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More musical enjoyment and better sound stage than any other upgrade - can you guess what it is?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
[EDIT] Thanks to a recommendations in this thread I'm now using a recently released VST plugin called Isone Pro which does what Dolby Headphone does but much better. The 'holy grail' thread linked below still stands as essential reading.[/EDIT.]

For me it has been the Dolby Headphone processing on my Xonar Essence STX sound card. Many DVD players also have this processing built in. Do not confuse this processing with Dolby Headphones which I haven't tried.

I would like to link to satshanti's excellent thread:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/ho...ration-361251/

This is what turned me on to the potential for this and I highly recommend reading the full post.

I am now in headphone heaven - numerous DACs, amps and headphone upgrades have not been as satisfying as this. Improvements include:
  • Listening fatigue gone
  • Instruments and musicians sound more real
  • Soundstage is amazing!

The only downside is that I occasionally jump out of my skin as I think a noise is really in the room.

I used to aim for 'bit-perfect' everything all the way. But after learning about and hearing true binaural recordings made for headphones I realised how deluded I was. I'm delighted that some clever people have made a very good attempt to make my stereo recordings binaural so that I can enjoy them more through headphones.

Go on - give it a go - you might be surprised!
post #2 of 28
Someone please define the difference between "cross-feed" and "cross-talk". I remember when "stereo separation" was a good thing, and something to be desired from an audiophile standpoint. Is "cross-talk" merely an uncontrolled form of "cross-feed"?
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post
Someone please define the difference between "cross-feed" and "cross-talk". I remember when "stereo separation" was a good thing, and something to be desired from an audiophile standpoint. Is "cross-talk" merely an uncontrolled form of "cross-feed"?
As far as I know, cross-talk is where a signal on one side interacts/interferes with the other side producing undesired effects whereas cross-feed is intentionally mixing certain parts of the signal between the two.
I'm no pro so I don't know if what I'm saying is actually right or not.
post #4 of 28
Dolby Headphone is certainly an interesting enhancement. It seems to be less of a gimmick than other enhancements. I admit that I haven't listened to it in-depth (too much of a purist I guess). I have it with my HT Omega Claro plus, so I will give it a shot next time.

Keep in mind that every single recording is different. Many recordings, especially classical, are recorded in such a way that there is natural crossfeed already in the mix. The left mic picks up sounds from the right side, and vice versa. This is especially true with recordings done with two isolated mics next to each other. This creates a near binaural effect. I think that such enhancements with this kind of music are unnecessary and detrimental.

Though with your average studio rock album it may be useful. Having instruments hard-panned creates an awkward headphone listening experience.
post #5 of 28
Very intriguing but ag, what an exhausting read (am sleep deprived, which doesn't help)
I sincerely want to try this.

Soo, first, install DHW
Place it last in DSP chain.
point it to the dolbyhph.dll
then install VI
install VST host foobar plugin
place the VST host (bridge) first in the chain above the DHW and point it to the VI.dll

Okay now the questions. Clearly I'm no Foobar expert.
Will this work with a normal DAC (e.g. D10) with Foobar (or is some Dolby-enabled hardware/DVD player program needed?)
What's a DSP chain?
How do I put something first, last or above in the chain?
Where's dolbyhph.dll
If DHW goes last in the DSP chain should I install that last?
But later he says that he does not use VI (post 58)
So should I not install VI any more? Does that also obviate VST host bridge roof chain dog?

Sorry, I'm too stupid to understand this right now.
I'd love instructions on how to do this in plain English. Yankee brevity preferred.
post #6 of 28
Given this thread's title, I was expecting the answer to be loudspeakers.

I think I'll skip the Dolby. It would be difficult to run the turntable, FM tuner and SACDs through a soundcard.
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Given this thread's title, I was expecting the answer to be loudspeakers.

I think I'll skip the Dolby. It would be difficult to run the turntable, FM tuner and SACDs through a soundcard.
True that. The only thing that would be even feasible would be a Mixamp or SU-DH1, and it's probably more trouble than it's worth for your purpose requiring excess switching.


Dolby Headphone has been discussed many times as a method for achieving speaker-ish presentation or a silent HT on a budget if you run a search on the forums.

It doesn't stand a chance when compared to the Smyth system, but as an entry level solution it fills its purpose well -- when used with suitable headphones. I've noticed some complain with certain headphones consistently that the soundstage actually gets congested instead.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post
True that. The only thing that would be even feasible would be a Mixamp or SU-DH1, and it's probably more trouble than it's worth for your purpose requiring excess switching.


Dolby Headphone has been discussed many times as a method for achieving speaker-ish presentation or a silent HT on a budget if you run a search on the forums.

It doesn't stand a chance when compared to the Smyth system, but as an entry level solution it fills its purpose well -- when used with suitable headphones. I've noticed some complain with certain headphones consistently that the soundstage actually gets congested instead.
I bought a $100 optical Dolby headphone processor a couple of years ago; I don't think I have even used it a whole hour, that's how good it sounded
post #9 of 28
DH tries to use some generic HRTF code...it works for some, and sounds ugly to others...to me it's just a huge pointless reverb.
post #10 of 28
BBE (2 or 3)+ on the cowon S9, it is so great even on maxed settings!
post #11 of 28
I prefer the binaural VST plugin Isone Pro.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
DH tries to use some generic HRTF code...it works for some, and sounds ugly to others...to me it's just a huge pointless reverb.
Pretty much.

To me it sounds like your headphones are converted to five speakers and dumped in a generic room for a home theater -- arguably what it was made to accomplish
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by gurubhai View Post
I prefer the binaural VST plugin Isone Pro.
I prefer IP over DH. IP lets you adjust personal HRTF settings for "head size" and "ear size" whereas DH does not. After adjusting them, I easily notice that IP has better clarity and localization than DH.

Anyway, I prefer the Smyth Realiser by far over IP and DH.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post
To me it sounds like your headphones are converted to five speakers and dumped in a generic room for a home theater -- arguably what it was made to accomplish
luckily you can achieve EXACTLY that w/o the grossly hollow reverb of DH.

that's how my 5.1>headphones downmixed movies sound like: tornado.zip

I also found Isone Pro totally unusable, and yes I tried messing w/ it for a while
post #15 of 28
no offense intended, minktoast, but when i listen to this DSP in foobar, it just adds a bunch of reverb. and sounds kinda bad to my ears...
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