pc-gaming: surround headset OR stereo headset + sound card

WhiteWolf13

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The last few days, I’ve been looking into headsets. I would almost exclusively use it for pc-gaming and would like to enjoy “surround sound”. Now it seems you have three choices: a real surround headset, a virtual surround headset or the combination of a decent stereo headset with a decent sound card.

Now I have two questions:

- wich one would be best for pc-gaming?
- If I would go the last route (stereo headset + soundcard), would my Asrock z87 extreme4 motherboard with its “improved audio” be enough for decent surround (via dolby I guess?) or would it be better to invest in a decent sound card?

Suggestion for good headsets and soundcards are always welcome. Thanks in advance!
 

MeteorsRaining

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Firstly, there's no 'real' surround headset. Also, all the voices from the environment are taken in by 2 ears, be it 2, 2.1 or 7.1, the only benefit of surround is in FPS games where you can get a better idea of where the enemy/ hostage/ etc is exactly at, and it'll help you ingame. Surround adds depth, but is taken in by our 'stereo' ears.

I'd just get myself good stereo headsets unless you're alot into FPS (first person, not frames). A good 7.1 true or virtual (both are same) would need a good sound card, but your MoBo has a good enough card for most sub $100 or even ~$150 headsets, like Tiamet or ATH-M50 (this one is stereo).
 

WhiteWolf13

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I understand the fact that real surround can’t be obtained by a headset like you get with speakers. Maybe it would be better to call it “positional sound”.

At the moment I play games like Skyrim and Borderlands 2 with 5.1 speakers and I would like to “replicate” that positional “feeling” with a headset. Would my mobo (asrock z87 extreme4) and a fairly good stereo headset (I’m interested in the Kingston HyperX Cloud, seems a lot of quality for the price) give me that postional sound or would I need a separate sound card?

Sorry if this all sounds noobish but although I know *something* about computers, I never messed around with the sound part.
 

MeteorsRaining

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That word is lot better, explains the fact that our ears are good at grasping positions upon the sound. Well, I'm honestly not aware of Kingston in headsets area that much, but a great one for a similar enough price is Plantronics 780 or Logitech G430 with 7.1 surround (positional), for $80.
 

WhiteWolf13

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Okay, I'm pretty sure I'm going for the Kingston HyperX Cloud headset (http://www.kingston.com/en/hyperx/cloud). I read some very good reviews of this (stereo) headset. Now the question is: will my Asrock z87 extreme4 onboard audio be sufficient or would a soundcard like the Asus Xonar DX make a big difference? I think the mobo does dolby digital and DTS?
 

WhiteWolf13

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@ ssddx: any suggestions of good hifi headphones? Thing is I will use the headphones for a lot of singleplayer gaming but I also want a mic for the occasional gaming with friends. So a detachable mic like with the Kingston is very interesting (aside from its apparently great sound for the price).

Aside from the Kingston HyperX Cloud I have my eye on the Sennheiser PC 350. It's a fair bit more expensive than the Kingston. Any opinions on this headphone?

 

ssddx

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that depends on what kind of sound profile you wanted.

if you wanted the widest soundstage possible and low bass output (which many gamers like for multiplayer since bass masks footsteps and other things) then something like the audiotechnica ad700x would be good. however the lack of bass makes them more analytical and less "fun" for solo play. this does not need an amp.

if you wanted something that has deep booming bass and an rich warm response at the expense of a smaller soundstage then the beyerdynamic dt770pro works very well. for quite a bit cheaper the audiotechnica ath-m50s is available but it has a really tiny soundstage which not everyone may like for gaming but sound quality is superb for the price (as cheap as $100 open box but brand new on ebay). the m50 doesnt need an amp but the 990 may depending on which model you get.

if you wanted something with decent bass but keeping a wide soundstage then the beyerdynamic dt990pro fit the bill. decent bass for an open set of cans with good treble too. they will need an amp.

if you wanted something in the middle then perhaps the sennheiser hd598 which has a decent soundstage but less than the ad700 and a bit more bass than the ad700. or there is the cheaper hd558 which has less soundstage but more bass than the 598.

as far as microphones are concerned... you can get a clip on mic or a boommic like the antlion modmic or moovmic.

the sennheiser headsets are certainly nice and have good sound (but typically pretty bass light) and a good mic however they are also raised up in price as well. for instance the pc363d which is their $300 headset is based on their set of normal headphones (hd555) which used to go for about $130. even adding on a good mic and some electronics for virtual surround the price they charge is a bit outlandish and i have no idea where they get the $300 value from. for less money its possible to buy the headphones they are based on, get a soundcard for virtual surround support and buy a microphone.

the hyper x cloud may be good for the $70 range and fine if thats all you feel like spending. the pc350 may be fine for the $100 price as well but if you're more open to things in the $100-200 range quality levels take a huge skyward leap. not everyone wants to/ feels comfortable spending that much money though.

---

what do i use?

i typically use my home theater speakers while i'm at home, not headphones or headsets but while on the go i use my m50s which work fine. they might not have a wide soundstage but i like the warmth of sound, the not-so-harsh treble and the good bass response which are more important to me anyways. of course what i like many others may not. plus they are nigh indestructible.
 

matta85

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You could also look at AKG K612 Pro, Q701, K702 65th Anniversary or the K712 Pro.
All good for competetive fps gaming but still fun with more bass than i.e. AD700X.
Those AKG's will probably need an amp to perform best.

All I reffered to over as well as Beyerdynamic DT990 are open headsets which I really prefer for gaming over a longer periode of time.
 
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