We'd all love to be able to blast sound to the high heavens, but sadly, most of us lack the space and/or patient neighbors willing to put up with it. Well today, gaming gear giant Razer is announcing new software that it claims will be able to turn your ordinary headphones into a professional-grade set that emulates 7.1 channel sound. And from now until the end of the year, the software is free, so why not give it a shot?
Razer's new Surround software uses what's called "virtual surround sound" to create the effect of being actually physically bounded by a seven-channel array of speakers. It accomplishes this magic using processing algorithms that tweak the audio signal coming out of your computer before your headphones drivers actually reproduce the sound.
Razer claims that the software will work with any set of headphones, but you'll have to run a calibration program before the effect will work properly. In theory, this could work, but as with any tech that claims to turn one thing into something else it is not, we'll believe it when we hear it.
Now the software isn't exactly "free" per se. In exchange for the software, Razer is asking that users make a contribution to Child's Play, a charity that supports children in hospitals. Seems like a worthy cause. If you wait until 2014 to buy the software, you'll pay the regular cost of $20 to Razer. Bottom line: If you're into PC gaming, but not into spending a lot on gaming headset, the Surround software seems like it could be worth a shot.