Dirac Enhances the Sound of Virtual Reality

"When Harman, Datasat, BMW, Volvo, Pioneer, Arcam, Emotiva, Xiaomi, Oppo, and OnePlus want digital audio optimization solutions, they turn to Dirac," boasted a sign at the Dirac exhibit. But the demo was not of the Swedish company's world-beating room correction systems but of a newly developed system to enhance headphone listening for virtual reality and gaming.

The system was shown with Sennheiser HD650 headphones (a cousin of the HD600 I use for reference and pleasure) and Emotiva ribbon-tweeter monitors. When I turned my head from side to side, or up and down, the soundstage stayed firmly rooted to the area occupied by the speakers.

There was very little difference between the speaker sound and headphone sound except for one thing. With speakers, I could hear sound bouncing off the back wall; with processed headphones, there was a void where there should have been reflections. But I was told this was an intentional design decision and presumably could have been handled differently.

Dirac hopes to license the technology to companies marketing virtual reality gear.