Originally Posted by TSD444
How well do "phantom" channels work? Is the Dolby 5.1 headphone technology a gimmick, or does it actually do what it claims to do? The same goes for sound bars, can they really trick us into believing that the sounds we're hearing are coming from different zones? If so how?
Do sound bars really work? It depends on what you mean by "work". If you don't want a room full of speakers or can't afford a full 5.1 or 7.1 setup then a sound bar can be a decent compromise solution for you. But it will never approach the performance of 5 or 7 discrete channels of sound arrayed in front, beside, and behind you.
In addition, most of these phantom surround schemes depend on psychoacoustics and manipulate phasing to create the illusion of an enveloping sound field. At their best, they can be pleasing. At their worst, they can be just plain weird. And as someone else said, listening position matters a lot since they're manipulating phase (timing) to create their phony sound field. If you move from the sweet spot, their preprogrammed phasing may no longer be effective or just get very weird. If you have a small room with a fairly fixed listening area and you're not hyper-critical about sound quality, they might be a decent solution for some people.