Following are a few of the most popularly asked questions by gaming enthusiasts regarding surround sound headphones.
- Surround vs Stereo Sound, which one is better for gaming?
- True vs Virtual Surround sound, what should gamers opt for?
- 5.1 or 7.1 Surround sound for gaming?
- Is surround sound for gaming really worth it?
- Why do pro gamers use surround sound headphones?
We promise you, by the end of this article you will have satisfactory answers for all these questions. If you don’t have the time and patience, lets answer it in a single line.
“In games, surround sound headphones will put you at the center of the action. Their main advantage is to give you directional cues so you can beat your opponents in fast-paced competitive games.”
The answer doesn’t satisfy you? Worry not. We have covered each aspect of the surround sound headphones in detail.
Lets begin with the difference between a surround sound headphones than its stereo counterpart.
Stereo Vs Surround Sound Headphones For Gaming?
Stereo headphones are the massively produced consumer product. There are high chances that the pair you own at the moment, if there is any, has stereo sound.
Any pair of stereo headphones has two driver units(aka speakers) to produce sound, one in each ear cup. The sound produced by two channels (drivers), left and right, cannot be multidirectional. This two channel setup may produce a high quality sound, provided you invest money in it, but cannot give you an immersive 3D sound experience that a surround sound setup could.
Coversaly, the (true) surround sound headphones have more than two channels, ideally 6, to stimulate a multidirectional sound sensation. Being a gamer, you will be able to pinpoint the location of approaching enemies without having to see them on the screen. The sound of footsteps or the direction of incoming fire would be suffice to overcome the opponent players.
As now you know the advantage of surround sound headphones over stereo headphones for gaming, let’s explore its different types.
Types Of Surround Sound Headsets?
A (true) surround sound headset has usually two main types: 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. But wait a minute, what does this true surround sound mean? Is there anything False surround sound too? Not exactly. But the alternative is a Virtual Surround sound headphones. Let’s find out their key difference first.
Virtual Or True Surround Sound Headphones For Gaming?
Virtual surround sound is a remarkable experience over stereo sound in which the sound is engineered to make it appear multi directional. The virtualization softwares processes the sound to fool your brain into thinking that it is coming from multiple directions at once.
Speaking of virtualization techniques, the patent softwares delays the sound or manipulates its volume among other effective methods.
So a Virtual surround sound headphones has , in essence, a standard stereo driver and a surround virtualization software to ensure an immersive gaming experience. In sound virtualization, Dolby and DTS are the brand leaders.
Gaming like Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) have built-in sound virtualization softwares to manipulate sound in regular stereo headphones.
True surround sound headphones, on the other hand, have multiple sound drivers strategically positioned in the both the right and left ear cups to stimulate 3D sound. Besides the fact that they provide an excellent entertainment value, they are very handy in multiplayers games.
Lastly, true surround sound headphones are highly superior to the virtual counterparts in performance, but they are equally more expensive. The most widely used true surround headphones is the 5.1 version, whereas 7.1 is often an overkill.
Let’s find out their differences.
5.1 Or 7.1 Surround Sound For Gaming?
Many gamers are keen to find out whether a 7.1 surround sound headset is good for gaming? As far as it has the true surround sound, and all the 8 drivers are of high quality, nothing can beat a 7.1 headset as far as competitive games, and especially FPS shooting Games are concerned.
However, there is a very slight, almost imperceptible, difference between the performance of a 5.1 and 7.1 version.
Though the underlying technology of both these types is the same, 7.1 surround headphones have 2 more sound drivers for an enhanced immersion. The reason they (7.1) are deemed an overkills is that most games don’t support 7.1 surround sound and the fact that they are highly expensive.
Is Surround Sound Headphones Really Worth It?
For first person shooting games, and widely popular other competitive games, a true surround sound headphones can truly give you a competitive edge. 5.1 surround sound would be more than enough for an immersive sound experience. But if you want to get your hands on the best of the best, and have deep pockets, 7.1 surround sound headphones are what suits you.
For regular gamers, the virtual surround headphones is a cost effective solution. They have remarkable improvements in sound quality and immersion over standard stereo headphones.
The powerful drivers (read speakers) in stereo sound headphones are better than the individual than multiple speakers in surround sound. This along with their small size is the reason why a great majority of gamers still prefer them over surround sound headphones. The sound virtualization softwares is very handy for such gamers.
What Are The Best Games With Surround Sound Experience?
We have compiled a list of the best games to experience surround sound. Whether it is the sound of Fires crackling, blades scraping the ground, loud explosions or the subtle sound of wind whispering and trees waving in the games, surround sound will take your experience to the whole next level.
Battlefield 4 (First Person Shooter Game)
Counter-strike: Global Offensive (Multiplayer First-person Shooter Game)
Far Cry 4 (First Person Shooter Game)
Alien: Isolation (Survival Game)
Journey (Adventure Game)
The Last Of Us (Action-Adventure Game)
The Witcher (3) (Fantasy Action Role-playing Game)
Fortnite (First Person Shooter Game)
Of course there are many others, but you will get the best out of your surround headphones while playing these games.
Why Do Fortnite, Cs Go Pros Use Surround Sound?
Well, if you have followed the article right up till this point, you might have guessed the answer. Surround sound offers the advantage of directional audio cues which are incredibly handy in multiplayer first person shooting games. It pinpoints the location of the players (opponents and teammates) and helps gamers to improvise on the go.
The pro gamers know it all too well. They want to get the maximum gear advantage over their opponents, and therefore, invest in a good surround sound headphones. Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) are more likely to opt for a surround sound than fortnite pros.
The statement that o Fortnite, Cs Go Pros Use Surround Sound may not be necessarily true, as some pro gamers do stick with the stereo headphones (that have digital sound virtualization) for their reliable and power drivers.
Best Surround Sound Headphones for Gaming:
Roccat KAVE XTD is one of the best gaming headsets. They are equipped with true 5.1 surround sound, 6 drivers (speakers), each ear cup with three drivers. As a result, they are able to produce an exceptional immersive experience while gaming.
In FPS games, you will be able to pinpoint the location of the enemy with maximum accuracy, whereas in adventure games you will experience the subtle sound of each object in the gameplay.
Apart from The surround sound feature, this headset allows for complete noise isolation. The comfort and the overall build quality of the headset is unquestionable. They are an ideal fit to get the best out of r epic games such as League of Legends, Counter Strike GO, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Star Wars: Battlefront, Fallout 4, DOTA 2.
You won’t find many headsets with a remote, but this one has it. Having a remote can be an advantage or disadvantage, given the benefits it offers. Fortunately, the remote with ROCCAT KAVE XTD offers many advantages. It allows for quick volume control, and connects to the smartphones so you can pick calls during intense gameplay. Plus, you can switch between the surround phone or surround speakers using this remote.
This headset is the world’s first true 7.1 surround sound headphones, and they are built specifically for FPS games. Buyers on a shoestring budget must skip as these headphones are definitely going to break the bank.
Equipped with 10 discrete drivers ( speakers), they create an ultimate surround sound gaming experience. In intense deathmatches, you will be able to dominate your opponents when you can hear incoming enemy footsteps to prevent backstabs and pinpoint enemy locations through gunfire with absolute precision.
Apart from FPS gaming, you can use them for watching movies or playing Epic Video games. But keep in mind, you won’t be able to get the best out of them if you don’t have a solid sound card in your PC.
Logitech G430 is the headset from heaven for those gamers who don’t want to spend a fortune for a nice pair of audio gear. Unlike the other two models we have discussed above, they rely mostly on the sound virtualization (By Dolby) to produce a 7.1 surround sound effect via standard stereo drivers.
Equipped with a boom mic and comfortable padding, these headsets will not disappoint you in gaming. However, you can use them for watching movies for which, due to the Dolby sound virtualization, they provide an excellent entertainment value.
Lastly, they have an on-cable audio control unit in the wire to allow for quick volume control. You can also mute the sound within minutes. It is very useful while playing multiplayer games with your teammates.
Though there are many wired surround sound headphones, their wireless counterparts are only a few in number. Corsair Void is one of the best wireless gaming headset with 7.1 surround sound. However, the surround sound is not true, and rather stimulated using a virtualization software.
Being a wireless headphones, we must also take account of its battery life and latency. Both are exceptional. You will experience minimum latency, whereas the headphones will easily last for 14 hours on a single charge. Volume buttons are on the headset for quick maneuvering, and are very handy for fast-paced games.
The only genuine fault that you will find with these headsets is the loose clamping force of the headband.
Razer Nari Ultimate can be used both as a wireless headsets or wired headsets. Also, they have a wide compatibility. They can be connected to PC, Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo Switch, so you won’t have to buy an extra pair for it. But the reason behind adding them to this list is of course the surround sound feature.
The 7.1 surround sound is virtual in nature, and is delivered by Razer Patented THX Spatial Audio ( Sound virtualization software.) THX will enhance awareness while gaming, will help you to have a laser sharp focus, and provide an exceptional immersive experience.
The immersion is further enhanced by Razer Hypersense Haptic Feedback. The headset picks up the frequencies of game audio and transforms them into rich, lifelike haptic effects. To give gamers additional cues, apart from surround sound, vibrations flow accurately from left to right, and with different intensities matching the direction of the audio cues.
We hope that by now you have satisfactory answers to all the pinching questions regarding surround sound in a headset. You are now equipped with enough knowledge to make a well-informed buying decision whenever shopping for the surround sound headsets. However, if there is any question left to be answered, you can certainly ask us in the comment section.