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JVC Offers Headphone Surround

Wayne, N.J. — JVC launched a lightweight headphone adapter that delivers surround sound through a consumer’s existing two-channel stereo headphones.

The SU-DH1, available at about $130 retail, weighs 3.5 ounces including two AA batteries. It plugs into headphones and portable DVD players, MP3 players, laptop computers and handheld video game machines. It incorporates Dolby Headphone to deliver a surround effect when surround content is played in Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, DTS, DTS-ES and MPEG-2 AAC surround formats.

To deliver surround sound from two-channel content, the device incorporates Dolby Pro Logic II, which up-converts stereo and four-channel matrix-surround content to a five-channel experience.

With Pro Logic II decoding, consumers will also be able to decode matrix-surround-encoded music downloads available in SRS Labs’s 5.1-channel matrix Circle Surround II. The stereo-compatible matrix format can be decoded in surround by Circle Surround II decoders and other 5.1-channel matrix-surround decoders, including Dolby Pro Logic II decoders, although SRS claims improved performance when material encoded in its format is decoded by a device incorporating its decoder.

Instant Live has begun offering WMA downloads of live concerts that it records and mixes in Circle Surround II. Some of the songs became available on the Napster download site in late 2005, SRS Labs said.

Later this year, Music Giants plans to launch multichannel downloads in WMA lossless format to PCs and to HDD music servers sold through custom-A/V installers. Multiple digital audio and A/V portables that support Windows Media 9 are capable of playing back MusicGiants stereo downloads.

For consumers interested in hearing downloaded music in surround sound, Imagine-It-Concepts of Huntington Beach, Calif., offers a virtual surround adapter incorporating SRS’s TruSurround XT, which delivers a multichannel effect when playing Circle Surround II-encoded material through any pair of headphone portables. Its 1.2-inch by 2.2-inch by 0.75-inch adapter is the $99.95-suggested Wizor W-007 Virtual Surround Sound Processor.