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Headphones vs. 5.1 Surround Sound for Horror Movies – Which is better?

by Cara

If you’re watching a horror movie, a horror short, or pretty much any form of multimedia content that tagged under the horror genre, you might have the dilemma of choosing between speakers and headphones. One minute you’re on kindsound.com looking for a nice headset and the next thing you know you’re trying to find out as much as possible about surround sound systems. But what’s the difference, honestly? Is one better than the other? Here’s our input on the matter.

It’s pretty obvious why anyone would want to own a surround sound system, especially for watching horror flicks. The high end 5.1 surround sound systems available on the market today are capable of putting out a fantastic sound. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

What kind of content are you watching?

Not all horror is the same horror and based on what kind of flick you’re watching; a 5.1 surround sound system might be better or worse than a headset. Let’s take for instance an Alien movie, or anything where someone is being chased in dark, spooky rooms. When you have the surround sound, you are going to feel like you are in that room, hearing noises all around you. That can get your heart going. Now let’s look at it from the other side.

We’ve recently checked out a fantastic horror short called Adonis and Aphrodite, which is a story learned as narrated by the only actress on screen. In this kind of situation, hearing her voice all around you doesn’t do much for the creepiness factor. Headphones would be much better here because you’d get to hear her voice up close and personal, and the horror elements to her story would sink in.

Is your viewing room large or small?

This also has to do with the nature of what you’re watching but generally speaking, you want a nice, cozy room for your surround sound. If the room you’re watching your movies in is too big, the upscaled surround effect would not be as efficient with most horror content, if you put the 5.1 speakers in opposite corners and end of the room.

Headphones can help round up that feeling of having the walls close in, being trapped in a small space. When you’re in this little world wrapped tightly around you, things suddenly become scarier.

In the end, there is no definitive answer when it comes to which is better. It’s all a matter of circumstances and which better suits your current viewing purposes. If you can afford, it’s best to just experiment with both so that you can get the best of both worlds. However, headphones are usually cheaper if you want a “safer” purchase.

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