Surround Sound and All that Noise

I recently upgraded to a less expensive surround sound system and do I wish I had done this years ago. I had no idea the better quality sound or what a difference it would make not only in my gaming but in everything I do with my computer.

I had seen a sale at a local K-Mart and just knew that was the next thing I wanted for my PC. The sale had been going on for about a week and then lo and behold it went on clearance. There was two packages of these speakers sitting on the shelf so I bid my time and waited. Then they went lower and lower and I knew if I pressed my luck any more I wouldn’t get one of them.

My purchase was a Logitech X220 2.1 Surround Sound Speaker System. I got them for $25 when the retail price is around $50, what a deal. I took them home and found inside the box two satellite speakers on small stands and a larger sub woofer. Knowing what I had already checked out on the Internet I quickly hooked them up according to the instructions that came with and had the sound blaring to a favorite tune by Alanis Morissette.

The two satellite speakers are the 2 part of 2.1 for surround sound. This is some of the things I looked up before purchasing the speaker system. I wanted to make sure I had what I needed for a sound card and that it would work with my PC. The system is used for surround sound and has three main components. I found out that surround sound is usually in three varieties these days, 2.1, 5.1 and the newest 7.1. The number before the period is the number of satellite or smaller speakers. The number after is the number of sub woofers.

The sub woofer is a larger unit that the other speakers hook up to and the power cord hooks to. There will be a power supply inside and the bass for sounds and music comes from this unit. The satellite speakers all give you sound but it depends if your listening to music or playing a game for what types of sound comes out of them. Some of the sounds will come out of different speakers if your playing a game and this is where the gaming can be so much better.

For the 5.1 and the 7.1 systems there will be two speakers for right next to your computer, two behind and for the 7.1 two will be on each side of you. The extra one of these systems sits right in front of you on top of your computer screen or on a shelf above it. This one is for sounds that are supposed to be right in front of you. The 2.1 doesn’t have this as it is of course a less expensive system.

If your playing a game that has been set up for surround sound, the game can be a totally different experience when you play it. A person walking or trying to sneak up on you from the left on your computer will be on your left speaker. This makes sounds that happen in the game occur according to your sitting in the middle of a set of speakers that sound can come from. Gunfire will be from the side that the noises come from in the game. In a game like Counter Strike Condition Zero or other first person shooter this surround sound can be a great and fun part of the game. The men in the game run around and a part of the game is being able to hear when others get close to you. You can hold still and not move and actually tell where the men are coming from on your speakers.

Sounds just work better on a surround sound system, and music of course also sounds much better. In my computer room that is just off my living room my computer is now wired for sound, surround sound. I have a CD player next to my computer so when I’m working I can listen to some of my favorite music but now I think I’ll be playing them from my computer. They sound so much better with the deep bass and rich high tones even from the small and inexpensive Logitech system.

The difference from the standard computer speakers that came with my computer setup and surround sound is like going from an AM radio station to a CD player. Or another example that I recently experienced will show what I mean. My wife had purchased a DVD on our way out to their family cabin on a lake near our house. It was an old western in black and white, and I mean old. The guys had six shooters but never reloaded, men would punch each other and you could actually see a foot or more between the fist and the other guys face. Well, you get the idea. The DVDs you buy today are just so much better than those old cheap ones, it’s the same with the sound systems.

I say so much about the difference between regular and surround sound because there is such a striking clarity and vibrance in the later. Surround sound is so much better even with such a small purchase. I know why people want to have the home theaters and surround sound with it. Right now I can’t afford it but I would like to have it for my TV. Which brings me to another topic on this subject.

Surround sound systems for your TV and your computer are different, so if you want one for each, they are not interchangeable. The surround sound for your PC or even the console games, mine comes with an adapter for console games, is different than a system for just a TV or HDTV. It will be made slightly different as the system for a TV will have different hookups and the placement will be different. They make the system for each with positioning of the speakers in mind so there will be different length cords and different setups for each.

You can use one for the other but it just does not make sense. They have the connectors already setup for the system they are made for, you would need to buy an adapter to hook each to the other system. There is an adapter for the console games but the cables that come with the speakers are set up to have them set right next to your computer and then to the sub woofer. On a surround sound for TV’s the cables will be configured for a system setting a bit differently.

Surround sound is great, not necessary but it is great. It makes gaming and music so much better on the computer. The rich bass tones that shake the room, well it sure makes gaming more fun for me. You don’t need it but if you do get it, make sure your sound card supports it.

I have a newer computer, but the card is an older type. It is from Realtek and is a basic model of sound card found in many computers. Most computer sound cards support surround but to make sure check out the manufacturer and make sure. See their web site, to find out what type your computer has look in the support and go to hardware then tools, then into my computer information. Or you can go into he hardware devices in the properties of your computer to see what card type and the manufacturer you have.

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