Wireless 5.1 headsets
Can anyone recommend a good wireless 5.1 headset? I was all set on the Razer Chimaera, but it would seem that with the way it's configured, you can't use 5.1 and a mic at the same time on PC. Does anyone have a good set they recommend, or does anyone use a Chimaera and have a workaround for the mic issue?
Was really impressed by the wireless Sennheiser RS 180. Tried it at a local showroom, it didn't skip or fade out even when I moved to the very end of the store (about 50m). Just checked online and it isn't cheap - $330. Would be nice to have but yeah, not cheap...
Regarding 5.1 headphones, I've owned a Zalman 5.1 headset and the Creative Aurvana X-Fi. Both were crap compared to my Sennheiser HD 555 or Shure SE530. Ever since getting burned with the zalman and creative headsets I've just ignored "surround headphones" as a cheap gimmick that has no relation to true surround sound.
Ouch. That's more expensive than the Astro A50, which I could also use with my PS3. I just sent you a PM this morning btw, about your audio switcher. I had a bit of trouble getting it to work. It's my last resort before getting a headset.
I have some Sennheiser PC323Ds, the 7.1 is horrible but the 5.1 sounds lovely when you are playing Tribes or something like that. I was impressed by how good it was in fact, the soundcard supplied is pretty solid too. Not wireless though so I apologise for not really adding much, a friend of mine had some wireless turtle beaches (with 7.1 etc) and I thought they sounded horrible personally.
Originally Posted by mashakos
hey happy to help. I'll reply in the thread of the audio switcher.
Originally Posted by db1331
Bit late to the party but I'll just reiterate whats been said above - 5.1 headphones (i.e those with the requisite number of speakers) are a complete gimmick. I speak as someone who has dropped a frightening amount of money on headphones over the past 10 years.
My headphones history reads like this
2 pairs of Technics (they were like £20 from dixons) - Surprisingly good. First set saw me through a good 2 years or so before one speaker died. Second set I had for a while before I got sucked into the whole 5.1 lark...
2 pairs of Zalmans 5.1s - first set I assured myself was actually pretty good, so when they broke after about 8 months use I bought some more. I was wrong. Sure positional audio was good but in terms of comfort, sound quality and bass they were sorely lacking.
2 pairs of Medusa 5.1s - Bass was improved over the zalmans although I think positional audio suffered a little. I had the version with the amp that suffered horrendous interference from mobile phones. First set quickly broke and I foolishly replaced again because I couldn't find any better 5.1s (and stupidly still believed it was important to have them)
1 random creative headset for £12 - After my second lot of medusas packed up I picked these up as a stop gap. They were surprisingly good and made me realise just how shockingly bad the bass was on 5.1s (because they have to make the speakers small to cram them all in). I tried out the dolby 5.1 headphone stuff and was impressed with how well it worked.
Creative fatality (or somesuch nonsense) - figured I'd upgrade from my cheapy ones for a better version since I realised the software based 5.1 was just as good for gaming. Worst headphones I have ever had the misfortune to own; tiny cups; exceedingly uncomfortable; horrific vice like grip on your head. All told, I probably used for 12 hours before I had to revert to the cheapy ones
Sennheiser PC350 - Knowing I wanted to upgrade, and that I also wanted an inbuilt mic, I picked these up. Great headphones. Although after a couple of years the faux leather has started flaking away. I now use these as my laptop set, as a result they endure a fair amount of punishment getting carted around the place and they're still going strong. Bass and sound quality is excellent. Only reason I didnt stick with them is I have a weird shaped head and so I sometime find them very uncomfortable (although honestly i think 95% of the population will find them amazingly comfortable)
Beyerdynamic MMX300 - Best headphones I've ever owned - cushions are nicer than 350s and bass is arguably punchier but there honestly isnt all that much difference between them and the sennheisers. I still occasionally find them uncomfortable but have resigned myself to the knowledge that its my freakishly shaped head and not the headset
TLDR: 5.1s are a waste of money. Software 5.1 and a quality pair of stereo headphones is much better. Can recommend MMX300s and PC350s (although neither are wireless)
PS my personal feeling is never ever ever ever buy Razer kit. Its on a par with Alienware and Apple, only while they make you pay for the name, at least the kit they offer is actually pretty good. Razer products on the other hand are just flashy tat.
The reason why 5.1 headphones offer no advantage over a decent sound card + stereo headphones is because the 5.1 headphones usually have a built in soundcard which does the exact same thing as a basic Asus soundcard does: Provide Dolby Headphone.
5.1 headphones need this bit of engineering because their speakers are too close together for your ears to be actually able to tell the difference where the sound comes from. When a sound comes from behind you, the sound is shaped by your ears and your head. However, a headphone (regardless whether it is a 5.1 or a 2.0) blasts those sounds more or less directly in to your eardrums, so it needs hardware or software to "morph" the sounds, so that they sound as if they are shaped by your ears.
So, if you want good positional sound everywhere, just get a soundcard that has Dolby Headphone (or something similar from Creative), and get stereo headphones. This is the better sounding and most importantly, the much cheaper option.
can you actually hear 5.1 in a headphone? >.<
Depends on your ears, I suppose, I can't always hear stereo.
Originally Posted by digirob10
I need to go wirelss on my next headset. I probably break 1 headset a year on the cord getting tugged on. (finally went with a $30 headset instead of a $70 last time). Cord got tripped on, now I have no sound in my left ear piece. Took it apart and all the wires look fine. The connector that goes into the computer probably has a loose wire (and not really easily fixable).
Short answer: No.
Originally Posted by digirob10
Long answer: See my previous post.
Like some of the other folk have said, surround sound headsets are a bit of a gimmick. With the exception of a couple, they are all actually normal stereo headphones with only two drivers in them and use software-driven virtual surround sound. If you don't really care about the sound quality and just want simple surround sound without the fuss, go for it, but you can get a lot more for your money with a little bit more effort.
You can achieve the exact same result with a pair of normal stereo headphones and a sound card or device that supports virtual surround. The two popular methods out there are Dolby Headpones, which seem to be used in a lot of surround headsets as well as sound cards, and CMSS 3D, which is used in Creative SoundBlaster cards. I use CMSS 3D, but either way works fine.
Most surround headsets are overpriced and won't offer the best sound quality for your money. You can buy a good quality set of headphones for the same price that will sound way better. For a mic, you can then buy a clip-on lapel mic, or a detachable boom mic like this: http://www.modmic.com/. Generally open-backed headphones lend themselves better to surround sound, as they usually have a larger soundstage, but you can find some closed headphones that suit it as well.
Check out these two threads for advice on headphones, and how to set your PC up for virtual surround. The head-fi forum is also a really good resource for advice on all things audio. Beware though, if you fall down the rabbit hole it can become a very expensive hobby. Many users there own several pairs of headphones ranging from under $100 to over $1000.
I've been using Razer Chimaera 5.1 for a few months now and I'm satisfied with its performance. Soft and comfortable to my ears, I love the quality of the sound for both playback and recording and it has a cooler design. It's something you always wanna show to your friends.. :)