New HeaDSPeaker review

Read the whole review at InnerFidelity

Professional Level Binaural 5.1 Surround for Gaming and Movies

Have you ever wished you could enjoy a movie or play a video game in full surround sound, without disturbing your neighbors or family members?

You may also have thought that headphones will never suit real surround sound - only those phony "3D-effects" that just don't cut it.

But let's think again. We humans have only two ears. Thus, when we hear a sound, our brain must be able to determine the direction of origin for that sound, based on "stereo signal" that reach our eardrums. Now, what if we manipulate a regular left/right stereo sound in a clever way - to mimic those effects that would take place if the sound would actually be coming from a different direction (e.g. from behind us)? That's right - we would get the perception of a sound source located behind us.

This is exactly what HeaDSPeaker surround system does. The above mechanism is generally referred as HRTF system. This technique is known to work, but it has one serious shortcoming: it only lasts as long as the listener remains completely still. As we know, this is practically never the case in a real-world listening situation. Even though the listener is not actually moving around, his/her head constantly makes small movements. If the processed sound doesn't reflect these movements, the surround effect is quickly lost. As a consequence, any headphone surround system without head tracking will ultimately fail.

However, HeaDSPeaker is different. It features a patented (US pat. 7'672'809) real-time head tracking unit, which provides sound processor the necessary information it needs for a real dynamic auralization. Dynamic auralization gives the brain the instant feedback it needs, which substantially helps to perceive the direction of the sound. After a very short while of gettin used to it, the surround immersion becomes as natural as it gets.

Easy Installation

HeaDSPeaker system consists of two main parts: tracking sensors and a DSP unit. Tracking sensors should be attached to your existing headphones.

The provided DSP unit processes the multichannel input signal and produces a dynamically auralized stereo signal for the headphones. HeaDSPeaker can decode Dolby Digital and DTS encoded sound from the optical S/PDIF input. It is also capable of decoding 5.0 multichannel signal from 2.0 stereo sources (the analog output of modern game consoles, for example). Finally, it can also act as a 5.1 or 7.1 USB sound device when connected to a PC or Macintosh computer. The package contains a configuration/diagnostic utility program for Windows (XP/Vista) and Mac OS X operating systems.


  • Optical S/PDIF (Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1 / 2.0 PCM)
  • USB (7.1PCM / 5.1 PCM / 2.0 PCM)
  • Analog 3.5mm stereo (2 channels stereo / 5 channel DSP-Logic active matrix decoding)
  • 3.5mm stereo plug for binaural multichannel headphone output
  • 3.5mm stereo plug for head-tracker (included) input

Additional Resources

User's manual v1.01 HeaDSPeakerHome_en101.pdf (pdf)
QuickStart guide HeaDSPeaker-QuickStart.pdf (pdf)
Diagnostics software (Windows 7/XP/Vista) HeaDSPeaker_installer_v07.exe
Diagnostics software (Mac OSX) Alpha version
Firmware v0.96 for Windows 7/Vista / XP / Mac (6 channels) headspeakerhome096-6ch.hid
Firmware v0.96 for Windows 7/Vista / XP / Mac (8 channels) headspeakerhome096.hid
Firmware v0.99 for Windows 7/Vista / XP / Mac (6 channels) headspeakerhome099-6ch.hid
Firmware v0.99 for Windows 7/Vista / XP / Mac (8 channels) headspeakerhome099-8ch.hid
Note: works with HeaDSPeaker Home only!