Dolby Virtual Speaker - 1st impressions :)
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lini

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I got a visit from Dolby Labs in the office today. They are on a promo tour through Germany at the moment - it's all about their "Dolby in PC"-initiative, and they show which Dolby technologies have already found their way into personal computers and give some outlooks into the future. Being the inofficial audio man in the hardware section of one of the major German computer magazines, I got the honour of the presentation - which also included a short demo of Dolby Virtual Speaker: Like Dolby Headphone on stereo headphones, Dolby Virtual Speaker can be fed with a 5.1-signal (which itself could be a native Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack or just a stereo signal upgraded to 5.1 by Dolby ProLogic II) and will reproduce this on a stereo spaker system.

To cut the long story short: The set-up was a Dell Latitude series notebook with Windows XP and an el-cheapo pair of powered 2.0 computer speakers by Labtec placed closely to the edges of the display plus me sitting in the sweet-spot - and played from the DVD drive were the outtakes of Toy Story (2?). To my surprise, it really worked, and the quality was very impressive for that low quality set-up. I could clearly identify the director's comments from the back - well, back right, actually. And yes, the very friendly and cool Dolby guy from Britain (who ran the presentation and has very sensible opinions on Microsoft, DRM and logoitis on surround equipment - just to name some of the topics we discussed...
Actually, I'm still pondering whether I should invite him here - what do you think?) confirmed that Dolby Virtual Speaker was also able to produce stereo imaging in the back - just like Dolby Headphone.

Well, me thinks that this is a nice technology with quite some potential - and much better than stuffing speakers all over my place for the occasional surround experience. Now, how can I convince Jan to make me a PreHead Surround Extra Plus DAC Lini Special Edition <enter more nifty terms like Turbo, Hypra, Supra, MkII, OSE here...
> with some more analog inputs (including phono), a built-in dac, some optical and electrical S/P-DIF inputs, Dolby ProLogic II, Digital 5.1, Virtual Speaker and Headphone, a mono switch as well as defeatable balance and tone control for <hybris mode on
> 1500 Euro? Uhm...

Greetings and grinnings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
 
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ServinginEcuador

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Thanks for the write up and heads-up Lini!!! It will be interesting to see what they do with this product and to see how well it is implemented and marketed!!!
 
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kelly

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lini
Thanks for the heads up. I never knew you were with the German audio press.

I've never been a fan of DSP like effects, especially from 2 physical channels but I have to admit that Dolby has really been breaking new ground. I was already a believed in Dolby Headphone.

I do think it would be great if Dolby had a presenence on Head-Fi.
 
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lini

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kelly: It's just computer press - so audio is not our main battlefield.
Well, I hoped it would and tried to establish an audio supplement for the magazine, but with the recent economical situation the guys from the 4th floor couldn't dig up enough advertising to finance it (the price for the mag itself only covers printing and distribution - everything else has to come from advertising...). But I haven't given up, yet, so I try to interest our online people in the whole audio/video/surround topic, now...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

P.S.: Personally, I'm also a stereo person - and my opinions on surround are a bit mixed. Especially, I'm not particularly fond of all these el-cheapo 5.1-satellite/sub-system that just seem to bloom around here - for computers as well as on the ce side. I think, a lot of people would be more disappointed with these surround results, if they knew how good a reasonably priced stereo set-up can already sound. And I wonder, why so few people seem to have run across the idea of connecting their tv or computer to their already existing stereo equipment, too... Nevertheless, the sound of the el-utterly-cheapo Dolby Virtual Speaker set-up was pretty impressive - so I was impressed!

 
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