Razer Surround: Free 7.1 virtual surround software (Works with any headphones) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's something neat! Razer (a manufacturer of PC Peripherals) released a new virtual surround solution for PC today, which works with any set of stereo headphones. Free until the end of the year.

http://www.razerzone.com/surround

It installs a new audio driver, that translates 7.1 into virtual surround. You can even customize the HRTFs to some degree, which definitely improves the effect. It works pretty well with games - there's a touch of reverb, but much less than with Dolby Headphone. There is no radical degradation of sound detail that you get with some virtual surround algorithms. Positioning cues are good, but the effect is as if the virtual channels are very close to your head, Dolby Headphone produces a more "distant" effect.

Definitely worth a shot for PC gamers, I suspect it also might work pretty well with movies.

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post #2 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 03:16 PM
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Yeah, got the email from Razer earlier. Interestingly enough I was talking with Scott Wilkinson at the LA meetup this past weekend about DTS's new one, Headphone X. Same thing, but 11.1. I already have Logitech G930s with Dolby 7.1 so this is useless for me, but I'm curious if it's any good at all. And as Scott Simonian said, Creative has been doing similar for a while now.

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post #3 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

Yeah, got the email from Razer earlier. Interestingly enough I was talking with Scott Wilkinson at the LA meetup this past weekend about DTS's new one, Headphone X. Same thing, but 11.1. I already have Logitech G930s with Dolby 7.1 so this is useless for me, but I'm curious if it's any good at all. And as Scott Simonian said, Creative has been doing similar for a while now.

Don't you need a creative sound card or headphones for CMSS though?

It's pretty good, I think it might be better than Dolby Headphone for games, but I haven't used it long enough. DTSHX might be 11.1....but no games support that.

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post #4 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Don't you need a creative sound card or headphones for CMSS though?

It's pretty good, I think it might be better than Dolby Headphone for games, but I haven't used it long enough. DTSHX might be 11.1....but no games support that.

Doesn't matter with HX, it's an encoder according to Scott Wilkinson's info and sources, meaning the source won't have to support it natively. It will upmix from 2.0/5.1/7.1

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post #5 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

Yeah, got the email from Razer earlier. Interestingly enough I was talking with Scott Wilkinson at the LA meetup this past weekend about DTS's new one, Headphone X. Same thing, but 11.1. I already have Logitech G930s with Dolby 7.1 so this is useless for me, but I'm curious if it's any good at all. And as Scott Simonian said, Creative has been doing similar for a while now.

If you're curious to try this out, you can! Our 930's have the ability to switch off the surround with a flick of a switch. Just set it to stereo and then you can give the Razor software a try.... if you wanted.
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Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Don't you need a creative sound card or headphones for CMSS though?

It's pretty good, I think it might be better than Dolby Headphone for games, but I haven't used it long enough. DTSHX might be 11.1....but no games support that.

Yeah. It was their software running surround in their branded headphones and soundcards. Still, they have been doing this for a VERY long time. Yamaha even has their SilentCinema (virtual surround headphone) out on their AVR's which is pretty cool.

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post #6 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

Doesn't matter with HX, it's an encoder according to Scott Wilkinson's info and sources, meaning the source won't have to support it natively. It will upmix from 2.0/5.1/7.1

What does that even mean in the context of virtual surround though? VS is technically a downmix, what purpose would upmixing beforehand serve? Sounds like it would do more harm than good.

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post #7 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

If you're curious to try this out, you can! Our 930's have the ability to switch off the surround with a flick of a switch. Just set it to stereo and then you can give the Razor software a try.... if you wanted.
Yeah. It was their software running surround in their branded headphones and soundcards. Still, they have been doing this for a VERY long time. Yamaha even has their SilentCinema (virtual surround headphone) out on their AVR's which is pretty cool.

Yeah, I think still have a sound blaster live somewhere in my closet. I've never been crazy about creative's stuff though, although I'll admit I'm pretty biased against them for what they did to Aureal.

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post #8 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

What does that even mean in the context of virtual surround though? VS is technically a downmix, what purpose would upmixing beforehand serve? Sounds like it would do more harm than good.

I'm nowhere near an expert on audio, at all, I'm just going by what I was told in conversation. DTS HX doesn't need the source to be in 11.1, it's a real-time encoder, etc etc. We'll know more soon as Scott said he was having the CTO from DTS on his show next month.

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post #9 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

I'm nowhere near an expert on audio, at all, I'm just going by what I was told in conversation. DTS HX doesn't need the source to be in 11.1, it's a real-time encoder, etc etc. We'll know more soon as Scott said he was having the CTO from DTS on his show next month.

Hmm...I guess it could make sense after thinking about it a bit. With more virtual channels, they would have more total HRTFs. I'm guessing the DTS upmixing would steer a sound into the left wide if it was playing equally in the left front and left side surround. Then when downmixing to the virtual surround, instead of a diffuse sound to your left from two virtual channels, you'd hear a more precise sound from the single matrixed virtual channel. Sounds like it could work in theory....but where are they getting the heights from? Correlating the fronts with the rears maybe?

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post #10 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Hmm...I guess it could make sense after thinking about it a bit. With more virtual channels, they would have more total HRTFs. I'm guessing the DTS upmixing would steer a sound into the left wide if it was playing equally in the left front and left side surround. Then when downmixing to the virtual surround, instead of a diffuse sound to your left from two virtual channels, you'd hear a more precise sound from the single matrixed virtual channel. Sounds like it could work in theory....but where are they getting the heights from? Correlating the fronts with the rears maybe?

I don't think anyone knows just yet. I'm not even sure if it will do wides, it might be front and rear heights for the other 4 channels. We'll just have to wait and see at this point.

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post #11 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

I don't think anyone knows just yet. I'm not even sure if it will do wides, it might be front and rear heights for the other 4 channels. We'll just have to wait and see at this point.

Well, DTS Neo:X supports 11.1, wides and front heights...I assume its an extension of that.

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post #12 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Well, DTS Neo:X supports 11.1, wides and front heights...I assume its an extension of that.

Good point. I kinda had info overload this weekend, and the front/rear height thing may have been a different discussion lol.

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post #13 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Well, DTS Neo:X supports 11.1, wides and front heights...I assume its an extension of that.

DTS NeoX is indeed a regular 7.1 layout plus front heights and front wides. However, it's looking like there may be a change in this and the front wides may no longer be apart of the spec in the future. The change to rear heights might be in the cards according to what I've read up on DTS Headphone X.

I would like it if both Dolby and DTS would push the overhead surround harder than adding more vectors up front. Front heights are a good idea but one need a high degree of angle from the front left, center and right and their corresponding heights. A steep angle is best, imo. Also, front wides are a good idea but it's really something for the person who has a huge gap of angle between their front left/right and their surround left/right. For very large rooms, this is a fantastic thing but most people don't have HUGE rooms. We all have ceilings though. A single channel of overhead information would seal the virtual 'bubble' of sound and truly make our surround sound 3D. That's what I want out of these algorithms but... well we will see.

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