Smyth Research Model: Realiser A16 – 3D Headphone Processor

May 10, 2016

Smyth Research demonstrated for the first time their new Realiser A16, a 3D Audio Headphone Processor for decoding and rendering the latest emerging consumer audio formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D, over stereo hi-fi headphones. The Realiser A16 recreates up to 16 virtual speakers in any location around the listener, using its renowned SVS rendering technology, and includes an integrated audio codec processing module that allows Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D to be decoded internally via HDMI 2.0 inputs. The decoded signal is then rendered automatically to the native speaker format of the bitstream, ensuring optimal performance. In addition, where the user wishes to render discrete audio signals, up to 16 channels can be input via either a multi-channel audio USB 2.0 port or a line level analog interface.

Other notable advancements found in the A16 include the proprietary Illusonic N:M channel upmixer that, for example, upmixes legacy surround formats to any new 16-ch immersive or 3D loudspeaker format; built-in hardware for two simultaneous listeners with independent settings; head tracking of updown head movements in addition to left-right movements; and a low-latency virtualisation mode for live interactive musical instrument applications.

The Realiser A16 retains and builds on the the personalisation and measurement features of the earlier Realiser A8, providing unprecedented levels of realism that stamped the Realiser brand as the gold standard in headphone virtualisation for both discerning consumers and audio professionals. The Realiser A16 demonstration at the Munich High End 2016 show follows Smyth Research’s traditional setup whereby listeners are invited to compare a real 7.1.4 channel loudspeaker home theatre system with a personalised virtual rendering of the same system over headphones as generated through the A16. Movie clips from the Dolby Atmos demonstration Blu-ray Disc were used as source material for the demonstration.

Smyth Research plan to pre-launch the Realiser A16 with a Kickstarter crowdfunded campaign within two months, with backers receiving a substantial discount to the estimated US street price of $1495. To register interest in the Kickstarter campaign please email Smyth Research is a UK based company that was founded in 2004 to develop and commercialise it's personalised headphone virtualisation technology known as Smyth Virtual Surround (SVS). It's first product, the Realiser A8, launched in 2009 was designed to virtualise 5.1/7.1ch sound systems and has attained a reputation as the premier virtual surround processor used worldwide by film post production studios and demanding consumers alike.