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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Lamest Reason Not to Play PC Games II

The ignorance continues as I found out another sad excuse used by a colleague of mine to justify his preference to game on the consoles for playing cross-platform releases: Personal Computer games can only output stereo sound and he likes his surround sound setup. I almost peel off my skin Hellraiser-style when I heard this but instead of slapping him silly - I promised myself I would do that if people used the "small screen" excuse to not play games on the PC - I decided to educate him instead. His reasoning is of course not fact-based but it's easy to see why people believe this to be the case. There are several solutions to this sound misunderstanding for PC gaming and it can be tricky to pull off depending on where you would do your PC gaming. It's probably easy for me to insist that people should just hook up their PC to their big screen high definition television display alongside their consoles but when one is in the situation where the HDTV is being shared with the rest of the family, I suppose one may just have to play on a computer monitor so that the display can be freed up for others to use. But whatever the setup may be, the important thing to learn here is that you should never settle for stereo sound from your PC because enjoying an engrossing aural experience is very easy to accomplish:

1) All modern motherboards should already come equipped with discrete surround output jacks so there is not even a need to buy a fancy sound card to accomplish remarkable results. These can then be connected to the back of a receiver and you are ready to go. By the way, this is my exactly how I have set up my PC sound. If the computer doesn't have access to a receiver, you can always get one of those made for PC surround speaker system but that just seems to be wasteful when you already have your gaming consoles connected to the receiver. Also, most modern graphics card comes with HDMI output that can send out discrete surround sound.

Those color-coded holes are not just there to make your PC look pretty.

2) For those who have problems with space, there are always those surround gaming headsets ready to be used. Sure, you won't be able to hear your mother calling out to tell you that dinner is ready but who cares when you can hear the sound of those bullets flying all around you in glorious surround, right?

3) Of course not all PC games offer 5.1/above sound options but most modern games do. Still, your sound driver may offer different options to convert stereo signal into discrete surround sound. You can also opt to get sound cards that support Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect - these will automatically translate all of your PC audio into the appropriate digital sound matrix.

PC gaming does offer high quality surround sound to enhance your gaming experience and if you are missing out big time if you don't enable this feature for your PC. Just because you normally see a Blu-ray player or the gaming consoles hooked up to those surround speaker displays at your local electronics dealer, it doesn't mean that PC gaming is only limited to small stereo desktop speakers or a surround headset at most. The audio elements of gaming on the PC should never be a concern at all because it can be easily manipulated and enjoyed to your liking.

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