Surround sound is a huge part of an immersive gaming or movie watching experience but for a lot of reasons, a full surround sound system might not be practical for you. If that’s the case, then headphones are a good way to go, especially if you use virtual surround sound. This is where Razer Surround comes in.
It takes the data about where a sound is coming from and uses algorithms to manipulate the sound so that stereo headphones sound like full surround. No two ears are created equal, and there are all kinds of headphones to choose from.
Both of these factors affect how we perceive directional or positional sound.
The problem with most virtual surround sound drivers, is that they’re tuned for an average ear that doesn’t exist and that makes for a bad experience once you figure out that the sounds aren’t coming from where they’re supposed to be coming from.
WHAT IS RAZER SURROUND?
Razer has come up with an elegant way to solve this problem. With Razer Surround, it lets you calibrate and customize your virtual surround sound to make it as accurate and convincing as possible.
This is accomplished with a simple setup process that has you listen to sounds and tell your computer which direction you think they’re coming from. The driver then goes to work creating a customized profile for you. This tells Razer Surround how to manipulate a number of complex factors in order to give you an accurate sense of which direction a sound is coming from, and how far away it is.
You can even bring this profile with you wherever you go since it’s synced to the Razer Synapse cloud service.
No matter what kind of ears you have, or what brand of audio equipment you’re using Razer Surround gives you the full surround sound experience.
RAZER SURROUND DOWNLOAD
Here is the link to download the Razer Surround Software
HOW TO SETUP RAZER SURROUND
To get started go to: Start > All Programs > Razer > Razer Synapse 2.0 > Razer Synapse 2.0
Click on Razer Surround in the device selection.
If you are setting up your audio device for the first time, we recommend using this wizard for a step by step guide on the calibration process.
Click START to launch the wizard.
In step 1, Razer Surround detects all audio sources that are connected to and recognized by your computer and lists them in the box. Choose the audio device that you wish to configure. Click Test to ensure that the correct device has been selected.
Click Next to continue to the next step.
If you are configuring for a Razer headphone, select your headphone model from the dropdown list.
Ensure that the Enable Virtual Audio Device checkbox is selected. You can then edit the settings including :
Selecting an audio source
Selecting a Razer headphone (if you are using one)
Enabling the Auto select USB headphone when available option. This allows Razer Surround to automatically use the USB driver for your headphone if available.
Aligning the sound direction to the target direction for each audio segment.
Click Test to test your new configuration or click Demo to view a demonstration on how audio calibration can be performed.
Click Next to continue.
This step introduces the calibration process. Read the instructions carefully and ensure that you are in a quiet environment in order to hear the audio prompts properly.
In this figure, the mannequin represents your position. The green arrows on each segment represent the target direction of the audio playback for that particular segment. Each orange line represents the last saved calibration settings configured on Razer Surround.
Click Calibrate Now once you are ready to begin the calibration.
Position yourself according to the point of reference indicated by the mannequin. The calibration process is divided into a series of segments. An audio prompt will be played for each segment. Click Next to continue to the next segment. Repeat the above, using the green target arrow for each segment as the target direction and continue until you complete the circle.
Once all segments are calibrated, click Next to go to the next step.
Click Experience Surround Sound to test your personalized sound environment. To tweak a particular section, simply click it to play its audio prompt and adjust the settings as desired. To reset the entire configuration, click Reset All. Otherwise, click Finish to confirm the settings.
Configuring Audio Settings
The Audio Tab lets you control various options related to the audio you hear from your headphones.
Using the various sliders, you can:
Enable stereo enhancement for audio playback
Adjust the overall volume of your headset
Improve the bass output of your headset
Normalize the loudness of audio played to avoid sudden and unpleasant increase in volume from effects such as explosions
Enable voice clarity adjustments to improve the quality of incoming voice conversations. Voice Clarity adjustments includes both clarity (Presence Level) and volume (Volume Level) of incoming voice conversations
The EQ Tab lets you filter various audio frequencies, controlling the overall tone of your audio output.
A list of preset equalizer settings can be selected from the drop down menu, giving you easy access to various commonly used audio tones. You can also manually adjust each audio frequency using the sliders.
PERFECT RAZER SURROUND EQ SETTING
From my experimentation with the Razer Kraken Pro I found the following EQ settings to give my headset a more balance sound which is ideal for 7.1 Surround gaming. With the default settings, the bass was just too heavy and would drown out details like enemy footsteps.
16Khz = +5dB
8Khz = +3dB
4Khz = +3dB
2Khz = +2dB
1Khz = +2dB
500Hz = -2dB
250Hz = -2dB
125Hz = -2dB
Now keep in mind that is is personal preference and will as change from headset to headset but this should at least give you a good starting point.
RAZER SURROUND NOT WORKING
In the recent patch Razer altered the background service and for some reason it doesn’t start when windows or synapse starts. Restarting the service fixes this. Make sure in synapse razer surround is on and in the sound playback device is set to Razer.
On the desktop create a text file, name it razersvcrestart.txt (can be anything.txt)
Paste this in
net stop “RzSurroundVADStreamingService”
net start “RzSurroundVADStreamingService”
4. Save it
5. rename it to razersvcrestart.bat
6. right click it and run as admin
7. Razer surround works again
Until Razer fixes this, just run this script as admin AFTER windows has fully loaded and synapse has launched.
RAZER SURROUND REVIEW
Razer Surround is pretty amazing. I had doubts at first that a piece of software could replicate the immersion that you get out of a full 7.1 surround sound headset but I was pleasantly surprised. The fact that you can use this free version of the software with any headset you want is actually pretty incredible.
The setup is so simple that’s one of the things that I really liked as opposed to something like Logitech’s G430 software. An added bonus is that if you have another Razer product like one of their mice or keyboards it’s combined all together in Synapse 2.0.
I did most of my testing with Battlefield 3 and it was amazing! You could definitely make out where the shots were coming from with the only caveat being that sometimes it was a little difficult to tell if the shots were coming from the right or left when they were behind. This mainly came down the the fact this this is being simulated in software and not with dedicated drivers in the headset.
If I was to compare the Razer Surround to the Logitech G430’s and do a blindfold test I honestly couldn’t say which sound better or more accurately replicate 7.1 surround.
I can’t express enough that you need to test it for yourself. I’m sure I’ll get people saying I’m only saying this because I like Razer products and that’s true I do like Razer products but there’s a reason I like Razer products and that’s because they make quality products and they don’t fail to deliver on what they promise.
I think this software deserves every bit of recognition that it’s getting because I am absolutely amazed by this software. The negative side comes with playing music and the customization options around it.
To be completely honest, the Razer Kraken Pro in my opinion are some of the best headphones I’ve used for music and are extremely clear. They’re quite inexpensive
but the music quality is absolutely amazing. I didn’t feel like I needed to change the music settings with Razer Surround to make them sound great so what i’m getting at is that Razer Surround’s primary purpose will be to add 7.1 surround in gaming and not to enhance your music listening.
If I was going to give Razer Surround a rating out of 10 I would give it a 9/10 as i’m that impressed with it. Obviously it’s not going to get a perfect score because of the music but other than that i’m literally blown away by this software.