Maximizing 3D sound...???

Hi all.

I use a Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card and Sennheiser 598 headphones and the 3D sound isn't quite that good. I know there is a bug where I hear my own footsteps approaching me from behind (which is bad enough) but the directional sound has been hit or miss. Foot steps often are not indicative of where the enemy is actually approaching,

I would welcome your experience and comments. Maybe there is a software or tips that you have employed to improve the situation.


Does the virtual surround work correctly in other games? Are you sure you have 5.1 channels (for Headphones) selected and then enabled the virtual surround (Is it SBX Prostudio surround setting with that soundcard)? Have you tried tweaking the surround effect / room size slider in the software?

I hear sounds exactly where they are (except above or below) with my Xonar Essence STX soundcard and Sennheiser HD 650 headphones. My soundcard uses Dolby Headphone for virtual surround.

@Action83 Thank you for responding. I will check tonight and test and see and respond back. Thanks again!

I've been using an Asus Xonar DG (rather cheap compared to yours) with Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro for years and don't have any problems with directional audio except the few bugs ingame. Personally, for headphone use i do not recommend using Dolby Headphone or additional "surround sound" settings - as it is with Dolby Headphones it sounds quite artificial, like tinny and distanced, in my humble opinion, though this is a matter of taste of course. And your brain is quite capable of calculating direction and distance with just two ears without effects ("just stereo", amazing!). Any other additional sound effects just change the original experience and probably won't help with directional sound (depends on tech though).

As far as i can tell, the recommendation is to use 6 channels (5.1 setting in windows) for headphones without any additional effects like dolby or surround, but that info is from a few years back, not sure if still ok (works, though). 8 channels (7.1) requires an audio source that actually delivers 8 channels for proper utilization.

One last thing to note is that it is not possible to ALWAYS pinpoint enemies. The further away the sound the more diffuse the direction, or you might hear one enemy but get surprised by another sneaking around (no footsteps), and it's also possible that terrain and surroundings influence the perceived direction, which makes sense. However, in an open field you should be able to pinpoint a shooter without problems, test this with a buddy to be sure it works.

last edited by Feuerholz

@feuerholz With my setup Dolby Headphone virtual surround works perfectly and adds immersion. Everything sounds exactly like it should and I can pinpoint the exact direction and distance to every sound source. With Dolby Headphone disabled I can not. I play games and watch movies with Dolby Headphone enabled as the experience is superior.

last edited by Action83

Dolby Headphone isn't bad when it comes to directional sound, i agree. However, it sounds far too artificial here. Do you know if this might be a a difference between sound cards?

@feuerholz said in Maximizing 3D sound...???:

Dolby Headphone isn't bad when it comes to directional sound, i agree. However, it sounds far too artificial here. Do you know if this might be a a difference between sound cards?

I think you use wrong settings. If the sounds sound distant with Dolby Headphone enabled then you use the wrong room size setting. Have you tested the different room size settings in Asus Audio Center? DH-2 is right for me.

Do you use Uni Xonar drivers by the way?

last edited by Action83

Coincidentally, when i initially read this topic i went ahead and actually updated my Uni Xonar drivers and also discovered the Speaker Compensation Tweak they also provide. Then i activated Dolby Headphone, making me think that the new sound ingame was caused by Dolby Headphone, when in fact it was caused by the Speaker Compensation.

I now reinstalled the drivers and everything is back to normal (shame though, music sounds awesome with the tweak). Dolby Headphone doesn't sound as artifical anymore, and you're right, i left everything else @stock, so i'm gonna try the room settings, too.

A good lesson in "if in doubt, look twice" again.

last edited by Feuerholz

@Action83 When I choose the option for 5.1 sound in the Prostudio it will not play sound at all but will of course play sound with the headset option. I am using the surround feature and I guess that the directional sound is not as optimized as old games I've played.