8 Best Surround Sound Headphones

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Introduction

Nowadays, the technology of surround sound systems is present in all sorts of tech gadgets and trinkets, including headphones. This form of tech refers to stereophony system which, contrary to popular definitions, does not include several speakers. Rather, these ‘speakers’ emulate sound from different angles, providing a fully immersive experience.

We’ve scrounged the market for the best surround sound headphone models and present to you the list of the best value cans you could get for the money.

Model name

Wireless or wired?

Surround sound quality

Price

Steel Series Arctis 5

Wired

Very good

Steel Series Siberia 150

Wired

Good

Sony MDR-DS6500 Digital Wireless 3D Surround headphones

Wireless

Exceptional

Audeze Mobius Premium 3D Gaming Headset

Wireless

Exceptional

Corsair HS70 Wireless Gaming Headset

Wireless

Good

Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset

Wireless

Very good

Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless headphone system

Wireless

Exceptional

Sennheiser PC 373D 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Wired

Very good

Best surround sound headphones for movies

Movies were initially meant to be watched in cinemas. The big screen complemented with big sounds booming from dozens of speakers yield a perfect combination, but what if you could simulate a nearly identical experience at your own home?

The special form of headphones that could help you do it are within the category of surround sound cans. Moreover, the models that were tailor-made for movies are outfitted with a special set of features. Normally, they posses plenty of connection ports, they were purposefully built to put up less clamping pressure and feel slightly more comfortable. The sheer fact that they feel just as great even after hours is what makes them so good for watching movies.

The best cans in this category feature great connectivity, and they often come supplied with onboard controls.

If you’re on the market looking for headphones for movies, we’ve got a couple of suggestions for you.

1. Steel Series Arctis 5

Brief overview of main features and specs:

Steel Series brand specializes in making gaming headphones, which figuratively means that their surround sound technology is their forte. The first model we’re reviewing is the Arctis 5, which comes outfitted with a wide array of exceptional features such as the S1 driver, DTS generated audio, and, most notably, the dual surround sound tech.

A great deal of benefits Arctis 5 aims to provide revolves around comfort. These headphones sport Air weave cushions that significantly reduce the negative effects of the clamping pressure. Additionally, the Arctis 5 provides exceptional noise cancellation, further complementing the surround sound quality.

What we liked about these headphones:

You might we wondering ‘if these are gaming headphones, why are they so good for movies?’. In short, we really liked the abundance of convenience-oriented features, which really come in handy when watching movies. For instance, you will be able to easily manipulate the volume on the onboard slider whenever you anticipate a jump scare scene in a horror movie.

On top of that, the Air Weave cushions allow you to watch full movie marathons. The clamping pressure is almost entirely eliminated, not to mention the pads are very comfortable.

What we thought could be improved:

There aren’t many downsides to the Arctis 5 headphones. In fact, one could say that the only bad thing about them is that they’re wired, and even that’s not a flaw per se.

Now, the only thing that might not sound so great about them is the fact that an upgraded version exists (the Arctis 7). This newer edition is both wireless and sports an improved surround sound technology.

However the reason why we didn’t replace the Arctis 5 with the ‘7’ is because it’s generally not as valuable as the former, meaning that the new benefits it would provide should you opt for it aren’t that substantial.

Pros:

  • Superb dual surround sound technology.
  • Perfect for both gaming and movies.
  • Exceptional audio quality.
  • Comfortable to wear on the long run.

Cons

  • Wired.
  • Upgraded version exists.​​​​
Our Verdict:

The Steel Series Arctis 5 does wonders for the buck. There are several reasons why we labelled it as one of the best surround sound headphone models for watching movies. One of them is because it’s a bit more convenient than other similarly priced models due to exceptional comfort rating and immersive sound quality.

2. Steel Series Siberia 150

Brief overview of main features and specs:

First and foremost, the Siberia 150 is one of the finest budget headphone sets you could get for watching your favourite movies. It comes outfitted with a fairly powerful speaker driver, the headband is decently light, and the cups are remarkably breathable.

The surround sound tech that the Siberia 150 cans feature is the Steel Series patented ‘Engine 3’. It delivers a very immersive audio quality. They also rock a built in USB connector which allows you to use them on all types of PCs, Macs, as well as PS4s.

What we liked about these headphones:

People who are on a tight budget but still want to experience the mesmerizing effects of surround sound technology should at least consider the Siberia 150. Its affordability is one of its main advantages. Furthermore, it does pack a pair of very soft leather cups that you won’t practically even feel as you’re watching a movie.

The connectivity is also on point, as the Siberia 150 can be paired up to most electronic hardware pieces with a USB jack.

Last, but certainly not least, there aren’t many budget cans that come supplied with surround sound technology, and this particular model actually takes it up a notch with 3D sound features.

What we thought could be improved:

Even though there are many things that are great about these cans, they’re still just budget headphones. Namely, they’re not as comfortable as the Arctis 5, and the audio quality they provide is not as great. Moreover, certain features are relatively useless for non-gaming folk. Additionally, the cable is not only quite short, but it’s also fairly flimsy.

Pros:

  • Superb value for th​​​​e buck.
  • Integrated USB connector.
  • Breathable and soft ear cups.
  • Patented Engine 3 which delivers 3D sound.
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Doesn’t particularly excel in any field of performance.
  • Flimsy cable.
Our Verdict:

If you’re low on cash but still want to get the best surround sound headphones as possible, the Siberia 150 might be the perfect choice for you. Atop of its inexpensiveness, its performance is superior in comparison to similarly priced cans, although in reality, they aren’t that special by industrial standards.

In short, they’re great budget headphones for people who want to have a great movie experience on a different level.

Best true surround sound headphones

There is a subtle, but almost palpable difference between ‘digital’ and ‘true’ surround sound devices. In fact, the ‘surround sound’ technology comes in several levels.

The first (or better yet, ‘nill’) level is the category where the basic stereo headphones are. These cans are usually the cheapest and have the most limited capabilities regarding surround audio performance.

Next up is the level of ‘virtual’ surround sound. Headphones in this sphere tend to ‘simulate’ the effects of a surround sound system, so they’re pretty close to the real deal, but still they’re not as good. In short, these ‘virtual’ surround system technologies aim to distract the listener with digitalized frequencies rather than providing a full-blown wall of sound.

 The ‘true’ surround sound headphones are a cut above the aforementioned levels. There are no tricks in play; rather the technologies used to make them use several driver units that split the signals across both the cups. Some of the best true surround headphone models on the market are:

4. Sony MDR-DS6500 Digital Wireless 3D Surround headphones

Brief overview of main features and specs:

As we start to delve deep into the world of ‘true’ surround sound headphones, it’s only fitting that we begin with one of Sony’s models. The MDR-DS6500 comes outfitted with a set of huge 40mm drivers, the frequency response span is great (spanning up to 22 kHz), and the battery of these cans can survive up to full 20 hours.

Speaking of which, these are wireless headphones that come with a very special charging station that allows for rapid recharge. Moreover, the station is very compact in terms of design, making the entire bundle very portable and suitable for all kinds of purposes.

As for the audio quality, it’s absolutely unparalleled. Just as you’d expect from an industrial titan such as Sony – the 2.4 GHz digital transmissions ensures zero signal loss and latency. This only means that you will get to hear every little detail at all times.

What we liked about these headphones:

Saying that we liked ‘everything’ about them would be a major understatement. There’s just so much the MDR-DS6500 brings to the table. You’ll have a really hard time finding a better set in the price point category. They’re wireless, their battery lifetime is great, audio quality is impeccable, and the surround system technology they utilize is almost unmatched.

What we thought could be improved:

In all honesty, the only thing that most people won’t like so much about these cans is the price tag. Even though they are more than worth the money, some people would consider MDR DS6500 expensive.

Additionally, the earcups on these headphones are rather large and they put up quite a bit of clamping pressure, which means that some people might get a bit uncomfortable after some time of wearing them.

Pros:

  • Superb audio quality.
  • Comes with a charging station.
  • Great battery lifetime & wireless method of operation.
  • Compact design.

Cons

  • Strong clamping pressure.
  • Expensive.
Our Verdict:

Even though they do cost quite a bit, there are numerous reasons why MDR DS6500 headphones are well worth the money. They offer wireless convenience, come with a handy compact charger, and it’s safe to say that they take surround sound to a whole new level.

5. Audeze Mobius Premium 3D Gaming Headset with Surround Sound

Brief overview of main features and specs:

The word that would best describe the performance of Audeze’s Mobius is ‘exquisite’.  These cans come supplied with bleeding edge technology, boast superb connectivity, and the drivers they’re outfitted with are among the best in the price range.

Among the most notable features, there are the memory foam pads, a high-quality microphone, Bluetooth and USB connection, and 7.1 surround sound technology.  

What we liked about these headphones:

Mobius headphones are exceptionally versatile, but that’s not the reason why we are recommending them to you. They offer pure surround sound immersive experience fit for an audiophile because they pack an exquisite sound driver.

Further on that note, Mobius’ soundstage is remarkably well balanced. The bass punches through just fine without overwhelming the rest of it, the middles are clear and sharp while the higher end is very crispy.

To top it all, the true 7.1 surround sound technology provides a unique cinematic experience to the point where you’ll have trouble discerning reality from fiction.

Moreover, the earcups were designed in such a way that they do not put up too much clamping pressure. Additionally, they’re made from ultra-comfortable memory foam materials that feel gentle even after hours of wearing.

Last, but not the least, these are gaming headphones primarily, so it’s only obvious that their connectivity is true to form.

What we thought could be improved:

Audeze’s Mobius is wireless, it’s comfortable, sounds great, boasts robust sound quality and an all-around soundstage. Most people would find this enough to declare it as one the best true surround sound headphone models, but its only flaw is that it’s very expensive. In fact, Mobius is the most expensive model in our best surround sound headphones review.

Pros:

  • Unmatched comfortability .
  • Wireless convenience.
  • Great connectivity
  • Immersive cinematic surround sound quality
  • Tremendous value for the buck.

Cons

  • Very expensive.
Our Verdict:

If you are out on the market looking for the best possible true surround sound headphones, we highly advise that you start saving up for Mobius. The benefits it offers are numerous, and the only downside to it is that it costs a small fortune. Nevertheless, it holds a tremendous value for the cash in our book.

Best wireless surround sound headphones

Audiophiles, gamers, and casual music fans share one thing in common when it comes to headphones – their ‘need’ for quality sound transmission devices. Now, there have been numerous discussions as to whether wireless or wired headphones are better, and it’s pretty safe to say that the answer shouldn’t exist, as the matter is entirely subjective.

On the flip side, there are people who generally dislike tangy cables and devices that come supplied with them, so we’ve picked out a couple of headphone models that offer wireless convenience.

5. Corsair HS70 Wireless Gaming Headset

Brief overview of main features and specs:

Corsair’s HS70 is a highly comfortable wireless headphone set that rocks a removable low-latency microphone, a strong neodymium driver unit, and a pretty solid battery lifetime.

Firstly, the memory foam pads provide such a level of comfort which is ideal for gamers, people who love watching movies, and of course, those who can spend hours playing their favourite records.

The HS70 is also very sturdy, packing a robust metal construction. Given proper maintenance, these cans will last you for years to come. Additionally, these headphones come outfitted with precision-tuned 50mm drivers which deliver superb sonic performance.

What we liked about these headphones:

As far as wireless headphones go, the main benefit is usually the hands-free convenience. However, there aren’t many models in this particular sphere that excel in sound performance as much as the HS70. The 50mm precision-tuned neodymium drivers complemented with the surround sound technology set the standards in this price range, not to mention, these cans aren’t even expensive.

Additionally, the memory foam pads are somewhat oversized, which basically means that the clamping pressure is minimal. In other words, Corsair’s HS70 is remarkably comfortable to wear, even for hours at a time.

What we thought could be improved:

Even though the ear cups are very comfortable and the metal construction durable, the headband could have been done a bit better. Namely, it’s made of such materials that will make you sweat a bit more in comparison to using regular headphones, so that could be a problem for people who want to watch movie marathons or game all day.

Pros:

  • Highly durable metal construction.
  • Precision-tuned 50mm drivers.
  • Removable microphone.
  • Comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Cons

  • Increased sweating due to the design of the headband.
Our Verdict:

All things taken in account, Corsair’s HS70 headphones are absolutely great for pretty much anyone who doesn’t mind spending a couple of extra bucks on quality. They’re not expensive but it would be wrong to call them cheap, however the performance they offer greatly exceeds their price tag.

6. Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset

Brief overview of main features and specs:

We’re looking at yet another gaming headset that packs surround sound technology, the Logitech’s G533. These cans are in the league with some of the boutique level headphones due to Logitech’s patented Pro-G drivers. This little piece of technology greatly complements the surround sound tech, making it even bigger and more immersive.

Since these are wireless headphones, it’s important to note that the brand went a step further and ensured zero signal loss during sonic transmission. You’ll get the best audio quality without ever having to fret about intermissions and feedback.

Though they are made of plastic components, these headphones are fairly sturdy. More importantly, they’re also light, hence perfect for extended use. Lastly, the G533 sports a rechargeable 15-hour battery.

What we liked about these headphones:

The Corsairs G533 is exceptionally comfortable to wear, and that’s the sphere of performance it excels in the most. The earcups are designed in a square-like fashion, enveloping the ears fully while providing passive noise cancellation.

We also really liked that the battery of G533 can survive as long as 15 hours. Knowing that you will feel comfortable wearing them for hours, it’s good to know that the battery can follow the tempo as well.

 Lastly, the sonic performance of Logitech’s G533 wireless headphones is awesome. Their patented Pro-G driver unit is remarkably powerful and delivers top tier sonic performance.

What we thought could be improved:

The earcups are pretty large, but the overall construction seems rather petite in comparison to average wireless headphone models. Additionally, though we did say that G533 is durable, there are a couple of joints in the headband which can crack pretty easily if you don’t take proper care of them.

Pros:

  • Durable plastic construction.
  • Oversized earcups that put up a small amount of clamping pressure.
  • Comfortable foam on the cups.
  • Patented Pro-G driver units.
  • Excellent audio quality.

Cons

  • Several joints on the headband prone to cracking.
Our Verdict:

Some people might say that the performance of G533 isn’t as great as to label them ‘the best surround sound headphones’. However, knowing that they belong to the medium price point category, they’re easily among the finest models in that bracket. They sound better than most similarly priced models, they’re more comfortable to wear, and the battery they come supplied with is pretty decent too.

Top Surround Sound Headphones under $250

The price range beyond $250 is considered as ‘boutique’ or ‘high end’. That means that there you’ll find headphones that come supplied with some of the most exquisite features, and of course, you should be prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it.

That’s why we’ve taken a gander at what market has to offer in terms of surround sound headphones just below $250. Though these cans aren’t cheap, they have certain qualities that are oftentimes considered as boutique exclusive. Without any further ado, let’s get to the reviews:

7. Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless headphone system

Brief overview of main features and specs:

Sennheiser is definitely one of the biggest names in the headphone industry, and a great number of their models come with a variant of surround sound technology. We’ve picked the RS 185 RF as our high-value pick due to certain special features it comes supplied with.

First and foremost, the design of these headphones is something you’d see in a Sci-Fi movie. Not only do they look awesome, but they also have numerous functions on the cups themselves, such as the ‘surround sound’ and ‘bass’ modes, as well as the built in volume controls.

They’re wireless and have an operational range of up to a hundred meters. Furthermore, the RS 175 RF comes with a convenient charging station that allows you to further customize your listening experience (and, of course, charge the headphones when needed).

Moreover, the earcups are fairly big and completely cover the ears, which mean that the clamping pressure is minimal. The cups and the headband also feature plushy foam material which further boosts the comfort level.

What we liked about these headphones:

Everything about Sennheiser’s RS 175 RF is a solid proof of their masterful craftsmanship. The design is excellent, battery superb, they feel incredibly comfortable, and the 100 meter range is something you don’t see so often.

However, the thing we liked the most about these cans is their ability to switch between modes. The surround sound mode was what we were most interested in, but the ‘bass boost’ option is equally great, especially for audiophiles.

What we thought could be improved:

There are just two things that Sennheiser’s RS 175 RF needs in order to be called a ‘perfect headphone set’. Firstly, these cans cost quite a bit, but that shouldn’t even be an issue considering how many benefits they bring to the table.

The real catch is that they’re not really that easy to setup and use. Some of the features and functions might be a bit confusing to people who aren’t that much tech savvy.

Pros:

  • Outstanding audio quality.
  • Bass boost and surround sound modes.
  • Excellent wireless range and battery.
  • Onboard volume and mode select modes.
  • Comes with a complementary charging station.

Cons

  • Not so easy to use and setup.
  • Expensive.
Our Verdict:

For those looking for quality and for people who aren’t afraid to spend a bit more than they initially would, Sennheiser’s RS 175 RF headset is, in our opinion, a perfect choice. These cans have it all, but they do cost quite a bit. Regardless, you won’t find better sonic performance in the price range.

8. Sennheiser PC 373D 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Brief overview of main features and specs:

Another Sennheiser, but this one’s completely different from our previous pick (the RS 175 RF). The PC 373D headphones are highly comfortable, but the earcups are rather big and there are velvet foam pads on the headband and the cups. What’s interesting about them is that they were specifically designed to prevent excessive sweating.

Dolby’s 7.1 surround system technology is also present and customizable. You can visit Sennheiser’s official site to download the Dongle software and expand the limits of the surround sound technology these cans offer.

Additionally, the Sennheiser PC 373D features a professional grade microphone which boasts noise cancelling properties.

What we liked about these headphones:

In a nutshell, Sennheiser’s PC 373D headphones are very comfortable to wear and offer plenty in terms of sonic performance. Moreover, with the addition of the noise cancelling mic, you will be able to hear and speak with clarity. They sound great, feel great, and they’re not even that expensive.

What we thought could be improved:

Being ‘wired’ is not a problem in general, but these headphones have a relatively short cable. That’s not too much of an issue if you’re glued to your desk at all times, but in every other scenario, it’s quite a downfall.

Pros:

  • Superb Dolby 7.1 surround system technology.
  • Breathable velvet ear cups.
  • Durable plastic construction.
  • Great audio quality.

Cons

  • Short cable.
  • Not exactly cheap.
Our Verdict:

Sennheiser seldom (if ever) disappoints, and it’s pretty safe to say that the PC 373D is a great example of their craftsmanship. These headphones provide everything you need for an immersive listening experience, with the only drawback being the short cable which you can replace anyhow. Overall, these cans pack a major punch for the money.

Buying guide

This section is dedicated to helping you understand the criteria we used as we evaluated the performance of each headphone model, as well as to answer some of the questions people usually ask in terms of surround sound headphones performance.

Things to look for when searching for the best surround sound headphones

There are numerous aspects of performance when we talk about headphones, but the concept is somewhat narrowed down a bit when it comes to surround sound system types.

First, and most importantly, you should know that there are worlds of differences between headphones in the budget and in the boutique price point category. The cheapest ones can only offer you a glimpse of what surround sound should look like while boutique level ones go a bit over the top.

Of course, the price is a definitive factor, and also one which you should decide on first. Determine your budget before considering any other factor.

On the second place comes audio quality. You should note that there is a difference between sonic performance and surround sound performance – the first refers to the quality of the signal transmission while the second refers to the length and breadth of the transmission. It would be a shame if you opted for headphones that could spread out the sound but sounded poorly in the first place.

Up next is the comfort rating. If you really intend to immerse yourself in the world of surround sound systems, you might as well get comfortable since the experience demands wholesomeness. An uncomfortable set of cans are the first to ruin it for you.

On the flip side, comfortable headphones are the ones that don’t drain you as you wear them. The clamping pressure is one of the main causes of discomfort, and that’s precisely the opposite of what these cans aim to offer you. Pay attention though, some models might feel plushy but make you sweat excessively. These are to be avoided.

After you’ve made sure that you’re content with the audio price, sonic performance, and comfort of the cans, it’s time to determine what kind of surround sound you want (stereo, digital, true). All of these factors combined give for a decent set of surround sound headphones.

Take the gradation in mind. If the price is too high for you, there’s no point in even considering that specific model. If you’re okay with the price but they sound is generally bad, again you should continue your search, and so on.

Last, but certainly not least, there are other factors that you should also take into account, something we could call ‘special features’. Namely, under this category we could include the wireless convenience, zero latency microphones, memory foam pads, and so on. These special features are unique to each model, but oftentimes it’s best to trust reliable brands and avoid the underdogs.

Speaking of which, if you’re not sure which are the most famous and most reliable brands in the headphone industry, you should check out Sony, Sennheiser, Audio Technica, Audeze, and such. Each of these brands have had decades of experience in this particular field.

Ideal Headphone volume – how loud should you listen to music?

In all fairness, we can all agree on the fact that modern music is meant to be played loud. The producers are actually advising musicians and artists to make such music simply because it sounds more enthralling when played live.

Of course, the best way to get anywhere near to the actual live performance experience is by immersing yourself in the music on your headphones, so you’ll naturally crank up the volume as much as possible. However, you don’t need to be an expert to know that that won’t be beneficial to your hearing.

What experts do have to say actually is that you should keep your music at a level between 60 decibels and 85. Alternatively, if you don’t want to listen to music at such ‘weak’ level, you should at least make sure to limit the time within the span of 15 minutes tops.

How can you check if your music is too loud?

One of the best things about surround sound headphones is their immersive character. It’s easy to get lost in this new sonic world they take you to, but it’s even more important to know when your ears are on the verge of bleeding. There are a couple of convenient tricks that can help you with that.

Ringing test

First of all, there’s the so called ‘ringing test’. If your ears are ‘ringing’ when your environment is silent, you have damaged your sense of hearing. Whether it’s permanent or not varies from case to case.

You’ll need a pair of ear plugs, or if you have a set of big headphones with cups that fully cover the ear, those could do as well. These are supposed to mimic an absolutely silent environment, so you will definitely hear some ringing this way regardless of how good your hearing is.

Now, this little taste is used to determine the level of your ‘baseline’. Keep tabs of how persistent and powerful the ringing is, and if it gets any worse, you should definitely keep the volume down next time you listen to music, game, or watch movies.

Activate the ‘volume control’ feature

Most modern headphones and smartphones have the option called ‘volume control’. This feature, of course, is different depending on the model of your headphones/smartphone, but its use is always the same.

It aims to restrict the volume from going above a certain level. Once activated, whenever you want to crank the volume up beyond this level, you will be warned of the exceeding limit by the volume control feature.

So, if you activate the volume control and still manage to enjoy your music or gaming experience, your hearing is most likely to be perfectly fine. If not, you are listening to your music too loud.

What is the best surround sound wireless headphones for PC?

It goes without saying that the label of the ‘best surround sound wireless headphones’ is something we can attribute to a lot of headphone models. Objectively, though, we award this title to Audeze’s Mobius wireless headphone set.

In fact, some would say that Mobius was tailor made for PCs due to its exceptionally high connectivity. Primarily, these cans are gaming headphones that sport Waves NX tech that provide superior head tracking. They also work with Play Stations and Xboxes.

These headphones can be connected to your PC via Bluetooth, USB cable, AAC, or LDAC. That means that you have numerous options at your disposal, so it’s up to you to choose which one suits your purposes the best.

Conclusion

Sennheiser’s put out a lot of great headphones in the last couple of decades, Sony as well, but there have also been a couple of underdog brands such as the Steel Series that offer premium quality surround sound headphones.

There are so many great models out there that picking the best of the best was no small feat. Luckily, reliable brands such as Sennheiser, Sony, and Audeze are yet to disappoint, so at least we knew where to begin our search. We hope that you’ve liked our selection of the best surround sound headphones and that we’ve clarified a few things regarding this subject. Thank you for your attention, stay safe!

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