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Good alternative to stock Dolby Atmos for Headphones virtualiser?

Hcraeser

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Hello. I consider myself an average user of the Dolby Atmos for Headphones app. It delivers good quality reproduction to my ears on Atmos content, and is remarkably simple to use, to the point of being essentially set-and-forget. But I've been looking to upgrade this experience, and I'm wondering if anybody has tested other software that does a similar purpose (virtualising Atmos content for headphones) that offers something more. I have previously tried Waves NX, but the experience left a lot to be desired. It only supports 7.1 channels (no immersive audio), and the algorithm's use of reverb is unpleasant, despite the out-of-head feeling being superior. There are again other alternatives which I haven't experimented with, such as Redscape Audio or Darin Fong's "Out of Your Head" (that's what it's called) software, but both as well stop at 7.1, and I'm looking for Atmos/DTS-X solutions.

My understanding is that the reference solution is a Smyth Realiser A16, but that is exceptionally beyond my requirements, especially as I'm looking for real-time software only solutions that do not require ear personalization, rather than thousands-of-dollars beast machines. On that note anyway as a secondary unrelated question I do wonder if it's possible to achieve some part of that by using an A16 with a high-quality dummy head and a well-treated room, and sharing the result with the community. There's already open-source software in the manner of HeSuVi that can accept the impulse response and convert it into something Windows usable, but I suppose I leave this as an exercise for the passionate DIY-spirited reader (who would also own an A16 to begin with, like this person who accomplished a similar idea but with a personalized profile instead)
 
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Dunring

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If you want a lot of options to customize the sound, the Soundblaster G6 has tons of settings. Creative labs has a factory renewed page on their site where you can get one usually for $99 with warranty and free shipping. I've had several and the software suite has all kinds of settings.
For a free option to try, the compressor in VLC or Musicbee players can be kind of fun too, depending on the music. I prefer just stereo without MQA or the rest. The G6 can be used as a DAC too.
 

Carovigno

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I was using Razer THX which has a 2 week trial. For gaming only. I reverted back to Dolby Atmos.
 

spigot

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I have the Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone: X apps for Windows. The DTS Sound Unbound app seems to me to be superior, it's also tuned to 500 headphones. You can then plug in a quality USB DAC/Headphone amp and use any headphones.
https://apps.microsoft.com/store/detail/dts-sound-unbound/9PJ0NKL8MCSJ?hl=en-us&gl=us
Screenshot 2022-12-08 203846.jpg
(I've just tried the Razer THX app, also very good. Free demo for 15 days available)
 
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Hcraeser

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I have the Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone: X apps for Windows. The DTS Sound Unbound app seems to me to be superior, it's also tuned to 500 headphones. You can then plug in a quality USB DAC/Headphone amp and use any headphones.
https://apps.microsoft.com/store/detail/dts-sound-unbound/9PJ0NKL8MCSJ?hl=en-us&gl=us
View attachment 248605
(I've just tried the Razer THX app, also very good. Free demo for 15 days available)
I'm already aware of the Dolby Atmos for Headphones solution, as this is what I am currently using. I'm looking for possibly superior alternatives, that equally support immersive audio (aka height channels)
The DTS one I think my experience with it was meh anyway, didn't feel too much of a difference.
 

spigot

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I tend to think that they're all pretty similar without onscreen visual clues, although head tracking seems to make a difference according to reviews (Redscape is currently half price). The only reason I moved from Yamaha Silent Cinema (5.1) to a Windows solution is to use a dedicated headphone amp, there's no real spatial improvement over a decade old Yamaha receiver, the improvement is in the amplification. They all tend to just spread things out, which is still preferable to stereo downmixes. I also noticed that the Razer THX output is limited to 16Bit/48KHz (on windows 10) so didn't bother purchasing, sounded similar to DTS which at least outputs 24/48 and has a ton of headphone tuning options.

Probably the most impressive thing I've heard is the now defunct Sennheiser Lucas. Good headphones and amp/dac is probably a bigger upgrade than any particular virtual surround (apart from the Smyth).
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