AE-7 + HD589se/SoundBar (Dolby Digital) VS HyperX Cloud Alpha S With the game Modern Warfare it has audio processing for Dolby Digital Atmos. With my AE-7 I'm only able to enable DD using spdf only. It won't work via 3.5mm cable. So with a separate soundbar capable of DD I actually get DD via SPDIF using the AE-7. There is a lot of emphasis in the firing of weapons which is a much fuller sound. Each has it's own unique sound that has a "punch" to it. Which drowns out the sound of all ambient, as well as other, sounds around you. Which reminds me of a firing range with all the booths full. Also, there is an emphasis, aka "punch" on impact of being shot (higher frequency bass). You will know when someone is taken out (lost full health) because of the fuller sound it makes on the final shot makes on a player. Another aspect of using DD is that ambient sounds are a tad more suppressed even when using Boost High. Which brings forward footstep sounds a bit more. Having prefaced the above this is what I was looking for out of my HD598se and AE-7. Although I do hear footsteps fine I miss the added DD effects which only work in the AE-7 through SPDIF out to my soundbar. There is no way I can tweak the EQ to do the above on my HD598se via 3.5mm jack. I would need a mixer/amp capable of surround sound/DD. I could use my receiver but that's bit of an awkward solution. This brings us to why I decided on the HyperX Cloud Alpha S. That comes with it's own usb cabled soundcard that's 7.1 capable. Having research this for several weeks I've compared the following headphones: -HyperX Cloud Orbit S is very, very expensive which is more abt for VR do to it's 3d audio (move your head left/right will let you hear more left/right) -SteelSeries Arctis Pro + which is expensive and dts only. And I prefer wired headsets. -Fnatic React Gaming Headset which is an Esport headset. But it's not tailored for FPS (per one of it's youtube videos) but for all Esport games. So priority for footsteps were a concern. -Razer BlackShark V2 Gaming Headset: THX 7.1 would have been my second option if the Alpha S didn't work. -Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset which didn't get the best reviews. And the blue voice mic thing sounded horrible. Also, I'm not pressed for wireless headsets. I'm sure I'm missing a few more headphones I've come across but you get the idea. With the Alpha S (using the provided 7.1) I get a similar audio experience with my AE-7 (DD Encoder) + SPDIF out to my Soundbar. And the headphones only requires 65ohms. Which is 15 ohms more then the HD589se which is a bonus for me as I don't need an amp. Therefore, I can keep the volume around 40% or so and can hear everything I need to hear. Win10 had no problem recognizing it and added it. Although I do have to alternate between AE-7 and Alpha S when gaming (which I already accepted as an extra step). They are snug but comfortable. They are closed back so sound isolation is far better then an open back HD598se. The difference between hearing footsteps between Alpha S 7.1 Surround Sound vs AE-7 verses plugging them in via 3.5 splitter is minimal except for the DD sound effects. With usb 7.1 Surround Sound I can actually hear footsteps a bit further out around 5-10 feet more (MW2019). The type sound of the footsteps heard on ground, pipe, wood, concrete, etc. are a bit more crisp and pronounced with the provided soundcard. Now don't get me wrong I can hear the same on my AE-7 (w/Alpha s) I simply need to find a better way to fine tune SBX Profile and EQ when using the Alpha S. Fiddling with it has improved on this by the way. I just don't know the "perfect" setup for footsteps without it sounding like crap with watching videos, etc. And SoundBlaster dropped the ball in providing a profile for Modern Warfare. Which I would have hoped to find in these updates. Overall, I'm a bit surprised by the Alpha S. I hear footsteps a bit further and from more of a 360 degree radius. And find that they do, surprising, better in MW 2019 then I originally though. And they don't sound "weird" when listening to music or youtube videos. The 7.1 usb soundcard that comes with the headphones is optimal for gaming. Dare I say ahead of the AE-7 + HD589se/Alpha S. But I loose that pop I hear from the DD sound effects from shots fired and opponents being crit. hit by those shots. The only con I see so far is that the cord doesn't detach from the headset and the cord itself is short. But comes with a usb soundcard with a longer cable. With both I can attach the usb to the back of my PC and still have plenty of cabling to wear them comfortably. The other con is that at times, do to the increased distance of hearing footsteps, I found on occasion an opponent being a lot closer then I realized when there are multiple options in a indoor/outdoor environment. The boom mic is detachable and the sound quality is compressed with the 7.1 usb soundcard. Which is better on the AE7 with a 3.5 splitter. The only other headsets I would consider would be the Razer BlackShard V2 or Fnatic in that order. But that would be if Alpha S didn't perform as well as it did.