Questions about surround sound

Discussion in 'Digital Photography, Home and Portable Electronics' started by shoja, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. shoja

    shoja Ancient Guru

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    So my friend is telling about not needing 5.1 speakers to get 5.1 surround sound and saying that 5.1 stands for channels, not speakers(?!). I know 5.1 is channels but don't you need 5 speakers and a sub-woofer to fully utilize all those channels? And then goes on to saying that some DSS(?) tech came out before 5.1 speakers even existed in 1940 which according to him is 5.1 channels technology. Then goes on to say that stereo headphones(like turtle beach) use dss to produce 5.1 sound like other true 5.1 surround sound headphones.

    Lost by now? You should be because everything he said to me looks extremely inaccurate/made-up and has me extremely confused. I know a little about this whole surround sound thing. What is dss? I never heard of it and don't you need like 5 speakers in headphones to actually experience true surround(5.1)? And stereo headphones can just simulate it and not provide what a full 5.1 headphones(if there is any) can provide? Because if that guy is right then why are people buying 5.1 headphones or sound systems? Everyone can just go buy stereo and turn into 5.1 magically.

    Please enlighten me fellow gurus because googling all this made me more confused

    Thanks
     
  2. hifislut

    hifislut Member

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    5.1 = 6 speakers
    Front Centre
    Left Front
    Right Front
    Left Surround [placed to the side or behind the listening position]
    Right surround [placed to the side or behind the listening position]
    Subwoofer.

    Your friend is correct in that it is channels. Each speaker has it own output channel on the surround amplifier you use, thus each speaker has it own seperate sound, which when used in conjunction with all the other speakers gives the surround effect. You can process a stereo [2 channel] sound into 5.1 but is heavily processed and it is NOT TRUE surround and frankly sounds awful, in my opinion. Ther same goes for surround headphones, they exist, are complicated to setup, and are again, in my opinion, awful.

    Nothing beats a decent true 5.1 surround setup...except 7.1 or 9.2 but thats a whole different ball game.

    Hope this helps - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.1_surround_sound
     
  3. Glidefan

    Glidefan Don Booze Staff Member

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    5.1 stands for the discreet sound channels, and each channel leads eventually to a keyboard.
    But you can use HRTF functions from a soundcard to get the surround sound from a pair of headphones. Using headphones to get surround is not the same as using a pair of speakers to get surround.
    5.1 is not really surround technically speaking because you are not surrounded by the sound. Its not coming from everywhere, its simulated... 5.1 is just the configuration of the speakers.
    And in cinema, the center is for the actors, the front pair for the music, and the back pair of channels for the effects/ambiance/immersion.
    So 5.1 is not positioning sound by itself.
    There are recordings that can give you the surround effect only by using stereo headphones.

    And its not the ears that hear the surround, its the brain that calculates the effect, much like vision. So as long as you provide a minimum of 2 discreet sounds with the right physics, you should get something back.

    EDIT: poop. i didn't answer your question, did I...
     
  4. Sever

    Sever Ancient Guru

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    well it depends on what youre referring to when you say speaker.

    each of my front speakers has a 6.5inch woofer and a 2inch tweeter, so you could argue that each of my speakers is composed of multiple speakers. (inception?)

    you can also piggy back banana plugs to add more speakers to the same channel, so you can have a lot more than 6 speakers for a 5.1 setup.

    i think what your friend is referring to is dolby virtual surround. it attempts to recreate the sound/atmosphere of surround sound using less speakers. in the end, it doesnt sound as good as as setup using individual speakers for each channel.
     

  5. nexu

    nexu Maha Guru

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    The audio card based HRTF implementation are so-so for headphones imo. I prefer Dolby Headphone over Creative CMSS-3D; which i can hardly tell it's on or off with the latter.
    Some game engine also implemented their own HRTF algorithm in an attempt to produce 'surround audio experience'. Which overall seem to work better than audio-card based ones. Since the audio engine have access to the x,y and z-depth information in the game it self, or even the surface materials to produce a more accurate reverb.
     
  6. shoja

    shoja Ancient Guru

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    Thanks for clearing that up guys. I showed all of your responses to my friend and all of the sudden he says he was kidding...... Him saying DSS was a tech created in 1940 was just one of the Turtle Beach's amplifiers name and that's probably why I never heard of it. It's just an amp which simulates 5.1 sound for headphones and he said all headphones and speakers use that, which is not true after all. He's a hard headed person so still he believe everything revolves around this device called "dss" ......

    I showed him what I had to so thanks for all the info guys :)
     
  7. ESlik

    ESlik Ancient Guru

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    Analog is the only way to get true 5.1 surround. Headphones plug directly into sound card the same way 5.1 desk tops do. ANALOG is what you want.
     
  8. TruMutton_200Hz

    TruMutton_200Hz Ancient Guru

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    ^ That depends. I have a Medion Erazer 5.1 Gaming Grade USB 2.0 headset and, personally, I think it sounds much better than any pair of analog 5.1 surround headphones in its price range, no matter which soundcard you use.
     
  9. ESlik

    ESlik Ancient Guru

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    You haven't tried Psyko Carbon headphones. Even the Roccat Kaves will blow away most other 5.1 analog cans. Believe me. I have tried them ALL. Psyko my friend. Only way to go. In my opinion.
     
  10. TruMutton_200Hz

    TruMutton_200Hz Ancient Guru

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    ^ I said:
    The Carbon costs nearly three and a half times what I paid.
     

  11. ESlik

    ESlik Ancient Guru

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    You are right. I didn't know the cost of your cans. The Roccat Kaves are very very good 5.1 analog cans and can be found for around $80. maybe $90. If someone doesn't want to go as high in price as the Psykos, Roccat is a very good choice. Check Medusa .ca. They also have 5.1 models available for less than the Kave's.
     
  12. Black_ice_Spain

    Black_ice_Spain Ancient Guru

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    buy a good 2.0, superlux or sumthing else, evcery 5.1 i've tried were a piece of trash on the low-price range.
     
  13. Pill Monster

    Pill Monster Banned

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    Lol.

    All PC audio is digital, it's just converted to analogue via DAC before it gets to your speakers.

    If it wasn't you wouldn't be able to hear anything.

    In fact most modern audio is converted from digital unless u listen to tape or record player.....or maybe gramophone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  14. TruMutton_200Hz

    TruMutton_200Hz Ancient Guru

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    ^ It's the equipment that plugs into the PC that can plug in digitally if it has a DAC already built-in. By "analog", people are referring to equipment that can be plugged into onboard sound / add-in soundcards (or external DAC units) using separate analog cables and / or plugs, obviously.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  15. TruMutton_200Hz

    TruMutton_200Hz Ancient Guru

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    Thanks but I'm very happy with my 40 € headset with its comfy fit (I think it's actually real leather or at least it feels that way), its powerful bass sounds and its internal C-MEDIA chip that allows me to choose between analog and digital input modes. The mic is also very good so IMO this thing can easily compete with for example those more than twice as expensive Logitech gaming headsets.
     

  16. Colin4May

    Colin4May Member

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    Interesting thread! Can I ask anyone if they've come across decent 5.1 surround sound music dvds or CDs? I've got a great one of jean Michel Jarre's re-recording of Oxygene using all the original retro synth equipment, and it is awesome!

    Whereas a music dvd of a Depeche Mode album just seemed muddy and confused!
     
  17. bigb159

    bigb159 Member Guru

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    Friend was probably trying to sell you a yamaha 5.1 simulator, which is an elongated brick sitting over with the TV trying to be surround. Get the speakers or headphones.
     

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