Is 5.1 / surround sound gaming still relevant?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Skylinestar, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    8,034
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    The real challenge with speakers is that you have to pay 7 times the price of a decent headphone to set up entry level speakers in surround. Most people go cheap and get a bad result.
     
    djoye likes this.
  2. Lizard Testes

    Lizard Testes Gawd

    Messages:
    525
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    "Headphones destroy speakers for gaming"

    *the best speakers I've used were some logitechs ca. 2002*

    :rolleyes:
     
  3. deaedius

    deaedius Gawd

    Messages:
    960
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2014
  4. Factum

    Factum [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,863
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2014
    I have a 7.1 setup as it's gives WAY better positional sound that the pseudo-3D sound from headphones.

    I have had people over, that before thought their headphones had great positional sound...until they heard a proper calibrated 7.1 setup.
    I have yet to experience proper positional audio from any headphones.
     
    DoubleTap likes this.
  5. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    It's one thing to have a preference or a limitation, but I see a lot of certainty about things people have never tried.

    My Xonar U7 has a decent headphone amp that includes virtual 7.1 if you want it and it works well enough with my M100s but literally the only thing I use it for is the very clean line-in jack (I have a BT/APTX adaptor connected and use it to listen to podcasts - on my speakers)

    In the past, we've lived in apartments and had little babies that need to sleep and headphones have made a lot more sense, but I'll never chose them over good speakers.
     
  6. sharknice

    sharknice [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,825
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    I've used the virtual thing with stereo headphones and imo it barely makes a difference. It negatively affects the sound quality enough that I don't use it.

    I have headphones that take a real 7.1 signal and have multiple speakers in them and they make a decent difference.

    But even a properly setup plain 4 speaker surround sound system is way better for positional audio. It's way easier to tell where footsteps and gunshots are coming from. Even if it's just crappy little computer speakers.
     
  7. Sycraft

    Sycraft [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,480
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    If you get a system that uses head tracking, it actually can make a pretty good difference and be fairly convincing. Still not as good as the real deal, at least not unless you have an insanely high end personalized system like the Realiser A16 but still not bad. Waves has a setup called Nx that does a pretty good job. I have the head tracker and Nx plugin and it does a pretty convincing job of surround sound. I won't be replacing my surround speaker setup for it, but it is actually something that can make you believe sound is coming from external sources. There's also new headphones from Audeze that have the tracking and simulation as an included feature. I haven't tried them but will probably check them out.

    Basically the problem with any of the simulations is that when there's no tracking, the image moves with your head, which isn't what is supposed to happen. That makes your brain say "that's wrong" and makes the illusion not very convincing. Add in head tracking and correct the image using it, sounds much more convincing.
     
  8. sharknice

    sharknice [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,825
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    I haven't heard of the head tracking thing. That sounds like it would work pretty well.
     
  9. Sycraft

    Sycraft [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,480
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    It does. The idea is quite old but never implemented much. Beyerdynamic made a really expensive system for awhile, and SVS has sold the expensive Realiser A8 for years (the A16s predecessor) but in terms of shit any normal person could afford, it is pretty new. Waves knows their shit, they are a major player in the pro audio industry and do all kinds of signal processing stuff. I bought the Nx head tracker when they released it and it is the first time I ever heard convincing headphone virtualization. Not flawless mind you, but convincing. You can see my speaker setup earlier in the thread to get an idea of what I compare it against.

    If you have the money, and you are interested in having good surround on phones, I suggest checking it out (or checking out the Audeze phones, those I'm really interested in). Do note though how well it works also depends on how good your headphones are. The Nx app assumes your headphones are basically flat and neutral in their sound, so if they aren't it's calculations will be off. Presumably the Audeze version are calibrated for their phones.
     
  10. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    14,742
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Creative is supposed to be releasing a game changing headphone surround. I think it is via a USB dongle. They put a ton of money into the r and d if it.

    Edit. It is called super xfi and a page on their website explains it. Not released yet but an emulator app is coming soon before the hardware release.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  11. Sorcerer_Tim

    Sorcerer_Tim [H]Lite

    Messages:
    117
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    I had a low-end to average (think under $300) Onkyo receiver with one of the smaller Definitive Technology 5.1 systems (ProCinema 600) and ran it through a Creative Z series sound card and DD Live. I thought the sound was pretty good, but then i changed out my main A/V receiver and swapped in my old Denon 4520Ci and connect from my video card to it via HDMI and it really sounds great. I am not willing to spend the cash to go Atmos for PC (I do use it for it movies and it is pretty neat), but the sound from the new receiver/HDMI is definitely a step up. The ProCinema series punches above its weight and may be something to consider. There are a lot of good receivers that are one or two models old that could work well for PC audio.
     
  12. djoye

    djoye 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,793
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Positional audio is a solved problem now days, so it's in just about everything; 7.1 is extremely common in mainstream games, very few only support up to 5.1, and many low-budget indie games are stereo only. Some problems that continue to exist are how well the positional audio is fine-tuned using occlusion and how well the audio recording is mastered so that it actually has dynamic range.

    I did the math, I've spent over $1100 on my setup, the bulk of that being a nice Klipsch front & center set ($700+) that I bought to replace a ~$250 Sony front & center set that I used for over 13 years. My advice to anyone wanting to do speakers (on a budget?): avoid tiny satellites, don't go lower than a 6.5" woofer on the speakers if you want mid-range and use at least an 8" subwoofer. Parts Express has a very decent Dayton 5.1 speaker combo for $310 that I think would be great for gaming, just gotta find an AV receiver to drive them; should be able to find something for less than $200 that can do that job.

    I'm not at all concerned about Atmos in gaming yet; so few games support it. Overwatch only supports headphone Atmos, and developers seem to hate niche tech so much that I doubt Atmos will catch on. then again, I'm really surprised to see more and more games supporting tobii eye tracking.
     
  13. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    The woofer size is so much more important on the PC. On a HT system, the surrounds are ambient, but on a PC, they are all more or less equally as important as the LCR speakers and smally, tinny sounding surrounds will ruin the experience.

    If you don't need to listen to music, you could probably setup a really good gaming system with just the cheapo $50/pr 6.5 bookshelves and a refurb receiver.

    Good luck to them, but many companies have made that sort of claim over the years and most of the deliverables have been wanting. Maybe they found the old A3D tech in a box in the basement...
     
  14. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    488
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Loudness war has penetrated the gaming scene?

    I have my trusty old JBL 3677 speakers for music. I don't link hifi audio with computer stuff. For PC gaming, I can sacrifice fidelity for positional audio, which is common in games (WWISE).
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  15. Revenant_Knight

    Revenant_Knight Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    277
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    I hate headsets for the most part. I have a Logitech Z5500 system and love it having discrete 5.1 audio while gaming. I've replaced the stock speakers with Klipsch reference series to improve audio clarity and depth. I use a Creative X7 external sound card. Wouldn't trade it for the world.


    My living room PC is hooked up to a Pioneer receiver through HDMI. Sounds amazing.
     
  16. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    12,402
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2003
    I do like my cans... and actually don't get terrible positional audio out of my speakers, either. Stereo has a lot to offer.

    Of course, I *am* going to have to try some sort of gaming on my living room setup when I get the Atmos and surrounds installed...