DTS today revealed two new parts to its Headphone:X mobile audio system, including a tuning program for headphone manufacturers, and a new personalized listening profile. In an interview with CEO John Kirchner last Friday, we got a preview of the ambitious new additions to the system, the details of which will be fully revealed this week at CES 2014. For now, here’s what we know about DTS’s plans to make your mobile listening experience a whole lot better.
Last year’s CES was marked by a truly impressive sonic demonstration, courtesy of the Headphone:X virtual surround sound system. Dubbed a “Home Theater in your Pocket” (HTiP), the system works with your mobile device to allow for standard stereo headphones to reproduce 5.1, 7.1, and 11.1 channel virtual surround sound from Headphone:X encoded content, creating an immersive experience that is strikingly realistic. This year, the company is taking Headphone:X beyond surround sound, rolling out two new tiers with the aim of making it an indispensable component of your mobile listening experience.
The first new tier, called the Headphone:X Headphone Tuning program, is designed to help participating headphone manufacturers not only enhance their products for use with Headphone:X encoded content, but also to provide their headphones with a consistent sound signature from any Headphone:X equipped mobile device. Panasonic, Skull Candy, and Republic of Frends have already officially joined the tuning program, and Kirchner assured us that more partners will be signing on in the first quarter of the year. The goal is that when Headphone:X is involved, no matter what device you are using, your headphones will sound exactly as the manufacturer intended.
The second, and perhaps most intriguing new phase of Headphone:X involves what Kirchner called “the concept of personalization.” As most of us know, the perception of what sounds good can be very subjective due to many factors including age, biology, environmental exposure, and personal preference, all of which determine the way we perceive the frequencies that make up an audio experience. Headphone:X aims to “optimize” the audio you hear by creating a personal hearing profile to compensate for each user’s hearing deficiencies and personal preferences. Kirchner says the profile takes about 60-90 seconds to set-up, and can then be saved on a mobile device, as well as in the cloud to be transferred to other devices. He claims that listening to both stereo and surround sound content through your Headphone:X personal profile is “tremendously different.”
In addition, DTS is working with a company called IVA to produce mobile movie trailers specifically for Headphone:X to allow for highly engaging trailers via virtual surround sound.
If the new components to the system work as well as DTS claims, they could help make Headphone:X a vital part of how we listen to music and media on our mobile devices in the near future. The company hopes to have Headphone:X embedded into mobile devices from the get-go, making it a ubiquitous system across the mobile industry. We’ll be getting some hands-on experience with Headphone:X’s latest developments from the show floor here at CES, so stay tuned to find out if the system really is the next must-have component for your smartphone.
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