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DTS Unveils Neo:X 11.1-Channel Surround


DTS went to International CES to launch
Neo:X post-processing surround-sound technology, promoted
as the first technology to upmix stereo and multichannel
audio programs to as many as 11.1 channels.

DTS Neo:X adds a pair of front-height speakers and a
pair of front-wide speakers to a traditional 5.1-channel or
7.1-channel surround-sound speaker system.

The first A/V receivers and preamp-processors incorporating
the technology
could hit the market as soon
as the second quarter of
2011, DTS told TWICE.

The front-height speakers
“bring discrete effects to
the vertical dimension,” enabling
an aircraft to seem as
if it’s flying overhead, DTS
said. The front-height speakers
also “elevate ambient sounds,” such as wind, thunder,
background music, public address systems, and the like.

The front-wide speakers, DTS continued, widen the front
sound-stage image while also providing “smooth and seamless
tracking of front-to-side actions,” such as the sound of
a car moving from the front to the left side of the screen.

Though the Neo:X matrix-up-mixing technology will
work its magic on existing two-, 5.1- and 7.1-channel
soundtracks, DTS said movie studios could also produce
Neo:X-optimized soundtracks. Studios would be able to
produce directional cues that could be heard only through
front-height and front-wide speaker channels with no audible
leakage to other speakers, DTS said. The soundtracks
would be compatible with standard 5.1- and 7.1-channel
home theater system, DTS noted.

It’s for any DTS, Dolby or PCM soundtrack to incorporate
the additional cues, though “to get the best effects
out of it, you should use the DTS-HD MA 7.1 [codec],”
DTS contended.

As a post-processing technology, Neo:X is promoted
as up-converting 2.0-,
5.1-, 6.1- and 7.1-channel
soundtracks to 9.1 or 11.1
channels. The technology
also features cinema, music
and game modes. Cinema
mode is said to deliver a
clear center channel with
dialog enhancement and
“ambient cues for immersive
effects.” Music mode delivers “enhanced immersion in a
recorded environment,” and game mode provides “strong
directionality for an interactive experience,” DTS said.

For its part, Audyssey Laboratories already offers Dynamic
Surround Expansion (DSX) post-processing technology,
which adds front-height speakers and a pair of
image-widening front speakers to a traditional 5.1-speaker
setup to create systems with up to 9.1 channels. Dolby
offers Dolby Pro Logic IIz, which adds front-height channels
to 5.1 and 7.1 systems to create systems with up to
9.1 channels.