23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2008
This breakthrough technology is not cheap, but boy is it good. If you have never experienced headtracking headphones, you are in for a surprise. With a DTS or Dolby soundtrack, you hear real surround sound through headphones. Nothing fake or processed about this audio!
The brain senses depth in both visual and sound processing using small head movements. With regular headphones, if you turn your head, the music moves too -- the brain rejects this as fake, which is why there is no illusion of depth. But with headtracking, if you move your head, the magicians (OK, audio engineers) at beyerdynamics adjust the sound in real-time to keep it oriented correctly.
Put a CD (even 2-channel audio) of a female vocalist on. She appears right in front of you, equal sound in both ears. Now turn you head -- with this unit, the voice stays where it was, and when your head is 90 degrees, you hear her only out of one ear!
The net effect is a real 3-d soundstage with headphones. I was listening one day to a compilation album, and dozed off. A track with just a solo piano came on at a volume high enough to wake me, and I panicked thinking there was a paino in the room! Really!
For concert videos with a DTS soundtrack, the effect is amazingly compelling. You are in the stadium.
So I have set up a Samsung HD LCD 22" TV that I got from Amazon as well, and this unit, with the fantastic beyer 880 headphones that are included, and I now have a private movie and concert viewing station (I sit right in front of it) that works at thundering volume without disturbing anyone, with full surround sound.
With two channel audio not meant for surround sound listening, I think the added "room" effect is not enjoyable. But there is a button on the front that just turns this surround processing off. Press it, and Presto! -- you have a DAC and Headphone amp as good as any $1000 to $2000 audiophile unit out there. I took it to a meeting of headphone audiophiles and showed it off in this mode, and everyone who tried it agreed: excellent DAC and amp.
And all audiophiles agree that the beyer 880's are world class.
So you just plug the digital out (either the S/PDIF RCA cable or the TOSlink optical cable) from your DVD/CD player into this baby, and you are all set. Keep everything else connected, and you will now have a personal listening rig that is hard to beat for convenience. Keep the surround off for 2-channel music, and on for movies, concerts, and music CDs with DTS ... you will be in sonic heaven.