Dirac Research has introduced the latest version of Dirac 3D Audio for mobile devices, headphones, and VR/AR headsets at Mobile World Congress, which is currently underway in Barcelona.
Using patent-pending Dynamic HRTFs (head-related transfer functions), Dirac 3D Audio enables positional audio reproduction with one degree of resolution in all three dimensions.
"As consumers increasingly use mobile devices for gaming and video streaming, the mobile experience must evolve to deliver 360-degree audio so immersive that users become engulfed in the content," says Lars Isaksson, Dirac's General Manager of XR Audio. "With Dirac 3D Audio, games feel more realistic than ever before, as high-quality sound emanates from all directions just like in the real world. Players can therefore recognize distances and locations of characters and objects by sound alone. For videos with multichannel audio, Dirac 3D Audio provides a truly cinematic listening experience, where sound encompasses the space surrounding the viewer, putting him or her at the centre of the action with a stunning sense of immersive realism."
Dirac's patent-pending Dynamic HRTFs (head-related transfer functions) enable unparalleled positional accuracy and one-degree resolution in all three dimensions, ensuring realistic audio reproduction with minimum distortion and errors. The company's proprietary 3D audio reverberation engine, built upon more than a decade of scientific breakthroughs in sound field synthesis, produces convincing sound externalization and a true sense of space.
The 3D audio solution also leverages Dirac's extensive experience designing energy-efficient sound solutions for leading mobile device manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, OnePlus, and Motorola. The solution has been recently adopted by Tritton's new Kunai Pro gaming headphones for PCs as well.
According to Isaksson, the introduction of Dirac 3D Audio for the mobile market comes at an important moment in the evolution of mobile device media consumption, as the next generation of networking is poised to deliver content with unprecedented quality and speed.
"With the imminent launch of a 5G network that will enable enhanced real-time mobile gaming and multi-channel audio streaming," he says, "consumers will expect their latest smartphones to capitalize on the expanded audio capabilities. Dirac 3D Audio allows OEMs to meet these consumer expectations by equipping their smartphones with the ability to deliver a completely unique and never-before-heard 5G aural experience."
In other news, Dirac Research is also showcasing Dirac Distortion Control at the show, a patent-pending audio solution that reduces audible distortion in smartphones, tablets, laptops and all-in-one PCs with minimal impact on volume.
According to Erik Rudolphi, Dirac's General Manager of Mobile, when small speakers play at high volume, distortion occurs. The distortion becomes more obvious when playing piano music or vocals, especially those that are bright and higher-pitched.
The tonal harmonies of the piano music stand in stark contrast to the noisy distortion - which has led to the term "piano distortion." However, it's not actually a specific type of music or sound that causes distortion; it's caused by the mechanical limitations of small speakers due to their constrained space.
"As consumers increasingly demand mobile devices that are bezel-less, include multiple cameras, and add functions while also remaining thin, manufacturers must sacrifice speaker space, which thus increases the likelihood of piano distortion at high volumes," explains Rudolphi. "Piano distortion is a significant challenge for mobile audio performance, and until now, there has not been an effective solution available.
"Manufacturers," he continues, "along with consumers, have been forced to choose between loud playback with high distortion or strongly attenuated playback with less distortion. With mobile media consumption skyrocketing, the market has an immediate need to provide consumers with cleaner sound even at high volumes - which now, for the first time, is possible thanks to Dirac Distortion Control."
Dirac Distortion Control purports to significantly reduces audio distortion with minimal impact on loudness, thereby allowing wide-band music to be played at high volumes with cleaner sound. The technology combines loudspeaker profiles that determine how to avoid distortion with a "smart" algorithm that continuously monitors audio content to determine when the remedy needs to be applied. The smart algorithm identifies the specific part of the content that causes audible distortion, and then accordingly applies the correct dose of remedy to compensate for the specific constraints of each device's electro-acoustical components.
"The rapidly advancing technology found in mobile devices provides numerous benefits to consumers, but improvements in audio performance has largely been limited to louder sound - with audio fidelity going almost completely unaddressed," adds Rudolphi. "As a leader in audio science and engineering, we are proud to continue introducing solutions like Dirac Distortion Control that produce better audio experiences that satisfy the expectations of the music-loving public."
Dirac is demoing the Distortion Control experience with strategic partner AAC Technologies, showcasing various Dirac mobile audio solutions, including Dirac Distortion Control with AAC Technologies' leading micro speakers.