Soundcard with built-in Dolby Headphone support?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio' started by Marc Brown, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. Marc Brown

    Marc Brown Guest

    Subject says it all, really. I'll soon be playing a game that can
    output 5.1- or 7.1-channel audio, as most decent games do these
    days. But I don't have eight speakers situated around my chair,
    nor is the idea particularly appealing, even if it was a practical
    option, which, considering where I live, it is not.

    I know about Dolby Headphone technology, and I'm willing to give it
    a shot. For a while, I thought about picking up the Pioneer
    SE-DIR800C, but I'm having to reconsider that option, seeing as how
    the price is somewhat inexplicable. I say the price seems high,
    because the same exact technology is available as part of the DVD
    player software called PowerDVD, which seems to be a freebie with
    just about any DVD-related item I've ever bought.

    So, there's two options right there. Software plugin for a DVD
    player, or stand-alone hardware costing some $300.

    Now, it seems to me that it ought to be laughably easy to integrate
    the relevant algorithms into a soundcard so that all one needs to
    do is tell the soundcard, "Okay, start turning that 7.1 audio into
    Dolby Headphone stereo and send it to the headphone jack." But I
    haven't exactly had a lot of luck finding the soundcard that can
    do this. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. Or maybe it's just
    not out yet. Anyone know?

    One caveat: I am really not interested in a software-based Dolby
    Headphone solution. That would eat into valuable CPU time, which
    is to be avoided.

    Thanks for any help.
     
    Marc Brown, Sep 3, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. Marc Brown

    Mike Rivers Guest

    If you have to play the game using headphones, how about just
    listening in stereo? Chances are you'll be too busy with the whiz-bang
    graphics to really be able to pay attention to surround effects in the
    phones. Speakers could be interesting, but I doubt you'd gain much
    from surround headphones, even if you could get something to work that
    you can afford.

    Surround in speakers has some merit, sometimes, and a game is a
    good application where it's particularly effective. But headphones and
    loudspeakers are rarely comparable, so I don't think any gimmick
    that gives you some impression of surround sound in the phones would
    be of any long-term advantage.

    Have you had a different experience? Have you played games with
    surround sound using a headphone system that you can't afford? I'd
    be curious to know if you think it's a worthwhile enhancement, or if
    this is just something you think you should be able to do so you want
    to try it.



    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers ()
    However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
    lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
    you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
    and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
     
    Mike Rivers, Sep 3, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. Marc Brown

    Marc Brown Guest

    Easy to answer. The game supports surround, so I want it. I
    won't knock surround listening; it really enhances the experience,
    sometimes as much as going from mono to stereo. I speak of course
    from my experiences with traditional surround sound.
    At the very least, room acoustic effects would be more convincing
    with 5+ simulated speakers than with standard stereo. And while
    this is not a first-person shooter I plan to play, were I to play
    such a game, the ability to tell whether something is in front of
    or behind me could be useful.
    The only argument against that I'll offer is that headphones will
    always be superior to loudspeakers at providing fine detail. I
    don't even bother with loudspeakers when I compose music.
    More of the latter, although I will mention that the people who
    visit high-end audio forums who have bought Dolby Surround solutions
    seem to be convinced that it's a reasonably acceptable solution if
    one desires surround sound but for whatever reason can only use
    headphones.

    It does bewilder me, though, that Dolby Headphone sound can be
    achieved with a plugin for a common software DVD player, but other
    than that, there doesn't seem to be any PC-specific method for
    achieving it. I wait for somebody to prove me wrong.
     
    Marc Brown, Sep 4, 2004
    #3
  4. Marc Brown

    Mike Rivers Guest

    I suspect that there's some financial (licensing) connection there.
    It's not that it's so hard to build hardware, but that it's so easy to
    collect money for a software license when you know that there are
    zillions of copies of Winamp and the like in circulation.



    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers ()
    However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
    lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
    you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
    and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
     
    Mike Rivers, Sep 4, 2004
    #4
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.