Headphones & amp - 7.1 Surround?


Jun 10, 2016
Good day!

I've recently been on the lookout for some new headphones, as my current ones are rather crap and reaching the end of it's lifespan.

So I've been looking at the Beyerdynamics DT770 80Ohm - as they're relatively easy to drive and they're said to have perhaps one of the best sound stages of any closed back headphones. Open back is out of the equation, I don't want to disturb anyone near me and nor do I want to hear them while playing games. (I intend on both listening to music and playing games. As I play rather competitive games, hearing the exact location of the enemy is a must.)

As the impedance of the DT770's are 80Ohms, I'll undoubtedly need an amplifier. The one I've been looking at is the Sennheiser GSX 1000, mostly due to it's virtual 7.1 surround feature which has been reviewed to be incredible, as well as great audio quality. I don't really have any experience with anything but 'gaming headsets', like my current '5.1 surround' ones.

Can a normal dac/amp deliver the same "virtual surround" as the Sennheiser GSX 1000? Is the 7.1 feature just a dumb gimmick or is it worth it?


very good info on virtual surround support in games here - PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up @ satsun.org absolutely worth a read. TL;DR a lot of games have surround built directly into the game...

Windows 10 also has a built-in surround driver called Windows Sonic for Headphones so you can absolutely enable that with a typical DAC like the E10K.

IMHO depending on what you are listening to (FLAC files sound notably better with high-end gear), and since the DT770 itself is a budget pick - you may be better off something "acceptable" like the Sound Blaster mentioned (or similar) and getting a budget open-back headphone like the ATH-AD500X, much more bang-per-buck.

Personally I am using a Sound Blaster Play!3 with a Samson SR850, it fits my needs quite well for both music and games - and I much prefer the granular controls of the SBX surround panel. Some models have a "scout" mode that boosts the mids to allegedly make you more aware of direction, I have not tried that personally although some mention it is helpful.

Fully agree! Although, some folks can't process HRTFs that is needed for surround, and some are simply weary of dealing with the various surround encoding techniques, enabling this for some and that for others and disabling for music - they simply throw their hands up and bash it, it's the way of social media these days!
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