Music producer and rapper ProHoeZak has worked with some of the biggest names in Hip Hop, including Public Enemy, E40 and Digital Underground. As a frequent road warrior who spends weeks away at a time, he values the time spent under his own roof and has been working to create experiences that can compete with any movie theater, arcade or concert venue.
When he recently upgraded his bedroom gaming system with a virtual reality headset and some other enhancements, he knew the audio would be paramount. While headphones serve a functional purpose, he wanted something more visceral that could spin his head, thump his chest and add a sense of believability that was never present before, but not dominate the room visually.
After speaking with the SVS Sound Experts, ProHoeZak upgraded to a transformative Prime Satellite 5.1 speaker package that’s given him the ultimate immersive gameplay experience for those comfortable nights at home.
Questions And Answers:
Q. How are you using your SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 system, and what made you decide to upgrade?
A. Currently, I have a gaming system set up in my bedroom and it’s always been a two-speaker set-up from a big-name brand that never captured the full soundtracks of the games. It was just like wimpy sound. I also use headphones but having the actual headphones compressed against my head just takes away something from the realism and I have sensitive ears that don’t tolerate headphones for very long. Plus, I have kids who love to game or watch me, and it doesn’t always make sense to have headphones on when there are other people in the room.
Because it’s my bedroom, I wanted a compact system that wouldn’t take over space, but could still deliver some punch and a real surround sound experience. It’s used for about 70% gaming and 30% movies and music, but from an aesthetic standpoint, the Prime system was perfect for my space.
I’ve also brought the speakers into my studio a couple times and was shocked how much more revealing the Prime Satellites were in the mid and high range. I have some pretty nice, and more expensive, nearfield monitors from a Pro brand, but the sats were so good I almost felt like I could mix a master track just by using them. It’s given me some nice diversity to mix with, and really captures the instrumentals and vocals with accuracy. Using the satellites makes me want to experiment with the Prime or Ultra Bookshelf speakers in my studio since I know they can hit the lower frequencies a little harder, so that will probably be my next step.
Q. What impact did the Prime speaker package have on your gameplay experience?
A. Oh man, it was like night and day. Going from stereo to 5.1 is like entering another world on so many levels. Like, if there’s a monster on the left, you’re actually hearing it creep up on you from the left, which is something you don’t realize until your entrenched in the gameplay. I will literally be whipping my head around while playing Gears of War or GTA because the effects and background action is just so clear. It helps with the gameplay too because you have a better sense of your surroundings and can make better decisions based on what’s happening around you.
Q. What about sound quality, how would you describe the difference?
A. If I had to choose a single word to describe the sound of the speakers, it would be crisp. The quality of the sound puts you in the middle of the game and creates an atmosphere that’s believable to the point of being scary sometimes. Even the smallest details like hearing footsteps behind you or a book opening sound so much more real than with any speakers I’ve ever heard that it’s such a deeper experience than just playing the game.
And the subwoofer, like wow, that thing just fills the room in a way that no pair of headphones or shitty computer speakers ever could. I have a virtual reality headset, and when the subwoofer starts rumbling with the gameplay, and my field of vision is taken up with the VR headset, it’s like an out of body thing. I would almost compare it to like a paranormal experience because you’re so dialed in and the sound waves are just all around you so it’s like being in another world. I used to think it was intense to just have the video aspect, but adding surround sound and a subwoofer, I mean you just can’t compare how much deeper you get. You’re not playing the game, you’re IN the game.
Q. What are some moments where the Prime 5.1 package really commanded your attention?
A. There’s plenty of times where the system just surprises me or catches me off guard with its crispness or a jolt. I was listening to Beyonce’s Lemonade and just kept hearing finer details and feeling things that I never heard through my headphones or when I’ve heard it on the radio, which gave me a deeper appreciation of the music. Also, the big dinosaur fight scene in the latest Jurassic Park was about as intense an audio experience as I’ve ever had in my room and I swear it felt like it was happening under my roof.
One of the funnier moments happened when I fell asleep watching TV and at some point, the subwoofer and speakers came to life in the middle of the night and I literally jumped out of my bed and was looking all around me because I could hear the sound coming from behind. It took me a couple of seconds before I realized what was happened. Now I try to remember to turn things off before heading to sleep.
Q. What projects have you been working on recently?
A. I recently wrapped up a tour where I was opening for Public Enemy, so looking forward to some time at home. I also produced a track for the rapper E40 that’ll be hitting the streets soon, which you can check out at the link below. That’s the track that I used the Prime Satellites to help master, so I’d love for people to check it out.
There’s also a secret project I’d love to tell the SVS community about, but they’ll have to wait a couple months before it wraps.