Gaming: stereo headset + X-Fi vs. 5.1 headset

Things are starting to get interesting in terms of gaming audio right now. On one hand there's the new Creative X-Fi card which is said to do virtual 3d audio via headphones better than ever. Then there's the new crop of 5.1 surround headsets such as the Medusa and Razer HP-1.

Are 5.1 headsets just a gimmick? Can you really 'fake' full surround sound accurately with only 2 speakers? What's the best solution for getting accurate positional audio for gaming?
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  1. Most all surround headsets have multiple speakers in each cup.

    My turtle beach set have the bass, center, front and rear speakers in each side.

    And yes, you can hear the different ones, most sound cards have a setup that lets you teast each "speaker", and its placement.

    Great when you want to thunder around, but can't wake the neighborhood.
  2. Yes, Turtle Beach is another maker of 5.1 'surround' headsets (Ear Force HPA). The reviews are fairly mixed on these units but while there's no question that you can indeed hear the different speakers, what really matters is how actual 5.1 surround compares to 'virtual' surround provided by the Creative X-Fi card and a high quality set of simple 2 speaker stereo headphones (w/ mic for gaming of course).
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