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A/V Surround sound headset

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by G_Man_007, 13 Sep 2009.

  1. G_Man_007

    G_Man_007 New Member

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    Yes!! It's another one of these!

    Mind you, I went back a couple of pages in the forum looking at A/V threads on this subject and couldn't see much at all. So forgiveness please for noobishness and possible repetition.

    It's been on my mind for a while now to treat my aural appendages to some comfort and uber soundage. So, I'm in the market for a good surround sound headset, and was wondering what the forumites here considered in their personal opinions to be what they might spend their money on.

    I'm looking for 5.1, a boom mic as I need to chat to my fiance in the US, something firm and comfortable, most likely over ear cans. What flashes up first in my mind from the acres of reviews I've seen over the years is the Medusa brand, but there's nothing like the polarised opinions of a forum to guide you in the right direction.

    Thank you for allowing me to extract two minutes of your life for the purpose of my own personal gain.:thumb:

    And no, you can't have them back.
     
  2. damienVC

    damienVC New Member

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    You're never going to get true surround sound with a set of headphones, that's the first pointer. In particular the vertical differentiation is always going to be an issue (but that's the case even with speakers). What is most noticeable with surround sound headphones is the sound right behind you - I don't think anyone'e ever got this right if it's even possible.

    Just as important as a decent set of cans however is a decent sound card. X-Fi cards, in particular the Xtreme Gamer, are very good but I've heard some rumblings about them under Win 7 - hopefully this should disappear with updated drivers. The Gamer is, however, an excellent card for the money.

    Headphones wise, my personal favourite is the Sennheiser PC-350s, but they are pricey. They're outrageously comfortable and very well built - the sound is superb as you would expect from Sennheiser. They're a very good quality brand. I haven't used the Medusa brand but I think they're fairly well rated.

    I would recommend a X-Fi Gamer and Sennheiser PC-350s but then I would - that's what I've got (and together they are awesome).
     
  3. G_Man_007

    G_Man_007 New Member

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    I've got an X-Fi Fatal1ty, and when I got it two or three years ago, the difference was immediate. Also, I'm using XP, and will be in my new rig until Win7 comes out. Even then, I'll be seeing what the state of the drivers are. I have got a set of Sennheisers, a £20 or so on-ear set which are good (I couldn't tell you what they are exactly though). I just want to go up a level or two in quality, get something a bit more, audiophilic.

    Speakers are out, I've got to go with a headset, and I know they are limited, but I've heard that they do actually have good audio.
     
    Last edited: 13 Sep 2009
  4. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    I've got a Medusa 5.1 Mobile two years ago, haven't used it more than 2 days I think. A friend got himself the "complete" one, and isn't happy either. Avoid like the plague.

    1. High background noise. They need external power, mine are powered via USB, friend's one via power cord. Dunnow why, but there is a constant squealing, which gets worse when the CPU is used. I used the headphones with a Creative Audigy SE mind you.
    My friend's weren't quite as loud, but pretty bad as well.

    Both do pick up noises from phones or cells nearby.

    2. Extremely uncomfortable, most uncomfortable headphones I ever had.

    3. No real surround, the rear speakers are on one side, and the sub woofer on the other side. Thus there was no real benefit in games as there's no real surround sound.

    My vote would go for Sennheisers as well, had the HD 580s for 8 years till they broke two years ago (damn you, little brother), and use some 70€ish cheap ones atm - I don't know which ones are the best atm, but as a general rule all Sennheisers are very comfortable.
     
  5. suenstar

    suenstar Collector of Things

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    Are you looking for a headset with a microphone or just headphones?

    If you're talking headsets w/ mic, almost anything will be a level up from an old £20 pair. I wouldn't say that you'd need to go too extreme as to buy the Sennheiser PC-350's, though they are amazingly comfortable (I'm wearing a pair as well).
    A cheaper headset that has similar features as that headset at a more affordable price would be the Creative HS-950 (£40) Gaming Headset or for a little more there's the SteelSeries Siberia Full-size headset (£52) which has some very nice audio quality in games and is probably one of the most comfortable headsets I've ever used (second to the PC-350's).
    If price isn't a problem and you want the nearest thing to surround sound that you could get on a headset, then the Tritton AX PRO Dolby 5.1 (£140) headset is probably the best candidate as they use multiple speakers on each side rather than software emulation.

    If you're after headphones, then I'd say it's a simple 100% Sennheiser two-way split for choices. I'd either go with the £40 Sennheiser HD 485 headphones or the £50 Sennheiser HD212 Pro headphones. Both are great for both gaming and music playback & recording, though the cheaper pair is a bit overkill on the bass at times. The 212Pro headphones are more comfortable as well, though the slightly narrower ear cup tends to result in your ears getting a bit warm after an hour or two.
     
  6. planem997

    planem997 New Member

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    i have plantronics 777 gamecon headphones and they are amazing, they are surround sound and has a built in mic which has amazing audio quality, picked mine up for £50 and will never go to another headphones, best headphones ever
     
  7. Jasio

    Jasio Made in Canada

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    A true "audiophile" setup where money is no issue: $7k would be your perfect set of headphones and amp.

    However, trying to stick under $1,000 USD I'd recommend the high-end Sennheisers, or if you want a slightly more "natural" tone to your music/games I'd suggest looking at some of Grado's offerings. There is no such thing as "surround sound" in the usual Dolby-like sense for headphones; you do not have 5.1 or 7.1 positional speakers but instead you're restricted to stereo (2 channel) sound. Don't fret over this because a high-end Stereo setup can blow away most 5.1's.

    And while having a good sound card is advantageous; I don't worry about it too much. I just run an optical cable (fiber) to a receiver and let it do the amplification. An off the shelf $400 Onkyo/Sony will smack a dedicated PC sound card around. But the sweet spot for competition/performance is usually in the $800-1200 range where your choice of amps/receivers is far more varied and you can start poking the lower high-end equipment companies such as Marantz, Emotiva, Anthem and Rotel. From there on up, the sky is the limit.

    None of this is worthwhile if: A) You arent' prepared to dive into the world of audiophiles. And B) If your audio collection is Mp3 then there's no point in getting any upgrades. You're limited by the Mp3 format in the first place. And it's not just a matter of bitrate, because you can easily have 320kbps bitrate Mp3's but they'll still sound worse compared to FLAC.

    Several limitations of Mp3:

    - Joint stereo limitations.
    - Too limited maximum frame size.
    - Inoptimal window sizes.
    - Scalefactor band 21 problem.
    - Hybrid transform scheme.
    - Mixed blocks limitation.

    And several other missing features like SBR (spectral band replication) and TNS (temporal noise shaping).

    Yes your sound card is a step in the right direction (I prefer Asus Xonar's but *shrug*). Yes your decision to move into higher-end headphones is a good one, and you seem to have some understanding of which companies are worth going for (please don't look at cheap crap made by Logitech/Razer etc). But this is the juncture where most people stop and where the great divide between "Audiophile" and "High-end Consumer Equipment" is drawn. Are you ready to spend the money to cross it? Personally, I took the risk and I've never looked back. If you're someone who enjoys music/audio quality and can justify the expense; it's fantastic.
     
  8. G_Man_007

    G_Man_007 New Member

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    Well, I wasn't going to go that far... Cheers though Jasio. :D
     
  9. Jasio

    Jasio Made in Canada

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