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Does surround headphones really work?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hello

I have been thinking about buying surround headphones for my computer. I listen to some music, but mostly play games like CS: S, HL2 and DOD: S (its smart to hear where your enemies are ). I tried to put i on my wishlist for christmas, but my dad said that surround headphones would never work because a single ear can never hear where a sound is coming from, you need to have two ears working together. That sounds logical, so i asked some peopleat a computer hardware forum. They pointed me to a howstuffworks-article that said that a ear can calculate where a sound is coming from because it is reflected differently by the outer ear.

I didn't know what to believe so i came here to ask you hi-fi enthusiasts. Does surround-headphones really work, and are they worth it? If yes, are there any good ones that are not to expensive?

ps. Right now im using some old Creative cambridge soundworks 2.1 speakers.
post #2 of 43
Algorithm based surround sound such as Dolby Headphone works to a point, yes. Headphones with multiple drivers don't really, but if you haven't heard any good headphones they can often impress on first listen.
post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 
So for gaming I should rather just buy some quality stereo headphones? What headphones would you recommend? I was thinking something around the price of the DT 234, the DTX 900, the HD 515 and the HD 555. Ive heard and read many positive things about the HD 555 but i have also read that it leaks, and that is maybe not so good on LANs...
post #4 of 43
Get some HD 555 and a Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music. With those you have the best of both worlds. Most reviewers have found Creatives CMSS-3D to be superior to Dolby Headphone anyway. If you want closed headphones for LANs you should consider the DT 770.
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
Im not enough sound-enthusiast to get a new soundcard, and the 770 are a bit expensive to me. So which of these are best for gaming and computer sound:

- HD 555
- DTX 700-900

I have found all of them for a reasonable price...
post #6 of 43
I'd pick the HD 555. They do positioning pretty well with the Dolby Headphone algorithm.
post #7 of 43
Ok, when I saw this thread, I thought you were going to be asking about things like the medusa and zalman "5.1" headphones. I'm glad you're not. They suck. If you are into gaming, I suggest the Audio-Technica ATH-A500 or the ATH-A900 (whichever you can afford). Paired with an X-fi sound card, my ATH-A900 sounds better than my 5.1 speakers with CMSS-3DHeadphone, MacroFX and ElevationFilter enabled. I can hear and position EVERYTHING in 3D, it made UT2004 almost like a new game for me it sounds so good.
post #8 of 43
Thread Starter 
I dropped the surround thing. I cant find any good ones and i cant afford a X-Fi card, so ill just have to buy regular stereo headphones. So which should i buy:
- Sennheiser HD 555 (leaks a little bit?)
or the
- Beyerdynamic DTX 700, 800 or 900
post #9 of 43
To be honest with you, I don't think a pair of headphones will ever give you the same immersive experience that speakers give you. For example, a good consumer-grade 5.1 system such as the Logitech Z-5500 or the Creative GigaWorks 5.1 G500 THX® Pro Gamer or the Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 will absolutely rape a pair of headphones when it comes to gaming experience. Audiophiles amongst us will tell you that most of these 5.1 systems have pretty average sound quality and can only be used for casual music listening.

I am not trying to persuade you against buying headphones. I'm merely stating the obvious. However if your intentions are not only gaming, then the HD555 will serve you well. I find them pretty good for gaming, but even better for music. The best of both worlds would be to get both: nice 5.1 surround sound system + HD555.
post #10 of 43
Reasons to not buy surround sound headphones for music

*Media from CDs is in STEREO, only SACD is in 5.1, and upmixing with your soundcard sounds bad.
*Usually you will find that non-headphone companies manufacture them
*They retain a "low" price, but since they use 4-5 drivers, the drivers will be of poor quality
*have to go through their cruddy little amp in order to produce surround sound
*most of them do not have bass, but vibrate instead
*distorted/anemic midrange and shrill/tinny highs

However a Creative Audigy 2 and a pair of surround sound headphones is the best for FPS gaming that utlilzes EAX 3 or better, no contest.
post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder
To be honest with you, I don't think a pair of headphones will ever give you the same immersive experience that speakers give you. For example, a good consumer-grade 5.1 system such as the Logitech Z-5500 or the Creative GigaWorks 5.1 G500 THX® Pro Gamer or the Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 will absolutely rape a pair of headphones when it comes to gaming experience. Audiophiles amongst us will tell you that most of these 5.1 systems have pretty average sound quality and can only be used for casual music listening.

I am not trying to persuade you against buying headphones. I'm merely stating the obvious. However if your intentions are not only gaming, then the HD555 will serve you well. I find them pretty good for gaming, but even better for music. The best of both worlds would be to get both: nice 5.1 surround sound system + HD555.
I have the Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 speakers, and ever since I have gotten these ATH-A900's, the klipsch system has been gathering dust. I am even thinking about selling it. I just don't think you have ever heard just how good the CMSS-3D is on the X-fi sound cards is.
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enverxis
Reasons to not buy surround sound headphones for music

*Media from CDs is in STEREO
That's a reason why surround processing on headphones could sound better. Audio on CDs is in stereo not binaural.
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enverxis
Reasons to not buy surround sound headphones for music

*Media from CDs is in STEREO, only SACD is in 5.1, and upmixing with your soundcard sounds bad.
*Usually you will find that non-headphone companies manufacture them
*They retain a "low" price, but since they use 4-5 drivers, the drivers will be of poor quality
*have to go through their cruddy little amp in order to produce surround sound
*most of them do not have bass, but vibrate instead
*distorted/anemic midrange and shrill/tinny highs

However a Creative Audigy 2 and a pair of surround sound headphones is the best for FPS gaming that utlilzes EAX 3 or better, no contest.

I would contest that strongly. A regular stereo pair of headphones with creatives drivers set to headphone mode provides FAR better spacial localisation in games than surround headphones do. The difference was so acute in fact that my counterstrike kill rate dropped significantly after i bought the zalmans.

They did not stay with me for long.

For the real multi-driver surround experience, you need sufficient spacial seperation of the drivers around your head. Thats why when i started to build such a headphone, i had to use a helmet.
post #14 of 43
Most 5.1 headsets do suck but I have been looking at a pair that seems to be decent. They can be found at http://www.medusa-usa.com/medusa-51-...ser-p-782.html

I first saw them in a review at this link http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/07/...ove/page2.html

While I am sure that they don't compare to a decent set of regular heaphones they seem pretty good for their purpose. I have only read one bad review of them and from the sound of the review it probably wasn't the headphones. No other review had the same issues as the bad review.
post #15 of 43
I can see it now - AKG K5.1000

4 drivers place at the corners of your head, and one place horizontally above your forehead! Oh, and a little sub shaker that could lead down to your pocket or something. K1000 owners obviously don't care about fashion, so it would sell like hotcakes!

P.S. I hate to be anal, but can you correct the thread title to say "Do Surround Sound Headphones Really Work?" It's bothering me every time I read it
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