7.1 vs Stereo Gaming Headset

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated June 27, 2022

The comparison between a 7.1 vs a stereo gaming headset is easy to make. There is an obvious winner in most categories, except for where the price is concerned.


  • A 7.1 surround sound setup produces a better audio experience overall. In all categories aside from price comparison, these models dominate.
  • On the other hand, a stereo surround sound headset is far more affordable. Still, it lacks independent channels, precise volume control, and audio processing capabilities.
  • The vast majority of those playing on video game consoles should be fine with a stereo headset. Those playing a competitive game in ranked matches should aim for 7.1.

Your purpose for gaming dictates which model is suitable for you. The best gaming headset provides sound isolation, a large driver unit size, and more. Above all, the best models are those that fulfill your needs while relaxing or competing.

Comparing Types of Surround Sound

Both surround sound and stereo headphones are popular choices for gamers worldwide. Sound quality relies on far more than the audio quality capabilities of your wireless headsets. For example, those using computers will only produce audio to the extent that their sound card allows them to.

Insider Tip

Having a quick mute function is priceless if you don’t live alone. This allows you to quickly turn off your audio outputs without pausing or leaving your game.

Of course, these aren’t your only options. You can also explore the comparison between a 5.1 vs a 7.1 gaming headset for a better feel of what you need.

Factors like bass control, having a built-in microphone, and directional audio all play a role in deciding the best option for your needs. We’ll explore the rest in the categories below.

Production of Richer Sound

When it comes to producing perfect sound virtualization, there is no better method than surround sound design. Stereo sound systems rely on only a couple of audio channels, while the competing style uses quite a few. True surround sound also uses multiple individual drivers.

These audio drivers are a massive part of why a surround sound headset is such a fantastic option. If you’re looking for accurate sound, a pair of 7.1 wireless headsets are the way to go. If you’re interested in learning more, try our article “Audiophile Headphones vs Gaming Headset” for more information.

Background Noise Cancellation

A noise-canceling microphone is excellent for blocking unwanted sound output. However, that means little if you can’t hear your friends due to external interference. Sound quality isn’t just about having the best directional audio from your audio gear.

Virtual surround sound tends to be better at blocking sound headphones of lesser quality might pick up.

Overall Price Range

The price difference between these two options is vast. Affordable price is an issue for many gamers, especially when DLC and accessories cost more every year. Most balk at a premium price unless they game competitively.

Regarding price comparison, you’ll find that 7.1 options come in at a premium price. Stereo headphones have a far more affordable price tag.


You’ll need to have the correct audio cable for your headphones of choice. Read the product description carefully to ensure you have the gear you need.


Are virtual surround sound gaming headsets worth it?

If you’re into competitive gaming, then absolutely. Directional sound improves spatial awareness, which increases your reaction time. Just make sure you invest in a pair with high audio quality.

Is a surround sound setup terrible for gaming?

Surround sound will always provide a more immersive experience. However, it won’t necessarily improve your ability as a competitive gamer. It depends greatly on the video game you’re playing.

What is surround sound?

Surround sound enriches noise depth, honoring the fidelity of the audio. Unlike traditional sound systems, they use more than one speaker driver strategically placed around the room.

Do different games require different headphones?

That depends on your tolerance level. For horror games, having intense sound effects can be distressing. On the other hand, ambient game noise can be highly relaxing for online multiplayer games.

STAT: Competitive gamers spent an average of $425 per year on DLC and game accessories in 2019. (source)

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