Dirac Unveils Headphones App at CES 2020

Many music lovers and home theater enthusiasts are familiar with Dirac Live, the advanced room correction solution found in premium AVRs and pre-pros. It offers premium performance in terms of improving sound by compensating for playback anomalies. Now, the company is bringing its technology to headphones with Dirac for cell phones and mobile devices. I had a chance to demo it during the show, and experienced its ability to improve the sound of just about any pair of headphones.

This is no gimmick. What Dirac does is compensating for the weaknesses found in any particular pair ofprofiled headphones. The end result is richer, fuller, more neutral sound with better imaging. The effect is undeniable, just toggle it on and off to hear the improvement. And while I had expected the effect of the processing to diminish with higher-quality headphones, that turned out to be untrue. If headphones are “cheap” then the app upgrades them to “decent” but if headphones are “good” it certainly appears that the app is able to upgrade them to “great.”

Choose your headphones and you’re good to go

According to Dirac, the app will first roll out as a feature on new phones, but should eventually appear as a downloadable app through online stores. The one catch, best I can tell, is that you are restricted to using headphones from a list of profiled models provided by Dirac. The company has most of the popular headphones covered, but when you consider the sheer variety of headphones available today, of course, not every model is on it.

In addition to improving the frequency responsive headphones, Dirac offers “externalization algorithms” that provide a more natural listening experience where the sound is no longer stuck inside your head.

“Our new solution takes an experience once reserved for the few and makes it available to the masses – enabling the world to experience immersive, adaptive, and maximized sound from smaller devices than ever before,” said Dirac co-founder & CEO Dr. Mathias Johansson. “We’re revealing the layers of sound you never knew existed to create a fuller, purer experience – no matter what you’re listening on.”