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Steelseries Arctis 5 - setup help

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Steviepunk, May 17, 2018.

  1. Steviepunk

    Gangster

    Joined: Mar 11, 2008

    Posts: 320

    I've been trying a pair of Arctis 5 as a possible replacement for my cheap Sades virtual 7.1 headset, however I'm just not noticing any difference in the sound between the 2 (aside for music being a little clearer).
    The software is installed for both, as well as the DTS component for the Arctis.

    Playing Hellblade, I don't hear any difference, it sounds largely the same on both and generally is pretty good (I think that game does it's own positioning for stereo output, but I could be wrong)
    Playing Elite Dangerous, I had previously thought the positional audio with the Sades was quite good (engine noises sounded like there were behind me, etc), however with the Arctis I didn't get any positional feel at all.

    I tried a few 7.1 and 5.1 audio test videos on Youtube and there is no apparent 'depth' or positioning to the audio.
    Likewise, I've played a few videos with DTS audio and it's the same, the audio just sounds stereo (even with the Arctis DTS module enabled), even with my eyes closed there is no sense at all of positioning at all.

    I've been reading reviews for the Arctis 5 stating it's one of the best gaming headsets and it's positional sound is amazing - so am I doing something wrong? Are my expectations too high for what I would get?
    I appreciate that the headphones are ultimately still stereo and it's just a software trick to give some position to the sound, but at the very least I had expected them to be noticeably better than the Sades. Aside from being more comfortable to wear (they are actually really good there), I'm not really seeing much difference between them :(

    edit: forgot to add, I've installed the drivers and enabled the DTS extra install for the Arctis - all the other settings are just default (though IIRC, in Elite Dangerous I did enable DTS sound)
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  2. roderz88

    Gangster

    Joined: Oct 7, 2010

    Posts: 225

    DTS Headphone X needs a surround sound source for it to be effective. My only experience with this is with PS4 with my Stealth 520s but see if it's possible to configure your soundcard to output 5.1/7.1 or something
     
  3. Steviepunk

    Gangster

    Joined: Mar 11, 2008

    Posts: 320

    These connect via USB, so I'm not sure if the soundcard is even used for this or if it is just a software based solution that doesn't use the sound hardware. I'll give it a check just to be sure though :)

    I'm not sure what would be considered a proper surround sound source - I would have expected the video playing to be a proper surround source (the codec details certainly was showing that it was 7.1 sound).
    I'd set Elite to DTS output, however I've been researching further and from what I've read elsewhere is sounds like the DTS option is supposed to be used with headphones in stereo mode to be effective. Likewise, numerous reviews I've read
    /watched indicate that the DTS:X option should be disabled for gaming as it actually doesn't help at all (makes audio worse apparently), so they recommend switching it off. So I'll need to give that a test over the weekend and see if that makes any difference.
     
  4. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,214

    You're correct in thinking that because they are USB they won't use a sound card. USB audio is completely separate and the headset has it's own sound processing electronics.

    While I don't know how to set the headset software up correctly, carrying on from what roderz88 said about needing a surround sound source; you'd need to make sure the game in question is outputting 7.1. If the game is set to stereo in the options, then Headphone X won't be getting multi channel audio to do anything with, which will hamper how effective it is. Same applies if you are using a sound card and SBX prostudio or Dolby Headphone. Source needs to be outputting 5.1/7.1.

    No point using Youtube videos to test how effective Headphone X is, because Youtube doesn't have 5.1/7.1 sound. Even the video uploaded had 5.1/7.1 originally, it gets re-encoded on upload and ends up as stereo. Headphone X would be trying to create positional sound from just a stereo source, which is why it sounds like there is no depth.
     
  5. Steviepunk

    Gangster

    Joined: Mar 11, 2008

    Posts: 320

    I had an original DTS test video which VLC Player reports as being proper 7.1 - I've made some config changes (disabled DTS in the Arctis settings being the main one, I also changed the windows settings for the headset in the Device settings and enabled it for Windows Surround with 7.1), after the which the DTS video sounded much better, likewise Elite Dangerous is much better. Busy weekend so haven't had a chance to try anything else yet, but the config changes are positive so far.

    thanks for the feedback guys :)