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· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi guys,

i'm looking for the "cheapest" way to listen to "decent" (not necessarily perfect!!) surround sound (or virtual surround) through headphones,

when watching dvds on my macbook pro. i don't have an amp, so if

an amp and/or software are part of the solution, their price should count

one possibility i thought of was to use handbreak with a very high kbps and dolby prologic downmix, to make a copy of the movie with high quality video,

and dolby prologic encoded audio. then use some headphones that can understand dolby prologic encoded audio. but this will take quite some work every time i want to watch a movie! (AND i'm curious if you guys think this would even work?!)

below are the other possibilities i thought of. other than 4), i don't know if the others are even doable! and i don't know which would be the simplest


1) i was wondering if there are any headphones that plug into the mac's optical

out and process the multichannel audio to give a surround sound feeling.

2) alternatively, maybe there's a way to make the mac encode the output using dolby headphone technology, then use some headphones that understand this technology

3) or maybe there's a way to make the mac process the multichannel audio on the fly and produce a 2 channel output that travels through regular stereo headphones but sounds like surround sound? [theoretically, this should be possible!!!! after all, we only have two ears, and so it is a matter of correctly mixing the different channels with the right phase lags and volume changes!!)

4) then there's always the possibility of getting a decent (cheap?) amp that uses dolby headphone technology and has an optical in, and combine it with the correct set of headphones?


thanks a bunch!!

· Registered
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
ok. it looks like getting one of these may be a solution:




the sony seems reasonable, though has only one digital input: optical.

(ideally, i'd like to connect my dvd player [coax] and mac [optical], but

this can be dealt with using an adapter and a splitter)

the ear force x4 doesn't have dts. that's probably ok, though?

it also has only one digital input (also optical).

the pioneer sounds perfect but is kind'a expensive! (and some reviewers

say it eventually broke... though others say it's sturdy.. not sure who to believe!)


also, it looks like DD5.1 decoders do (or did?!) exist:

(this decoder seems to work with any headphones.. which was one of the

solutions i was wondering about!)

looks like this has been discontinued, though. something like this would've

been the best solution, i guess. an inexpensive decoder and then any good

set of headphones! in particular, i don't mind corded ones (this way, i don't

have worry about recharging batteries, etc). i sit close to my tv anyway.

another nice thing about this "decoder solution" is that it is a portable one.

so i can take the headphone and the decoder with me when i travel. taking

the wireless base is more of a hassle

also, i'm still wondering if i can get there spending less than $100

so far, the above solutions cost at least $170.

thoughts? please!!
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