1.5 Headset

Im looking for a 5.1 sround sound headset that I can use to talk on vent/TS or any other, while also being able to hear around me in a game. Also is it better to use the 3 mini jacks (plus 1 for the mic) like my 5.1 speakers or is it better to use a USB? I have my onboard sound and my Creative Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum sound card. Would it be posible split up the sound sorces. Like have voice through headset and game through speakers, or music through speakers and game and voice through headset. Is that posible with USB or does it have to have the 3 minijacks. And lastly Which on gives the clearest sound?
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  1. Consider these:

    http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/products/earforce/hpa/producthome.asp

    USB vs. Minijack ?: If you use USB you'll not be able to use a seperate soundcard. A USB connected audio device IS, in fact, its own soundcard, to put it in the simplest of terms.

    You may be able to use different audio devices for input and output by going to Control Panel-->Audio and assigning the devices there. In example, assigning the Playback device to your Audigy 2ZS and the Sound recording device to the USB headphones. The application may, however, override this and may not allow seperate input/output devices.
  2. Check my "review" on these:

    http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=195888&highlight=senn

    Has USB built in, but is also detachable for straight jacks. I know use the jacks and not the USB actually, so I can better control the equalizer/quality.
  3. Typically 5.1 headphones are going to have the separate connectors. Ok I can only give advise based on my personal experience since sound is very subjective imo.

    I have the Zalman 5.1 headphones and I love them. I was quite good at FPS to begin with in my humble opinion. These did improve my game if FPS is your cup of tea. I'm much less susceptible to sneak attacks than I was before.

    I also enjoy the more immersive sound in games like WOW and such.

    As for music I think they are very good. Good separation and decent bass and mids. Treble is good but not quite on par with the bass and mids.

    Movies seem to work overall well with these also. I get much more full sound and resonant bass than either of 3 sets of stereo phones I have that range in quality from cheap to midrange. Its nice to have, especially in a horror or war movie where the sound nuances changing location make the movie way more immersive than just stereo.

    I went into all this because I figure you might do things other than gaming but for gaming alone I'd certainly never go back to 2.0. I'm completely satisfied with the performance of the Zalmans and think from reviews of other sets I've read that the price/performance of these phones are above average for sure.

    Well thats one set and one persons opinion of them. I think I'm a very particular person so take that as you will :) Good luck with your search and I hope you get what pleases you.
  4. 1. Splitting voice and game audio
    One way to be able to do that is to have 2 sound cards, you set the card connected to the speakers as the default Windows sound device (for the game) and manually assign the headphone card to vent/TS. (In Vent, simply go in the setup menu and change the input/output devices from
    default to whatever you want.)

    2. USB vs Minijack

    I have 2 sets 5.1 headphones : LTB-USB-M, their older USB model (they just released a new one that I didn't personally test) and the Tritton AX360 5.1 headphones (minijack)

    2.1 LTB
    The LTB headphones are really light and feel a bit cheap but are surprisingly solid (my cat threw them on the ground a few times and they are still working) but I recently started to experience some problems with the cables (a connector became loose so moving the cable creates noise).

    The sound is good and the channels are well seperated, the bass is good too. But the major problem comes from the USB...

    Like Halcyon said, the USB IS the soundcard, it bypasses any other sound card. If you play a lot, you will experience the same problem than I did unless you have a really powerful computer : the USB sound uses too much resources (apparently much more than standard onboard sound cards because I didn't experience those problems using my onboard sound card before) so what usually happens is cracking and hissing noises while you play because the cpu is too busy.

    Over a long period of time, the headphones can also become uncomfortable due the material used around the ears.

    2.2 Tritton AX360
    The Tritton headphones are very comfortable, a bit heavier and are bigger than the LTB. I've read that they are pretty fragile so I didn't try throwing them on the ground :wink: .

    The Tritton AX360 are mostly made for digital sources and unfortunally most sound cards aren't... The blue box that connects to the headphones have 2 inputs : optical and coax. You can connect with minijacks but you need to use an adapter (included) but it bypasses the blue box.

    I tried connecting various sources to the headphones : a ps2 using an optical connection, my sat tv receiver with both coax and optical cables and finally my computer.

    With the digital connections, there's no problem at all the sound is great and depending on the source, the positionning works well too.

    I have an onboard Audigy SE and a seperate X-FI ExtremeMusic card. Both of them have the same problem : the digital output is 2.1 only so I have to use the adapter. The blue box happens to be the amplifier so using the adapter means you only get a very weak sound with no bass at all.

    I built a custom 6 channels amplifier to fix that and it works well. I get a great sound now and I can use my X-fi to offload the cpu and tweak the sound a bit (crystalizer, etc.). This results in a performance boost when compared to the USB headphones.

    I'm Canadian so the following info is in Canadian dollars.

    I originally bought the LTB-USB-M around 100$ but that was 1 year ago, they are now around 80$ over here. My new Tritton AX360 (bought a month ago) were around 130$ but to be able to use them with a PC, you need to build a 6 channel amp (could be between 30 and 160 depending on the parts you choose, mine didn't cost me anything because I had all sorts of spare parts from various projects).

    Final notes
    The LTB-USB-M are useful if you plan on using them on multiple computers (some of which may not have a 5.1 sound card) but the resources used by the headphones could be used elsewhere.

    The Tritton AX-360 are nice if you play consoles too and don't want to disturb the people around you but you will need to build/get a 6 channel amp to get the true sound on a pc or a sound card that actually has 5.1 digital output. In the end, they are much more expensive than the LTBs but you get an overall better gaming experience due to the lighter load on the system's resources. Oh and they also vibrate with the low frequency waves.
  5. I've read before that the Turtle Beach Headset microphone becomes lose and swings around because it is only connected by plugging in a minijack, and the Zalman doesn’t have a microphone. The sen 650 isn’t 5.1 i don’t think. Sorry for putting down your sugestions there good, but I just what to find the perfect headset before I go and spend money. I have set it to have the sound on my satellite speakers and the vent on my headset by using onboard sound and my soundcard. What is the best between minijacks, USB, coaxial, spdif, and optical. I have all these types of connectors that I could use. Thanks for your help.

    I also kind of like the Medusa 5.1 I’m going to look into those a bit more.
  6. Well, I guess my last post was a bit too long...

    Here's the short answer :
    SPDIF (coax/optical) usually is 2.1 only unless you have a more expansive sound card like the AuzenTech cards but those aren't compatible with the latest EAX which is kinda important for gaming.

    USB usually means it uses lots of resources so that's not very good for gaming.

    This leaves minijacks as the best option.

    BTW, the 2 headphones I described have microphones.
  7. There is indeed a version with a mic for the Zalman here. I just personally chose to forgo the couple extra bucks because I had a mic I liked. :)
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