Originally Posted by malibd
And which part is the "marketing gimmick"? Is it the 7.1 (or 5.1) numbering of the box, or those who call it a gimmick can't perceive the positional audio in those headsets?
Or, are the so called 7.1 headsets ALSO plain stereo only, that rely on external USB audio processor or software to emulate the surround sound?
Save for a select few headphones, most of these are physically 2.0 units that rely on sound processing like Dolby headphone or whatever works with the soundcard you have or through the included external USB soundcard. Those who can't perceive the positioning cues aren't necessarily calling BS on the manufacturers' claims based on performance (or lack thereof), but just a couple of considerations:
1. Are they even using the correct material with it? It might be easy to pick out positional cues on an HD800 compared to an HD600, but that's for people who actually know about positional cues rather than just tonality (and then again, some people are just tone-deaf too), but even then it's not like the difference in jump from an HD600 to speakers, and that's assuming you're using a recording that has good imaging (mic placement during recording determines this).
2. With games, let's not forget how much the brain factors into hearing, and not just in audiophiles "hearing things" that don't exist, but also if you're too intently staring at your IPS screen amazed at the detail and frame rates while trying to hit another player, then chances are you won't notice the positional cues in your headphones the same way people in an actual firefight don't need stealthy ninjas to get attacked in the flank. Just think of how many Greek or Italian infantry, wearing all that armour (and worse, some with the Corinthian helmet) standing shoulder to shoulder with their shields up stabbing using spears or swords, get attacked by cavalry in the rear, when someone who never really thinks about how that goes will ask, "they didn't hear 5,000 galloping horses with 5,000 shouting riders?" That's not so easy with most helmets protecting the whole head (and covering the ears) and a tight formation focused on steamrolling the infantry straight ahead.
Originally Posted by malibd
I heard the DT 770 Pro also has good positioning cues. But how does it do that? Does it require any software like the Razer Surround to enable the surround? If not, how can these stereo sets "position" the audios accordingly? I'm really confused here.
A good stereo headset will have good stereo imaging, so if you have a good recording, you can hear the vocalist up front slightly ahead of the drums occupying the center of the stage (and each drum is coming from a distinct position relative to each other), with guitars on each side and bass in the center.* With surround, software whether it's manually set-up through your soundcard or embedded in the drivers of the USB soundcard the headset comes with, simulates positioning. Now, if you have a headphone that sounds "too forward," or the drivers or the way they are mounted to the chassis can't reproduce a wide and deep soundstage (at least relative to other headphones) in stereo, chances are it might not do as well with say Dolby Headphone. However, some gaming headsets do come with software designed specifically for them, so there's a chance for a gaming headset with cheaper drivers (the hardware) to beat a better headphone on Dolby Headphone.
As to how the stereo headset positions the sound, think of how the placement of a microphone relative to an instrument will affect playback. In a properly recorded track, the mic would be some distance from the vocalist, so the mic has to be that far away from it too. What a simulator program does, in very simplistic terms, is simulate what a 5.1 track would sound like off of 2.0 hardware by reconstructing what the mic would have been doing, and also taking into account that the headphone drivers are right on top of your ear canals (vs speakers that are some distance away).
*Electric guitars aren't as precisely positioned as acoustic guitars, mostly due to recording as well as the dispersion of the amplifier, but sometimes are biased left or right, or the one strumming with distortion effects is heard at a wide area while the one plucking (like doing a solo with a wah pedal) might be off to the left or right
Originally Posted by malibd
I have listened to the Razer Kraken 7.1, and it does position the sounds accurately when I tested it with Skyrim. I also see many headphone enthusiasts simply detest these gaming headsets. I don't know why either.
I haven't bought the DT 770 Pro yet but I wonder how much of difference it'll be when gaming or with deep bass music compared to the Kraken 7.1....
My main requisites : positional audio - 7.1 type, very good deep bass for gaming and music and prefer isolation (hence the closed back 770) for gaming and music.
To give you an idea of where I stand, I've never bought a professional or enthusiast-level headphones before. And the current headphone (if you can call it that) is the humble Microsoft LX-1000 headphone.
Look at it this way: if you had $400, you're paying for the USB soundcard and software for simulating surround as well as the aesthetics which some don't like as some can be too flashy (isn't there a Razer that looks like the Q701?), or you can download Dolby headphone (or maybe your motherboard's soundcard has it or a similar program) get one of these:
1) a $400 stereo headphone with the best driver quality for that price range, with good width and depth to the soundstage and balanced/transparent sound, or
2) a headphone worth less than $400 with the driver quality on par for the price you're paying
Now, as much as I'm one to understand why one would rather blow that full $400 on stereo headphones with really good drivers, if I'm using it for gaming I'm personally much more inclined to get a separate gaming headset because I have other factors to consider, like earpad price and availability. I have the HD600 and I got a $50 Creative gaming headset just because earpads for the HD600 are $60 a pair, and I already wore out the pair it came with the first year I had it, and within eight months the sound was too dark and bass was bloated yet the treble can be a lot sharper. I also liked its sound with minimal wear on the earpads, as it is more balanced, so I'd really much rather just use it for music than games. With most gaming headsets, the cheap earpads I can get around here fit well enough, and given I'm not listening to music, I don't notice the difference as much. Even if for example the bass and treble deteriorate as they do with the HD600's earpads, I'm less likely to notice that since there won't be a bass line that would need its notes to decay properly, and shattering windows even if they sound sharp don't come as sustained as "t" and "s" in the lyrics or cymbals that go with the beat. Plus the gaming headsets already have the microphone built into it.
In your case, if you can afford the Kraken and you know well enough that it works the way you need it to, then just go with the Kraken. It already has a software programme made for it, and while cheaper headsets also do, the drivers can still play a part (or the cheaper ones use generic profiles), taking the guesswork out of using a stereo audio headphone with Dolby headphone or other surround simulators and the need for a separate microphone.