When we think of surround sound, we usually think of a home theater/entertainment setup with a variety of speakers in ideal placement, but there have been a number of headsets creeping onto the market in recent years that manage a great representation, which we’ll look at as we evaluate the 10 best surround sound headphones in 2022.
Although the absence of space between your headphone speakers and ears means that surround sound doesn’t have the same 3-dimensional quality, certain models do manage to produce a very similar spatial audio landscape, which contributes to the realism of an immersive game.
There are two ways they accomplish this, which we will discuss in further detail in our buyer’s guide, but first, let’s compare our top contenders.
How Do Surround Sound Headphones Work?
A decent, solid HDTV is usually the first step when putting together a proper home theater, whether it’s for watching Blu-ray movies, watching HD television, or playing video games. However, no theater setup is complete for the real cinephile, TV aficionado, or dedicated gamer without a superb surround sound system.
The issue is that high-quality components are frequently costly and take up a lot of room. Surround sound headphones are a good choice because they are less expensive and take up less room on your floor.
However, there is a fundamental difference between ‘genuine’ surround sound and virtual surround sound when it comes to surround sound headphones for media viewing or gaming. Because stereo headphones produce the sound close to the ears rather than from the television, the audio might have a strange, disconnected character. There is a tiny difference between the activities on screen and the sound entering the ear canal for many listeners.
This is one of the primary issues that surround sound headphones seek to address. Virtual surround sound relies on two speakers that use extensive sound processing to replicate the effect of several directional channels, whereas true surround sound relies on multiple speakers broadcasting at different angles.
True surround sound headphones use numerous discrete speakers installed in each headphone cup to handle different channels of sound, in the same way as surround sound speakers do. Early models used quadrophonic sound (4 channels), but almost all contemporary models have the now-standard 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound.
The problem of strange, distant sound is adequately addressed with these headphones. The music no longer appears to originate directly in the head, as it does with ordinary headphones because sound enters the ear canal from several directions.
Virtual surround sound, on the other hand, attempts to achieve the same experience through artificial means. Virtual surround headphones, like most standard headphones, have only two distinct speakers – one for each ear. Instead, these devices use pre-amps or mix-amps, either internal or external, to convert stereo or surround sound sources into surround sound.
These amplifiers use algorithms to break sounds into smaller, more manageable chunks. Though sound enters the ear from one of two speakers, it is transformed in such a way that it appears to come from many more sources, at least theoretically.
For generating virtual surround sound, many firms have their methodologies and algorithms. On a simple level, what these headphones do is deflect sound from the headphone speaker so that it reaches the outside corners of the ear and rolls in over time, rather than going straight into the ear canal.
These sound waves appear to come from several perspectives, similar to genuine surround sound, avoiding the illusion that the music is being generated directly within the viewer’s brain.
Naturally, both types of surround sound headphones have pros and limitations. Given the specialized drivers for each channel, genuine surround sound headphones should provide a more authentic surround experience.
This is extremely important for gamers, especially in multiplayer games like Halo or Call of Duty, where sound placement can mean the difference between killing and being killed.
True surround sound headphones, on the other hand, have some drawbacks. True surround sound headphones have a lower build quality than virtual surround sound headphones since they use several drivers and surround sound processing while still striving to keep the price low for consumers.
In addition, because virtual surround sound headphones have larger speakers, they can typically provide more powerful and dramatic sound.
The cost of virtual surround sound headphones can be an advantage at times. Because the heavy work is frequently done by the mix-amp or preamp, the emphasis on higher-end driver components for higher-fidelity audio is minimized. Users who already own a good pair of headphones may be able to save money by purchasing the amp separately rather than buying new headphones.
Companies such as Astro, which makes the Astro A30 and A40 headphones and mix-amp, sell the amp separately for a lesser price, albeit a set of surround sound-certified headphones is suggested for the best experience.
In the end, both types of surround sound headphone solutions fall short of the ideal audio fidelity offered by a physical surround sound setup. While powerful algorithms or numerous drivers in the earcup can simulate surround sound, they cannot truly duplicate the sense of physical distance or the wide variety of tones produced by larger speakers.
However, for privacy, cost-efficiency, or space-saving, reasonable concessions must be made. Full 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound systems are just not practical in many contexts or for certain listeners, therefore surround sound headphones can be a good option. The audible differences between multi-channel surround sound systems and headphones will continue to reduce as technology advances.
Top 10 Surround Sound Headphones
1. TREBLAB Z2
This superb set of surround sound headphones from TREBLAB is at the top of our list. Thanks to 40mm neodymium drivers and a Qualcomm CSR chipset with aptX, they produce superb, high-definition audio quality. These headphones are a great choice if you’re seeking an immersive listening experience, whether it’s for music, movies, or gaming.
The sound quality isn’t the only thing these headphones have going for them. Soft, skin-textured earpads and swiveling earcups add to the overall comfort. These headphones are very lightweight, weighing only 0.53 pounds, so you won’t get tired of wearing them for lengthy periods.
Bluetooth 5.0 technology provides connectivity. This guarantees that the video plays smoothly and without lagging. They’re also wireless, making them great for on-the-go use. A single charge provides an incredible 35 hours of playing. It will also just take 3 hours to fully charge the battery.
Frequent fliers or anyone who needs headphones for long flights may appreciate the longer battery life. A cVc 6.0 microphone is also included with these headphones. This enables you to make crystal-clear phone calls and can also be used to control voice assistants like Alexa or Siri.
These headphones have a comfortable fit and produce excellent surround sound and HD audio quality. They also have ANC technology and a battery life of 35 hours. There’s not much to criticize about TREBLAB’s faultless, budget-friendly product.
2. SteelSeries Siberia 650
While lower-priced pairs in the SteelSeries Siberia range claim to provide surround sound, the 650 set is one of the few that genuinely does; the 150, 200, and 350 are cheap knockoffs.
These PC gaming headphones feature two Dolby technologies: Dolby Headphone, which provides rich audio, and Dolby ProLogic IIX, which takes things a step further by converting 5.1-channel video to full-range 7.1-channel audio.
The SteelSeries versions employ Engine 3 setup software, which is Mac and PC compatible and provides users with a 10-band equalization as well as presets to swap between. For easy auto-retrieval, you can save your settings to multiple profiles. They have a closed-back design with memory foam-filled ear-cups that block out ambient sounds.
It now includes a new microphone with a visible LED mute indicator. The audio quality is excellent, and there is a noticeable difference between the various audio settings. Equalization allows for total customization.
3. Turtle Beach Stealth 450 Ear Force
Following that, we have a fantastic wireless gaming headphone with DTS Headphone:X surround sound capabilities. There are two DTS modes to choose from, as well as a variety of equalization options to customize your listening experience.
They’re made of strong materials and feature some beautiful details. The hard headband is lifted from your head by an ergonomic cushion in the center, which helps to minimize cranial pressure. Although it offers a wide range of adjustments, some users have complained that it is on the small side.
The drivers have a huge diaphragm and are 50mm in diameter, with an oval form for improved isolation. The ear-cups swivel and are adequately padded for comfort. It has a goose-neck microphone that may be adjusted for clear in-game conversation. They’re an excellent set that features the latest surround sound headphone technology, are wireless for greater mobility, and have a variety of audio options to experiment with.
4. Logitech G933
This time we’re looking at the Logitech G933 model, which is a step up from the budget gaming headphone pair we started with. They have an ergonomic design made of sturdy materials, as well as an angle headband that relieves pressure. They have skin-friendly and incredibly comfy sports-mesh ear-cups, and the headband has the same padding for added comfort.
They have innovative anti-distortion Pro-GTM audio drivers, which have a hybrid mesh and provide excellent sound quality. They have 7.1 Dolby Surround and 7.1 DTS Headphone:X Surround Sound options once more. They are cross-platform compatible and can work both wired and wirelessly. The battery lasts about 12 hours, but an analog cable is available as an option.
They can also link up to three extra devices (1 USB and 2 analogs), allowing you to connect your phone and answer calls in-game via the microphone. You can program up to three G-keys and add macros for complicated gaming commands, and they have RGB lighting with back-lit personalized tags. These G933 surround sound headphones are another example of Logitech’s excellent computer peripherals and accessories. They are a lag-free, award-winning set with excellent drivers and a variety of tuning options.
5. Mpow EG3
Mpow is recognized for producing low-cost headphone solutions; often, these are lower-quality, bare-bones versions that are comparable to higher-priced models. The wired EG3 variant is a decent attempt at a high-quality headphone set, in our opinion. It boasts a sturdy design with a flexible headband with twin steel supports and leather-cushioned cups that are moderately comfortable. For a budget set, the design is quite elegant.
Precision magnets, a shock-absorbing shield, and a robust grille have all been incorporated into the construction of the drivers. They measure 50mm and do a fantastic job of transmitting music with good dynamics, which helps to improve the ring transducers’ performance. To create a simulated 7.1 surround sound setup, you can download a custom driver. They’re generally compatible and come with an excellent communication microphone and controls that are easy to grasp. They offer a lot of wonderful features in a low-cost package, and while they aren’t as comfy as some, we would recommend them to casual gamers rather than serious gamers.
6. Sony MDR-DS6500
This next set is a fantastic wireless model that includes a charging stand that also serves as storage. They include sturdy construction and huge 40mm drivers, as well as rich skin-friendly padding. They have a 66-ohm impedance and a broadened frequency range that allows for a wide variety of audio reproduction. They are made with high-quality components and have automatic tuning.
These Sony headphones offer a genuine 7.1 surround sound experience and are compatible with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS, DTS-ES Matrix, and DTS-ES. They use a 2.4GHz/RF digital transmission without compression and have a battery life of up to 20 hours. Sony has made some excellent design choices with this set, and it is a high-end pair that is well worth the money. They can function on radio frequencies and are a great way to listen to private television.
7. CORSAIR Void PRO
The Corsair Void Pro set is one of the few cheap surround sound systems on the market that uses real surround sound rather than simulated surround sound, and it’s also well-made. They are, once again, a gaming-oriented set that is generally compatible. To run these properly, you’ll need to get CUE.
They’re made of high-quality materials and are designed to be comfortable. The cups are luxuriously padded, as is the headband, which is ergonomically positioned to avoid cranial pressure. They have a high sensitivity and a conventional frequency response. They include 50mm neodymium speaker drivers that have been custom-tuned for accuracy and to highlight even the tiniest of sounds.
They have minimal latency and a transmission range of 40 feet. The battery may last for up to 16 hours. They have a specially designed unidirectional microphone with an LED mute indicator and active noise cancellation to eliminate background noise for clearer communication. Wireless models can have lesser audio quality, and we would recommend a cable set over a wireless one, although Corsair does an excellent job.
8. Razer Tiamat 7.1 V2
The Razer Tiamat 7.1 V2, an analog surround sound headset that produces actual authentic 7.1 surround sound, is the following model. There are ten distinct drivers in total, five in each ear cup. They work together seamlessly to produce an immersive sound-stage that allows the wearer to identify positional audio with pinpoint accuracy.
The system has four mid-range/tweeters and one subwoofer, all of which are connected to a 7.1 channel surround sound processor via a dedicated audio controller. The subwoofer is 40mm in diameter, with 30mm L/R/C mid-ranges and 20mm back and side surrounds. The pass-through control box lets you adjust the level of each channel separately and has a toggle on/off button for toggling between stereo 2.0 audio and surround sound quickly and easily.
They have a strong headband supported by professional yokes, plush padded cups, and a spinning boom mic. They have ten dedicated drivers, each dealing with a different portion of the spectrum, and they’re arranged out in such a way that they provide superb spatial awareness, which is about as good as it gets within the limits of a headset.
9. HyperX Cloud Revolver S
The HyperX Cloud Revolver S model, which is a carefully built piece of kit, is our penultimate pick today. It has virtual Dolby Surround 7. 1 audio and a USB digital signal processing device, allowing it to consistently generate high-quality audio. The next-generation 50mm large-aperture drivers deliver studio-quality soundstages thanks to the processing. They effectively segregate the lows, mids, and highs and provide well-positioned products.
It contains an audio control box that allows you to quickly toggle between surround sound and mute or regulate the microphone and volume settings. It is expertly crafted from high-quality materials. The headband is made of strong solid-steel frames and is wider for improved weight distribution and, as a result, longer periods of comfort. The cups are made of award-winning HyperX memory foam, which is the company’s hallmark style. It’s a very comfy alternative, made to look like a brick house and with good surround sound.
10. CORSAIR HS60
If your budget doesn’t stretch to the VOID PRO, we’ve got a cheaper alternative from Corsair to round out our top ten list. It’s fair to say they aren’t quite as ergonomically designed, and some of the creature amenities have been sacrificed to assist cut production costs. They nevertheless provide reasonable levels of comfort and have a lot to offer for their modest retail price. They offer adjustable ear-cups with memory foam padding and a tough metal design to assist assure long-term durability.
The same 50mm precision-tuned neodymium-powered speakers and optimized unidirectional, detachable microphones are found within. They come with a USB adapter that allows you to set up simulated 7.1 surround sound and direct multi-channel audio to the headset. They’re well-made, cross-platform compatible, and cost a reasonable amount of money.
Whether you’re looking for the finest Sony surround sound headphones or the best HyperX surrounds sound headphones, five features should be present in every surround sound headset you consider purchasing:
The first and most critical consideration is if the surround sound headset or headphones are compatible with your device. While some surround sound headphones are universally compatible (with a 3.5 mm plugin in most cases), others are only compatible with certain devices such as the PC, Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Mac, mobile devices, and so on.
2. Wired or Wireless
Are you seeking to surround sound headphones that are tethered or wireless? While some individuals dislike wireless headphones due to latency difficulties, others dislike the cumbersome cables that become tangled from time to time.
For games, having a microphone can be advantageous. The majority of surround sound gaming headsets have a microphone, allowing players to communicate with their teammates or opponents while playing. However, to eliminate external disturbances and ensure minimal interference during communication, make sure the surround sound headset you’re considering buying features a noise-canceling microphone.
4. Noise Reduction
If you enjoy being cut off from the rest of the world while listening to music or playing your favorite game, noise-canceling surround sound headphones are a must-have. The majority of noise-canceling surround sound headphones are closed-back and have a sealed ear cup to block out any surrounding disturbances.
There should be no sacrifice on comfort when purchasing DJ headphones or surround sound headphones. The majority of the surround sound headphones on our list are lightweight and comfy. To ensure maximum comfort, they feature ear pads with soft ear cushions and adjustable headbands. As a result, make sure you choose the most comfortable surround sound headphones you can.
If your budget is your primary concern, you can look at the price of the headphones in addition to the five factors listed above. We do not, however, propose comparing the benefits of the headphones against their costs. A high price tag does not always imply a fantastic product. When you look at our list of the best budget surround sound headphones, you’ll notice that price has little to do with the headphones’ quality.