Updated at: 03-06-2022 - By: Leo Hall

Gamers are increasingly interested in virtual surround sound when playing games using headphones or a headset, especially those who could benefit from the additional spatial awareness it provides.

All of those concerns and more will be addressed in this essay, which you can start reading right now.

Let us begin with the fundamentals.

True Surround Headphones

Let’s get to the meat of the matter: are there any surround-sound headphones available?

They do exist, but their utility is a questionable one at best. In the end, it all boils down to how we hear.

Notice how many drivers are packed into each of the earcups of a headset like the Asus Strix 7.1. As well as substantially raising the headset’s manufacturing costs – and consequently its price – this has extremely limited advantages.

What's the Difference Between Virtual and “True” Surround Sound Gaming Headsets?

You won’t be able to tell the difference between different drivers because they’re so close together. Because the drivers are all so close to your ear, it won’t seem as immersive as a real 7.1 speaker system, but it will still give you a sense of direction.

Virtual Surround

Virtual surround can be generated by any stereo headphones, although the quality will vary depending on the quality of the headphones themselves.

In other words, how exactly does virtual surround sound operate? Just a little careful manipulation of a person’s perception is all it takes to make it appear that they are surrounded by multiple separate audio sources. This classic is a good example.

Software is all that is needed to replicate the experience. Gaming experiences can be enhanced by employing virtual surround capabilities on your sound card or specialized software such as Razer Synapse, Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic.

Virtual Surround Sound in Headphones

With the right headphones, a virtual surround sound experience is also possible. When using headphones for surround sound, the audio drivers are closer to your auditory canal than speakers located in the room, so the sound quality is even better. Headphones are the most effective means of improving one’s hearing.

In order to create virtual surround sound on headphones, the audio drivers are used to direct sound in specific directions. They use techniques to make it sound like you’re hearing them in the actual world. Your headphones have a variety of audio drivers that use different sound levels and delays to simulate real-world sounds.

Crash Course on Surround Sound

As a first step, are you familiar with surround sound and how it operates? If this is the case, you may proceed directly to the following section. Stay precisely where you are if you want to learn more about it.

Is Virtual Surround Sound Worth It For Gaming? [Easy Guide]

What is the meaning of the term “surround sound”? A surround sound is exactly what it sounds like — sound that surrounds you. When you’re in a movie theater, you’ll hear the sound coming from either your side, the back, or in front of you. It’s possible to hear noises coming from all around you using surround sound.

Think of a movie where you feel as if you’re in the movie, not just watching it. You hear everything as though you’re there right in the middle of it.

Surround sound is best enjoyed when you have speakers surrounding you. The 5.1 and 7.1 channel sound systems are two of the options offered. Five or seven speakers are dispersed throughout the room to simulate your hearing.

It’s not that simple to set up a full surround sound system. It’s also expensive, given the amount of money you’ll need to invest in high-quality speakers.

What Is Surround Sound?

Let’s take a quick look at what surround sound is before we go into virtual surround sound.

With that in mind, you may have heard of a number of different audio configurations:

  • 1.0 — Also referred to as “mono” sound, this setup utilizes a single speaker to produce sound. The lack of spatial awareness it provides makes it unsuitable for video games, and this is a well-known fact.
  • There are two speakers in the most common “stereo” set-up. It uses the fact that the speakers are located on either side of the listener to give the listener a sense of spatial awareness.
  • Although it’s similar to 2.0, the addition of a dedicated subwoofer makes 2.1 a unique setup (a speaker designed to produce low-frequency sounds). The bass is more noticeable and the overall experience is more immersive as a result of this.

This was the first surround sound system to use five speakers, including the subwoofer. Set up like this: Black squares represent speakers and white represents listener:

  • Finally, we have 7.1, which is the most complicated surround arrangement. With seven speakers and a subwoofer, it delivers a full-on surround sound experience. This set-up takes the best features of a 5.1 setup and enhances them with an additional level of spatial awareness.

Are Virtual Surround Gaming Headsets Worth It? | WIRED



Is virtual surround sound any good

So, is virtual surround sound worth the investment? You can undoubtedly get virtual surround sound, but only if you don’t shell out a lot of money on high-end headphones that tout virtual surround as their main selling point.

Which is better virtual surround sound or stereo?

Surround speakers for digital true surround sound (DTS).

Is virtual surround sound good for gaming?

For gamers, virtual surround sound headsets can help improve their performance by enhancing their spatial awareness, unlike standard stereo headsets. If you’re looking for something a little more immersive, you may want to invest in a gaming headset with 5.1 or 7.1 channels.


So, is virtual surround sound worth the investment?

Does virtual surround sound exist? The answer is most definitely yes, as long as you don’t shell out a lot of money for headphones that promote virtual surround as their main selling point. Virtual surround sound can be achieved with any pair of headphones, even if some are specifically built to do it.

Open-back headphones are the only form of headphones capable of enhancing spatial awareness. They don’t completely block out sound, but rather allow some of it to escape via the earcups, resulting in a more authentic listening experience.