've always got the option of buying an external audio interface, and I'm sure there's something out there that does the whole headphone surround sound thing if you want it.
     
  20. 3lusive

    3lusive Minimodder

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    I am not absolutely sure your integrated soundcard will process a stereo headset into Dolby surround sound (I highly suspect it will though). If it does, that's great just buy a decent stereo headset and optical cable and you're going to get DD (virtual) surround sound.

    If it doesn't, I wouldn't bother messing with buying a separate decoder box (like an expensive Astro Mixamp) because in all honestly as sb1991 says you really arnt going to get 'that' much sound benefit from it.
     

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