For a real gamer it’s hard to imagine a mute world. A full-immersion into game requires that a maximum of sense bodies be involved. A good screen involves vision, a gamepad, mouse and keypad are for all tactile organs, while it is a hight-quality full-scale sound system that is responsible for hearing. It would be perfect to have some smelling thing, of coarse, not always, but at least to create a certain atmosphere.
But today we are talking about sound. And here a conflict of requests takes place.
On the one hand, we want it to be powerful and beautiful so as to hear, if someone shoots at us from the north-west, to hear a missile flying from that very direction. And if you are sniper, you need to protect yourself against a mean enemy with a knife, with the hearing being extremely helpful. But, with all this cascade of advantages you don’t want to get a thick ear from your mother or wife, when at night your household wakes up to blood curdling «Fire in a hall!»
You can put on earphones but then all the comfort and pleasure would be lost. Where does the happy medium lie, when the sound is excellent, emotions are the breaking point, with keeping your night raid in secret from the nearest and dearest? Modern engineers took care of us and found a way out from this dilemma by creating today’s popular 5.1 and even 7.1 sound system.
This article provides an overview of 5.1 and 7.1-channel gaming earphones with surround sound. Apart from this, we will consider the difference between a real 5.1 and virtual settings, find the best devices in their niches and then, everybody will decide for themselves, whether to buy it or not.
What is a surround sound?
I see no point in retelling Wiki to you. In lay terms, this sound is the same as in real life. When you are using ordinary, not gaming, earphones (each ear having a dynamic), then you hear a 2D studio sound. If in reality you shouted «Sam, give me a ball!», the sound ran against all possible barriers, distorted and a transformed into a real one. This is what modern companies try to achieve. And, it stands by reason, they succeed in it as long as we have what to talk about. But we know that there is always room for perfection.
Is sound real or virtual?
Of course, it’s real. Well, in detail, to create a real 7.1 or at least 5.1 sounding, three or four dynamics in each ear respectively are needed. Then it would be possible to divide tracks into channels and hear everything properly.
A virtual sounding require no definitive number of dynamics. The necessary effect is achieved through a special software. At the level of digital processing of the sound artificial crossfades, attenuations, sound skips, which create a surround sound, are created.
Before moving on to the main review, I can’t help mentioning the following. Whatever the reported format is, 5.1 or 7.1, real of virtual sound output mode, this is no more than marchitecture. Today gaming headsets can’t be called so soundly. If you want a real surround sounding, buy a 7.1 system with a powerful subwoofer, install it in a vast room with a correct acoustics and receive higher bitrate sounds.
Everything we touch upon today is only an imitation of what it must be. But let’s agree that we are a little bit deceived and let’s try to enjoy it.
BEST GAMING 5.1 HEADSETS
TRITTON Pro+ 5.1
The first interesting device in our review is a 5.1 model by a famous company manufacturing Mad Catz top gaming gadgets. It has quite a lot of both positive and negative points. First of all, it consists in a real 5.1 sounding. Developers installed 4 dynamics in each ear. The adjustment turned out really comfortable, the software is installed within a couple of minutes just after connecting a headset. Each dynamic is available to personal adjustment. Dynamics are lightened by their respective colors.
Such a high-rise adjustment is a very useful feature. Unconsciously our ears hear in a little bit different way. For example, the left ear performs a 98% hearing, while the right one performs 95-96%%. So, you restore your hearing by this ideal adjustment. It’s miraculous. Embouchures are comfortably embedded close to ears.
Another feature which brings a lot of comfort and pleasure is frequency and voice volume adjustment. You start hearing yourself and set everything up as needed so as to avoid all the «Where are you all?!» pronounced with a voice of enraged bull at the cannonry shot volume. You set everything up for your teammates to hear very well even your whisper.
The device’s distinctive feature consists in the ability to connect to an Xbox gamepad with our any trouble. See the «Top Xbox 360 + Xbox One headsets» review to find more details.
Be careful while making an order as the American version goes without PC wire, while the European version of TRITTON Pro+ 5.1 ($170) one does have it.
ARCTIC P531 Gaming Stereo USB Headphones, True 5.1
Being internationally acclaimed for coolers manufacturing, the ARCTIC company is a newbie on the market of the headsets. This model is quite massive and would be comfortable for a big head only. What attracts attention at once and makes us stop and think through is the price of $55. It is quite a moderate sum for top and high-quality model. The earphones are equipped with a exterior sound card , which is practical and comfortable. The sound you will receive will always remain the same, which is of great importance during competitions.
The mechanism of deployable ears facilitates the transportation. From an aesthetic standpoint, I don’t like such solutions very much because they make a model look cheaper. But this is a subjective solution having no influence on productivity. The device has a sensitive and pleasant vibrobass.
The software that goes as a set is accessible and user-friendly. It is needed for fine adjustment of dynamics only, as they will function in a standard mode without additional software, too.The comments are mostly positive.
One of the device’s negative points consists in connection to Windows 8 which requires additional drivers. Well, its construction is far from ideal, there are slops. But for this price the model performs a high-quality sound and is, actually, a perfect solution. I recommend it to you!
HyperX Cloud Headset
I am almost sure that can surprise you by naming the manufacturer of this device. You are certain to have a flash card in your pocket or use a RAM by Kingston in your PC. So, here you are a headset by Kingston.
The best thing is that traditions are preserved and the reputation remains untainted. HyperX Cloud Headset is a bestseller ($70). An extended range of sensitiveness of 15-25000 Hz. Even people with tuneful hearing will be able to hear all the sounds. An extremely close girth of ears ensures protection from exterior sounds and, at the same time, saves you from revealing to everybody that you are playing a «Rainbow pony».
The headset allows you to spend hours fighting with the Evil without exhausting the neck and rubbing ears, and the fact that the headset is used by top gaming teams in different disciplines proves it. The comments on this model are positive. The users underline perfect sounding and full-immersion into the game. You are sure to appreciate this model and use it for a very long time.
BEST GAMING 7.1 HEADSETS
Razer Kraken 7.1
This is a very recognizable model by popular developers of gaming equipment. The Razer Kraken model has virtual 7.1 sounding. This effect is fully achieved through the software by Razer. The sound is divided into channels, creating a full-immersion effect. You will really feel the direction they are shooting at you from and, if someone is creeping behind your back, you will really want to turn round.
Embouchures are covered with soft leather. Greenpeace shouldn’t be anxious as it is the imitation to ensure maximal comfort and naturalness. The 7.1 Kraken ($100) microphone with an embedded power buttons is comfortably hidden and is removed in case of need, which is comfortable and practical.
The headset is lightened with a signature smooth green lightening when the device is active, as a LED indicator always makes it easier to understand if a device is on or off. But, despite all the positive points consisting in excellent sounding and comfortable wear, on the other hand there are its negative points, which are high price, virtual, and not real 7.1 format, and poor assembling. One in eight highlights that in four or five months a Razer Kraken 7.1 headset is disintegrating, which is bad for a model of such a high profile.
You can also read a review of the Razer Kraken Pro model having no surround sound.
It is a very powerful sound output. But you should consider buying a Razer Tiamat model only if the question of money is not crucial, as its price is far from low – $180. The sound system is real, even more than real. Whilst buying Razer Tiamat, you get a full-size model equipped with 10 on-side dynamics. Big ears provide the highest possible level of sound positioning. I managed to touch and hear this model personally during the «Sound in the hand» exhibition.
And, I would say, it was impressive.
Hearing a track by AC/DC, you felt like being present at the concert. And, what is essential, actually, the thing we are searching for a good model in this review, is games. Unfortunately, there were only a console with FIFA which doesn’t have an expressive soundmap, but I can say that I felt on a genuine stadium.
Apart from fine adjustment through a software, a remote control goes as a set with Razer Tiamat. The remote control looks very stylish and provides control over various parameters. If you are eager to pay considerable money, don’ hesitate to buy this device. According to customers, this is a good investment, but some think that you can’t spend a lot of time with this headset on, because Tiamat’s close girth leads to lack of ventilation.
Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930
This device is very attractive thanks to its large customer base, making it a bestseller. What does the secret of this popularity consist in? This is another model with a virtually created 7.1 sounding, and the squinty of this imitation is quite high. There emerge no problems and delays arising from wireless operating mode. The working frequency is 2.4 GHz, which is more than needed to transmit the sound.
The left ear is equipped with programmable buttons, to which you can attach various functions according to your discretion. The microphone is well-balanced. Your friends, or enemies, won’t hear anything but for your voice, all other sorts of sound will be blocked.
A weak battery represents one of the challenges. It fails to meet the reported ten hours of one-charge performance. I would recommend a Logitech Wireless Garming Geadset G930 ($80) to those who want to play or listen to music lying on their bed but wearing a headset with perfect sounding.
Let’s sum it up!
Buying a 5.1 or 7.1 gaming headset is not a challenging issue, but requires decisiveness and rationality. To begin with, you need to decide whether to need a headset, and afterwards you determine their level. A high-quality device will cost a considerable sum of money. And, what is the most important, bear in mind that you are buying a gadget performing a sounding which is only similar to the 7.1 format, especially, if this effect is achieved virtually. Make a wise choice and take care of your ears!