Psyko Audio Interview



When we were at CES 2009 down in Las Vegas, we met with Psyko Audio and were introduced to real surround sound headphones.  What makes these headphones different?  Make sure you check out our interview posted at - and clipped from YouTube below.

Before we jump into the interview, let's find out what Psyko Audio says about themselves on their "About Pskyo Audio" page.

Psyko Audio Labs is a Calgary, AB, Canada based technology group focused on commercializing innovative audio technologies for the consumer markets. Led by Head Psyko and Inventor James Hildebrandt, Psyko is focused on introducing new and innovative surround sound audio products to the gaming community. Psyko Audio’s first product, which gathered a generous reception at the 2009 CES Show, is the Psyko 5.1 PC gaming headset.

Psyko Audio Labs is the result of eight years of innovation and development led by James. Using the patent pending PsykoWave technology, James has reconfigured headphone design in order to deliver to the user a richer, more accurate, and precise surround sound audio experience. Based on psychoacoustic science, the PsykoWave technology is what fuels the Psyko 5.1 headset and what sets it apart from its competition. Psyko Audio will continue to push forward with original and ground-breaking technologies that will shape and define the high-performance headset market.



Attending the Q&A from Psyko Audio - Pat McGinn, Jason Hay and James Hilderbrandt.


Psyko Background:

In this section James talks about what makes Psyko Audio's product unique.


Q: Why are you making headphones?

A: We got tired of not having real surround sound headphones.


Q: What is different about your headphones?

A: Normal "Surround Sound" headphones have multiple speakers per side, but a gunshot that happens on the left side, is only heard with your left ear.  Our headphones uses speakers mounted on top of the headphones.  We then channel the sound down into the down through the waveguides and into both ears.  This is different as both ears will hear the sound - but the left ear will hear it first.  There are rear and front ports.  These put the sound in the proper position to each ear.  This makes the sound natural.


Q: How do these compare to headphones with a lot of surround separation - like the Zalman ZM-RS6F headphones?

A: Again, each sound is only played in each ear, not both as is the natural world.  Psychoacoustics shows that when sound is played in both ears, it sounds up to 6dbi louder.  This is the way we naturally hear sound and it allows the gamer to experience more detailed sound.


There is a lot more details if you watch the entire clip above.  Head over to the next page as we talk about stereo application, bass performance, adjustment as well as an in-game demo.

Psyko Ears-On Demo:

In this section we cover the Psyko Audio headphones in more detail and Jason "Fujitsu" Schneider sits down and gets a demo running the original Call of Duty.


Q: 5.1 headphones are great for gaming, but how do they work when playing back stereo audio such as music and other 2-channel audio?

A: When listening to music in a room that has a guitar on one side and a set of drums on the other; with a set of speakers you will still hear the guitar in both ears.  With traditional headphones - stereo or surround - you'll only hear it in one ear.  The Psyko Audio idea will provide a more real-room experience.  This is an innate sense that this is a more natural experience.


Q: All the speakers are located in the top of the headset - except for the subwoofer.  Where is that located and why?

A: These are really a 5.2 headphone as there is a subwoofer located in each side.  Low frequency noise isn't very directional and this provides deeper base.


Q: The Psyko Audio Headphones come with an external box.  Is that just an AMP, or does it do Digital Signal Processing?

A: It does no DSP or processing of any kind.  The only purpose is to boost the signal and to control the bass and other channel controls separately.


Q: Why would you want to turn down the bass?

A: In order to hear the little sounds - like footsteps, small gunfire and other environmental noises.  If you have the bass turned up you won't be able hear the small sounds that give away the enemy.


Psyko Audio Wrap-up:

As we wrap up with Psyko Audio, we get the scoop on when we'll be able to purchase these and where we can get our hands on a set.



Q: The big question - When and where?

A: April we'll be shipping limited quantities.  You can pre-order then now on  After initial release, they'll be available at large online e-tailers then eventually into the brick and mortal stores.  It's a process.


Q: Why Calgary?

A: I was a single guy living in Winipeg and met a beautiful girl from Calgary. Got married, had kids and decided that it was a great place to live.  I'm into hiking, skiing and scrabling so it all works out great.


Q: Where will you be on March 13-15, 2009?

A: In Vulcan, Alberta at VulcLAN!  We are deciding on how many of us get to come.



It's just another reason to come to VulcLAN 2009, so make sure you come check out the Psyko Audio headphones first-hand.

Please feel free to post your comments and questions in the forum at the "Comments" link below, and go register for VulcLAN!