Dolby Headphone

Dolby Headphone for Mobile Devices

Dolby® Headphone introduces a new level of intensity and realism to mobile entertainment by delivering clear, engaging surround sound over any pair of headphones.

To create a natural surround effect, Dolby Headphone uses a highly sophisticated algorithm that models the acoustics of a surround sound speaker system in a listening room. This surround effect produces more spacious audio, making the experience more comfortable for audiences to enjoy their favorite entertainment for hours.

Enables an enveloping personal surround sound listening experience

Transforms stereo content into surround sound over any headphones

Provides a more comfortable listening experience, reducing listener fatigue

Dolby Headphone is compatible with native 5.1-channel content. When combined with Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Headphone can transform content from a two-channel source into a surround sound listening experience. And with multichannel content such as 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Headphone delivers an advanced cinematic HD surround sound experience.

A set of advanced audio postprocessing technologies, Dolby® Headphone is integrated into the audio subsystems of mobile phones to deliver 5.1-channel surround sound over any pair of headphones. Dolby Headphone does this by electronically recreating the sonic signature of the corresponding speakers properly placed in a carefully defined acoustic environment to each audio channel (two on stereo programs, and up to five on surround programs). The subwoofer signal (the “.1” Low-Frequency Effects [LFE] channel) is mixed into the Left and Right channels in equal proportion.

When combined with Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 content, Dolby Headphone uses all six channels of audio from the original content to recreate the surround experience through headphones, the way the creator intended it.

Regular headphone listening places sounds directly on your ears and “in-head.” Audio sounds flat with hard, unnatural separation from left to right. There are no natural reflections and the absorptions found in a standard room are lost. With extended listening, this sort of experience can cause fatigue. 

Dolby Headphone’s unique method of recreating the spatial surround of the original content creates a more natural “out-of-head” experience. By adding back in all the sonic attributes of a complete, 5.1 home theater setup, the listener can become comfortable listening without longer term fatigue.

From the outset Dolby Headphone technology was designed to encompass all possible audio formats. Conventional stereo and 5.1-channel digital content can be enhanced for headphone reproduction by the Dolby Headphone process. The result is a far more natural sound over any conventional wired or wireless stereo headset on all programs, from 5.1-channel DVDs to stereo MP3s.

Because conventional headphone listening doesn’t include any of the cues that acoustics impart to the sound of loudspeakers in a room, audio images are perceived as coming from inside the head. Dolby® Headphone technology simulates the sound of speakers that are clearly and unambiguously located outside the listener's head, including the complex acoustics of a listening room where sounds reflect off various surfaces. This effectively convinces listeners that the sound is originating from multiple speakers around them. And Dolby Headphone can simulate a variety of rooms with different acoustics.

Dolby Headphone technology is universal to all listeners due to a significant breakthrough in signal processing technology. The system does not require custom head-related transfer function (HRTF) settings to accommodate the differences between individuals, so it’s simple to implement and operate.

Dolby Headphone technology can be included in consumer products with no loss of quality. It can be implemented into a wide range of digital signal processing (DSP) chips, so Dolby Headphone technology can be employed wherever headphones are used.

Dolby Headphone technology also provides all the benefits of a highly detailed finite-impulse response (FIR) filter, with virtually no latency. This ensures video programs (stereo or multichannel) can maintain sync between sound and picture.

Finally, with Dolby Headphone no special headphones are required. The process works well with wired or wireless headphones ranging from inexpensive airline headsets to high-end electrostatic sets, although higher-quality headphones deliver a higher-quality listener experience.

Choose from the drop-down menus below to get Dolby professional reference material.