Originally Posted by Outcasst
Tried it, makes my audio sound dull and flat. Any kind of software audio processing = garbage.
I haven't tried this yet, so I can't comment on Razer's implementation, but this is not at all true. CMSS-3D has been generally flawless I've found.
It's important to keep in mind what this sort of software can and can't do well
It's NOT (despite what inept marketing may have you think):
1) About improving sound quality.
2) About "up-scaling" stereo sound into surround.
3) About approximating "real" surround sound.
What it is actually quite good at (or at least other implementations with the same idea) is taking a multi-channel sound source (stereo included), and faithfully
translating that from a speaker driven encoding into a headphone driven one.
Fundamentally, speakers try to simulate the noise creating objects who's sound they are emulating. That's why if you want more realistic surround sound
with speak res, you add more. The more speakers (and having them on independent channels really helps) you have, in a wider array of positions, the more accurately you can simulate a bunch
of things moving around and making noise. Think of speakers as the audio equivalent of a holodeck, for true immersion, you want speakers that could somehow envelope you totally in 3d space.
Headphones don't at all seek to do this. If speakers are like a holodeck, headphones are like a VR_Headset. The goal isn't to emulate the noise source, it's to broadcast into your ear exactly the same sound that you would hear if you were experiencing the noise source being simulated.
If you want to simulate a man speaking to you on your left side with two speakers (one exactly on your left and one exactly on your right), the solution is simple. You play the voice from the left speaker (which is already pretty much where the man's mouth would be).
If you want to do the same thing with headphones, you actually need to play sound from both headphones. Each headphone broadcasts to one ear, just because the man is on your left, doesn't mean your right ear doesn't hear something. It still does.
Neither one of these methods is intrinsically "better" or more "true surround sound", they go about doing the same thing through different approaches.
The kicker is this: most audio is designed with speakers in mind. When a typical game outputs 5 (or 5.1, but let's not split hairs here) channels of sound, it's designed for 5 speakers. In order to sound good over headphones you need to somehow map from a source driven encoding, to a receiver (your ears) driven encoding. The same thing actually occurs with just two channels of sound. A stereo mix designed for speakers does not correspond with what your ears are actually meant to hear.
What software like this does, it use algorithms to simulate what each ear of a person should hear given an input of source mapped audio. Unfortunately, due to the nature of software audio processing, to a larger or smaller extend, this will introduce some artifacts into the sound. Whether or not these are at all noticeable (or even relevant) depends on both the implementation, and the type of audio.
Generally, this is not something you will want to do with music for instance (though with a high quality translation, ie likely not this gaming oriented one, the issue can be less about hurting audio quality, and more that you're changing the source in a way the artist didn't intend).
In the end, if you want a high quality headphone experience this sort of software (or a hardware implementation of it) is your best bet (short of finding headphone mapped source material, which is in very very very limited supply).
As a side note, if you want to hear what natively recorded headphone source material sounds like, check this out (with headphones): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA