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I've been playing games for a long time now and most sound systems or headsets I've had, have the problem of not being able to differentiate up from down. They may give you the info of where the sound is coming from in a 360 degree circle around you, but not in a sphere.

Anyway, that's what I want, I want to be able to tell whether a sound is coming from above or below or neither (same elevation). I've looked at 7.1 headsets but they have the front, rear and side speakers. I haven't been able to find anything else.

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    What you want is mostly known as "Dolby Atmos" with speaker systems. It has a bit of support on (UHD) Blu-Rays and in a few games. Such headphones will probably advertise "Dolby Atmos". – SEJPM Sep 2 '17 at 21:11
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One manufacturer that offers Dolby Atmos headphones with above/below 360° sound is Plantronics with their RIG 800LX, 600LX and 400LX. Truth be told, Atmos works with any stereo headphones but it's bound to be a bit better with headphones that are licensed by Dolby.

Another option is 7.1 headphones, with not just two stereo drivers but several. Razer Tiamat

Razer Tiamat 7.1 V2 delivers surround sound through 10 discrete drivers – 5 in each ear cup. A similar idea is used by the Asus ROG Centurion 7.1 gaming headsets, with five discrete neodymium magnets in each ear cup.

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  • Thank you Rob, I've been looking for these for quite a while now. I've read quite a few reviews and the Plantronics one does indeed support above/below sounds. I'm willing to sink a good many bucks into them just to try them out. – John Hamilton Aug 28 '18 at 10:44
  • You are very welcome @JohnHamilton but remember the Atmos headphones require Dolby Atmos source to provide surround sound. If you get 7.1 headphones you don't need Atmos source but you do need multichannel sound to get the proper effect. My cellphone has Atmos and I use it with cellphone speakers it sounds great but whenever something with Atmos encoding comes to the speakers it really jumps out. It's even better with the earbuds. The up/down is minimal but I can hear it on my phone speakers. If you don't have an Atmos source (like Xbox with Atmos-enabled games) you won't get anything. – Rob Aug 28 '18 at 14:18
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    I've actually bought the RIG800 and the sound quality (with both 7.1 source or atmos source) is just superb, so even if it doesn't work on all games, I'm still pretty happy with it :) – John Hamilton Sep 4 '18 at 5:50
  • We are glad it worked out well for you. You can search YouTube for Atmos demos and trailers if you want to hear sound spinning around your head. --- Check out Dolby's Demo: Dolby Presents: The World Of Sound | Demo | Dolby Atmos | Dolby and Dolby Trailers or Playlist: Mix - All Dolby Atoms/ Cinema/ Vision Trailers and Demo Videos - (5.1 - 7.1 Surround sound Test ). – Rob Sep 4 '18 at 6:26
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I wanted to find something like this a while ago. Unfortunately, it's not a simple matter of just getting the hardware, as the game developers would have to build support for these headphones into the game, and they haven't done so as the hardware doesn't exist to my knowledge.

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  • There's no need for extra developmental time to implement this, I know that from experience. The games don't work on a 2D plane (unless they're 2D, obviously), they work on a 3D coordinate system and sounds do the same. – John Hamilton Jun 4 '17 at 16:36
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    "The hardware doesn't exist" is technically an answer, but you should also try to provide a recommendation for the closest alternative if you can. – ArtOfCode Jun 5 '17 at 15:31

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