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Dolby Surround Sound on phones… really?

Dolby logoI work around a lot of bad ass audio products at Best Buy.  This has the effect of giving me quite of bit of skepticism toward products with “simulated surround sound.”  For the uninitiated, Simulated surround sound is based off the idea that sound waves coming from different directions are changed by the shape of our ear and the waves path into it.  By placing a microphone inside a model of human ear, researchers are able to measure what changes are made by the shape of our ear and create those changes at the speaker or headphone and “tricking” the brain into believing it has come from a particular direction.  This has obvious unintended consequences when the sound wave travels through the ear “again” and is changed a second time creating wholly unnatural sounds that don’t trick your brain into crap.  It does have some advantages, but for most it just doesn’t matter.

Now, I am fully aware that anyone who’s handset is doing HDMI out can certainly benefit from the addition of actual Dolby processing, but unless you’re outputting to a pretty bad-ass receiver(with HDMI audio processing), which is in turn hooked to five separate speakers (and ideally a sub-woofer) then this is all completely pointless.  If anyone who reads this has ever been in that situation then I’d be highly surprised and retract my call of “Bullshit.”  There are already a multitude of audio tuning programs that can fine tune your equalizer and enhance your sound.  Dolby is just trying to have their name thrown down for the extra licensing fees.  I’ve used SRS wow and other “simulated surround sound” solutions and they have all failed more than a 26 year old high school student.  In all my years with audio devices and the vast swaths of crap on internet only one solution has ever seemed reasonable (and by reasonable I mean just about the most amazing audio recording idea since stereo) in my eyes.  Want to get a taste?  Grab some headphones, hit up THIS link, and prepare to lose your shit all over the place.  It’s been around for a while and probably won’t be new to all of you, but is an experience everyone needs to know about.

This should be picked up by every movie studio ever!  They record by positioning two microphones about the distance apart that the human ears would be and record in stereo from there.  The placement of the mics within the room capture sound in the same manner as the ears would and the resulting differences in time between each microphone’s reception of the sound creates the most realistic sound experience I’ve ever been through.  So in summation, screw Dolby and their weak attempts at cramming useless technology into consumer goods with no clear benefit.  When you’ve got something worth selling then I’ll listen, but until then this will just be some other crap on your cellphone the equivalent of carrier bloatware.