Originally Posted by chrisco
Sorry but this is plain wrong.
Headphones are in effect two speakers with limited soundstage. Now you can have fake 3D surround sound efforts and you can try and add depth all you like but the fact is it isn't surround sound and th soundstage is less than that found in a good two speaker set-up never mind that of surround sound...huge difference. If I hear a shotgun go off via a surround sound set-up I instantly know where that gunfire has come from if it is coded well in the game. If I hear two shots I know where they have both come from and can act accordingly....etc
You simply cannot get anywhere near that level of sound location from headphones or two speaker set-up.
Being able to know exactly where the gunfire comes from gives you a huge advantage and is fantastic in gameplay terms.
As for your neighbours calling the police on you
surround sound doesn't have to be that loud, neither do you need your bass/subwoofer set so it literally sounds like Iraq in your room. You just need it loud enough to hear what is required for you to be able to respond accordingly...so I don't take that seriously at all.
As for detail, detail is less important in an FPS than in music say. It is very important with music to be able to hear detail like fingers sliding down guitar strings or lips on a trumpet....but how important is it to hear detail in an M16 fire and recoil action or depth of explosion in a grenade?
Is it more important than recognising and being able to respond to the direction of fire, grenades etc? Seriously??
You see I don't think it is- not remotely.
One has an enormous effect on the gameplay and the statistical chances of winning the game and ending up dead less often and the other is just ear candy.
In terms of hearing a pistol being reloaded- why wouldn't you hear that? I think that is a bit daft to say that you wouldn't hear that because you would-it just wouldn't sound richly detailed
If you like the sound in your games to be rich and detailed at the expense of gameplay and you don't mind being dead more often then go with the headphone and amp set-up. If you want the sound in your games to be more than just venere and actualy contribute to the gameplay experience then you go with a surround sound set-up.....at least if it is well coded in your game of choice....if you are into playing games that don't take advantage of surround sound then of course- go with the headphone/amp set-up in any case.
I am a massive fan of headphones having just got my mits on some very nice gear, but I am saying this stuff because I think it makes sense and am not just a fanboy of all things headphone....time and a place and all that....even then it is just an opinion and you don't have to agree with it...opinions are like ass holes everybody has one and this is mine:
Here it is my turn to call the BS police! The only surround sound system that even came close to the surround realism on games, music, or movies was a well over $100000 theater that featured B&W Nautilus 800D series speakers times five and $50000 worth of preamps and amps by Levinson. That said, I still prefered my $1300 headphone set-up and the real kicker is... so did the owner of the theater! In fact, just for fun, we ran his system as a two channel setup with my WooAudio3 as a preamp and he was blown away! The surround effect was not nearly as dramatic, but the 3D imaging beat the pants off the full setup and waxed the two channel Levinson setup(simply removed the surround proccessor from the chain. OK, without the sub the bass during games and movies was not as ground shaking but also a lot more believable. And yes, on race scenes the cars ripping by on the track did not sound like they were flying around your head. But hey, if you have ever been to a race you will know the cars do not drive around your seat. This is what is called overdoing it! The race scenes with my amp and his rig on two channel mode were a LOT more realistic. So much so that he wishes he met me before the install. I met him when I did the laquer work in the theater, after he bought the components.
The one thing that IS lacking when I game or watch movies with my cans is the visceral pounding of the bass! An easy fix with the open design of the HD650 by adding a sub, but I fear that with the booming bass, I will not hear the players sneaking up on me.
I believe that any GOOD two channel system in a good room for music will rival any surround system at any price. This includes movies and games! Throwing tubes in there will add a level of dimenion and texture that contibutes to a more believable false soundstage than any processor I have EVER heard. I used to sell this stuff too and had the chance to audition millions of dollars of gear. None which were tube based because the owner of the shop did not understand why someone would want to use "old tube technology" as he called it, instead of the newest most expensive gadgets! I made him eat his words when we put my Woo up against a 7-ch Paradigm Signature surround system with over 1700 watts of Anthem power and a $5000 Anthem processor. We simply removed all of the amps/processor but the stereo channels. The result, the two channel output had better and more realistic sound on the SACDs which is what the debate was about. His only response was, "fine, but in movies the surround will beat the crap out of your puny amp!" So we did a demo with the entire sales staff and the results were as I predicted. We put the two channel system on first without telling the other guys(6 of them with over 50 years Hifi exp). The first thing that was said was,"Is that the new Anthem processor, it sounds amazing!" The next thing that was said, "I am glad you turned the sub down a bit, it was too boomy." When I showed them my liitle Woo, they crapped their pants! Next we switched back the room to normal and they all prefered the 2 channel setup when sitting on the couch. Only when walking arounf the room out of the sweet spot did anyone prefer the surrounds 3D effect over the proper imaging of the two channel. Never did anyone prefer surround system to the Woo/2ch. in any other department like dynamics, texture, imaging, realism, and listener fatigue! Nuff said!
So for a surround system to sound good it may be a little more straight forwand and easy, just add cash and play with the levels and timing. But even a moddest two channel system in a good room can walk on a surround system costing ten times as much. The only downside is that you have to make room adjustments and move stuff around to improve the sound instead of just pushing a button. This is why my new theater speaker system will be a two channel setup, no sub, no active preamp, just a player, Presonus CS, and 3-way active speakers with 4ch of amps per side(DIY design).