5.1 headphones

Hello all,

I am a sound designer working on surround sound productions. Some times I edit sounds at home using a normal headphone and later take it into my studio to do further work on it. Now I have recently seen some surround sound headphones and I wonder if any of you have used any of those surround headphones for pro audio sound editing. If so please tell me what headphones you guys use for it. Also I would welcome recommendations for good 5.1 head phones.

Thank you

There are some models, but IMHO this was all consumer stuff. Stereo headphones already show a very different picture than monitors due to missing crosstalk and a different phase behaviour. So, with surround headphones this would be probably so bad that is is close to useless.

Plus, if such headphones would be available, they would probably be 4.0, not 5.1. LF and C -> how should that work ?

Hello yourself!

1 - never - it’s impossible to do this properly, as you only have 2 speakers and not 5.
2 - See above.
3 - Sorry, but there is no such thing. Headphones by definition are 2 channel devices, and any “surround” type effect is a result of DSP & psychoacoustics. Whilst it might be fun, it should never under any circumstances be trusted. You cannot beat discrete channels.

This thing is not bad…
I tried it at AES convention and it made a good impression, but still not as good as conventional 5.1 monitors…


Big K

But it is not good either - it’s a gimmicky piece of @%8! to my mind.
to mix in 5.1 you need, well, a surround monitor system - not headphones with DSP fluff.

I know this thing (sorry, only in french) Realiser-A8 : http://www.smyth-realiser.fr/index.php?p=1_4_Realiser-A8
Based on HRTF, but quite expensive.

I personally use IRCAM HEar from Flux:: : http://www.fluxhome.com/products/plug_ins/ircam_hear

I agree.
As I said: no replacement for real 5.1 monitoring.

Big K


It just cannot work like that. The localization of sounds is done with instinctive, uncontrolled small movements of the head. The brain then analyzes the phase incoherences that were introduced by this head movement.

All simulations are STATIC. Unless someone programs it so that a sensor recognizes the head movement and the simulation adjusts the phases accordingly, it is gimmicks, indeed.

This is precisely what the Realiser-8 i talked about above does. Note that it also uses personnal HRTF set (ie. made specifically for your hears / head).

There are cases where a real surround monitoring is just not practical (on location surround recordings (monitoring), on the road editing / “rough” mixing, small and / or bad acoustic room, etc.).

I also saw somewhere a kind of helmet with 5 little speakers attached at like 20cms of the head, but can’t find the URL anymore :slight_smile: .

Oh, looks fancy !

And yes, no question it would be great to have a reliable system in form of headphones. Such a helmet is even more fun, reminds me of this old AKG 1000 (?) system with the small monitors on my head. Looked insane, but sounded awesome.

It is still a downmix converted through DSP - not surround monitoring at all.

Thanks :wink:

Of course it is NOT a REAL surround monitoring, but I think you just didn’t get the point here… You know, like on location surround recording (ambisonic, mmad, irt, ortf-surround, or just discrete 5.1 like with a Holophone), and other things i already talked about earlier.
And i’m also pretty sure you didn’t even test any of the HRTF solution stated above.
So I give up…

Yes, I did get the point.
It’s just that it is frankly pointless.
There is simply no way that a location 5.1 recording can be tested & checked by downmixing to 2 channels & using DSP to fake 5.1 in a set of headphones. Sorry, but it would be akin to plugging these same headphones into a mixer, summing to stereo with MixConvert to LtRt mode & checking on the same headphones.
The only way to check any 5.1 location recording is to run it up on discrete monitors.