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Dolby Issues First License Of Virtual Speaker Technology In Silicon

Dolby Laboratories announced that it has licensed the first silicon implementation of Dolby Virtual Speaker technology.

The Melody ADSP21161 from Analog Devices Incorporated (ADI), which also implements Dolby Headphone Technology, will enable ADI’s customers to incorporate the Dolby technologies into consumer electronics products as varied as digital TVs, stereo mini-systems, video game consoles, in-car entertainment systems, DVD-Video players, portable DVD players and other devices, Dolby said.

Dolby Virtual Speaker technology incorporates a next-generation advanced algorithm to reproduce the dynamics and surround-sound effects of a precisely placed 5.1-channel speaker system from a consumer electronics device or personal computer equipped with as few as two speakers.

Dolby Headphone Technology transforms multichannel audio soundtracks into a dramatic and realistic surround sound listening experience accessible from any conventional pair of stereo headphones, the company said. The sophisticated room-modeling technique at the heart of the Dolby Headphone process is integrated into virtually any type of audio or video product normally equipped with a headphone output, thanks to readily available DSP, ASIC, and DLL solutions.

“As a result of space constraints or environmental issues, some people cannot integrate a full 5.1 surround speaker system into their home entertainment lifestyle,” said Craig Eggers, consumer channel marketing director, Dolby Laboratories.

Until the ADI Melody chipset, iterations of Dolby Virtual Speaker technology have been limited to digital signal processing (DSP) applications in personal computers, which have far more processing power than traditional CE products.

Dolby Virtual Speaker technology, integrated into software DVD players from InterVideo’s WinDVD Platinum, is already providing a highly compelling entertainment experience for PC entertainment enthusiasts, according to the company. The soon-to-be-released version of CyberLink’s PowerDVD XP 4.0 also supports Dolby Virtual Speaker in personal computers.

Dolby Headphone enables stereo headphones to portray the sound of a five-speaker, surround-sound playback system. It achieves its unique effect through a powerful signal-processing algorithm that generates a multitude of audio cues modeled from real life. From these cues, a person’s ears and brain perceive a truly three-dimensional sound image.

Analog Devices is the first Dolby licensee to ship an integrated circuit product incorporating Dolby Virtual Speaker technology.

Mike Haidar, general manager, software and systems technology, Analog Devices, said: “The Melody ADSP21161 processor is remarkably flexible and already includes a framework supporting industry-wide standard audio formats, so we didn’t have to invent anything new to add Dolby Virtual Speaker to the chipset. We are delighted to bring this compelling new technology to the consumer electronics marketplace. Because Dolby Virtual Speaker technology makes two channels sound so much better, we believe it will appeal to both our existing and new customers, who will use it to manufacture a host of consumer products that deliver significantly enhanced audio experiences.”

In addition to Dolby Virtual Speaker and Dolby Headphone (both co-developed by Lake Technology Ltd. of Australia), the ADSP21161 Melody processor implements Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital Consumer Encoding and AAC technologies — all on the same chipset.