- Free Surround Sound Software Download
- Virtual Surround Sound Software Machine
- Dolby Virtual Surround Sound Software
In order to capture system audio on Mac, you will need to install a virtual sound card or driver. For example, you can follow these steps to install virtual sound card on Mac that comes with the screen recorder utility in the multi-purpose video tool. It comes as a free component in the premium video converter, burner, downloader, recorder and transfer. Jun 08, 2018 It’s a type of virtual surround sound built into Windows. Really, this is a completely different feature that’s only linked by Dolby’s branding. True Dolby Atmos requires a hardware receiver and special speaker setup, while Dolby Atmos for headphones is a digital signal processor (DSP) that takes surround sound from your PC and mixes it.
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- Jun 18, 2020 In 2017, Microsoft introduced a new feature to Windows called Spatial Sound, which allows different programs to directly interface with the audio stream in Windows and add virtual surround sound.
If you're trying to get the best sound performance from your games, a virtual sound feature like Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos for Headphones, or DTS Headphone:X may be the solution.
Many gaming headsets and sound cards come with a “virtual surround” feature, which aims to provide a more accurate sense of space to your gaming audio. If you’re on the fence about whether the feature is worthwhile, though, there are virtual surround apps that will add the feature to your current headphones, for free or a small price.
In fact, some would argue the software solutions built into Windows are better than those that come bundled with many gaming headsets—which matches my experience. I have never been a big fan of the virtual surround that comes with most headphones, but I rather enjoy some of the alternative options. And while many games already do a good job providing directionality through stereo sound, especially on good open-backed headphones, Microsoft has given game developers some useful tools in its new Spatial Sound feature.
Keep in mind that everyone’s ears and preferences are different, and the head-related transfer function algorithms these tools use to expand the sound may work for some people better than others. Thankfully, you can try most of these options for free or on a trial basis to evaluate whether they enhance the experience for you.
Check the Options Built Into Your Games
Some games may already have some sort of built-in surround processing. Overwatch, for example, has a Dolby Atmos for Headphones option in the Sound menu. Just flip that on, and the game will do all the virtual surround processing for you; no need to download or install anything. Try the game with it on and off to see which you prefer.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has its own 3D audio that it recommends you keep turned on, with any other post-processing off (though you can certainly disable it if you prefer a different solution). So check your game’s settings and see what it offers—this isn’t super common, but for some games, it may be all you need.
Windows Sonic for Headphones
In 2017, Microsoft introduced a new feature to Windows called Spatial Sound, which allows different programs to directly interface with the audio stream in Windows and add virtual surround sound for headphones. Some programs and games are designed specifically to work with Spatial Sound.
However, even if a certain game is not designed for it, the Spatial Sound feature can “upscale” a stereo signal to provide surround effects through your headphones. Presumably, games designed to work with Spatial Sound will sound better than unsupported upscaled games, but it’s nice to know you can use it with anything.
Windows Sonic for Headphones is Microsoft’s own version of this spatial sound, and it’s bundled free with Windows 10. Try it when watching any movie or playing any game by right-clicking the sound icon in your system tray and choosing Spatial Sound > Windows Sonic for Headphones.
Those apps are third-party apps. Third-party apps may be welcomed or forbidden by the device or website owner. For example, the web browser app that comes on the iPhone is a native app made by Apple, but the App Store contains other web browser apps that Apple approved for use on the iPhone but did not develop. Facebook permits some apps that it did not develop to function on its social media site. Check for 3rd party apps mac os.
Just make sure you have any in-game or third-party surround solutions turned off, since you don’t want to double up on virtual surround effects. It’s not the best sounding of all the options I tested—I found it “colored” the sound a bit too much—but hey, it’s free and built right in, so it’s worth trying.
Dolby Access With Dolby Atmos for Headphones
Another option is Dolby's Atmos for Headphones tech, which works through Windows’ Spatial Sound feature. In other words, it works the same way as Windows Sonic—some games are designed for it, some are not, but it’ll work with all of them using Dolby’s own version of virtual surround tuning. Dolby Atmos amplifies ambient noise just like Windows Sonic does, but it does so without coloring the sounds as much. In my opinion, it’s a big improvement.
Dolby Atmos for Headphones doesn’t come built into Windows like Windows Sonic, however; instead, you need to download the Dolby Access app from the Microsoft Store to enable it. The app is free, and allows games to work with Dolby Atmos speaker systems out of the box. The Dolby Atmos for Headphones feature, however, requires a $15 in-app purchase—though you can try it for seven days to see if you like it first.
Once you enable this feature in the app, just open your game of choice, click the sound icon in the system tray, and choose Spatial Sound > Dolby Atmos for Headphones. The app also has an equalizer for different types of audio, though I personally turned this off. You can see a full list of games designed for spatial audio on Dolby’s website.
DTS Sound Unbound With DTS Headphone:X
While DTS may not be as recognizable a name as Dolby, it has been just as prominent in the surround sound space in recent years. You have almost certainly heard audio encoded with DTS tech on a Blu-ray before. Like Dolby, it also has an implementation of Windows Spatial Sound using DTS Headphone:X technology. To use it, download and install the DTS Sound Unbound app from the Microsoft Store, enable the DTS Headphone:X feature in the app, then select it from the sound icon in the taskbar.
Free Surround Sound Software Download
The DTS Headphone:X feature is available as a 14-day free trial, but costs $20 to purchase for long-term use. (Make sure you’re purchasing the DTS Headphone:X decoder, and not the cheaper DTS:X decoder, which is designed for home theater systems—the DTS Headphone:X purchase includes both.)
In my testing, DTS:X seemed to expand the sound stage more than Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos. You still get a good sense of directionality, but it doesn’t amplify those ambient sounds the way Sonic and Atmos do. Some may like this more subtle approach, while others might prefer those sounds to be more audible in the heat of battle—it’s all personal preference.
DTS also has some useful options in the Sound Unbound app. If you click the DTS tab and choose Settings under DTS Headphone:X, you can select a specific tuning for your headphones. DTS has profiles for generic earbuds, generic over-ear headphones, as well as over 500 actual headphone models—just search for yours using the search bar. (I was happy to find it even supported my AKG Q701 headphones that I love so much.) You can then choose from Balanced or Spacious tunings on top of that, which will alter the sound even further.
Other Available Options
If you want to explore some of the other software out there, you might try:
Equalizer APO with the HeSuVi plugin (free): This free and open-source tool aims to imitate the surround effect of Dolby, DTS, Sonic, Razer, CMSS-3D, and plenty of other implementations. It can, however, be a bit complex to set up, depending on your hardware.
Razer Surround (free, sort of): The latest version of Razer’s surround software only works if you purchase one of Razer’s latest Kraken headsets, but the older version 2, available for download on some third-party sites, allows limited virtual surround features with any headphones. It’ll give you a taste of how Razer’s implementation sounds, though you get more customizability with one of Razer’s actual headsets.
Spatial Sound Card (free, $10 for pro): Another popular option, Spatial sound card is free for the basic featureset, which includes adjustments for each virtual “speaker” and a few equalizer presets. The $10 pro version offers lower latency and multiple configurations based on different room environments.
Virtual Surround Sound Software Machine
Again, there are others out there, but this should be more than enough to get you started. Each solution is a little different, which gives you a lot of options. Try it with different games, too—you might like different solutions for different titles.
Dolby Virtual Surround Sound Software
If you don’t like it, stick with regular stereo sound. Plenty of gamers prefer stereo to virtual surround, but you’ll only know for yourself if you give it a try. After years of shunning crappy virtual headset surround, Dolby and DTS might have made me a convert.