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Dolby Headphone: Five Channels Of Surround Sound

Just how do you get five channels from normal stero headphones? An Australian Company, Lake Technology LTD, made it happen.

By Leo Simpson

I recently had the chance to talk to the developers of the Dolby Headphone system and experience a demonstration.

To be honest, I did not know what to expect. On the one hand, how can it be possible to provide or simulate five separate channels of audio in stereo-phonic headphones?

Click for larger image
Dolby Digital speaker layout for cinema surround sound systems (above) and for the home theatre 5.1 system (below).

On the other hand, it is called "Dolby Headphone" and with a brand like that, it must be a genuine innovation.

So I went along with an open mind (sort of). The demonstration was in a typical home theatre set-up: large screen for the video side of things and five speakers for the surround sound: left and right front, centre front and two rear speakers. There was no sub-woofer though, as far as I was aware, although that would normally be tucked away out of sight.

I sat on the lounge in front of the video monitor and was handed a pair of normal stereo headphones to put on but I was told that the sound would come from the five speakers.

The demo consisted of a spoken commentary, along the lines of "this is my voice coming from the left front speaker... This is my voice coming from the right front speaker... This is my voice coming from the left rear speaker... and so on".

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