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How To Get Virtual Surround Sound on Your Gaming Headset

Sonar, the latest innovative app to be released in the SteelSeries GG platform, transports you into the game with immersive surround sound capability with a flick of a button.


Immersion is a powerful factor in gaming, and sound is a big part of it. All you really need to enable virtual surround sound on your headset is Sonar.

Sonar is a new app from the SteelSeries GG software platform. It's totally free to download, and it comes packed with groundbreaking features, among them 7,1 Virtual Surround Sound.

Download the SteelSeries Sonar app here >

SteelSeries Lars with the power of Sonar

Total immersion with your headset

Sonar's 7,1 Virtual Surround Sound, when combined with a gaming headset like the new Arctis 7+, gives a stronger, enhanced audio experience for deeper immersion.

Through software algorithms made by our engineers, Sonar creates a much wider sound stage for your stereo headset—allowing for a theatre-like sound. This "all around you" experience will make you lose your sense of time and place.

Sonar works with any stereo headset on your PC. It doesn't have to be a SteelSeries model.

How to turn on 7,1 Virtual Surround Sound

  1. Open Sonar within the SteelSeries GG app
  2. Click on the Gaming tab at the top
  3. Scroll to the bottom and switch on the Virtual Surround toggle, found on the lower right

That's all it takes.

Our engineering wizards even made stereo sound work with our algorithms, transforming your sound experience without the required setup (though the more speakers, the better!)

SteelSeries Sonar

Let the journey begin with the correct setup

As long as your audio device is a stereo device, you're setup for an immersive Virtual Surround Sound experience using Sonar.

What is considered a stereo device? It's any headset or speaker setup that has two speakers, one for your left side, and one for your right. In a true Surround Sound setup you will typically have between 6 or 8 speakers positioned to your front, side, and back.

For instance, in a 5,1 Surround Sound system you have:

  • 2 Front speakers
  • 1 Center speaker
  • 2 Back speakers
  • 1 Subwoofer

But your devices aren't the only thing that can be in Stereo or Surround Sound.

Audio coming from your game, music, and movie players also sends out either Stereo or Surround Sound audio streams to your devices.

Simply put, the audio engineers that work on a game or a movie can design the soundscape to deliberately send certain sounds to the front, side, or back. You may have seen this in your game settings before.

SteelSeries gaming headset

When do you turn on Stereo and when do you turn on Surround Sound?

On your stereo headphones or speakers: If a 5,1 or 7,1 Surround Sound audio stream is available in your game settings, you always want to enable it and also turn on Sonar Virtual Surround Sound. Sonar will take the audio stream meant for each individual speaker and mix it to create a spatial virtual surround sound listening experience even on your stereo device. Despite listening on a stereo headset or speakers, we apply some algorithm magic through Sonar that gives you many of the same benefits of Surround Sound. While Sonar Virtual Surround Sound will work on speakers, we recommend using a headset to get the maximum benefit.

All other stereo content: If you only have stereo audio available in your game, we still recommend that you turn on Sonar Virtual Surround Sound. Sonar will expand your stereo sound for a wider sound stage by intelligently detecting and re-positioning sounds all around you.

On your home theatre system: If a 5,1 or 7,1 Surround Sound audio stream is available and your audio device is 5,1 (e.g. home theatre speaker system), we recommend that you turn off Sonar's Virtual Surround Sound. If you do decide to turn it on, Sonar will only output sound to your left and right speakers. They're already positioned to deliver the sound from their directions.

Bring games to life with Sonar

With the Sonar app, you will feel more present in the action—like you're actually there. Correctly identify the direction of incoming enemy fire. Or do a double-take on your clothes, just to make sure you're not soaked after losing the enemy across a major river. All you need is a pair of stereo headphones and Sonar.

How to download SteelSeries Sonar


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