Comparing a 5.1 vs a 7.1 surround gaming headset means understanding how stereo sound works and how that transfers to surround speakers.
- 5.1 systems is a multi-channel surround sound method that provides better positional audio and a higher level of immersion than basic sound systems.
- The biggest selling point of 7.1 surround models includes extra channels of sound, additional speakers, and better sound virtualizations. They’re only worth purchasing if you play many games.
- The vast majority of people don’t require the immersive experience that comes with 7.1 sound headphones. Instead, the 5.1 models are more than enough for daily tasks.
Comparing Headsets with Multi-Channel Surround Sound
Almost all of these categories come down to personal preference and what you intend to use your virtual surround sound system for. If you want to compare headsets, you can start with our Rog Strix Fusion 500 vs 700 and our Runmus K11 vs K2 headsets.
Having additional speakers in your setup allows you to take full advantage of advanced audio settings.
Most make the switch from a pair of earbuds to virtual surround sound due to comfort. If you don’t see an increase in comfort level, it’s worth asking, “Why would a gaming headset make your ears hurt?”
Overall Sound Quality Production
If the basic sound doesn’t cut you, you’ll need to invest in a headset that provides better spatial audio. For high-quality sound, the 7.1 surround sound never disappoints. These models offer extra speakers that produce better spatial audio for a higher level of immersion.
The heightened spatial audio is courtesy of their ability to produce spatial audio, making it seem like your games are happening in real-time. The production of sound is more dynamic due to these qualities.
Number of Audio Channels in Use
The number of sound channels determines much about the audio quality your headset offers. Today’s two models on the chopping block are part of a more extensive series, with the 7.1 surround systems sitting on top. However, you may also want to compare the 7.1 vs. a stereo gaming headset.
More channels translate into atmospheric sound, providing a higher level of immersion. This makes the 7.1 models far more desirable for those seeking more than a basic level of positional audio, better speaker drivers, and improved audio processing capabilities.
Ability to Provide an Affordable Price
Nothing puts a damper on the gaming experience more than being priced out of desirable accessories. This is a large part of finding the right audio quality solution for your setup. Companies like Dolby Digital consistently put out headsets with high-quality sound, but they’re also unimaginably expensive.
In this case, the 5.1 surround systems have a fair price for their additional features compared to regular headphones. That said, check out our Roccat Kave 5.1 surround-sound gaming headset review.
Advanced systems like the Dolby Atmos provide better audio settings. Still, their high price point makes them unsuitable for most homes.
What do you need to support multi-channel surround sound?
Being able to integrate surround sound systems into your gaming routine successfully requires the proper console or computer. If your computer has a low-end sound card, you might need to upgrade it.
What is a surround sound system?
A high level of immersion defines the surround sound experience. A surround sound setup has multiple speaker systems, including satellite speakers, that provide positional audio from every angle.
Why should you avoid buying gaming headsets?
There are a few reasons you might want to avoid these models altogether:
STAT: In a 2021 survey, casual gamers reported that they generally preferred single-player titles to multiplayer options. (source)