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Is 5.1 really worth it?

Last response: in Video Games
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March 28, 2010 2:08:09 PM

My friend and i want to get headsets and easter is coming up so I thought, hey why not now.
I'm stuck between getting a standard headset and a 5.1

the main candidates for the Standard are the Steelseries 5H v2 and Razer Carcharias. (about 60 bucks each for me)
For 5.1 it's the GameCom 777 and Razer Baracuda. The former are cheaper (about 50 bucks each), but sound quality is a priority.
ATM I'm using a 3.1 setup from phillips and I love the sound I get from it, so I really don't want to compromise the sound. But does 5.1 offer a significant advantage over the standard setup for gaming?

Thanks

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March 29, 2010 3:11:32 AM

I don't think it's advantageous, but i have only ever run 5.1 through speakers, never through headphones. the rear satellite speakers are used for sound effects. IN terms of games, 5.1 really shines in single player games/modes. multiplayer wise, i'm too busy shooting to stop and marvel at hearing where everyone is by the sonic location of their gunfire
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March 29, 2010 5:20:59 AM

I'm actually considering getting a headset. I would imagine that the 'surround' sound would allow you to hear someone sneaking up on you. i was playing a small 8 player game and this one guy knew exactly were everyone was. he had a 7.1 headset and claimed he could 'hear where everyone was' i think there is some truth to that
depends on how sensitive you are to sound obviously scooby is a much more visual person
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March 29, 2010 10:10:45 AM

Sound is very key especially in the smaller FPS games. MW2 surround sound helps out very much do to everything being a hop skip and jump away from you. But Battlefield BC2, everything is so distant. So there is so much going on, that sound really does not take effect. Unless you are in a group of trees and really can see through them, you can hear through them. I have these on my main rig
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

These are 7.1 supposidly. They are really great when it comes to boom. It shakes my ears up and really cancels outside noise. Sometimes i think i hear to many things. The grass and/or leaves moving sounds like someone running around.Bad thing is my wife came home and I had the house alarm on, and i couldnt even hear it go off.(I guess thats a bad thing..... :whistle:  ) But anyway, as far as 7.1 sound goes, i would only imagine it being good for watching movies or camp sniping!!!. So many damn speakers to hear from in a small space.

On my secondary rig i have these

http://www.amazon.com/Zalman-ZM-RS6F-surround-sound-hea...

I used these zalmans for my main till i replace them. They are 5.1. They work just fine.

If you are debating on 5.1 or just plain old headsets, i would invest in a decent $30-$50 dollar pair. They will last you a while as long as you dont continously run over the cord with your desk chair ;) 
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March 29, 2010 11:22:12 AM

in my experience £10 logitech headset sounds fine.

my old £100 headset lasted about 6 months before it totally broke and the sound wasn't much of a difference either. more comfortable than my £10 one though.
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March 29, 2010 12:03:20 PM

Depends; most USB headsets, especially 5.1 ones, stink, mainly because they pre-empt any soundcard, and use a knockoff of Dolby Headphone to get the 5.1 effect. [Really, the only USB headset I can recommend is the Logitech G35; It works better then I thought, although the lack of a 8-band equalizer is...troubling to say the least).

I've had some really good 5.1 headsets (mostly Optical), even ones not geared toward gaming. It really comes down to how the side/rear channels are processed. And a soundcard with Dolby Headphone tech can give even 2.0 headsets new life...
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March 29, 2010 6:53:07 PM

I have a set of Gamecon 377's connected to my Creative Labs X-Fi XtremeGamer card. It puts you THERE!. I was never a fan of the USB headphones. I prefer a good soundcard and a good analog set of muffs.

Not sure how 5.1 in headphones really work. There is no front, center, rear, and sub, in your headphones, which is what 5.1 IS, so how do they claim that? Just good standard headphones and a decent sound card will put you in the action. I can honestly tell where all movement is around me, not sure what 5.1 would actually do for me.


itsgrandpa said:
he had a 7.1 headset and claimed he could 'hear where everyone was' i think there is some truth to that
depends on how sensitive you are to sound obviously scooby is a much more visual person
I've claimed the same thing ever since I got the sound card. It REALLY REALLY made the difference even on my older logitech $30 set. It added a whole level of sound. The new headset makes the sounds sound better. Lower lows (makes my head hurt after so many explosions), and crisper highs.

Headset: http://www.amazon.com/Plantronics-GameCom-Open-Ear-Gami...
Card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I bought the card on newegg for $80 when I got it like....2-3 years ago. The X-Fi Titanium looks newer and has similar specs though, and is PCI-E x1.

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March 29, 2010 8:38:34 PM

it's not that i'm more visual, i just run and gun. i can't stand sitting back and camping. So I really dont hear anything quieter than my own footsteps. i know people who swear by headsets. i just think wearing headsets is silly. i hate wearing a mic/headset for ventrillo.
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March 29, 2010 11:27:05 PM

ScoobyJooby-Jew said:
it's not that i'm more visual, i just run and gun. i can't stand sitting back and camping. So I really dont hear anything quieter than my own footsteps. i know people who swear by headsets. i just think wearing headsets is silly. i hate wearing a mic/headset for ventrillo.

I don't swear by a headset but it sure helps block everything else out besides the game. I can hear much more minute sounds through a headset than with speakers. I'd have to blast them in order to hear the same. I bet you 80%+ of PC gamers wear headsets. I know many that don't even have spreakers.

I play both sides, the run and gun and camp. Well if you are a sniper, your job is to camp. BC is very good at those sounds even sniping it helps to hear that Bradley roll up the hill.
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March 30, 2010 12:06:01 PM

Most 5.1 Stereo headsets use a form of Dolby Headphone. Genuine implementations work great, but most use a proprietary method instead, with far less genuine results.

A few optical headsets actually do cram in 2 speakers per ear though, and from my testing, have excellent side channel processing. The issue is you now need to encode to Dolby/DTS to tramsmit 5.1 over SPDIF, which means you need a decoder on teh other end [though most headsets that use optical come with one, at least].

The Logitech G35 is a bit of an exception; it uses an upgraded version of teh genuine Dolby Headphone, upgraded for 7.1 over the standard 5.1. It works well; transition from each speaker is a bit off, but direction finding isn't usually an issue. But I've seen headsets do better at making the side channels jump out at you [even if that is a bit less realistic...].
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March 30, 2010 7:37:05 PM

I have an Asus P6T deluxe v2 which has on board sound, should I still buy a dedicated sound card?

I'm pretty sure I want to buy a headset, I've very keen to sound so most likely 5.1 or 7.1 if possible.
Do you guys have any recommendations for headsets between these price ranges: $40-80 and $80-120.

I'm not sure if this was a given, but I would like a voice coms (microphone) attachment as well.

Thanks for you help.
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March 30, 2010 8:03:30 PM

itsgrandpa said:
I have an Asus P6T deluxe v2 which has on board sound, should I still buy a dedicated sound card?

I'm pretty sure I want to buy a headset, I've very keen to sound so most likely 5.1 or 7.1 if possible.
Do you guys have any recommendations for headsets between these price ranges: $40-80 and $80-120.

I'm not sure if this was a given, but I would like a voice coms (microphone) attachment as well.

Thanks for you help.


You don't NEED to, but that board (similar to mine) just has the standard onboard audio. Some of the higher end ASUS board do have onboard X-fi OR actually have a dedicated X-fi card that comes with it. I will tell you that from my onboard to my dedicated card I can tell a difference.

As far as headset, the Plantronic Game Con 377 headset I have is the best I've used. It's not that expensive and gives good sound. A $100 set of phones with onboard sound isn't going to do you much good unless you can reproduce better sound in the first place.
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March 30, 2010 9:15:26 PM

I ordered the 377, i was considering the 777 but supposedly the 5.1 was all BS
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March 31, 2010 12:12:17 AM

itsgrandpa said:
I ordered the 377, i was considering the 777 but supposedly the 5.1 was all BS

You will enjoy it. I wish i got the 777 instead, HOWEVER, the only reason being it has a usb adapter that i could use in my PS3. That would have been the only reason, if they sold it separate I'd buy it.
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April 2, 2010 12:04:08 PM

^^ Yeah, a headset that actually uses 2x speakers in each ear instead of a poor Dolby Headphone implementation makes a huge difference; I loved my Tritton AX Pro headset (before it BROKE...) for that reason...

And again, avoid USB.
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April 2, 2010 12:12:00 PM

Best answer selected by jcpwn3r.
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