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Alternatives to the Roccat 5.1 Analog?

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Topic

codezer0 2 months ago

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not the biggest fan of headphones/headsets, in large part because the size of my head makes most all of them uncomfortable, if not outright painful, to wear for any extended period of time. That said, I find myself revisiting this scenario from time to time, on the possibility of either just having to work with a computer where I don't have room for another set of speakers, or say if I'm able to do some late-night gaming and don't want to disturb the wife.

As someone that at least cares enough to know how games should look and sound, it's probably not surprising, but very disappointing, to find such a distinct lack of headsets that even do surround sound; moreover, the overwhelming majority using some kind of USB sound chip, like that's somehow acceptable or capable. Even in the rare stores that have "demo units" to try and give a test listen, if they weren't trying to crush my head with their overbearing grip, they disappointed me with the infamous Realtek (poor) quality hollow sound, which again doesn't help if their claimed advanced feature support isn't actually recognized by the game I'm trying to run. The solution seemed simple... find a headset that actually uses the sound card's audio outs to make surround sound. Easier said, than done.

While the Tiamat 7.1 from Razer did look to fit the bill at first, the sticker shock of $200(at launch), and now climbing in price presumably because they're discontinued is a problem for me. The only other solution I could find, were the Roccat Analog 5.1. My only concern is the fact that they seem to be the only choice, still sold. I have a hard enough time with the notion of buying something for sound without being able to actually test them out (since nobody local ever has these in stock, much less on a kiosk), and it would absolutely suck, to spend that much only to find it not being good enough to warrant the asking price; or worse, being uncomfortable to the point of being unusable.

But this is so far, the only headset I've found that meets this requirement. Hence, why I'm asking here, if there are any OTHER headphones/headsets that are able to drive surround sound, AND accept analog inputs?

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Evil_Paroxysm 5 Builds 1 point 2 months ago

As someone that at least cares enough to know how games should look and sound, it's probably not surprising, but very disappointing, to find such a distinct lack of headsets that even do surround sound; moreover, the overwhelming majority using some kind of USB sound chip, like that's somehow acceptable or capable.

Multiple drivers in one ear cup causes muddy sound, this is why no 'credible' audio companies do true surround sound headsets. You'll be much better off with a quality headset/headphone with a single driver per ear and then a surround unit.

With that said two come to mind: the 2013-2015 Astro Mixamp Pro, and the Sennheiser GSX1000. Both are USB based themselves but have 3.5mm jacks for sound/mic so the headset itself would be analog. You can't get around this for what you're asking to do.

As for the large head portion of this I do know the Sennheiser GSP 500/600 expand out VERY large and they have numerous pressure/clamping force sliders on them to fine tune fitment.

The kicker? The options I mentioned above would run you $400-500 but is best option you have if you want quality sound and surround sound in a headset.

Edit: When you use an analog 5.1 speaker setup you have a cable for each speaker and your motherboards sound card tells it which audio to send to which port. You can't expect to get true 5.1/7.1 from an analog headset that only has 1 stereo jack in. For this reason most everything (Except this Roccat) you find is going to be USB based whether the headset itself is USB or the external audio processor you use between the PC and headset is USB based.

Also the first 2 reviews I read on the Roccat 5.1 gave it mediocre reviews and cited that the headband was very tight and uncomfortable, which is a big concern of yours as is.

Watch this video and see just how big the GSP 500/600 can expand.

codezer0 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 2 months ago

So what you're saying, is that surround sound headphones for PC don't exist.

A shame.

I have a set of turtle beach x41's and they do work great. But being wireless, their battery life is garbage, which limits usability. They fit great and the surround effect on optical into the transmitter was spot on. Made me wish if there was a wired version instead.

Evil_Paroxysm 5 Builds 1 point 2 months ago

I'm pretty sure even the X41's have only one speaker per cup. The tower is the audio processor and is portraying surround sound.

Sound quality wise TB isn't that great, but I'll admit I had the original X4s (that got replaced by X41s) and for the time they were amazing for detecting footsteps.

What you need is a GSX1000, it's been reviewed as possibly the best surround sound unit for PC. I love mine, the only downside is it's PC specific so I use my 2013 Astro Mixamp Pro for PS4

codezer0 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 2 months ago

The gsx1000 doesn't even accept a surround input; how can it possibly output surround when it isn't even taking that in? That's what i don't understand.

The images i can find of the unit show only a single 3.5mm input and out. So, there is no surround going on there. And if it is just going to be usb, there's no point.

Maybe if it accepted optical input there would be a chance, and then i could just worry about getting a sound card that has an optical out. But I'm not seeing that on the gsx1000 you're referring to.

Evil_Paroxysm 5 Builds 1 point 2 months ago

The thing about it is that you're not going to get TRUE surround sound and good audio. The GSX1000 is simulated surround sound, and it does a really good job at it. Same goes for the Astro Mixamp and the Turtle Beach X41 you referenced.

Those all send a signal to stereo headphones (1 speaker per ear cup) and it makes simulated surround sound. If you like the surround that the X41's give then you'll love the GSX1000 because it's amazing at what it does.

USB is just the means that the audio is transferred to the unit, usually USB is the method of choice because it can also power the unit without requiring a wall socket.

codezer0 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 2 months ago

That will not work for me on the pc though. Since i play all manner of new and older games, i have a use case where i need a Creative sound card in order to have supporting software for all levels of EAX for older games. That software, will not work with a usb chip. Since it's a safe bet that everyone and their dog uses realtek for such audio chips in usb stuff, i know for a fact it will sound awful and echo-y, rather than even give a halfway proper positional audio.

If it say, just took the optical input like the x41's to process for surround, that wouldn't be a problem. The most I'd have to concern myself with on a given pc is to just grab a sound card with a proper optical audio out.

Evil_Paroxysm 5 Builds 1 point 2 months ago

Honestly I'm not sure how a single speaker can provide good surround sound but it works and I couldnt tell you how lol.

I paired my Game One's with the GSX1000 and I often find myself taking my headset off spooked because voices sound like they are in the room with me ~15 feet away.