DTS, the company behind the surround sound theater technology that launched with the mega-blockbuster Jurassic Park, pioneered an AV Foundation to bring their patented sonic experience to headphones. They partnered with GenUI to create an app allowing potential customers to test the sound on existing devices and, in doing so, expand market opportunities.
DTS theater surround sound is familiar to movie-going audiences worldwide. Since the use of the DTS audio technology broke onto the scene in Jurassic Park, the company has continued to innovate audio technologies for film and video.
DTS:X is an object-based audio codec that is used to create 3D surround sound experience at your home. What does this mean? In layman's terms, it means that, with the help of multi-channel at-home speaker setup, you get a sensation of sound moving around you. The technology is flexible in terms of how many speakers you can choose to use, and you don’t have to mount additional speakers on the ceiling to accomplish the full effect.
The goal for the DTS Headphone:X project was to deliver this theater-quality audio to a pair of headphones to maximize the sound experience on the go. DTS engineers invented Headphone:X technology to reproduce the experience of nine speakers and a subwoofer in headphones that simulate the 3D environment of the audio’s original mixing stage for watching movies, listening to music, and gaming -- all as their creators intended.
"Headphone:X delivers an immersive, cinematic audio experience to your headphones … that you’ve come to expect from a full, 11.1 channel surround sound movie theater. But it doesn’t just put a home theater audio experience in your pocket, it works with music and games too."
As groundbreaking as the DTS Headphone:X technology was, potential customers couldn’t test the sound quality remotely. This largely limited the DTS customer base to brick-and-mortar shoppers. To offer the sensory experience of testing Headphone:X to more people, DTS joined forces with GenUI to create a dimensional solution allowing users to sample Headphone:X quality from anywhere.
The collaborative team of DTS and GenUI engineers knew they had a challenge on their hands. How to simulate a database of more than 450 tuned headphones to deliver an advanced audio solution that renders sounds above, around, and close to the user? The answer was to embrace the audio algorithms that render sound and build them into both iOS and Android apps delivering not 5- or even 7-channel sound, but 11 distinct channels. This use of data algorithms to simulate surround sound was both groundbreaking, and incredibly rewarding.
“As a united team, we had to do a lot of heavy lifting with the audio and integrating their algorithms and their technology. This was some pretty serious AV Foundation for iOS and Android audio codec work.”
Jason Thane, GenUI CEO
Once on the Mac and Android Apps Stores, the app found widespread usage. It even earned admiration and a video introduction on the DTS site from Hans Zimmer, Academy Award winner and ten time nominee as a film score composer. (He of Inception “BRAMMM!” fame.)
While experts in their own field, the DTS Headphone:X team knew they needed assistance from a team of experts who wouldn't shy away from a tough challenge. They found that in the team at GenUI. The successful collaboration overcame a significant barrier to make DTS's pioneering AV product available to a larger potential customer market - and build the foundation for future releases, such as Sound Unbound, available on Windows and Xbox One.
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