How virtual surround headsets work

Virtual Surround Headsets are headsets which often feature ear cups which go over the entire ear. Virtual Surround Headsets have two ear cups, one on each side, and is usually noise cancelling so as to offer full surround quality. This sort of surround headset, which utilizes only two discrete speakers that are located respectively on each ear, simulates the ability of surround sound headsets through the use of sound processing technology.


Virtual Surround Headsets have the same effect of other types of surround sound headsets, particularly the True Surround Sound. Using the two different speakers on each ear cup of the headset, sound is processed so as to give off the same auditory sensation as that of True Surround Sound. Virtual Surround Headset models make use of either an external or an internal pre-amplifier or mix-amplifier module to convert normal stereo or surround sound signals into surround sound.

The external or internal pre-amplifier or mix-amplifier modules make use of several different algorithms to break up the audio signals into separate, smaller sections. Through sound processing, the sound then enters the ear from each of the two speakers found on the ear cups and translates it into, what seems like, several different sounds coming from many different sources.

Different brands or companies make use of their own distinct complex algorithm for their own product. Through the use of these different algorithms, there is a difference on how the sound is emanated from the speakers. Usually, sounds which go through the Virtual Surround Headsets’ algorithm take advantage of the shape of the human ear to create distinct sound. The brain then translates the sound into surround sound as it simulates an auditory landscape wherein sound seems to come from different directions.

How virtual surround work

Visual cues are also a vital part in the full auditory experience of the Virtual Surround Headsets. Through visual cues, such as that of movies and video games, an auditory landscape, which is only in theory, become much more apparent as the perceived surroundings become all the more real. With the visual cues combined with the sound which emanate from the Virtual Surround Headsets, the brain registers the sensations as surround.

Difference Between True and Virtual Surround Headsets

virtual surround landscape

There are two types of surround sound headsets: virtual and true. Virtual Surround Headsets use two speakers and sound processing technology to achieve an auditory landscape. True Surround Headsets use multiple speakers which deliver sound separately thereby achieving traditional surround sound.

Some experts argue that True Surround Sound Headsets are much more accurate than Virtual Surround Headsets due to the way that sound is processed. True Surround Headsets have the dedicated drivers for the different sounds, giving each sound a distinct point of origin, giving it that perceived sensation of surround sound.

Virtual Surround Headsets only have the two speakers to deliver the audio to your ear. These speakers simulate the same audio experience of the True Surround Headsets by dividing and sectioning the sounds to deliver an auditory landscape.

Virtual surround landscape

This difference in how the sound is processed and delivered is the deciding factor to some consumers, such as gamers and music and movie enthusiasts. Some experts and consumers believe that the dedicated drivers of the True Surround Headset tend to be more accurate with the use of its multiple sound speakers. Experts and consumers, however, also agree that Virtual Surround Headsets’ sound tends to be more powerful and dynamic because of the size of its speakers which is larger.

True Surround Headsets are usually more expensive compared to Virtual Surround Headsets. True Surround Headsets are bigger due to the multiple speakers in each ear cup, which is also the reason why they are more expensive, and are usually believed to be more inferior in build quality. Virtual Surround Headsets are smaller because it only uses two speakers (one on each ear cup) and thought to be more durable as it utilizes high-end driver components which are more durable than that of the True Surround Headsets’.

Virtual Surround Headsets and True Surround Headsets both achieve the desired surround sound. It takes the consumer’s ear, preference, and taste to truly appreciate either of the two. Headsets of either type can also differ in sound quality in terms of what the product is geared for; they can be music, movie, or gaming-specific.


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