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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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Dolby Virtual Surround Sound Technology

Virtual Surround Sound technology makes it possible to enjoy a 5.1-channel Dolby surround sound through a pair of headphones, or even a single speakerbar playback set-up.
Many may wonder how it is possible to pack five speakers and a subwoofer into a pair of headphones, least image into a single-speaker system! Yet, this is all possible thanks to Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker technologies.
In this article, we discuss virtual surround sound technologies - explaining the principles in the setup of a virtual soundfield around the listener while pointing out the limitations of such systems with respect to multi-channel speaker systems. It may sound somewhat contradictory - playing a 5.1-channel sound system over an ordinary pair of stereo headphones while still enjoying practically the same immersive experience generated by a multi-speaker surround sound playback system.
But when you start thinking about it, there is nothing contradictory in the whole idea; after all we only have two ears through which we capture all sound information, irrespective of the number of different sound sources present at any time.
In simple terms, this is the concept behind Dolby Headphone Technology

In other words, getting a surround soundstage through a pair of stereo headphones should not be something unrealistic. But what about Dolby Virtual Speaker technology that enables you to enjoy 5.1 Dolby surround sound listening experience over a single speaker system?
Single speaker surround sound systems use advanced virtual surround technologies that manipulate audio signals with sonic spatial cues by applying varying delays and phase-shifts between the different channels in a 5.1 sound source. The whole process is based on extensive room-modeling technologies to reproduce the sonic spectrum and dynamics of a properly placed 5.1 multi-speaker system in a typical room environment.
Dolby Surround Virtual Speaker technology is just one of the many proprietary advanced digital processing algorithms in use today for single-speaker virtual surround.
It is important to understand here that irrespective of the digital signal processing (DSP) algorithm used to generate a virtual surround soundstage, these single speaker systems consist in reality of a speaker-bar with multiple mini-speakers mounted onto the speaker unit.
A minimum of two such speaker channels are necessary; in fact, to be more precise, Dolby Virtual Speaker technology is a 5.1 virtual surround over a 2-speaker playback setup.
It is through the use of these mini-speakers within the single speaker bar unit that it is possible to generate a virtual surround sound stage. More complex single speaker designs incorporate additional mini-speaker drivers and tweeters - all mounted into the same single speaker unit, while some units also include a woofer driver.
However, irrespective of whether a single-speaker bar includes a woofer driver or not, it is best to complement single-speaker surround sound systems with a compact powered subwoofer as their bass response is quite lacking. One such interesting option which can complement the Polk Audio Soundbar 50 featured above is the Polk Audio PSWi225 Wireless Subwoofer. Despite its compact 1 cu. ft design and 100W continuous power rating, the PSWi225 is capable of delivering exceptionally deep bass and the convenience of wireless connectivity." Source & Full article available at

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