Simulated surround in headsets - Stereo Headset with DTS simulated surround vs 7.1 surround through dolby

killerval

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Sep 12, 2012
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Morning all,

Looking to buy a gaming headset and have a question regarding simulated 7.1 surround in headsets. My motherboard is a asus p8z77-v with ALC892, DTS ultra 2 pc and DTS connect built-in.

If I buy a stereo headset (e.g a plantronics gamecom 388 £20) and utilise DTS ultra 2 to simulate surround, will I see any difference with buying a simulated 7.1 headset (e.g. the plantronics gamecom 788 £40) which uses an alternative driver (in this case dolby suround)?

Thanks in advance for any advice,

Kind regards,
Val

 
since you are interested in the different variations of virtual surround sound you may find this thread worth of mention http://www.head-fi.org/t/704775/a-comparison-of-different-virtual-surround-sound-on-the-same-audio-track

i have not heard much about dts ultra pc ii but did manage to find a video with it off/on you can use on a standard pair of headphones (just like you can test for the other types of virtual surround too) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUb9oZ_7ssQ

generally most of the so called surround headsets sold nowdays are all virtual and use software to emulate surround. they are basically just a stereo pair of headphones using this software so that they appear to be surround sound equipped.

to answer your question, YES there is a difference to the different types and they will all sound slightly different. the most popular currently is cmss3d (which is now SBX now) and dolby headphone in a close second. often people prefer one or the other based on how they like the sound and like many other things can vary from person to person depending on taste and preferences. i would encourage you to listen to several different on/off or comparision tracks (youtube for virtual surround comparisions) to get an idea of what you like and dont like.

generally all virtual surround introduces some distortion to the sound to achieve this affect, as well as games already having some functions which achieve a similar effect which is why some people running good quality stereo headsets and headphones choose to not use it. personally i'm one of those people since i find that the tonal differences between front/back, volume difference front/back and distance and left/right location are enough to judge. i find sound quality without any distortion and hearing the sound as it was created to be most important to me. many however do like the virtual surround element. this is personal choice.

using a stereo headset with virtual surround software and using a headset with a built in soundcard with the software are going to be similar provided they use the same software, the notable differences being if they use a different type of software for the virtual sound processing which you can note by listening to the sample tracks. the biggest difference would be the quality of the soundcard. if you have a good soundcard in your pc you will get better quality sound by letting it do the processing than in a cheap soundcard found inside headsets. if all you have is onboard sound then they will be about equal sounding and pretty much a moot point (in your case it should be about equal)

---

on a side note you may want to look at the hyper x cloud headset which runs a fair bit more than your budget but may be worth noting as it gets some pretty good reviews as far as quality of sound is concerned. its considered (one of) the best headset under $100usd and you can try the dts ultra pc ii on it.

this may be more than you want to spend but it is worth noting.

the gamecom 780 also scores high reviews but has some known software/driver issues relating to its virtual sound that i'm not sure if ever were fixed or not.
 

VicVega1

Estimable
Jan 10, 2015
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4,570
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I've been checking on that lately. I have a MSI Eclipse mobo with a Creative X-Fi sound card and recently I got a Creative Tactic3D Sigma headset. It comes with a little USB adapter, that you plug the headset to first and software that simulates surround sound. you can plug it in without that adapter as well.
So when using the adapter sound is pretty much spot on (not as good as a real 7.1 or 5.1 headset and I recommend buying one of those actually). As for when the headset was plugged directly to my sound card and it's utlity simulated the surround it was pretty good, but a little flat. Like the rears and fronts were good, but all the sides seemd kind of the same.
I know it's a different setup as yours but hope this helps.
Oh, one more thing - those "fake surround" headsets do a better job when you don't push them to the full 7.1 and just use 5.1 instead. At least the Tactic3D I have.
A completely different topic and something to consider is how many games actually use 7.1 sound.
 
since you are interested in the different variations of virtual surround sound you may find this thread worth of mention http://www.head-fi.org/t/704775/a-comparison-of-different-virtual-surround-sound-on-the-same-audio-track

i have not heard much about dts ultra pc ii but did manage to find a video with it off/on you can use on a standard pair of headphones (just like you can test for the other types of virtual surround too) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUb9oZ_7ssQ

generally most of the so called surround headsets sold nowdays are all virtual and use software to emulate surround. they are basically just a stereo pair of headphones using this software so that they appear to be surround sound equipped.

to answer your question, YES there is a difference to the different types and they will all sound slightly different. the most popular currently is cmss3d (which is now SBX now) and dolby headphone in a close second. often people prefer one or the other based on how they like the sound and like many other things can vary from person to person depending on taste and preferences. i would encourage you to listen to several different on/off or comparision tracks (youtube for virtual surround comparisions) to get an idea of what you like and dont like.

generally all virtual surround introduces some distortion to the sound to achieve this affect, as well as games already having some functions which achieve a similar effect which is why some people running good quality stereo headsets and headphones choose to not use it. personally i'm one of those people since i find that the tonal differences between front/back, volume difference front/back and distance and left/right location are enough to judge. i find sound quality without any distortion and hearing the sound as it was created to be most important to me. many however do like the virtual surround element. this is personal choice.

using a stereo headset with virtual surround software and using a headset with a built in soundcard with the software are going to be similar provided they use the same software, the notable differences being if they use a different type of software for the virtual sound processing which you can note by listening to the sample tracks. the biggest difference would be the quality of the soundcard. if you have a good soundcard in your pc you will get better quality sound by letting it do the processing than in a cheap soundcard found inside headsets. if all you have is onboard sound then they will be about equal sounding and pretty much a moot point (in your case it should be about equal)

---

on a side note you may want to look at the hyper x cloud headset which runs a fair bit more than your budget but may be worth noting as it gets some pretty good reviews as far as quality of sound is concerned. its considered (one of) the best headset under $100usd and you can try the dts ultra pc ii on it.

this may be more than you want to spend but it is worth noting.

the gamecom 780 also scores high reviews but has some known software/driver issues relating to its virtual sound that i'm not sure if ever were fixed or not.
 

VicVega1

Estimable
Jan 10, 2015
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0
4,570
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I think one more thing worth mentioning is the number of drivers. headsets with two drivers won't ever be true surround and sound similar, right? The more drivers the closer you get to actual surround sound. Check these out for example: http://www.asus.com/Gaming/STRIX_71/
 

killerval

Honorable
Sep 12, 2012
3
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10,510
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Thank you both for your responses, they are very informative.

ssddx thank you for the links. As my budget is rather tight at the moment I think I will stick with a stereo headset and use the built-in motherboard software. I have an ok 5.1 speaker setup that I use for most games, this headset is more for playing interactive games such as gmod or CSGO so the importance is less on the sound quality, and more on the mic quality (reportedly high on the plantronics). In future I will definitely consider upgrading with a quality sound card and a better headset (indeed, I've read many reviews about the hyperx cloud stating it is one of the better headsets out there in its class).

As for the 780/788 yes, I've read it has some problems with applications like teamspeak/mumble whilst in-game: if you have virtual surround enabled you get an 'echo' effect on the voices. Therefore I reckon I will go with the stereo pair ATM.

Thanks again for your input :)
 
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