Dolby Labs: Laptops should have surround sound too!

Dolby Laboratories, longtime industry leaders in theater and film audio, have set their gaze upon the PC entertainment side of things. Specifically, getting surround sound from a laptop or netbook. I got a demo of some of the new tech they’ll be releasing in the coming months. Some super cool stuff.

Dolby is working with various OEMs to include a number of new audio driver technologies. Dolby Home Theater v3, Dolby Advanced Audio, and Dolby Headphone. All three are post-processing that optimize your sound for the specific laptop you’re working on, bass and high frequency boost, and do a bit of compression repair. Unlike most “enhancers”, the Dolby algorithms don’t sound like a graphic EQ just haphazardly slapped on the signal. And they’re smart enough to not mess with your uncompressed material.

Now for all the surround sound stuff. First, you can get simulated surround sound on any pair of headphones. It may not sound as distinct as actual 5.1 or 7.1 headphones, but the Dolby software will recreate the full sound field with any stereo headphones. Not the best solution, but for the price and portability, you can’t beat it.

Also, instead of requiring separate sound cards with multiple ports, these drivers will sum the multiple channels of a surround signal to one. End result, you can run a single cable from your PC’s audio out to any surround sound receiver. Now you can hear all that pirated material the way it was supposed to.

Look for the “Approved by Dolby” sticker on various Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and Medion models in the coming year.