Magical History and Bright Future for Surround Sound

July 14th, 2011

Not too long ago, we delved into the history of Bluetooth, with humble praise to the Danish king who lent the far-reaching mobile technology his name. For this week's history lesson, we move outside the world of mobility into the highly competitive audio technology segment. With the explosion of iPods, iPod Accessories as well as digital music shopping and storage, audio technology has seen seismic changes over the last 10-15 years. Source Certainly music has gotten easier to store, making it more mobile, but the proliferation of surround sound could be viewed as equally monumental in the overall field of audio development. There are two-channel purists who argue that we have two ears, and thus, two-channels are best, but that hasn't stopped manufacturers and consumers from creating 5.1, 7.1 and even 11.2 surround sound speaker configurations. While he wasn't the first to experiment with it, a gentleman by the name of Walt Disney was one of the earliest pioneers of surround sound technology. His use of Fantasound to reproduce the orchestral production accompanying Fantasia set a benchmark for what could be achieved with multi-channel sound. After Disney, Dolby really became a dominant force in the surround sound game with Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic II and a host of other technologies. They remain a player to this day. Just about 20 years ago, another major surround sound player took the field, bringing new thinking and hitting the mainstream in 1993 when it introduced its master-quality sound with the release of Steven Spielberg's blockbuster, Jurassic Park. According to the DTS website, every major film studio in the United States uses DTS multi-channel digital sound, and virtually all major Hollywood feature films are released with soundtracks in the DTS format. DTS entered the consumer product marketplace in 1996, and now more than 200 millions devices include DTS trademarks or technologies. Fast forward to present times and IOGEAR is carving its own niche as the first manufacturer to have DTS Surround Sensation | Headphone™ technology available in a new surround sound headphone adapter called the USB Theater Sound Xperience. An in-depth explanation appears in a previous post, Mobile DTS Surround Sound Adapter for Headphones and Speakers, but we see this as a major progression in the pursuit of surround sound.  The IOGEAR surround sound audio adapter will do for computer audio, what the home-theater-in-a-box did for entry-level home theaters; provide an affordable and enveloping audio solution. More content is making its way to and from PCs, so it's only natural people will embrace advancements that make the experience more riveting, whether it's on their headphones or computer speakers. If you haven't seen, we're giving away 100 of the USB Theater Sound Xperience Adapters via a Facebook contest, so go over and like us for a chance to win. We personally feel this is one of the most innovative implementations of USB 2.0 technology available, but we are curious what you think. How important is audio to your entertainment? Do you think surround sound adds significantly to the amount of enjoyment you get from movies and video games? Let us know in the comments, our Facebook page or via Twitter.



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IOGEAR enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic getaways. While not traveling, IOGEAR enjoys a great game of shuffle board whilst playing the banjo.