Yes, exactly, this is good info for rfe777. I may not be a fan of DPL IIz guessing at positioning from a typical music recording, but still I pointed out why some other people might like it. And of course binaural recordings are an exception, more natural because our two ears are being fed two mic signals, but sadly this is just not how the majority of audio is recorded or could be engineered.
I would say stereo is 1D, because it just pans volume % between left and right (sometimes distance can be heard, because a mic is further or an engineer processed it to sound that way, but it still doesn't come from a distinct position), then Home Theater and it's emulations (like DH) are 2D because they make a "ring" around you. 3D is possible, binaural recordings are an example of that but more on that in a moment.
Dolby Headphone, when fed proper positioning data, is a step in a more realistic direction, but it is still limited to 5/7 positions and panning a % between them. It is a generic profile to calculate what your two ears hear as sound reflects around to them, BUT it's still calculating what your ears would hear in a speaker environment, not a "live" environment. Also, the algorithm is meant to simulate a living room or theater, so while it does a bit of "how would your face occlude the sound?" It also applies an EQ to the sound and you'll hear a bit of reverb from "walls", thus the occasional "in a cave" impression. So, it is indeed better, with room for improvement.
The gaming environment (and live binaural recordings) allows audio engineers to strip away the "speaker placement" layer of abstraction, and figure out what your ear would hear if a sound came from there. Some attempts at this have been made, like OpenAL, DirectSound3D, Rapture3D, and most recently AstoundSurround (by GenAudio, currently exclusive to AMD's TrueAudio DSP chip), where distance and direction is used with Head Transfer Related Functions (and no wall or Home Theater speaker emulation) to really give the listener the experience of the in-game environment. The problem that plagued all of these, however, is the game has to be coded to support them. Dolby Digital (and DTS) mastering is very widespread and common, so DH doesn't have support problems, but I am holding out for hope that AMD's TrueAudio and AstoundSound, the latest 3D HTRF, will catch on, since Gamespot and Anandtech articles mentioned that the PS4's dedicated DSP chip is or is based on TrueAudio. Hopefully, with widespread availability in a popular console, audio technology will continue progressing forward.
Edited by Evshrug - 3/1/14 at 12:15pm