What goes surround, comes surround
Thanks for a great year of
. Following on from your recent review of the new Asus Strix sound cards, I wanted to ask for something to be cleared up. I’ve been helping out a friend recently with sound cards. He bought a Creative Sound Blaster Z and was looking forward to an improvement in his in-game sound.
Being an FPS player, he was looking for positional awareness and thought 7.1 would be really helpful, so he asked me to find him a 7.1 headset.
Therein lies the problem though – 7.1 headsets, it seems, mostly use virtual surround sound. They’re stereo headsets with some processing built into the USB connector, coupled with software on the PC. Many don’t have a standard 3.5mm jack, just using USB instead. Those that do have a jack, such as the HyperX Cloud II, use a single 4-pole 3.5mm jack (for use with a mobile phone), rather than the separate microphone and stereo jacks that sound cards need.
Meanwhile, headsets with true 7.1 surround, such as the Asus Strix 7.1, are USB-drive, so they bypass the sound card entirely. It all seems confusing that there are good quality sound cards out there, but a lack of gaming headsets that can use them. My recommendation to him looks like it’s going to be to buy a decent pair of studio headphones and a separate microphone, then let the sound card and software do the virtual surround bit. Am I right?
Thanks guys, and keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to mince pie megatest – hope you have your indigestion tablets ready! CHRIS HOLLOWAY
Asus’ Strix 7.1 headset offers true positional audio, but only over USB