We’ve seen gaming headsets deliver 5.1-channel surround sound before, but none of them have done it quite like the Psyko 5.1, which literally mimics the conditions of a 5.1 speaker setup in compact form. Instead of digitally processing the audio for delivery to the ear cups, it removes the speakers from the chambers, choosing to put all five channels along the headband. The sound then travels down tubes, on its way to being delivered right into the cans.
Since the audio is sent to the surrounding areas of the cups as they cover your ears, it delivers precise directional audio, more so than conventional methods of virtualized surround sound should be able to manage. Front and rear sounds travel on separate tubes, one going to the front of the chamber and another on the back. According to the company, this technology, aided by subwoofers in the cans, lets you experience frontal sound from the left, right and center, plus rear sound from the left and right.
The Psyko 5.1 plugs into your 5.1-capable sound card, with volume and bass levels adjustable directly from the headset. Ear cups come with a unique design that allows you to open and close the vents, in case you’d like to hear ambient noise just like a regular speaker setup. It’s fabric-cushioned for comfort and comes with a detachable mic too.
First shown at last year’s CES, early reviews peg the headphones as possibly the best surround audio solution for PC gamers, making it easy to recognize which direction individual sounds actually come from. It’s available now for $300.