Anyone who has ever played video games or watched movies using 5.1 surround sound knows, its pretty darn amazing. However, since those set-ups cost so much money, there are some other solutions to get surround sound on your PC.
5.1 surround sound headphones have been available for several years. Some of them are "USB" so you don't even technically need a sound card to use them. Now, you're probably wondering how you can output sound through USB? Well, you can't. These USB headphones (and all other USB headsets and phones) use a integrated USB sound card that communicates with your PC like an internal sound card would, just through the USB interface.
Sometimes the sound cards are integrated right into the headphones, but sometimes the circuitry is encased in a box that is along the headphone cable. This was the case for the $30 headphones that I bought from Tigerdirect.
What am I getting at? I will show you how you can turn these cheap headphones into two separate devices: a very functional 6-channel USB sound card, and a pair of surround sound headphones you can use with any sound card.
I hope you enjoy reading.
Step 1: How Do Surround-Sound Headphones Work?
Surround sound headphones use three speakers per ear: a Front, a Rear and a Center channel. The center channel is a normal, large headphone speaker. The Front and Rear speakers are more like earbud-style speakers, and are connected to small tubes that guide the sound in front and behind your ear.
The concept is simple, but it requires a 6-channel sound card for it to be true surround sound that is correctly supported by games and DVDs.