7.1 Surround Sound Headphones?
May 21, 2020 at 4:10 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

The Goat

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My old set of headphones finally broke and I'm looking to purchase something better. However, when I search for headphones with 7.1 surround sound all I can find are colorful gaming headsets with built in mics.

I'm looking for a solution with a total cost of less than $75, primarily for gaming and watching movies on a computer, but I don't need or particularly want a built in mic. I'd love to follow the buying guides on this site, but I don't see any mentions of surround sound.

The integrated sound card for my computer says that it supports stereo, 5.1, and 7.1 surround sound... but does this mean that any headphones can be made to virtualize 7.1, or do I specifically need 7.1 compatible headphones? Thank you for any guidance. I'm aware of USB DACs and internal dedicated sound cards, and I see USB 7.1 DACS available on amazon for less than $10. But I'm still unsure if that's all I need..
 
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May 21, 2020 at 11:38 PM Post #2 of 5

PurpleAngel

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The vast majority of 7.1 gaming headsets, are just stereo headphones, that come with something (software and hardware) that creates virtual or other types, of headphone surround sound, before the audio is sent to the headphones themselves.
 
May 21, 2020 at 11:54 PM Post #3 of 5

Davesrose

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IMO, 7.1 is something for speakers. I do have Windows 10 computers that include Dolby Atmos For Home (and I've purchased the codecs for my HTPC). When listening to source Dolby Atmos material, you do get a good sense of 3D audio from the headphones. For everything else, enabling Atmos just seems to change the bass (and it sounds like a typical stereo headphone soundstage). I've typically found setting the HTPC to 7.1 or "Atmos for Home" is important for video files that have AAC surround audio, or Atmos over TrueHD. I also have some Sony wireless/noise canceling headphones, in which the app for my phone has just introduced a new 3D audio feature that's only available to certain streaming audio services. I think given your budget, you're better served getting a good stereo headphone, and if you're concerned with virtual 3D audio, explore software solutions.
 
May 22, 2020 at 4:18 PM Post #4 of 5

brnord

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I was on a quest for a wireless headset that supported virtual 7.1 surround for PS4 gaming. I was surprised how often the combination of "wireless" and "surround" only applied to PC headsets (since software for surround could be installed on the PC), even if they were advertised as having "surround"...proceed with caution (edit: not a problem in your case since you're on PC). I ended up with the Lucid Sound LS41 for PS4 gaming and I could not be more pleased - but it's a bit out of your budget.

I will echo the comments around virtual 7.1. I find it useful for games where spatial awareness is absolutely critical, like COD. But for other games (particularly story driven, cinematic, single player games) and all movies, the hollow sound resulting from simulating the space is just not worth losing the beautiful stereo sound the LS41's are capable of. No, not audiophile quality - but darn good.

Bottom line, I'd still recommend checking out the Lucid Sound PC products. Might be slightly outside of your budget but they are worth stretching or saving for. Might be able to save a bit if you can get over the need for 7.1.

Updated: I see you're on PC (missed that before) so I've removed the irrelevant PS4 comments.
 
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