There are a lot of home audio products on the market, and just as many theories behind the best way to configure your system. Although there is a classical, professional way to configure speakers and furniture to get the best use out of 5.1, 7.1 and other sound channel systems, some other devices may need more innovative setups or no setup at all. Here's an overview of different sound configurations while participating in a community that needs sound for more than just entertainment and background noise--the gaming community.
Why The Gaming Community?
There are many different ways to enjoy a good sound system. Some people like to watch movies, while others listen to music. Movie and TV show-watchers run the gamut from casual watchers who just want loud sound with big bass to people who truly want to bring the magic of an epic movie to life, while music listeners either want to blast music for a party or fine-tune the way their sound should sound when released.
Gamers are a bit different because many games that boast great sound design do so for a reason. While there are experts and extreme hobbyists in every interest level, gamers specifically have to live a second life where the sound coming from the game can affect the way they succeed--or at least how efficient they are.
Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games are on the edge of this type of immersive gameplay. In addition to the computer-controlled creatures in a game, such as wild animals, enemy soldiers, or a bustling city outside of a forest creating audio cues, many gamers need to hear other enemy players coming from any given direction.
More games are making the crunch of branches or the sound of footsteps and clinking armor relevant. Some games have combat that is so drawn out that an ambush isn't always the end of the world, but an advantage is an advantage. A good sound system can change that.
What's Best For Gamers? Depends On The Setup
If a gamer has enough room to set up a large speaker configuration and isn't interrupted by others, a bedroom or living room with a fully-configured set of 5 or 7 speakers can be like a virtual reality chamber.
As you move, you can hear the sound of your ally on your left and the raging battle to the far right. With some in-game communications, the sound of your allies can even be programmed to their in-game character, meaning that when they speak, you can hear it from where their character should be--not just a loud and detached central location. This has its pros and cons, but can create a great immersion experience.
Headphones can be just as good with the audio experience. Higher-end headphones and headsets (a headset often means including a microphone) can easily emulate or copy the sensation of surround sound while giving you a personalized, private experience.
It largely depends on how private your area is and how much space you have to work with, and you can certainly use both configurations. To get help with setting up the right equipment and getting the best sound quality, contact a home theater system professional, like one from A Tech Security.