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Surround Sound with Regular headphones?

  • Sound Cards
  • Components
Last response: in Components
November 29, 2012 5:36:08 PM

I was about to pick up a gaming headset for the virtual surround but read around and saw that no special headset is needed. Most threads I've read through say to get a sound card but I was hoping to be able to use some of my existing mid-fi equipment to get it working. I don't currently have a dedicated sound card. I've been a member over at Head-Fi since high school and have a decent setup for my music listening. I'm only interested in the surround for playing BF3--a recent addiction. The computer is not used for movie viewing.

What is the best way for me get surround? What would sound best with my existing equipment?

Mobo: G1.Sniper m3
CPU: 3570k
Graphics: Gtx 680
Memory: 8gb

Audio Stuff:
Headphones: AKG k240, AT ESW9, Stax Lambda, Stax SR-30
Dac: JDS ODAC (usb)
Amps: Hotaudio Thunderbolt, SRM-1/mk2 (Stax)

Current setup:
USB->ODAC->one of the amps->headphones

More about : surround sound regular headphones

November 29, 2012 6:07:40 PM

You need some piece of equipment with Dolby Headphone support. SOME amps offer it as an option, so you'd have to check.
November 29, 2012 6:27:06 PM

By amps do you mean receivers? None of my headphone amps do decoding.

Is the most common thing with Dolby Headphone support a sound card?

If I got a sound card, should I still use the ODAC via usb? Would sound be better without it? Would I still need an amp to drive the headphones?

I'm not very familiar with what sound cards do--are they decoders? amps? both?
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November 29, 2012 6:48:46 PM

Well, a few things:

1: Most soundcards support some form of Virtualization. Usually Dolby Headphone, though Creative uses CMSS-3D for the same effect.

2: Some soundcards have a dedicated headphone amp built in. That would (in theory) remove the need for the amp and ODAC.

There is an X-Factor here: I've heard a few people claim that BF3 doesn't work that well with Dolby Headphone. I can't speak personally (it seemed OK the one time I tried it) though. Might want to check up on that.
November 29, 2012 7:09:45 PM

Thanks for the help. I have a post in Head-Fi probing for ODAC surround possibilities.

I just want to avoid buying more hardware for one FPS game.

Will report back because if there is a solution, the ODAC would be a great budget alternative for gaming audiophiles.