Confusion about surround sound headsets

mckenziepiping

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May 25, 2013
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So I have a laptop with Creative Sound Blaster Cinema software which, apparently, allows you to connect a stereo headset and experience surround sound.

Now, I know there are 2 main types of surround sound headsets - true and virtual. Virtual being software generated surround sound and true being an array of speakers in each earcup.

What I believe I have seems to be some sort of 3rd type of surround sound, where the virtualization is done within the computer, allowing a stereo headset to produce surround sound without any peripheral processing (that is, no processing done within the headset itself).

So now I'm wondering whether it would make sense to connect a surround-sound headset to my computer, or would this be a total waste of money?
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
no.. what you have is virtual surround sound.

this can either be processed by the pc or by a headset. same effect.

up to you whether you want a surround sound headset. most laptops only have one 3.5mm output for headphones so you would be stuck with virtual surround sound or you would have to buy a surround sound headset (true) which does the processing onboard which connects via usb and bypasses your soundcard.
 

mckenziepiping

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May 25, 2013
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Ok, fair enough. My laptop actually has four 3.5mm jacks: headphones, mic, line-in, line-out. However, this allows only an external surround sound system to be connected. It does not allow a surround sound headset to be connected unless you sacrifice the microphone jack because for some strange reason, the centre speaker/subwoofer needs to be connected into the microphone jack. So basically I would have these connections Front Speakers -> Headphone Jack, Centre Speakers & Subwoofer -> Microphone Jack, Rear (Surround) Speakers -> Line-In and then the Microphone wouldn't be connected and the Line-Out would be left empty. I know I could re-map Line-Out to accommodate the microphone, but I don't want to deal with RegEdit stuff because it's too lengthy and complicated.

However, I am wondering whether you've ever heard of virtual surround sound where the processing is successfully accomplished by the sound card rather than the headset itself? I have an msi GT70 with the Sound Blaster Cinema utility, which claims to deliver virtual surround sound to stereo headsets, but this appears to be false advertising because it absolutely does NOT deliver surround sound.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
the ports you mentioned should not allow an external surround sound system to be connected. they only allow a stereo 2.0 or 2.1 set to be connected.

you need an internal soundcard capable of surround sound output. the ones you would want are green, yellow and black for 5.1. pink is for microphone. this is how a 4 wire surround sound headphone would hook up.

the only way you will get true surround sound out of that pc is with an external soundcard.

if you read my previous post i mentioned that "virtual" surround can be processed by the headphones or the soundcard. i have heard of both.

what virtual surround sound does is imitate how surround sound "sounds" to your ears by playing it back at a different frequency and timing over a stereo pair of headphones. it is still playing stereo sound at you but it imitates surround. its not half bad but it is definitely not true surround. it is also impossible for you to hook up a surround sound set up via a single stereo 3.5mm connection and have it play correctly.

its not false advertising. you just assumed it was something other than what it is. they call it "virtual" for a reason. i'm not saying anything bad about you not knowing this (as i'm sure you arent the only one) just that you may want to look up a few articles on what virtual surround sound is so that you can decide if you want to use it or not (or get an external soundcard or 5.1 headset which does its own processing instead).

 

mckenziepiping

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May 25, 2013
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I believe you that my ports should not allow an external surround sound system to be connected, but the user manual for my machine actually tells you how to connect a surround sound system (although it probably doesn't work). You can see the manual here: http://www.msi.com/product/nb/GT70-2OC.html#download and click Download, then click Manual, go to page 18.

I did read your previous post and I did understand what you said about virtual surround sound. My point is that msi claims that the Sound Blaster Cinema utility, which comes pre-loaded on their systems, will produce virtual surround sound that can be experienced with a stereo headset. When I connect a stereo headset, there is NOT virtual surround sound, only stereo sound. This is false advertising. This means that I will have to buy a headset that does the processing externally, since the soundcard will not do the processing that is CLAIMED to be possible.

I know how good virtual surround sound is - I discovered it in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

You can hook up any stereo headset or earphones to a 3.5mm jack and you will hear the virtual surround sound of the above file even if you don't have any special utilities because the virtual surround sound is built into the file itself.

So please, tell me where is my assumption? If you go to the webpage for this device http://www.msi.com/product/nb/GT70-2OC.html#overview and scroll all the way to the bottom and look under the heading "Top quality audio with sound blaster cinema", you will see where they claim that virtual surround sound is processed onboard and then delivered to a stereo headset, which is a complete lie!

I do not care whether I have true surround sound or virtual surround sound, since they sound the same to me. However, according to msi's website, I should be able to connect standard stereo headsets and hear virtual surround sound.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
i typed out a whole page answer. it appears that somehow it didnt post correctly.... TH bugging up or something....

long story short:

-it looks like it does support surround sound speakers. this is strange and the first i've heard of this being done but perhaps the sound card is set up for this.

-virtual surround will not work for all audio only movies or games. youtube for example it would not work on. it cannot take mono/stereo audio and magically make it virtual surround. you might want to list what you've tried out so far.

again... i had quite a bit written but i'm not going to rewrite it. those were the two basic points.
 

mckenziepiping

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May 25, 2013
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Yes, it is possible to connect the headset, as I mentioned in a previous post where I laid out the necessary connections and said which wires connect to which jack. However, when I did an audio test, the rear speakers actually sounded exactly like the front speakers.

When I tested virtual surround sound using a stereo headset, I used Call of Duty, which is a surround-sound capable game.
 
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