Many multi-channel surround sound headsets come with only one driver per ear cup and a special software, which emulates surround sound using various tricky methods. Asustek Computer decided to offer something that provides a true surround-sound experience in headphones and introduced Strix 7.1 surround gaming headset that features 5 miniature speaker drivers per ear cup.
The Asus Strix 7.1 surround headset features specially-designed ear pads with 40mm front, 30mm center, 20mm rear, 20mm side and 40mm subwoofer drivers made of neodymium magnets inside each one. The manufacturer claims that each driver has 32 ohms impedance, 96db sensitivity (which is pretty low) and 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response. Ten discrete drivers should naturally provide better surround sound experience than software emulation. Each ear pad also features special LEDs designed to make the headset more stylish and emphasize Strix branding.
The Strix 7.1 comes with a special USB audio station that works as a USB digital sound processor (DSP) and provides useful in-game audio controls and up to 90% environmental noise cancellation (to suppress background noises for more comfortable communications). To connect headphones to the Strix 7.1 DSP, Asus uses unique 5-pole 3.5mm connector suitable for carrying multi-channel audio and data signals with appropriate cable. The Strix 7.1 USB audio station also has an HDMI speaker jack, giving the ability to connect speakers with an included HDMI-to-3.5mm adapter.
The audio station of the Strix 7.1 can be programmed and offers four game-audio spectrum profiles, including first-person shooter (FPS) gunfire mode, FPS footsteps mode, action RPG mode, and racing mode. Each mode is designed to provide improved experience (or benefits) in particular type of video games. For example, the FPS footsteps mode enhances the sound of footsteps in first-person shooter games. The profiles are instantly-selectable from the USB audio station.
The Strix 7.1 headset weighs 320 grams and is designed to be comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time. The headset is cushioned with soft, full-size memory foam – 130mm across at its widest point – and is covered with highly breathable protein leather.
Pricing of Asus Strix 7.1 surround headset is unknown, just like availability timeframe. It is highly likely that the product will become available in the coming weeks, but given the fact that it comes with a dedicated DSP, do not expect it to be affordable.
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KitGuru Says: The Asus Strix 7.1 looks to be an interesting product that will compete against Razer’s Tiamat 7.1 surround headset, which also boasts 10 speakers. Unlike Tiamat, the Strix 7.1 does not require a 7.1-channel audio solution and can enable multi-channel audio even on laptops. The problem with such approach is higher cost since it requires an external DSP, which will translate into higher price for the consumer.