It should come as no surprise to learn that two types of surround sound really stand out in the crowd.
The biggest names are Dolby Digital and DTS.
These behemoths have gone toe to toe in the battle of Dolby surround sound vs DTS Headphone X.
Many of today’s audiophiles throughout the world believe with all of the passion of the burning fire of 1000 suns that DTS delivers much better sound quality than Dolby Digital.
Do you agree?
Why do they feel this way?
One reason is they encode DTS surround sound at a much higher data rate than Dolby surround sound.
On the flipside, everyone arguing for Dolby Digital believes that it is much more advanced and has a much clearer and better sound quality.
Dolby believes that they have a more efficient codec, which gives them the ability to function at lower bit rates.
Which of these multichannel sound formats is the superior choice?
DTS and Dolby Digital Surround Sound: What Are They?
Dolby Digital is a type of surround sound that derives its name from the audio compression technology that it uses. Dolby Labs developed this technology and it has been tremendously successful for many years.
On the other hand, DTS is short for Digital Theater Systems. This audio format is very popular with home theater audio systems and in 1993 it was developed to compete with Dolby Labs in an effort to become the top dog in the surround sound technology space. DTS also became a major Dolby competitor for surround sound in the production of movies.
Dolby Digital and DTS are the same in the fact that they both offer codecs for surround sound that are 5.1, the rare 6.1, and 7.1 setups. For each of these setups, the first number represents the amount of smaller surround sound speakers, and the .1 represents a separate channel that is a subwoofer.
As an example, a Dolby 7.1 surround sound setup consists of seven small surround sound speakers and one subwoofer. Dolby 5.1 is five small surround sound speakers and one subwoofer. You get the idea.
Each of these formats use perceptual techniques to pull out useless data from PCM signal output in an effort to deliver perceptual data reduction. This method helps to preserve the levels of high fidelity sound. Besides 5.1 to 7.1 surround sound systems, there are other cutting-edge formats already developed and even more are being developed to improve sound quality and take it to even greater levels of clarity.
As an example, Dolby Digital and DTS utilize compression in an effort to save space on a DVD or Blu-ray disc or with streaming bandwidth for services like Netflix or Hulu.
There are also “lossy’ versions of DTS and Dolby surround sound. Overall, this version means that when compared to the original audio source, it suffers from a minor degree of degradation. There are also lossless versions of digital surround sound as well.
As an example, the Dolby lossless version is called Dolby True HD; while their lossy version is called Dolby Digital Plus. On Blu-ray discs, the lossy version doesn’t take up very much space at all. The lossless version of DTS is called DTS-HD Master audio and it supports 7.1 surround sound setups.
Are There Any Major Differences?
Now that we have a better understanding of how surround sound works, it’s time to take a look at the two top surround sound headphones being offered by Dolby Digital and DTS. These cutting-edge headphones are respectively known as DTS:X otherwise known as DTS Headphone X. And their Dolby Digital counterpart is called Dolby Atmos.
Each of these headphone styles very successfully attempt to create the traditional surround sound experience within your headphones. You can listen to movies on these headphones, as an example, and hear all kinds of interesting sound effects like bullets zipping through a cathedral and the echo noise that it would make, or the distinctive sound of a plane flying over your head.
This happens because of multiple audio signals designed to pump audio through multiple speakers in a virtual sound environment.
A Basic Understanding of Dolby Atmos Surround Sound Headphones
User experience is taken to another level when these object based surround sound headphones are worn for gaming, listening to music, or enjoying your favorite audiobook – although you probably wouldn’t need such high quality headphones for that particular pastime.
The reason so many people gravitate toward Dolby Atmos headphones is their ability to provide a multidimensional listening experience by adding height channels to make it possible to listen to overhead sounds. By overhead sounds, I’m talking about an airplane flying by, or a bird whizzing past your ear, or any other sound that would typically originate over your head. By adding this high channel to the headphones, the audio will sound like it’s coming directly from above you to provide a lifelike user experience. This will make movie watching and videogame playing much more enjoyable as you can imagine because it will help you become much more immersed within the storyline.
The surround sound systems of the past – especially those with headphones involved – only had the ability to provide projected sound from left to right or front to back. This heightened experience means you will have no trouble immersing yourself into your movie or game or TV show because the audio will make you feel like you’re part of the action.
Are Dolby Surround Sound Headphones Great for Gaming and Watching Movies?
Many gamers seem to really be into the Dolby Atmos headphones because it really helps provide a much more realistic and heightened game experience. Wearing these headphones with the Dolby Atmos feature activated means that you’ll have a lightweight way to listen to audio and talk to your friends using the built-in microphone.
The ear cups are big enough that they will block out all the background noise to provide an even more powerful immersive experience. Yet the multichannel audio will make it sound like you have bullets whipping at you from every direction and sounds coming from above and below, to the sides, and in front and back of you.
Does this sound like the type of headphones you want for watching movies or playing video games? Imagine how the audio sounds when listening to your favorite songs as you immerse yourself into the music? Audiophiles love these headphones because they are so powerful that it feels like they’ve transported you to another place.
A Basic Understanding of DTS Headphone X or DTS:X Surround Sound Headphones
According to many audio experts, the DTS:X surround sound headphones is a lot better than your typical traditional surround sound because it operates on an object based system. This causes it to provide a much better field of sound.
The biggest difference between this and Dolby Atmos is the height channels aren’t necessary with this type of headphone surround sound.
Why is that?
This system contains a processor that still delivers multidimensional sounds. But it does it in a way that is more efficient then Dolby Digital. Even more interesting, with this type of setup you can actually adjust the volume of the voices in your movie or game.
So if you want the voices to sound louder or softer, you can make this adjustment on-the-fly whenever you feel it’s necessary.
In a gaming situation or even while watching movies, this is definitely a nice feature to have. If you ever watch an action movie you’ll hear how loud the special effects and music is compared to the voice volume. The voice volumes are typically so much lower and it’s often hard to hear what the actors or videogame characters are saying.
With the ability to adjust these voices to make them sound louder, you’ll really appreciate the fact that this helpful solution makes it more than possible to hear dialogue at critical points in your movie or video game.
Is DTS Headphone X Headphones Great for Gaming and Watching Movies?
It will not come as a major shock to learn that we believe DTS Headphone X headphones are a phenomenal choice to use when watching movies or playing video games.
The surround sound experience is so much better than listening to audio coming out of traditional headphone speakers.
I personally like using these headphones when I play video games, which isn’t often these days as I get older but it’s still fun to play a first-person shooter every once in a while. Using DTS Headphone X headphones while playing games definitely improves the overall experience by a wide margin.
The cool thing about first-person shooter games is you’re playing the game from your personal point of view. So when you have the game audio literally surrounding you throughout your entire experience, you will actually begin to feel like you’re walking through the jungle or attempting to sneak up behind another soldier at their secret base, and many other interesting scenarios are improved tremendously by these headphones.
As far as movies go, these headphones also transport you right into the movie so it almost seems like you’re an extra character or you’re standing right next to the people dialoguing with one another in interesting and exciting scenes.
The surround sound always makes you feel like you belong in the action which is an interesting and exciting experience to say the least.
Is Dolby Surround Sound or DTS Headphone X the Better Choice to Improve Your Overall Listening Experiences?
Choosing one style of headphones over another is never an easy thing to accomplish in a review like this because everybody has their own particular tastes and preferences.
You may be a humongous DTS fan since they first stepped on the scene in 1993 and you would never consider buying a Dolby Digital product. Or you may be the biggest Dolby Digital fan in the world and despise everything else that DTS puts out into the world because of your allegiance to your favorite company.
So, with that said, I’m not even going to try to convince you that one type of headphone is better than the other. I’m going to tell you to use your best judgment based on your own personal experiences and the information that I shared today.
Overall, many people like DTS Headphone X headphones because they believe the overall sound quality is much better than the quality provided by Dolby Digital.
On the other hand, so many people love Dolby Digital because they believe their products deliver superior sound quality and crisper and clearer audio.
What will you decide?
That’s the question you need to answer to determine who wins the battle of Dolby Surround Sound vs DTS Headphone X in your personal opinion.
Simon is a music lover, musical instrument player and passionate audio afficionado. When he is not playing the guitar or listening to music he is either eating tacos or snoring too loudly.