What Speaker Configuration do you use on your Sim Rig?

What speaker configuration do you have on your sim rig?

  • Stereo L/R

    Votes: 11 31.4%
  • Stereo L/R + subwoofer

    Votes: 8 22.9%
  • Full 5.1 (L/R/C/sub/rear surround L/R)

    Votes: 16 45.7%

  • Total voters
    35

Harpo

50RPM
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Oct 24, 2019
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Initially I installed full 5.1, but I'm realizing that sim titles don't really support it. "Derived Surround" is available in my amp but it doesn't add much, so I'm thinking of going to a simple L/R plus the sub. This will significantly reduce my footprint, eliminating the rear speaker stands which are placed well back to allow movement of the V3 seat.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the various speaker placements for sim sound.

Thanks in advance!
 

Emery

2000RPM
Jun 6, 2009
2,202
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Officially, I have 6.1 due to my amp, but my audio card only puts out 5.1, so the rear central speaker is a blended signal of the two rear speakers as mixed by the amp. The speakers are arranged in about a 4' radius circle centered on my head, with the front central channel blocked by the screens and the rear center channel blocked by the seat. These are classic BIG speakers with 10" woofers rather than the harsh tinny-sounding home theater speakers and my subwoofer is a 12" Dayton Audio. I balanced the system with a u-mik calibration microphone and Room EQ Wizard.

Apart from Wreckfest, the subwoofer does diddly-squat in racing games/sims, because the usual racing games/sims have no LFE channel like movies and video games do. Consequently, I'm considering moving the subwoofer over to the TV area.

As to the surround capabilities, only rFactor 2 is stereo-only. Yes, you can check the box for 5.1 or 7.1, but there are no effects. The rest of the titles have at least a rudimentary rear channel effect, while others make full use of surround channels.

Overall, with the smaller circle of speakers we typically have for our computer rigs, I find the surround experience is best with 4.0 or 4.1. Since nearly all titles support surround effects, 4.0/4.1 will enhance it due to better separation of channels. With 5.1 and higher, the channels seem to bleed over and you don't experience the directionality as much. Note that you need to configure your sound card in addition to the amp if you cut back to 4.0/4.1.
 

Emery

2000RPM
Jun 6, 2009
2,202
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95 views and 2 votes. Wow, people really aren't helpful or do they all use headphones?
 

Hiro Abe

250RPM
Premium
Jul 29, 2017
377
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I used to run full surround but I went on a kick to streamline my system and got tired of configuring my rig for the rear channels. So i replaced it with a soundbar plus subwoofer set up and headphones when I need to keep things quiet.
 

BrainsBush

500RPM
Jun 16, 2017
549
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90% Steelseries headphones and remaining 10% or 'terrible' sound from 2D TV or old Logitech Z5500 5.1 set.
 

metalnwood

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Sep 6, 2018
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Sometimes you will get lots of answers you never asked for and not interested in that opinion..

Having said that, you didn't specifically say no headphones so if it was an omission because you never thought about headphones as an option then it is worth considering.

You will end up with a much better sound and it all blends nicely with in game comms/discord etc.

I tried a 5.1 system for gaming a while back but never got the quality of sound I do from headphones.
 
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Mr Latte

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Jun 2, 2016
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Not that impressed with how some sims use "surround sound" or the "center channel".
With the hardware I have, I can if I could be bothered, monitor the audio activity for 2 channel Vs 5.1 regards dB and frequencies on each channel in realtime. (Something I will show in my own rig thread) :geek:

This thread seems to be about speakers, not headphones.....
Though personally I like to enjoy both and do have a few nice stereo headphones but sometimes like to experience the soundstage that my Sony 9.1 wireless models can create.

I would say that a good 2 channel or 2.1 configurations with excellent stereo separation focused on the quality of the sound would be more satisfying than just having more speakers. I've used pretty decent Yamaha AV Amp and Mission 7.1 in the past but really 4.1 is more than enough for a sim cockpit and if a user wants surround.

Seeking to be a bit creative and with an interest in audio. I have spent a couple of months working on a unique speaker audio solution for my rig build. This focuses on using stereo, yet it combines @ 80 mini drivers and 4 larger drivers to deliver a much fuller stereo sound within the room firing up at each side of the user's seating position. I have found this highlights in-game scenarios like wheels on curbs or the position of rival cars but will combine this with nice front stereo pair and rely on tactile for (modified/extended) bass from the games audio.
 
Last edited:
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Fabrizio85

10RPM
Jul 2, 2018
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Probably I'm a rare unicorn: 4.1 in dual stereo channel mode for me, that becomes 4.0 in the case I don't like the sub. I use two quality active studio monitor front speakers, two mid-quality active rear speakers, one active subwoofer placed under my seat that also provides engine vibrations :). Everything is connected to the stereo channel of motherboard but can transform it to a real 4.1 surround if needed.
 
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Harpo

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Oct 24, 2019
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I didn't include headphones, because (in my mind at least) they are not a "speaker configuration".

I'm running Assetto Corsa for the most part, and to my surprise you are right - it does support 5.1! For some reason (I'm calling it a senior moment) I was convinced it didn't, but upon checking more closely I see that RF2 also shows 5.1.

I'll experiment further with placement and balance, hopefully I can get better results.
 

Orange4000

25RPM
Oct 1, 2018
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Old Dolby Digital Denon surround receiver amp. I plug the minijack PC outputs into the amp's 6 channel input RCA phono plugs. Don't have a sub as my Mission speakers are bassy enough and I'm not an arsehole ;)

Assetto Corsa and Dirt Rally have pretty good surround sound effects.
 
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Mr Latte

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Jun 2, 2016
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I didn't include headphones, because (in my mind at least) they are not a "speaker configuration".

I'm running Assetto Corsa for the most part, and to my surprise you are right - it does support 5.1! For some reason (I'm calling it a senior moment) I was convinced it didn't, but upon checking more closely I see that RF2 also shows 5.1.

I'll experiment further with placement and balance, hopefully I can get better results.

Have you ever tried to only plug in headphones or front speakers, to the surround channels of the soundcard? Keeping the soundcard & game set to 5.1

This will easily let the user determine how the surround channels operate with each title or possibly specific effects being output to the surround channels. You can mute specific sounds from the game settings to try which ones you want.

The question is, in these popular titles how much does the surround channels offer in effects that are not just duplicating the stereo channels but giving positional surround effects? It is something I am a bit curious about but for me improved stereo positioning/imaging for a racing sim is more important than hearing cars behind approaching closer or exhaust pops out the rear channels.
 

metalnwood

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Sep 6, 2018
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I didn't include headphones, because (in my mind at least) they are not a "speaker configuration".

I'm running Assetto Corsa for the most part, and to my surprise you are right - it does support 5.1! For some reason (I'm calling it a senior moment) I was convinced it didn't, but upon checking more closely I see that RF2 also shows 5.1.

I'll experiment further with placement and balance, hopefully I can get better results.
I understand, I wasn't sure if you had just not considered headphones. The only thing that I found speakers gave me more than headphones was the bass from the subwoofers but then you had to turn up the volume somewhat, it was a bit of a trade off for 'feeling' the engine and a sound level that was actually comfortable for a longer period of time.

I know with the good headphones, you can still get that bass to your ears. I would consider tactile to add the feeling.

When I was using speakers I didnt find that the positional sound was very good. I certainly wouldn't rely on it instead of my situational awareness of where I thought close cars were. I think as far as accurate positioning of sounds I think headphones can be better at pinpointing sound anyhow which is one of the reasons they are always used in FPS games where you rely on that information a lot more.

Feel free to ignore if zero interest in headphones :)