VIA add DTS head-tracking virtual surround sound to USB audio chip [Video]

Chris Davies - Jul 28, 2009, 4:19 am CDT
VIA add DTS head-tracking virtual surround sound to USB audio chip [Video]

VIA and DTS have joined forces to integrate the latter’s Surround Sensation Ultra PC plus Head Tracker headphone technology into the former’s Vinyl VT1610 Audio Codec chip.  Together, they offer mobile 3D surround sound, with motion-sensitive DTS headphones used to dynamically adjust surround sound EQ depending on where the listener is facing.

Video demo after the cut

 The DTS Surround Sensation Ultra PC with Head Tracker system can create a 5.1 surround sound experience with stereo headphones, tracking head movement at 30fps and across a 60-degree field and adjusting the sound accordingly.  If, say, you move your head to the left, sound from the “phantom” center speaker of the virtual 5.1 setup will be louder in the right earpiece, mimicking how a true surround system would work.

As for the VIA Vinyl VT1610 Audio Codec chipset, it’s intended for USB audio devices and supports a single stereo headphone output and four microphone inputs.  While not on general release to the public, it’s targeted at manufacturers of external audio interfaces, USB speakers and microphone arrays.

The DTS headphones will be available from Q3 2009; no word on pricing, nor when we could expect to see USB audio products using the VIA chipset.

Press Release:

VIA Collaborates with DTS to Deliver ‘7th Row Center’ Sound to Mobile Users

VIA Vinyl VT1610 Audio Codec integrates DTS Surround Sensation Ultra PC™ with Head Tracker™ technology to place headphone users in a realistic virtual sound space that provides a true-to-life audio experience

Taipei, Taiwan, 28 July 2009 – VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the integration of the new DTS Surround Sensation Ultra PC™ plus Head Tracker™ headphone technology into the VIA Vinyl VT1610 Audio Codec industry-leading audio solution.

Combiningthe VIA Vinyl VT1610 Audio Codec with DTS Surround Sensation Ultra PC plus Head Tracker headphones technology takes mobile 3D surround sound to the next level. It provides the listener with a fixed forward-facing sound stage creating a perception of a virtual space that renders the ideally-balanced acoustics traditionally associated with the best seat in the house – 7th row center.

If dialogue is coming through the phantom center channel and the listener turns toward the right, the sound stage remains fixed and the audio will be heard more strongly through the left headphone, resulting in a more natural and immersive listening experience.

“As more and more people opt to have their entertainment delivered via versatile mobile devices, there is a rising demand for more realistic audio playback,” said Richard Brown, Vice President of Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “VIA is excited to work with DTS to develop a technology that will offer headphone users an improved and truly unique audio experience.”

“DTS Surround Sensation Ultra PC plus Head Tracker headphones technology delivers an incredible simulated effect from headphones alone, bringing the surround sound experience to mobile platforms around the world,” said David Tan, VP Product Management North American Licensing, Dts, Inc.. “Together with VIA, we are committed to delivering the ultimate entertainment experience to consumers.”

About the VIA Vinyl VT1610 Audio Codec
The VIA Vinyl VT1610 Audio Codec is a highly integrated chip for USB audio solutions. It includes a USB 2.0 full speed interface, one stereo headphone output, and four microphone input channels (supporting analog or digital microphones). The VIA Vinyl VT1610 is supplied in an ultra thin package, allowing for very compact PCB design.

A powerful and cost-effective solution, the VIA Vinyl VT1610 is targeted at MIC Array, VoIP, Headphone, and USB Speaker applications. VIA provides the demo board and relevant technical support to assist customers to implement the codec in their product designs.

For further information on VIA Vinyl Audio codecs, please visit the VIA website at:

About DTS Surround Sensation Ultra PC with Head Tracker
DTS Surround Sensation Ultra PC with Head Tracker simulates a 5.1 channel audio experience using only stereo headphones. It does this by pairing external tracking information — that measures a listener’s head orientation and direction — with the audio track from their video and audio sources.

The real time interface with a minimum yaw update rate of 30FPS will re-adjust the position of the sound in relation to the direction the listener is facing within a 60 degree field (±30 degrees), moving the sound field as the listener’s head moves and creating the perception of a fixed sound stage.

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