Did you know that Razer has more software engineers than hardware engineers? While the company is known for its high-end (read: pricey) peripherals and daftly sleek gaming laptop, it does equally wild work on the software side. Case in point, Razer licensed a military algorithm used for missile avoidance to create Razer Surround to, "give gamers the best virtual 7.1 channel surround sound experience with any stereo headphones."
The military algorithm was used to help track where missiles were coming from. Razer's adaptation allows for fully customizable virtual surround sound. What's more, Razer is keeping the software open for use with your non-Razer headphones. CEO Min-Liang Tan told me, on the decision to keep the software open, "if someone did that to me I'd probably crack it myself."
Aside from working with all headphones, Razer Surround can be downloaded for free, through the end of 2013, from Razer's website. The company initially considered a $19.99 price point for the software. Instead, it's encouraging users to donate to the charity Child's Play for the rest of the year. About $13,500 has been raised thus far.
Traditional surround sound operates on a one-size-fits all model that doesn't consider things like ear shape that can affect how sound is received, according to Tan. Razer Surround affords you a personal calibration setting that gets saved to the cloud and can be accessed from any computer. Toward the bottom of the site you can play a non-personalized demo to hear the difference between stereo headphones and virtual surround. It's super neat stuff, and it's free for the next six or so months.