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I'm looking at purchasing an Asus Xonar DX 7.1 sound card which has..

Dolby Headphone: Delivers a realistic and spacious 2-to-5.1 surround or 3D positional soundfield over any set of stereo headphones

Has anyone used something like this before? Does it provide any real value with a FPS shooter like Bad Company 2? I play hardcore mode so knowing when someone is behind me would be nice..

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closed as not constructive by OrigamiRobot, Mark Trapp, Ash, Fluttershy, John the Green Mar 14 '12 at 3:59

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Highly subjective question. – DrFish Jan 9 '11 at 15:12
I'm not very clear about the question. Are you just asking "I'm planning to get headphones, would that be great?" – Mugen Jan 10 '11 at 19:43
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I agree with the above comment about this being a subjective question. With that being said I will provide you my personal opinion after having used 5.1 digital surround sound headphones for gaming for around 2 years.

I can't recommend them enough if the money isn't an issue. The headphones help substantially in a couple different ways.

First: The sound clarity is amazing. You'll end up hearing things you normally wouldn't have heard. Footsteps seems amplified and its easier to tell the direction of gunfire.

Second: Direction. In addition to the location of gunfire, the 5.1 surround sound makes it easier to identify the direction of the footsteps. This helps prevent people from sneaking up on you.

Third: Late night gaming. It's useful to play a FPS at ear splitting volume but never wake anyone up. On late nights your significant other will thank you.

Finally: The most important aspect of gaming headphones. It blocks out ambient noise. This is true with any headphones and will greatly improve your game. Whether you realize it or not your body focuses on ambient noises and by blocking them out I have found my concentration for the game is greatly improved.

As with any other recommendation, take this with a grain of salt. But I have personally found gaming headphones to be invaluable in my FPS game.

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You forgot to mention the part where your significant other gets-upset-for-ignoring-him|her-just-because-you-couldn't-hear. Might as well make it a balanced list. – zzzzBov Feb 19 '11 at 9:36
@zzzzBov haha, too true. +1 – Doozer Blake Feb 19 '11 at 14:16
I'd also add one more: excellent quality headphone-specific sound is a lot better than excellent quality speaker-specific sound. It doesn't matter if you have 2.1 or 7.1; you'll never get quite such a realistic effect of a plastic bag over your head except with headphones. Makes me wonder how long before games start making use of this... Rapture3D appears to be just about the only option on the market. – romkyns Jan 5 '13 at 20:25

Speaking generally, I have used virtual surround sound in FPS for a while, specifically a Razer Megalodon, and found it to be an impressive improvement over traditional stereo headphones.

Specific to your combination of game and sound card, this review from ThinkComputers covers the use of the Xonar and BC2, saying the following:

While in Battlefield Bad Company 2 upon first getting into a new single player game I was able to notice a big fps difference, Along with the sound being a big improvement over the onboard sound. While playing the game I felt almost like I was in the action with having more bass and better directional sound being able to pinpoint enemies.

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