If you are a gamer, then choosing the right sound systems is the ultimate, knowing which to choose by comparing stereo vs surround for gaming. I am a gamer myself, and the one thing that most gamers want is for the audio quality to be good.
The quality of the sound is very important for gamers as this can help them to have a greater chance of defeating the opponent. With good sound quality, the gamer is able to hear any details such as footsteps and able to locate the direction of the opponent.
Comparing stereo vs surround for gaming
There are many kinds of audio configurations and some of these include 1.0, 2.1, 2.0, 5.1, and 7.1. The 1.0 audio configuration is called mono sound and it uses one speaker to deliver sound. This configuration is not very good for gaming because the gamer can not get all the sound details from the game. 2.0 is called stereo configuration.
With this configuration, the person can get some spatial details because audio comes from both sides. 2.1 audio configuration is similar to 2.0, the only difference between these two is that the 2.1 configuration has a subwoofer included that handles low sounds. It also helps in producing bass.
The 5.1 audio configuration is surround sound. This includes 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer, because of the 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer. This configuration is very good for gaming and can ensure that the gamer hears many sounds clearly when gaming.
7.1 configuration is also surround sound best for those trying to choose between stereo or surround for gaming. It includes 7 speakers and one subwoofer, 7.1 configuration ensures that the gamer can hear every single detail like footsteps and many more, it also creates immersive sound.
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Stereo generally means that audio comes from two speakers, the left and right channels. It is the standard that is used in speakers as well as in headphones. Gamers may choose to use stereo gaming headphones or surround sound headphones.
Surround sound provides more channels than stereo. Surround sound is there to fill your room or surrounding with sound. So it may include many speakers that are placed all over, some may get placed in front, others on the sides, or behind.
This so that the room is filled with sound, when we say the number of the surround sound is 5.1 it simply means that it uses five speakers and 1 subwoofer to give you the surround sound. I have written a review on some of the best gaming speakers, you may want to check it out.
What is stereo sound?
Stereo sound is simply sound that comes from two channels, a stereo sound system uses two speakers which are located on the front right and the front left. Stereo sound does not create a sound field around you like the one created by surround systems.
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With surround sound, you can hear sounds from all directions even behind you whereas with stereo the sound is more like coming from two directions only. Stereo is good for listening to music this is because most songs are recorded in stereo.
When you have a limited budget, you can be able to get a high-quality stereo system that surrounds the system. I have also written a comparison between Logitech G560 vs Logitech Z625, a typical example of 2.1 channel speakers.
What is surround sound?
Sometimes you may want to use surround sound for gaming but you do not want to have a lot of speakers surrounding you, the way to get around this is to use virtual surround sound. Virtual surround sound gives you the surround sound by using two speakers.
Good surround sound allows gamers to be able to hear every single detail when gaming, for example, they can be able to hear the footsteps of the opponent and be able to trace the direction from which the footsteps are coming from. Here is an amazing review I did on the best gaming soundbars you may also want to take a look at.
You can also be able to hear the direction from which a gunshot was fired and many more. With surround sound, you will be able to know the location of your opponents and you can easily defeat them before they make a move on you.
7.1 surround uses 7 speakers and one subwoofer whereas 5.1 uses 5 speakers and one subwoofer. Using headphones that use a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound for gaming ensures that you are able to hear every single footstep that your opponent takes, every gunshot, and any explosion clearly. You can also hear sounds that are coming from a great distance and this gives you a competitive advantage over your opponent.
Virtual surround sound
The virtual surround approach uses two speakers to give you the surround sound. With virtual surround sound, it appears as if the sound is coming from a lot of speakers. Nowadays most gamers use virtual surround sound since it is just as good as surround sound. Virtual surround sound is also a lot more portable than surround sound. Therefore, the virtual surround is worth for gaming.
True surround sound
True surround sound headphones are not very easy to find as compared to virtual surround headphones for gaming. True surround sound headphones with 7.1 channels typically have 7 speakers and one subwoofer making it actually 8 speakers.
True surround headphones are mostly more pricey than virtual surround headphones. They are different from virtual surround sound headphones in such a way that they have more speakers than the virtual ones which use two speakers to create surround sound.
Differences between stereo vs surround sound for gaming speakers
The main difference between stereo and surround sound is in the number of speakers each system uses.
Stereo uses two speakers which are placed on the left and another on the right.
Surround sound uses more than two speakers
With stereo, the sound only comes from two speakers therefore it does not create the immersive experience that surrounds systems do.
Surround sound has 3 or more speakers and they easily create a sound that can fill up the room in an immersive way.
Both systems also have subwoofers
Most surround systems always include a subwoofer but stereo systems do not usually come with a subwoofer.
Is stereo better than surround for gaming?
A gamer wants the audio quality to be as good as possible. The sound that surround systems offer is greater than that offered by the stereo system. Surround sound is very good for playing games as well as watching movies. Stereo sound is a good choice for listening to music in your home. Take a quick look at the best Pc speakers, just so you can see some of the gaming speakers.
Therefore, you should get surround headphones or speakers for gaming and movie watching, stereo headphones and speakers should be considered for listening to music.
Things to consider in order to choose the best sound systems
There are many factors that one has to consider when choosing the best sound system like:
The room size
What you will use the system for
Therefore you should also always make sure to know the differences, the strengths, the weakness, and similarities of each sound system before choosing, thorough research is essential.
The main thing to consider before you buy any sound system is the size of the room that the speakers will be in. If you have a big room, surround system would be better suited for the room. If your room is small then the stereo sound would be a better choice for such a room. For instance, putting a 7.1 channel system in a very small room would lead to lower sound quality.
Use of the system.
This plays a major role in what sound system you should get. If you simply want a system for playing music, then the stereo sound is a great choice for you. For gaming and movie watching, the surround system is the best choice. Surround sound is not very good for tv watching.
You should always take into consideration the sound quality that the speakers will offer. Keep in mind that having a bunch of speakers does not guarantee great sound quality.
Having a lot of speakers does not mean that you will get the loudest sound. Surround sound offers a sound that comes from all directions, this is called dynamic sound. Stereo will offer a sound that will come from two directions, left and right.
You should also look at the sensitivity of the speakers, sensitivity refers to the power required to drive the speaker, a speaker that will take less power from the amplifier to produce sound is the one with more sensitivity. With such speakers, you can raise the volume very loudly than speakers with a lower sensitivity.
In conclusion for stereo vs surround sound for gaming, we see that surround sound and stereo sound have quite a number of differences. Surround systems have multiple channels whereas stereo sound only uses two channels.
Therefore, surround systems feature 3 or more speakers and stereo sound uses two speakers. Surround systems create a more immersive sound as compared to stereo sound. We also see that surround systems mostly include a subwoofer than stereo systems.
To answer the question if the stereo is better for gaming than surround sound the answer would be No. Although stereo systems allow you to hear spatial details when gaming, surround systems can let you hear every single sound made by the opponent and therefore give you the competitive advantage over your opponent.
Surround systems also allow gamers to be easily immersed in the sounds from the game since the sound comes from all directions unlike in stereo where the sound comes from two channels.