5.1 Headphone experience *Foobar configuration for all stereo music files*
Sep 25, 2009 at 7:17 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 633
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WHAT IS THIS?

This is a Foobar configuration that converts the traditional stereo image into a three-dimensional space utilizing Dolby Headphone. A virtual surround sound is created from the stereo recording, split into 5 channels and delivered from a seemingly directional source, or virtual speaker positioned around your head.

Traditional headphones replicate a stereo image; right and left channel and position you in the middle, some may find this fatiguing and flat. This configuration keeps the left and right channels intact and introduces a center and 2 more at the rear for a true 5 channel multi directional sound.


channel-mixer-example.jpg


YOU WILL NEED:

Foobar
AC3 decoder
DTS decoder (Now default with latest Foobar)
Dolby Headphone Wrapper
DOLBYHPH.DLL
Channel Mixer

SETUP:

• Close foobar
• Download the Dolby Headphone Wrapper for foobar, place the dll in the components folder.
• Download dolbyhph.dll and for convenience place this in the same components folder.
• Download Channel Mixer for foobar and place the dll in the components folder.
• Start foobar
• Move Dolby Headphone into Active DSPs and configure it to use dolbyhph.dll by linking to its location, leave the settings on DH1 with amplification at 100%.
• Move Channel Mixer into Active DSPs and configure it to use the following settings:
- General: Output channels: 6 / LFE should be unticked / Stereoimage width should be set at 1.00
- Upmix: Center: 1.00 / (Rear) Volume: 2.00 / - Everything else should be set to 0.00
- Profiles: Save profile
Active DSPs should have Dolby Headphone at the bottom and Channel Mixer second to bottom for the desired sound. !important

active_dsp.jpg
 (note: you won't see DTS decoder as it is now default with foobar)

channel_mixer.jpg


TEST:

• Close foobar
• Download the AC3 decoder for foobar, place the dll in the components folder.
• Download the DTS decoder for foobar, place the dll in the components folder.
• Start foobar
• Move DTS decoder into Active DSPs above Dolby Headphone and Channel Mixer.
• Download 5.1 Surround Test File from lynnemusic.com
• Configure Channel Mixer to use only LR and RR, untick L, C, R
• Play the 5.1 Surround AC3 file, you should only hear the rear channels.
• If the test was successful turn on L, C, R, LR, RR and you're all set!

channel_mixer_rear.jpg


If you would like to run further tests yourself load up any good recording; Jack Johnson's 'All At Once' on his latest album 'Sleep Through The Static' if setup correctly when the forward channels are turned off Jacks voice will be completely removed from the recording. Play around with your own music, you will see this is replete throughout most stereophonic recordings. This clear separation will allow for much better directional positioning allowing details to shine. Half way through a song remove both Dolby Headphone and Channel Mixer and hear the instant difference; in comparison it will sound flat and lifeless.

Please share your experience!
 
- For additional reading take a look at 'The quest for soundstage', this was my first venture into binaural audio which led to this configuration.
 
Sep 26, 2009 at 2:39 AM Post #4 of 633

Edwood

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Thanks for posting the step by step guide.

It doesn't make it sound like there are real speakers out in space around you, but it certainly increased the size of the "headstage". Making it sound like it's around my head. The localization is noticeable, but nowhere near the clarity and precision of excellent speakers or my Smyth Realiser.

It's similar in performance to Astound sound DSP I tried before (except, that Astound sound does more of a "sphere" of sound rather than traditional 5.1 set up).

-Ed
 
Sep 26, 2009 at 7:22 AM Post #6 of 633
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Edwood /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks for posting the step by step guide.

It doesn't make it sound like there are real speakers out in space around you, but it certainly increased the size of the "headstage". Making it sound like it's around my head. The localization is noticeable, but nowhere near the clarity and precision of excellent speakers or my Smyth Realiser.

It's similar in performance to Astound sound DSP I tried before (except, that Astound sound does more of a "sphere" of sound rather than traditional 5.1 set up).

-Ed



Perhaps not but I think it goes a long way in bridging the gap from headphones to speakers, at least for those of us that can't invest $3,000 in the SmythSVS Realiser. With the increased "headstage" and added clarity from 5 separate channels I find that if I turn it off my previous setup sounds uninvolving and lifeless, at least in comparison.

I'm a sucker for good soundstage, perhaps I'd be the perfect candidate for the Smyth Realiser (the more I read about it the more I want one) but for now this will suffice.

Thanks for giving it a listen!
 
Sep 26, 2009 at 4:44 PM Post #7 of 633

12thgear

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Wow, this is great info. I'll definitely try this out next time I boot into Windows.

For now I've just been using an outboard A40 Mixamp, which is great for games, ok for movies. I haven't tried it with music, but I'm not expecting much in that regard.

The Smyth Realiser and and Beyerdynamic Headzone both seem really cool, but man, are they expensive.
 
Sep 27, 2009 at 9:24 PM Post #9 of 633

skeptic

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I'm interested in this as well - although I have bee reading up primarily on options for home theater use (and for PS3 gaming) thus far.

Apparently mid-level Marantz and Yamaha receivers, on up, support fairly well regarded headphone 5.1 processing/simulators (dolby headphone and silent cinema, respectively).
 
Sep 28, 2009 at 2:27 AM Post #10 of 633

RedSky0

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Couldn't get it to work unless I put Dolby bottom and Channel Mixer second to bottom instead, guessing that's what you meant. But yeah, sounds very nice cheers for the guide.
 
Sep 28, 2009 at 8:54 AM Post #11 of 633
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Quote:

Originally Posted by RedSky0 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Couldn't get it to work unless I put Dolby bottom and Channel Mixer second to bottom instead, guessing that's what you meant. But yeah, sounds very nice cheers for the guide.


You're absolutely right, sounds like you've got it working just perfectly! Dolby should indeed be at the bottom; I'll go ahead and correct that in my guide.

active_dsp.jpg
 
Sep 28, 2009 at 10:20 AM Post #12 of 633

Edwood

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Graphicism /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You're absolutely right, sounds like you've got it working just perfectly! Dolby should indeed be at the bottom; I'll go ahead and correct that in my guide.

active_dsp.jpg



That works much better now. Quite impressive. Definitely puts the sound out farther out, like speakers. But the "virtual speakers" and imaging are not nearly as focused and as precise as my AIX Records Profile with my Realiser, but this Dolby Headphone plug in works great with Foobar.
Compared some AC3 tracks I have from iTrax.com. The overall sound quality is definitely reduced when played through the Foobar Dolby Headphone set up, than compared to SPDIF pass through to my External PreAmp Processor (processing Dolby Digital then outputting analog 5.1 to my Realiser)

But considering this solution is free, it has the best "bang for the buck" for listening to certain AC3 audio files. I couldn't get it to work with DTS audio tracks (seems to be problematic with Foobar).
Now, if it could only work with decoding and playing audio streams from Video sources like DVD videos, BluRay Video, and various formats like h.264, DiVX, XVID, etc.

-Ed
 
Oct 1, 2009 at 2:45 PM Post #13 of 633

RedSky0

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Bump for good topic.

Decided I'm gonna stick with this for normal listening since it works so well. Compared this with standard Dolby headphone and there's no comparison, pure Dolby sounds very distant whereas this only slightly reduces detail, the surround effect is well worth it though.
 
Oct 29, 2009 at 2:51 AM Post #14 of 633

adrift

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I had problems with this using WASAPI. Not sure if it had something to do with something I didn't think to check or what not, but it does sound like its working fine with ASIO. Oh, by the way, the difference between this and the normal Dolby Headphone wrapper is amazing. Great job and thanks!

Edit: Ok after a bit more listening with songs mixed in shuffle mode I'm constantly surprised with the vividness of some of these tracks now. One thing I notice though is that the music never really sounds directly in front of me. Mostly to the side and back. I noticed you had similar concerns in earlier experiments. This doesn't detract from the enjoyment of listening to the music at all. Just thought I'd share my observation is all.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Oct 29, 2009 at 3:41 AM Post #15 of 633
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I had this working with WASAPI in vista however since upgrading to win 7 I haven't got WASAPI to work as yet, giving me some incompatibility issues...

Yes the different between this and standalone Dolby Headphone is quite vast, if you aren't getting enough volume from the center channel simply turn it up; I now have mine on 1.25 although I'm sure it differs between headphones. As mentioned in my test above; try turning off the front channels to understand what you are hearing from the rear then introduce and tweak the forward channels as necessary.
 

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