Stereo vs. Surround Headset in 2020. Everything You Need to Know to Improve Your Gaming Performance!

A gamer would know that choosing the best possible sound system can be substantial. 

Not only will an excellent audio quality enhance the gaming experience, but it can even give players a competitive edge.

This means you can hear small details like enemy footsteps. 

Therefore, it can be useful to know the difference between stereo and surround sound and which headset type is more suitable for gaming.

In general, surround sound is preferable in terms of creating an immersive audio environment. 

But note that stereo can be better at the sound quality and its value for the price.

Is Stereo or Surround Sound Better for Gaming?

The distinctive feature that sets stereo and surround sound apart is the number of speakers that each use. 

While stereo has one speaker on the left and right side, surround sound usually has more than two speakers.

This means that surround sound can create an audio experience that seems to fill up the room for an immersive effect, which could be exciting for gaming. 

But the audio quality is even more critical than the surround sound effect, as this could significantly enhance the gameplay.

Surround sound systems generally produce better sound quality than stereo, making the former good for watching movies and gaming. 

Meanwhile, we recommend using stereo sound for listening to music as it produces higher sound fidelity.

You may also want to understand various audio configurations, including 1.0, 2.1, 2.0, 5.1, and 7.1. Stereo, which uses two speakers, is 2.0, which will not give gamers all sound details.

Surround sound is 5.1 or 7.1, which means the system includes either 5 or 7 speakers with one subwoofer. 

These configurations allow you to hear even the most detailed sounds, like footsteps and more.

Although some users have claimed that bad surround sound headsets could give a ‘bathroom sound’ effect, so be careful when choosing it! 

Is Surround Sound Bad for Gaming?

It seems now that surround sound is the better choice for gaming, but why, then, do some people dislike it? 

There are a few types of surround sounds to know about: virtual and true surround sound.

Virtual surround sound, sometimes known as surround sound stereo, actually creates a surround sound effect with only two speakers. 

For this, they use tricks like delays, volume changes to make the audio seem like they’re coming from various angles.

The truth is, surround sound stereo is much preferred for gaming as the audio quality is better. 

Whereas a true surround sound like 5.1 is recommended only if you have multiple physical speakers for a home theatre system.

Besides, you can save tons of money without getting a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system when the stereo version works just fine.

If you are wondering about true surround sound headsets, these can be even more pricey. 

With the surround sound effect often being weird on headsets, it is best to stick to stereo surround sound for gaming.

To answer your question, is surround sound terrible for gaming? 

Not really, but you have to make sure that you get a stereo surround sound headset instead of true for better audio quality and immersive effect!

Do Pros Use Surround Sound?

It is only natural to ask what the pros are using, especially if your end goal is to compete in professional gaming tournaments or at least come close to it.

Surround sound can obviously provide a more immersive gameplay experience, and feeling as though you have been transported into this fictional world can be a good thing. 

But then why do a lot of competitive gamers still use stereo headsets during their tournaments?

The fact is that a stereo headset, or stereo surround sound, is more than enough to give high-quality and detailed audio. 

Headsets only have two earbuds for two ears, and, naturally, only two speakers of a stereo system are needed for a full audio experience.

Using software tricks or cheap surround sound effects might even put you at a competitive disadvantage. 

Certainly not something you would want in a professional competition, right?

This does not mean that you cannot hear footsteps or other directional sounds, as this is something that only game developers can influence. 

Not you, nor any audio tricks.

However, some games have been created specifically for a surround sound experience. 

In these cases, it is recommended to wear a surround sound headset as the effect could be worth it.

Final Thoughts: Stereo vs. Surround Gaming Headset in 2020

In conclusion, there are several essential differences between stereo and surround sound. 

Understanding these can really enhance your gaming skills and allow you to maximize your gameplay.

Ultimately, surround sound is an incredible effect of making video games more fun and exciting. 

But make sure that you get a stereo surround sound headset instead of true surround sound for optimal audio performance.

About the Author
Hi, I'm Steve. I'm a proud gamer. I have been active within the gaming sphere for 30+ years. As gaming is something I enjoy very much, I want other people to enjoy it also. That is exactly why I started this blog.

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