New Alienware 7.1 Surround Wireless Gaming Headset - AW988

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
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We have the new Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset, model number AW988, in hand and took the time to show it off in the video below before we started testing. It will get a good workout this weekend playing some Hunt Showdown.

Check out the video.

The dial on the headset that I could not identify in the video is the "Chat Balance." You use the Chat Balance control to find a preferred balance between chat audio and in-game audio. Nifty.
 

Luke Wells

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Surround sound is generally referring to 5.1 channels or more. You can still get 2 or 2.1 channel headsets which are stereo and not surround sound.

I'm aware of that. However, this naming convention doesn't make sense in the headphone world...

The logic behind the name:
The ".1" refers to a woofer. The integer before it refers to number of speaker cabinets in the setup. (i.e. 5.1 = center, front_left, front_right, rear_left, rear_right plus one woofer)

However, a headset is always 'two cabinets'; one over each ear. Putting multiple speakers in a cabinet doesn't make it multiple cabinets, nor does it make it 'surround'.

By this gamer-logic, my IEMs with multiple balanced drivers are surround sound? lame.
 

bristol16

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I'm aware of that. However, this naming convention doesn't make sense in the headphone world...

The logic behind the name:
The ".1" refers to a woofer. The integer before it refers to number of speaker cabinets in the setup. (i.e. 5.1 = center, front_left, front_right, rear_left, rear_right plus one woofer)

However, a headset is always 'two cabinets'; one over each ear. Putting multiple speakers in a cabinet doesn't make it multiple cabinets, nor does it make it 'surround'.

By this gamer-logic, my IEMs with multiple balanced drivers are surround sound? lame.

Your first post says all headsets are surround sound and your second post says they aren’t actually surround sound...so they’re both in your mind?

I’m well aware of what the numbers mean. If you just want to argue the semantics of the definition of “surround sound” you are on your own because I don’t care. If you want to learn more about surround sound headsets, both multiple speaker and simulated, there is plenty of info on the net, I’d recommend starting here:

https://www.howtogeek.com/295722/wh...tual-and-true-surround-sound-gaming-headsets/
 

Rahh

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At the end of the day it's a Dell headset. Partially correct anyways...
 

Darunion

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Well guess I can throw my DT880s with mod mic in the trash and grab these.
 

Tweak155

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Any experience with the wireless Astro A50's? How is the sound on these AW's compared to those?
 
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FrgMstr

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Any opinion on the mysterious "audio recon" feature?
More of a gimmick than anything. Asus has had this app in its Sonic Studio for years. Supposed to show you where the sound is coming from on a minimap. Quite the perf hog in terms of resources and did not really work that well. And besides, a good 7.1 headset is supposed to "tell you" where the sound came from with your ears.
 

FrgMstr

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Well dang. How did the AW sound? My Astro A50's aren't really portable since they use a base station (unless I want to use a cable), these look cool and have a USB dongle making them a little more portable... I like the look and package so far.

Nice unboxing either way!
So far, I think the sound has been excellent.
 

DoubleTap

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All the audiophile posturing is just precious.

Kyle, these can obviously play via wireless and 3.5mm, but can you play them with the USB cable or is that charge only?
 

ricson

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I am very interested in how these sound and if they are comfortable, looking forward to the full review, the "pneumatic" headband looks comfortable, but I am worried it will be hot on the head, curious how it feels.
Thanks for doing the review Kyle.
 

FrgMstr

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All the audiophile posturing is just precious.

Kyle, these can obviously play via wireless and 3.5mm, but can you play them with the USB cable or is that charge only?
USB is charge only.
 

FrgMstr

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I am very interested in how these sound and if they are comfortable, looking forward to the full review, the "pneumatic" headband looks comfortable, but I am worried it will be hot on the head, curious how it feels.
Thanks for doing the review Kyle.
The clamping force was too high for my melon head, so I left them stretched out over the back of my chair last night to get them to give a bit. They were pressing too hard UNDER my ears only my jaw muscles. After a big of stretching (8 hours) these are fitting a lot better. Not a bad stress test either.

The sound on these is pretty damn good. Been using these all day for videos and music and I am very impressed. Games Saturday. Hunt Showdown will nail these down quickly on the 7.1 Surround and if it is worth a damn.

IMG_20180608_013314.jpg
 

Elf_Boy

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I have read that the synthetic surround is done my taking the incoming sound streams and changing the volume and timing such that anything rear right is slightly softer and 1 millisecond or whatever it should be delayed as if it were coming from a different location.

It is just a matter of math to play all the separate channels as if they were in the 5 specific locations plus the subwoofer. Adding multiple speakers to the headset would - I am guessing, not an audiophile- help keep the separate channels clearer but who knows? I dont.

What is the difference if the headset/software/driver is faking the surround and if the speakers are really in the specific locations so long as only 1 person is listening? (Other then the size of the speakers with associated specifics)
 

bos

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Yeah but if it doesn't have superhuman mode for hearing enemy movements what good is it.
 

DoubleTap

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I have read that the synthetic surround is done my taking the incoming sound streams and changing the volume and timing such that anything rear right is slightly softer and 1 millisecond or whatever it should be delayed as if it were coming from a different location.

It is just a matter of math to play all the separate channels as if they were in the 5 specific locations plus the subwoofer. Adding multiple speakers to the headset would - I am guessing, not an audiophile- help keep the separate channels clearer but who knows? I dont.

What is the difference if the headset/software/driver is faking the surround and if the speakers are really in the specific locations so long as only 1 person is listening? (Other then the size of the speakers with associated specifics)

It's a bit more complex than that.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-related_transfer_function
 

TMCM

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Damn leave Kyle alone so he can work evaluating the cans and write his review instead of writing responses to yall :D looking forward to the review!!!
 

likeman

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always been interested in 5.1 headphones as it should increase directional finding of people but never had the money to really try one (more then likely would just fall back to my actual 5.1 system, but the other people who live in the house don't always like explosions happening)

i can work out with a fairly high certainty the direction and height of footsteps and shots with the creative AE5 and scout mode enabled with normal headphones (been called wallhacker a number of times is amusing), and on my older system that had the X-FI in it i been banned of loads of servers

the scout radar would be helpful if the dot stayed on for slightly longer than the audio que has ended, as the moment soon as someone stops shooting the dot disappears so its limited usefulness as i more or less know where they are just off the sound
 

Jon855

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I'm waiting for my SONY MDR-7506 to come in tomorrow. For those who knows me - I'm deaf and before you go wut?!... It helps me in gaming in particular to at least directing me where the sounds are coming from and whether if I'm being shot at... I don't hear everything and yes, I usually crank the volume up... I'm hoping the 7506 will do me a better job than the Razer Kraken Pro v2. I'll find out.
 
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