firstly I did not read all this thread. but . I know for a fact you can do 3D sourround with foobar2000 and a few extensions for it. it actually works quite well. and its customizable as well. google it foobar2000 3d surround
The Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2 NX USB that I'm using with my Sennheiser Surrounder has CMSS 3D. CMSS 3D can generate surround sound from a stereo signal and has the ability to alter 5.1 surround into a stereo signal that retains surround sound.
I have used the Audigy 2 NX only with my Surrounder so far and CMSS 3D wasn't working with it. Probably I must check the settings again, but I'm almost sure CMSS 3D is only working with stereo output (I used 4- and 6-channel output with the Surrounder).
The OSX built-in drivers are somewhat a mystery: They are providing very good built-in support for a lot of USB and FireWire audio interfaces, but there is not much official information about the capabilites of the drivers around. A lot of audio interfaces that do work with the built-in OSX drivers aren't supported officially and you have test each interface. The Behringer FCA202 and UCA222 are advertised by Behringer officially to work with the built-in OSX drivers. A couple of interfaces are only supported partially or don't work with the built-in drivers at all.
The LUCAS/DSP Pro does something similar to CMSS 3D if you feed it with a stereo signal while it's in Dolby Surround ProLogic mode. It's generating a surround signal from it. The main benefit isn't "surround" though, it's more about an out-of-head-localization of the sound. The usual in-head-localization can be compensated somewhat (if settings are choosen correctly).
Mike (really kindly) sent me a unit and I've had a short go with it.
Very intriguing. I can't resist going in and out of the processing to just compare. The clean CD always sounds cleaner to me (which makes sense if you're adding a hall ambience to anything)
I also think that the unit is indeed adding an effect of a hall quite well.
The problem is whether I like hearing the music in the hall ...... That is quite a difficult one.
The setting up was dead easy. I could identify two settings instantly that felt right for my ears. Doing the test was great - it really confirmed that I was indeed hearing the REAR speakers!!! (In a headphone?)
I am hearing the typical 'flutter' effect that you get in a concert hall so it is working. For me, it doesn't throw the sound enough forwards.
For music, the flutter seems to 'clutter'.
However, I may try this with my Blu-ray player because I think that it would be more useful for films.
Close to what I ended up with Christian. The ears setting was instant for me. There were two that seemed to suit but one really focussed.
I've just been listening to a studio podcast and imo, the Lucas improves the sound.
I switched bewteen on/off and the studio mix is squeaky clean with no real ambience, However, switching the 'Theatre' mode in introduces quite a nice ambience and it does actually sound as though you're at a live theatre recording. Really nice. I preferred the theatre setting for speech.
I find the controls to be excellent, but I also found that once I had a setting that I thought suited the sound, it was better to back off a bit on the 'ambience' so that the effect is more subtle.
It was only switching back and forth between on/off that I realised that 'less' is 'more' - the effect becomes subtle and doen't mangle the mix so much but it does actually enhance.
I wouldn't exactly call it surround though. More like an ambience setting.
Still in two minds about music though. Not sure I like the 'wall' reflections.
I was playing a local fete this afternoon - and the building reflections were amazing. The sound came back to me almost a second later which was kind of strange. Especially with drums. How the hell the drummer played I don't know. I went over to headphones while playing to knock it off. Couldn't stand it.
Someone put a request in for a HL song. I said I didn't know any!! ;D
This unit is doing the same thing. Sending reflections a few milliseconds later.
I quite like it but as I said, more for speech/theatrical than for studio music.
You know, Mike has really opened up my listening over the past year and now with this processor, it's kind of a step back for me, although it helps nasty podcast sound enormously. It's a good unit and performs flawlessly but it's a question of do I really want to hear the same acoustic planted over everything I listen to. Not sure I do but it is a useful device.
Ian, you are absolutely right with one point: We are constantly hearing a simulation if we listen with a LUCAS/DSP Pro. The sound is always altered. Sometimes that's not a good thing...
What does the Crossfeed filter from Meier Audio in comparison? IIRC you have mentioned that you had one in the past (that was stolen later).
Yes, Christian - as I thought - with films. Lovely. It adds a cinema ambience that's actually really good. My wife tried it and she absolutely adored it. We were watching some trashy film on tv and it had a beach scene. My wife instantly said she was more aware of the wind and seagulls with it on compared to with it off. I tried it and she was right, the tiny sounds in the background kind of come forward a little so it's doing something. It also clears speech imo.
So, this lovely little unit will be attached to our TV. I can also play podcasts through it. Mike just sent it to me! Really generous.
The difference between this unit and the Meier Audio unit is that the Meier audio doesn't 'add' anything. I feel that this unit is 'additive' where a simulation of an ambience is being superimposed on top of the stereo signal. That way, you get the original plus the ambience.
With the Meier unit (Which I really rated as top notch when I had it) opens the sound in a much more subtle way. If I describe it crudely - part of the left channel (at certain frequencies) are fed into the right with delays and vice versa. It makes headphone listening a little more comfortable when sounds go extreme left/right, but no 'ambience is added. It basically just plays around with the left/right signal.
For me, when listening to 60's recordings, I would often switch to mono to avoid the uncomfortable left/right stereo balance, but with a cross-feed, it's just a bit more natural.
Christian, I wouldn't hurt the second unit. They are rather special for fims imo and it would be a shame to stop it working. There are more modern devices around that would plant a room resonance onto a stereo signal. This is a good one, because another thing - there is very little noise added. A common thing with early units like this was not only did they add ambience, but they also added distortion and hiss. (noise) This one is quiet. Mike's wired mine up brilliantly so the plug is integrated into the signal wire. It would be a shame to destroy it. There's nothing new inside - it's been done in studios for years with little units. I can't remember the name of a really good early one, but I have one at work which is good. You basically choose from a variety of room types.
Yamaha used to make them. They weren't so good funnily enough. However, the principal is the same as these units - additive, with a set of presets for reverb.
I'm trying to remember the name of a well known one - I think it may have been called a 'digiverb'. They were also stereo but instead of using the idea of a 'rear' (Virtual) speaker, they were more up front and just called them rooms!!
This isn't surround but it enhances the effect if you see what I mean. Very nice unit. Pity they didn't make a battery operated version - I'd carry it around.
EDIT: Christian, I find the sound far more expansive if I leave the input on Surround, even from a mono source. A really wide effect and you start to become much more aware of a 'rear' speaker working.
It's a Creative DDTS-30 decoder with Creative HQ-1500 headphones. The headphones are crap and I will sell or give them away. I bought both because I wanted the DDTS-30.
It's a different story with the DDTS-30, which is a decoder for headphones and should be able to decode DTS, Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II. It has also Dolby Headphone. The build quality is exactly what you would expect from a cheap consumer product: A cheap looking plastic enclosure and probably the hardware inside this decoder is also cheap.
The DDTS-30 has coax/optical or analog input. On the decoder side the coax connector is implemented as mono mini-jack. The mini-jack digital-in can be used also with a toslink cable (optical). The analog stereo-in is also a mini-jack. It has two mini-jack outputs that are intended for headphones. DDTS-30 is entirely powered by batteries.
Long story short: I'm using the DDTS-30 currently with the coax digital-in. The coax cable is connected to the digital coax out of my Soundblaster Audigy 2 NX (USB) which is connected via USB with a MacMini. Since the DDTS-30 was designed to drive crap-of-phones directly the decoder has a potentiometer on the side for the adjustment of the loudness. It was needed to use the pot of the DDTS-30 at a quite low volume. I have connected Neco Portable V2 to the headphone out of the DDTS-30 and I'm listening currently with a HD650. Results are great: I never heard moovies this way. It's no comparison to the LUCAS, it plays in its own league. Moovies are extremely clear and realistic with this combo. And much more three-dimensional. Speech is also very good. I guess every signal that is sent to this decoder is altered to Dolby Headphone output. The effect with stereo sound is also very interesting, although I think that it is not as natural as the moovies (music can sound a little bit artificial). I'm thinking about starting a new thread for the DDTS-30. It clearly beats the LUCAS/DSP Pro as long as a headphone amp like the Neco Portable V2 is used after the decoder.
I would like to have something like the DDTS-30 but manufactured in a higher quality.
A Dolby Headphone decoder that could be placed between the source and the headphone amp.
For me something like the Behringer FCA202 but with an additional Dolby Headphone decoder would be perfect.
The DDTS-30 is a low-end consumer product, but I must admit that I'm quite impressed with what I'm hearing.
Does anybody know a Dolby Headphone decoder that offers a bit more? I can't believe that this should be the only product with Dolby Headphone. If Dolby Headphone works this good with a crap product then a better product could do a lot more.
I've almost forgot about that thread, it's nice that it still gets some attention. There was not very much information available about the LUCAS / DSP Pro / DSP 360 at the time I have started the thread. Therefore every additional information is highly welcome.
Just had an interesting idea. The 300 Ohm Senn's sound good with the LUCAS. Other headphones usually don't.
I will try 250 Ohm Beyer's soon with the LUCAS. Currently, I have only a DT770 Pro (250 Ohm), but I'll get soon also a DT990 Pro (250 Ohm).
Beyer has sold (and still sells) amps with surround capabilities. They are more advanced than a LUCAS, but cost also much more. Not many people have these Beyer amps. Probably those amps are also optimized for some Beyer 'phones. I will try to get more information about these amps. Maybe also time to start a thread about the Beyer amps, but since no one here has them (and I don't have plans to get one), it would be not more then the listing of information collected in the internet.
I still have a DSP360 and the original Senn HD500 Fusion cans (32 ohms) that came with them, I bought them both from Superfi over 20 years ago, but I gave the HD500's to my son, as they were not to my liking :-(
Am now thinking about using the headphone output on my iPad2 into the DSP360 and into some new portable (foldable) noise cancelling cans so that I can listen to movies that have been compressed using Handbrake and the iPad profile, I should be able get the simple Dolby Pro Logic experience, just like watching something that is broadcast on normal terrestrial TV channels
The output is 0.99V rms at maximum volume. Noise and distortion figures are low--THD+N and IMD are about the same as the iPhone 4 and the original iPad, and much lower than the Sandisk Sansa Clip, Clip+, and Fuze.
Square waves and impulses on the iPad 2 have the same shape as on the original iPad and on the iPhone 4. It uses a minimum-phase type filter. The ringing takes much longer to decay than on the Clip+ or on the old iPod Video, but it doesn't exhibit pre-ringing.
The headphone amp is pretty good too, with a 16-ohm load, this is what I found:
You have up to 570-580 mV rms for a 1 kHz tone before the THD+N goes above 1%. THD+N and IMD are much lower at typical listening levels with cheap portable phones. The amount of distortion and stereo crosstalk is similar to measurements for the original iPad and the iPhone 4, and much lower than the figures for the Clip+.
The headphone amp has low output impedance. I get around 0.9 ohms, this is much the same as the iPhone 4, but much lower than the ~1.4 ohms for the original iPad. I think most popular portable headphones will still be designed for a player with higher source impedance (like the older iPods)
I listened to an iPad2 for some time and I couldn't hear any obvious noise or distortion on my headphones, and hooking up the "line out" to an "Aux In" on my B&O amp sounds pretty clean too, at least from the audio I was getting from my B&O speakers. Probably as good as some of the sub $500USD USB DACs that some folks are using with Sony Discmans and other DAP's with line outs !
So whilst I thought I may need an USB DAC for my iPad (like the TA Bithead) , I am now thinking just to get some really nice "Noise Cancelling" cans for MP3 audio, and if I want to watch a movie or two on the iPad, I can just dust off the old DSP360, sit it in between the headphone output and perhaps some Goldring NS1000 phones !