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5.1 headset with 5.1 speakers? How does this work?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I'm currently searching for a new headset and have run into a few problems. I already have a few in mind so that's not really what I'm looking for here. I am having difficulties figuring out what the options are for my current setup though, so that's what I've come to ask about. Specs are in my sig, but to make it quick I currently have:

Audigy 2 ZS
Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 speakers
Logitech Precision Gaming headset (stereo)

So... the story is that the Logitech headset is terribly uncomfortable for extended gaming sessions and I'd like to replace it ASAP. I'm still in the process of deciding between one of the following:

Razer HP-1 (5.1, 3.5mm)
Turtle Beach Ear Force HPA2 (5.1, 3.5mm)
SteelPad 5H v.2 (stereo, USB)
Tritton AXPC (5.1, USB)

My main concern is that I don't know how 5.1 speakers work in combination with 5.1 speakers. When I'm not on Vent/Teamspeak, I use my speakers rather than the headphones and am not going to plug/unplug them all of the time to switch back and forth. Stereo headphones obviously would not have this problem, but I'd like to get a decent 5.1 set if possible. From what it looks like, there are two types available; 5.1 USB headsets and 5.1 headsets with the standard 3.5mm jacks. I'm quite computer hardware literate, but know very little about audio so this is where I am getting lost. Seems like the 5.1 jack headsets plug directly into the sound card, and the USB versions use an internal sound card. The Razers use the 3.5mm jacks, and a USB connection to power the amp/control. Am I able to plug in both the speakers and headphones into the Audigy using splitters like this without losing sound quality/volume?



On the other side of things... the sets that use only a USB connection completely ignore your sound card and use their own built-in devices. Basically, I'm looking for a solution in which I can put down the headphones and turn on the speakers, and vice-versa, without having to go change any system/game options for which sound device to use. Would that be an issue or do I not understand it correctly?

Thanks
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post #2 of 8
You could use splitters such as the one you showed, however, I would expect reduced output, and the possibility of overloading the OP-amps on your Audigy card. (OP-amps are the chips on the sound card that effectively act as amplifiers for your headphones/line out devices.)

I strongly recommend against USB headsets, for the simple reason that their onboard processing cannot and will not be as good as your Audigy. In fact, I recommend staying away from 5.1 headsets altogether. With all the advanced EAX features and environmental audio processing in games and sound cards these, days, it is very possible to have a very realistic experience with your normal 2.0 headsets, in fact, most people recommend it over 5.1 headsets. I'll leave specific product recommendations to other people.

Another option to consider is a boom-style or clip-on mic, and stereo headphones. Most people are familiar with the popular Zalman clip-on, but you can get much better quality. Depending on your budget, there are plenty of great gaming headphones that might not have a mic attached to them, but good-quality mics from Altec Lansing and the like ca be had inexpensively.

I'm sure I've managed to not answer your question, so please feel free to keep asking. Welcome to the forums, by the way.
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Figured as much, thanks for your help.

I'll go for a normal non-surround headset then.
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post #4 of 8
Well to completely contradict chipp (Even though what he said is completely right, and 2.0 headphones do offer better sound quality)

If you buy that turtle beach headset it comes with a 5.1 splitter cable. It pretty much splits each of your 5.1 ports into two, so you can have your speakers and your headset hooked up at the same time. So just turn on the headset, turn off speakers or vice versa. It won't offer the best sound quality but directional sound (e.g. from the left, behind, right etc.) is great with the ear force headphones, I have them, and it will work great for how you want it to.


Err.. Edit: I have the model released just before those. I'm sure the new ones also have the splitter cables though (As most of the rest of the cabling looks identical). Also, the ear force's aren't that comfortable at first, but after awhile you get used to them.
    
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I noticed before as well that they do come with the splitters, unfortunately they aren't sold anywhere locally and are pretty much a 1-2 week special order online. They seem to be very similar to the Razers but with a better mic and a better price. No lights though How is the build quality of yours? I read a few reviews that were a bit harsh on the quality of the plastic. Considering that I have gone through... well, let's just say 'enough'... keyboards, durability is a huge plus.

I guess my major concern is still whether or not I'd need be changing audio devices within games/apps constantly to use both 5.1 speakers and 5.1 headphones. Haven't really gotten a clear answer on that yet and that is really the major deciding factor for me between 5.1 and stereo at this point.
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaan View Post
Yeah, I noticed before as well that they do come with the splitters, unfortunately they aren't sold anywhere locally and are pretty much a 1-2 week special order online. They seem to be very similar to the Razers but with a better mic and a better price. No lights though How is the build quality of yours? I read a few reviews that were a bit harsh on the quality of the plastic. Considering that I have gone through... well, let's just say 'enough'... keyboards, durability is a huge plus.

I guess my major concern is still whether or not I'd need be changing audio devices within games/apps constantly to use both 5.1 speakers and 5.1 headphones. Haven't really gotten a clear answer on that yet and that is really the major deciding factor for me between 5.1 and stereo at this point.
If you get the splitter, switching audio devices is as simple as turning the speakers and headphones off and on (assuming you get the turtle beach's, as both the speakers and headphones would be 5.1, so no switching necessary)

Build quality and overall strength is great. They're made of some type of metal and are very sturdy and strong (just don't drop them!, they're a bit "heavy"). Overall the sound quality is ok, my sennheisers sound better though. However I do warn you the comfort isn't great, and it will hurt your ears at first.

Also, the use of splitters on your audigy2ZS will not degrade volume or quality of sound. I use the splitter on mine and it works just fine, sounds the same setup with or without the splitter.

I hope that answers your questions.
    
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks, that helps a great deal.

Probably looking at 4+ hours of use per day so if comfort is an issue I may look into others, but that definitely answered the question of whether or not it's do-able.
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post #8 of 8
if comfort is an issue and you are considering stereo cans, then take a serious look at Senn HD555's. I had the 595's and they were comfy, and ATH cans look comfy too. I've only tried one of their higher up cans, but the Ath A-500's look comfy and are ceapish.
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