True 5.1 headset need only apply...!

Majeztik12

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 8, 2004
Messages
344
Hey all, My ZALMAN Zm-RS6F 5.1 headset just bit the dust. I am now looking for a replacement. I have looked at some reviews on this site and a few others, and have noticed that most use a USB format. Some have the standard "stereo" jack and mic. jack. I have a X-Fi Titanium card with no usb attachment...go figure! How do i use a USB jack with my card, to achieve true 5.1 out of my card. The Zalman headset had four distinct jacks... 3 for the surround channels and one for the microphone. If someone could educate me on this it would be appreciated. I'd hate to think my X-Fi is now a $70 paperweight. Thanks for any help!

 

Valaire

Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
846
The only good advice you are going to receive in this forum is to get a good pair of mid-fi or high-fi stereo headphones. Don't bother with 5.1 headphones. Good stereo headphones and a surround sound virtualizing algorithm are much better for games/movies/music.

To answer your other question, USB audio devices have their own DAC and thus bypass your sound card entirely.

You can plug your X-Fi into a normal pair of stereo headphones, and put it in Headphone Mode, with the CMSS-3D for soundstaging in games. Or you can use a Xonar's Dolby Headphone mode to downmix 5.1 sound into a virtual surround for stereo.
 

timestretch

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 19, 2011
Messages
200
....and if you don't believe that stereo headphones can give you "true" surround, plug in your cheapo iPod earbuds and listen to this: [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA"]YouTube - ‪Virtual Barber Shop (Audio...use headphones, close ur eyes)‬‏[/ame]

It's an old video in a low bitrate but it is still the simplest way to show that surround sound image has much more to do with recording and effects processing than it does with the amount of speakers you use.
 

spaceman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
14,875
JVC HARX700 headphones are $38 shipped. Check it out on amazon with the zalman clip on mic. Total cost is under $50.

A very popular budget solution that I have sent probably thousands of people towards. Look at the reviews.
 

pharoah

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 10, 2008
Messages
195
....and if you don't believe that stereo headphones can give you "true" surround, plug in your cheapo iPod earbuds and listen to this: YouTube - ‪Virtual Barber Shop (Audio...use headphones, close ur eyes)‬‏

It's an old video in a low bitrate but it is still the simplest way to show that surround sound image has much more to do with recording and effects processing than it does with the amount of speakers you use.
haha that is an epic example of some headphone surround.i was just using some semi-cheap sony noise canceling headphones,and that was surprising.
 

M4UR1C3

n00b
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
3
As has been said, USB headphones completely bypass your sound card. Sound cards can use processing to simulate surround sound very convincingly through stereo headphones (as can the USB headphones.)

Of particular interest is this new offering by Turtle Beach, just announced at E3: http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/pc-gaming-headsets/ear-force-z6a.aspx

Four speakers per earcup, including a subwoofer, and 5.1 analog 3.5mm jacks. It remains to be seen what the quality will be, but it certainly appears they are going for compelling 5.1.
 

Majeztik12

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 8, 2004
Messages
344
Thanks to all!!! I think i'll wait for the TurtleBeach setup M4UR1C3 recommended. I went over to a friends house last night and played his BF2 and BFBC2. He uses a USB Corsair HS1, They sounded great. However when engaged in a CQB battle, enemy voices and footsteps were hard to discern from teamates as far as close distance was concerned. I did not have this problem with the hardwired Zalmans. I was usually able to walk/sneak right up on him and take his dog-tags!!! I think i'll stay true 5.1 instead of a Algorithm. Thanks once again to all posters.
 
Last edited:

SirMaster

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 8, 2010
Messages
2,135
The only problem is that, while binaural recordings are the ultimate surround sound period, every game is mixed for 5.1; save for maybe the one this guy made: Jeff's Top 5 Favorite Things - "Aves", binaural iPhone Game

Games aren't mixed for a specific number of channels like 5.1

Games have all the data of where all the sounds are located in the environment and where they are in relation to the player.

All you need to do is select the headphone option in the game and the game will apply a HRTF function to the sound to create a special stereo signal meant specifically for headphones and will simulate surround sound. Selecting headphones is very different than selecting stereo in your game's sound settings. Selecting stereo just mixed the sound into stereo for speakers and you cant use HRTF with speakers because you wont know how far away or how far apart the speakers are in relation to the listener.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-related_transfer_function

Most audio engines like OpenAL and in-house sound engines all have HRTF capabilities.
 

spaceman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
14,875
I believe headphone mode in BFBC2 works very well for directional sound but appears to cut off the low freqs. This actually works in your favor b/c the bass does not drown out the directional sound cues. I really wish that I still had my stax atm. My speakers are amazing in many respects. I can really hear footsteps actually walking in the air around me w/ just two speakers. However, when it gets hairy, especially in a 32 man server. I have a hard time telling who is where. Considering borrowing or buying a pair of headphones just to test this.
 

demografik

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 25, 2002
Messages
1,055
rolleyes.gif
 

thesecond

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
1,074
I play BFBC2 almost exclusively.

I use Tritton AX Pro headphones, with the analog plugs, and BFBC2 audio settings set to "war tapes"

Please, do yourself a huge favor, and ALWAYS have "war tapes" on in BFBC2. Makes it much easier to hear enemies at a distance.

I got these after my ex wanted her 5.1 zalman headphones back hahaha.

What I CAN say, is that the trittons do sound really good with this game in particular - not amazing, but really good. And the surround is unsurpassed, people accuse me of wallhacking and aimbotting because I can always hear where they are. I tried this with my shure E4C and SE310 headphones, with virtual surround turned on (both with the realtek onboard sound, and with my auzentech bravura), and while the audio was better, the surround was not.
My main worry outside of surround quality is that i have heard the dolby virtualization tech introduces some extra latency into your audio, and i dont need any more latency in BFBC2 :p

I DO recommend the Trittons on the condition that you are a gentle gamer, and you dont have rage fits and smash your shit hahahhaa. They are all plastic to keep weight down, and do feel fragile, so treat them like you would your dad's headcans from the 1960's.

However, the trittons sound like absolute crap in source games. Absolute boxy crap in team fortress. I dont understand it, maybe the source audio aint so good? Though, i must say, so do my shure headphones... so there ya go.
 
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