dts:x, dts sound unbound, and dts headphone:x are basically familiar names to audio enthusiasts and professionals alike, but they can be quite intimidating to understand if this is your first encounter with these spatial audio codecs and software.
Do you want to take your experience of watching movies, playing games and listening to music to the next level?
Reading: What is dts headphone x on xbox
dts spatial sound is what you are looking for, and we explain everything you need to know in this article.
what is spatial sound?
Before we get to the heart of what dts:x is and how it works, let’s first look at what spatial sound is.
In short, spatial sound or spatial audio is a way of creating sound in 360 degrees around you, the listener. it means you hear sounds from your devices just like in real life, coming from all directions. if you are watching a movie where a plane is flying overhead, you will hear its sound coming from above. if a shot occurs to the left, you’ll hear a sound from that side of the room.
spatial sound can be object-based, in speakers or televisions, or binaural, in headphones. There are multiple dts spatial sound technologies and the naming can be a bit confusing, so let’s break down the main ones.
how does dts audio work?
In a nutshell, most dts audio compression technologies handle spatial sound. they are designed for theaters, home theaters, desktop computers, game consoles, or even regular headsets. We are going to talk about the most popular ones for regular users, which means dts:x, dts sound unbound and dts headphones x.
let’s see what each one does.
what is dts:x and how does it work?
According to the official description, dts:x is an audio codec that delivers multidimensional sound that “moves around you just like it would in real life.”
Basically, it’s a flexible codec that can work with most speaker setups from the last 5 or 6 years, since its release in 2015. It supports up to an 11.2 channel system and 32 speaker locations.
You don’t need to buy any new hardware, like a new surround sound speaker system for your TV or computer, or a new Blu-ray player.
the best feature? You can choose to adjust the volume of a sound object, such as voices, to make dialogue much easier to hear in loud movie scenes.
It may sound similar to dolby atmos, but unlike dolby atmos, dts:x doesn’t require any additional upstream channels. while with dolby atmos you have to add extra over the air channels to your 5.1 or 7.1 setup, dts:x allows you to enjoy the same sound quality and experience with a standard speaker setup.
most premium and many mid-range av receivers come with dts:x compatibility, from denon to pioneer to marantz to onkyo.
You’ll also get the dts:x sound experience when you rent an imax enhanced movie, as these versions come with a special dts:x codec that brings home the audio experience you get in theaters.
what is dts sound unbound?
Okay, now let’s fix the complicated dts naming system and see what dts sound unbound is and what it can do for your audio experience.
dts sound unbound is the app that brings together dts technologies for windows and xbox one platform like dts:x decoder and dts:x headphones.
dts headset:x basically upgrades any normal stereo headset to a spatial audio capable headset.
Using Microsoft’s spatial sound technology to give you precise sound localization, it creates a virtual 3D space, using an algorithm to make your ears hear more speakers than you actually have.
You can also customize the voices in movies or games to hear them more clearly during busy times.
You can download the dts sound unbound app from the windows app store and try it for free. After that, you’ll need to purchase it to continue enjoying the 3D audio experience in games, but it’s worth noting that the license covers up to 10 devices at a time.
Any headset can work with dts headphone: x, and the app has over 500 custom headset profiles.
want to try dts headphones: x? just plug in your headphones and press play on this video.
for casual music listening, dts sound unbound (which includes dts:x headphones) will enhance the listening experience, but not by much.
To enjoy the full effect, you must have music in the native dts surround sound format for headphones: x, and the library is quite small.
“compared to audios mixed specifically for dts, normal audio tracks will not have the same wide soundstage and precise panning/positioning of instruments. listening to normal audio tracks with dts:x headphones will only amplify some frequencies and will not accurately identify each instrument and vocal track for a 3d audio experience,” explains one reviewer.
since none of the music streaming apps from spotify to tidal come with this format, dts headphone:x may improve the sound a bit, but not significantly.
what games use dts?
here are pc and xbox games with dts headset: x support.
As you can see, it’s quite a short list, due to the fact that it’s still a new application and technology.
- gears 5
- borderlands 3
- call of duty modern warfare
- forza horizon 4
- the shadow of the tomb raider
- assassin’s creed origins
- for honor
- final fantasy xv
- resident evil 2
- metro exodus
- division 2
on the xbox one platform, the capabilities are very impressive.
You can hear what dts spatial sound does on xbox series x through this short but memorable demo.
“put on your headphones and walk into the dreams of steve saylor aka blindgamersteve. This immersive audio adventure was inspired by the real dreams he had after experiencing Destiny 2: Beyond Light, and the spatial sound capabilities of Xbox Series X. To capture Steve’s dreams, they guided him into a semiconscious dream state called hypnagogia.
When he reached this state, known to feel like light sleep and even meditation, he was asked to recall his dreams. Some of the greatest minds in history, such as Aristotle, Thomas Edison, Edgar Allen Poe, and Mary Shelley, have tapped into this same dream state and used it to inspire their thinking. Once Steve’s dreams were recorded, they came to life in the form of a 3D spatial sound story,” explains Microsoft.
what movies have dts?
Fortunately, the list of dts:x movies is much longer and growing quite fast, in part thanks to imax’s new improved certification program.
Do you want to experience dune, the best sci-fi movie of 2021, with near-cinema audio quality?
Put on your headphones and listen to the dune trailer with dts:x headphones, featuring another unforgettable soundtrack from hans zimmer.
Many movies are compatible with dts:x, and some recent titles have been released in the imax enhanced home format. dts’ own website lists the following titles, but below we’ll include links to more dts:x movies.
back at ces 2020, we spoke with bruce markoe, senior vice president of post production at imax, and he told us why imax enhanced gives you the best possible movie viewing experience outside of an imax theater. You can find out more about this technology and its future in our interview, before seeing what movies are already available in this format.
- ex machina (2014)
- american ultra (2015)
- the last witch hunter (2015)
- crimson peak (2015)
- the big short (2015)
- daddy’s house (2015)
- zoolander 2 (2016)
- gods of egypt ( 2016)
- independence day (1996)
- london has fallen (2016)
- whisky tango foxtrot (2016)
- divergent (2014)
- lone survivor (2013)
- snow white & the huntsman (2012)
- the huntsman: winter war (2016)
- nerve (2016)
- the bourne identity (2002)
- the bourne supremacy (2004)
- the bourne ultimatum (2007)
- the bourne legacy (2012)
- jason bourne (2016)
- battleship (2012)
- the girl on the train (2016)
- train to busan (2016)
- patriots day (2016 )
- fast and fast furious 6 (2013)
- furious 7 (2015)
- harry potter and the order of the phoenix (2007)
- harry potter and the half blood prince (2009)
- harry potter and the deathly hallows: part 1 (2010)
- harry potter and the deathly hallows: part 2 (2011)
- three (2016)
- sword master (2016)
- 3:10 to yuma (2007)
- the series divergent 4k: 3 movie collection
- fifty shades of gray (2015)
- fifty shades darker (2017)
- despicable me (2010)
- despicable me 2 (2013)</li
- ex machina (2014 )
- I’m not madame bovary
- railroad tigers
- king kong (2005)
- the fate of the furious (2017)
- operation mekong
- kung fu yoga
- bluebeard (2017)
- e.t.: the alien (1982)
- the mummy (1999)
- the mummy returns (2001)
- the mummy: tomb of the dragon emperor (2008)
- van helsing (2004)
- dracula untold (2014)
- out (2017)
- the purge: 3 movie collection (2013-2016)
- dreamgirls (2006) extended director’s cut
- serenity (2005)
- apollo 13 (1995)
- god of war (2017)
- terminator 2: judgment day (1991)
- harry potter and the philosopher’s stone (2001)
- harry potter and the chamber of secrets (2002)
- harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban (2004)
- harry potter and the goblet of fire (2005)
- atomic blonde (2017)
- despicable me 3 (2017)
- wolf warrior 2 (2017)
- the adventurers (2017)
- made in usa (2017)
- legend of the naga pearls (2017)
- fatal countdown: reboot (2017)
- daddy’s house (2015) 4k
- brotherhood of blades 2: the battlefield from hell (2017)
- straight from compton (2015) 4k
- pitch perfect (2012)
- pitch perfect 2 (2015)
- pitch perfect 3 (2017)
- the thousand faces of dunjia
- the incredible hulk 4k (2008)
- ghost thread
- once upon a time
- fifty shades freed
- gladiator 4k (2000)
- the monkey king 3
- jurassic park collection 4k
- the purge 4k (2013)
- the purge: anarchy 4k (2014)
- the purge: election year 4k (2016)
You can see more movies in this list compiled by an imdb user and existing imax enhanced titles here.
Most new sony entertainment movies will also be re-released in enhanced imax format.
is dts sound unbound better than dolby atmos?
The question of “which is better, dts or dolby” is difficult to answer, since it comes down to individual preferences and prices.
dolby is the most affordable option, but audio experts point out that dts has a slightly higher audio bitrate, so enthusiasts should keep this in mind.
if, on the other hand, you are a regular and casual user on a tight budget, then the choice is clear.
you can hear the difference between dts and dolby atmos in this video.
how much does dts sound unbound cost?
and finally there’s the question of price and if dts sounds independent, it’s worth it.
dts sound unbound is licensed for $20, which seems like a hefty sum up front, but keep in mind that it’s a multi-device license and offers dts:x right out of the box.
Only you know how many devices you’ll use it for and how important your audio experience is, but sound quality is always a good investment in our opinion.