To be truly immersed in your favorite video game, you need to have two main components: a large screen to view the game, and a great surround sound system. The advantages of having a large high definition screen are fairly clear and known to the majority of gamers. The advantages of a quality surround sound system tend to get overlooked. A quality sound system allows you to hear footsteps from behind, or know which direction to avoid when the commotion of a grenade explosion happens. Dialogue is easier to understand, and the overall gaming experience is much more enjoyable. These features are especially helpful if you are a competitive gamer, or if you play a lot of online multiplayer games. Getting an advantage on your opponents by being more aware of where they are located, or where something dangerous is located can be significant. There are two main surround sound systems that are head and shoulders above all others: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Both of these systems can be put in place with a surround sound speaker set up, or with a set of gaming headphones.
The Basics of Dolby Atmos Surround Sound for Gaming
This object-based surround sound system takes the user experience to a new level by including height channels. The object-based system allows game makers or filmmakers to literally place a sound anywhere. This gives the user a multi-dimensional listening experience. The addition of the height channels allows for overhead sounds, such as an airplane, to actually be heard overhead. You will hear the sounds over the top of where you are sitting which will make the entire experience feel more lifelike. This is a huge step up from older surround sound systems that were only able to project sound from front to back and left to right. This type of sound system will really immerse you into the game you are playing, or the movie you are watching. The Atmos system does require the addition of at least two speakers, and it will accommodate up to four height channel speakers. The origins of the Atmos system is in movie theaters where it has been in place for several years. The system received positive feedback from moviegoers so a home-based system was created.
The Basics of DTS:X Surround Sound
DTS:X is also a object-based surround sound system that provides a much better field of sound than traditional surround sound systems are able to do. One main difference between this system and Dolby Atmos is this system does not require any height channel speakers. The processor in this system will provide the same multi-dimensional sounds but in a slightly more efficient manner. Another nice feature of the DTS:X system is that it gives you the ability to change the volume of voices within a game or movie. This could be extremely helpful in gaming situations where hearing dialogue is critical to the success of the game.
What Equipment is Needed?
To make use of the Dolby Atmos sound system, you will need a more specific speaker setup. The typical surround sound system is going to have either five or seven speakers already, so you will simply add to that to take advantage of the height channel sounds. The height channel can be added with upward-firing speakers that bounce sound off the ceiling to give a three-dimensional effect. If you already have speakers mounted in the ceiling, those will work as the height channels. You’ll also need to make sure that your receiver is Dolby compatible. The largest selection of games that utilize Dolby Atmos will come on either a PC or XBox platform.
Another option to use the Dolby Atmos system is to download the Atmos app and then use a set of gaming headphones to enjoy a greater sound experience. This won’t work in the same way as the surround sound speakers, but it will give a virtual surround sound experience that can enhance gameplay quite a bit. In games like Star Wars Battlefront, Battlefield 1 and PUBG the addition of the directional sound takes the gaming experience to a new level.
The one main advantage that you will find with the DTS:X system is that it can be used with whatever your current speaker set up is. The system will run a calibration when it is first used to detect what the speaker setup is. If you like your current speaker configuration this is a nice bonus. The largest selection of compatible games will also be found on the PC and Xbox platforms.
The DTS:X system also has a platform that delivers three-dimensional surround sound through your gaming headphones. The system is called DTS Headphone:X and it is a game-changer. The audio in your games will be heard as it was intended to be.
Improved Gameplay with a Better Sound System
Steven Speilberg said, “Sound and music make up more than half of communicating a story, greater even than what you’re seeing.” The developers of today’s games are treating them more like major Hollywood movies with more nuanced and developed storylines along with more immersive sound recording. The dialogue, soundtracks, and ambient noises are all being prepared more thoughtfully, and this is raising the level of all video games. The best way to get the most out of these new additions to your favorite games is to put some sort of surround sound system in place.
Having a large five, seven or eleven speaker setup for gaming isn’t always the most realistic concept. Playing any type of FPS game without surround sound is also not a great prospect. This is where the DTS Headphone:X technology and the Dolby Atmos app can be just what is needed for a more immersive gaming experience.
There are many sets of gaming headphones that are compatible with the DTS Headphone:X technology and the Dolby Atmos application. When playing a game the headphones will allow you to pinpoint exactly where footsteps are coming from, or exactly where gunfire is coming from. These details can be the difference between life and death while playing. This is especially important when you are playing competitively or when you are playing in an online multiplayer format.
In games like Battlefield 1, the ability to locate planes and explosions above you even when you are not able to see anything on the screen can be very helpful. The addition of overhead sound not only gives a strategic advantage but a cool factor that is off the charts. The added sounds will really make you feel like you are truly in the scene. The ability of game designers to utilize the object-based surround sound enables you as the gamer to not just hear the direction a bullet is being fired from, but actually feel that bullet go past. When you are walking through a scene that has fires in various locations, you’ll be able to not just see them, but tell exactly where they are located.
The accuracy of the sound effect placement within a game can also help to keep you alive in many of the FPS titles that are so popular to play. Many games utilize a warning system when you are getting too close to something dangerous. Having the ability to know you are too close to a grenade launching enemy based on the sounds coming through is an entirely different experience. Hearing footsteps that are coming from behind and to the right or left can also be a life-saving feature. In many games, you would be able to detect an enemy before you are able to see them and react appropriately. The ability to be more aware of your surroundings within a game will help you on your way to becoming a better gamer.
Which Sound System is Better for Gaming?
The short answer is that both systems are going to vastly improve your gaming experience by giving you much more immersive gameplay. There are many game titles available through both PC and Xbox platforms that are compatible with both sound systems, so the variety of games should suit your needs with either system. Both systems also use object-based sounds which is what allows the directionality to go up and down along with forward, back, left and right. Both systems are also going to work well with a large majority of your favorite gaming headphones, although some headphones are set up to be compatible with one system or the other.
The decision on which surround system is better will likely come down to personal preference. A great way to experience each system is to find a local store or do some searching online to find some samples of what the various games will sound like. You might find that your favorite game or games simply sound better with one system when compared to the other. The surround sound offered by both systems is helping elevate the gaming experience to a new level, and that is good news for gamers everywhere.