Which 5.1 headphone to get?


Jan 13, 2001
hi... im thinking to buy a new 5.1 headphone, and see theres alot of different brand now offering surround sound headphone... just don't know which one to get... any advice?
I/O Magic Sound Assault
Zalman ZM-RS6F
Trust Headset 751B
Gainward SoundXplosion 5.1
Mentor Large Home Theatre Surround Sound HeadPhone With Dolby Fiber/Coax with Decoder 5.1
Kinyo 5.1.............................. too many to list


Dec 31, 2007
First, don't expect to get mind blowing surround sound from headphones.

Second, don't expect to get tremendous sound quality. Typically, 5.1 headphones have 3 drivers for each ear, 6 in total, all in a package that is less expensive than midrange stereo headphones. Expect some quality to be sacrificed putting such a package together.

That said I have found one big benefit and few little ones.

I have a pair of Kinyo 5.1's connected to my HT receiver. The 0.1 aspect of the 5.1 is phenominal. Since the receiver doesn't know any better it sends LFE (Low frequency effects) to the subwoofer driver in the headphones. The effect is bit like that with force feedback game controllers but less pronounced. You feel what you are hearing. It's not loud. Your eardrums are in no danger. You just feel it.

Stereo headphones don't compare in this aspect, at least not with my receiver. LFE gets filtered out going to the normal headphone jack.

Vocals in movies are really clear. They don't get lost in loud sounds.

I do get some depth. Instead of all sounds appearing to come between your ears, as they appear with stereo headphones, the sounds appear to range from just inside my forehead to about two inches behind my ears. The forward direction cues are stronger than the rearward ones but still are not razor sharp. You can't tell how far away a sound is and so there's no real depth beyond what I described with one exception. I get a strong sense of room size. This completely collapses if I switch to stereo mode which proves it's not just recorded reverb/echo that I am hearing.

That's about all the praise I can give for the Kinyos.

Now for the bad.

The headphone amp buzzes and whines if the gain is turned up past 50%.

It picks up sounds from my brother-in-law's cell phone (which reminds me, I have to find out which cell phone he owns) from 30 feet away. Much more annoying than the buzzing.

I found the Kinyo's are very poor on high frequencies so I removed some foam covering the drivers. Now they sound a touch bright but it was good trade off.

Musically the Kinyos sound just OK. I can't detect any obvious failing but music sounds boring, except for drums which are really dynamic and powerful. Again, the 0.1 in action. Instruments don't sound all that accurate, not compared to the Grados. Better than freebie headphones included with portable CD players but not much better.

The special adapter that allows you to use the Kinyo's like stereo headphones, 1/4" and 1/8" headphone connectors, sounds like crap. All the sound gets sent to all the headphones drivers and sound very phasey. Don't use that adapter.

I have crappy sound card so I can't tell you how good they really are in games. My Grado SR-100's (discontinued model) were better except for the bass levels which are pretty good on the Kinyos.

I guess it appears that I don't like these headphones but that's not true. Watching DVDs they are impressive. Listening to music they are passable if you use the 5.1 pre-amplifier and configure your sound system correctly. Perfectly fine for up to mid bitrate MP3s. For critical listening I would get a decent pair of stereo headphones.

I forgot one other thing I do like. The headphones have an 18 to 20 foot cord which is nice if you manage not to tangle on stuff.

<b>[</b>Edited only to correct typographical errors<b>]</b>

<b>A mind is a terrible thing</b><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 12/09/04 02:46 PM.</EM></FONT></P>


Nov 17, 2002
Do a google search for reviews. Check newegg and checkout the headphone section. I see some good reviews for 5.1 headphones. I saw good reviews on the Zalmans, Gainwards and the Mentors. I didnt look up the others. I would like to check them out for myself.

Really though, you need to find a local store and try them out or an online store that has a good return policy.

the Prisoner

I'm not a number, I'm a free man! :mad: