Portable Personal Surround Sound
Dolby Headphone technology creates virtual surround sound from multi-media content encoded with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS-ES, and MPEG-2 AAC. But since a gazillion two-channel music and video files already exist in the wild, Dolby Headphone includes Dolby Pro Logic II processing to juice up those surround-less sounds. Pro Logic II detects directional cues that hide in stereo source material. The processing circuitry then uses the cues to create five-channel surround sound playback.
JVC says the SU-DH1 includes three selectable Dolby Headphone modes. DH1 reproduces a room with minimal reverberation, similar to what you'd hear in a recording studio. DH2 is designed to simulate a typical listening room. DH3 attempts to recreate the sound of a theater or concert hall. Dolby Pro Logic II processing settings include Auto, Movie, and Music. "Auto" picks either the "Movie" or "Music" mode depending upon the input source. "Movie" is used for Dolby Surround encoded material. "Music" is, not surprisingly, meant for any two-channel music source.
Dolby says Dolby Headphone technology prevents "listener fatigue" - that overwhelming feeling that you want to throw your headphones across the room after listening to them for an extended period of time. Instead, the "spacious and natural soundfield" that's created can be enjoyed for hours. (One set of AA batteries is supposed to last for 10 hours, so it better do a good job.) The technology works on all types, shapes, sizes, brands, colors, and creeds of headphones and earphones. It is not, however, designed to replace or prevent normal human interaction between kids and their parents.
JVC's SU-HD1 will be available in March for $130.
No one from JVC would comment on why the new product does not include "i" in the model number, but the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is said to be preparing an advisory warning that inventories of the much-in-demand lower-case letter were dangerously low and should be conserved until a new technology or product is developed to popularize one of the other 26 letters in the alphabet. CEA will also announce that "e" is still back-ordered and is not expected to be available until 2008.