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Smyth Research A16: Modern counterpart of quadraphonic headphones?

EMR

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Now that I've successfully managed to hear a few old quadraphonic recordings and FLAC files on my Onkyo Home Cinema, I was wondering if modern headphones are available that might sound something similar to a friend's quadraphonic headset I used briefly in 1975. I know there are several brands that can play "virtual" surround sound from one driver per ear, but, are there any that are "truly" surround, i.e., having two or more drivers per ear? I suppose that nowadays, ideally, such devices ought to have Bluetooth connectivity so that they can be paired wirelessly with the amplifier. Are you guys aware of the existence of something like this? Is there one brand or particular model that you can recommend?

Edit: I've just watched several videos about a forthcoming "Ossic X" 3D-headphone that look promising. Is there anyone here based in San Diego or elsewhere in California that has had the opportunity of demoing these cans? Would they do the job of truly emulating old quadraphonic headphones? Are they even better? What do you think?
 
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Jim the Oldbie

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...It's still very expensive, but will eventually be affordable. This is pretty exciting stuff!
Indeed! Thanks for the link. Their closed-loop approach makes a lot of sense.

I wasn't able to watch the video. How much are we talking about for this thing?
 

DuncanS

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Indeed! Thanks for the link. Their closed-loop approach makes a lot of sense.

I wasn't able to watch the video. How much are we talking about for this thing?
I got quoted US$2395 in February, I'm on the waiting list if anyone drops out of their purchase. I expect the price to go up though so it depends if there is any money in the piggy bank.
 

holland123

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hey B, I thought the new one was going to be priced in the 1200.00 - 1500.00 range, still slightly out of my reach but getting closer. Whatever happened to that?
 

bmoura

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hey B, I thought the new one was going to be priced in the 1200.00 - 1500.00 range, still slightly out of my reach but getting closer. Whatever happened to that?
People who signed up for the A16 via Kickstarter will get a discounted price.
It will cost more for new purchases going forward.

Here's a video from InnerFidelity where the reviewer said the 9.6 channel playback over Stereo Headphones "blew my mind"
 

gorman

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Main problem for stuff like this is where to audition them. There's no way I'd spend that kind of money without trying them first.
I've tried Dolby Headphone, DTS solution, Yamaha's Silent Cinema and so on and so forth... pale imitations of the real thing. I've no reason to doubt this is (far?) better but I would need to judge by myself.

Edit: although... I have to be honest with myself. Reading the description of this product had me pretty much salivating at the idea. :D
 
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MCDave

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Main problem for stuff like this is where to audition them. There's no way I'd spend that kind of money without trying them first.
I would assume these will be sold online, perhaps direct from Smyth, with a money back guarantee or free trial period.
 

Kal Rubinson

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I would assume these will be sold online, perhaps direct from Smyth, with a money back guarantee or free trial period.
Or you can audition them at any CanJam in your part of the woods. Smyth goes to many although they skipped this year's NYC show.
 

MCDave

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Kal, I hope we can look forward to a MITR review on the A16 at some point. Have you auditioned these yourself, or the A8 version?
 
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I don't know why you people keep waiting for the impossible!

Quadraphonic or surround headphones can NEVER work, because they're stuck on your head. With headphones, the sound ALWAYS comes from inside your head, no matter what. All you can discern is L-R, but all front-back information is lost, because you can't rotate your head in relation to the sound source, and that's the only way we can differentiate front and back sounds!

Daniel
 

bmoura

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Kal, I hope we can look forward to a MITR review on the A16 at some point. Have you auditioned these yourself, or the A8 version?
I have the Symth Realiser A8 with a pair of the entry level Stax Headphones that they bundle with the product.
It is very convincing in providing Surround Sound over Stereo Headphones. Almost as good as having a true Surround Sound system with multiple speakers and channels of amplification.

Recommended!
 

bmoura

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I don't know why you people keep waiting for the impossible!

Quadraphonic or surround headphones can NEVER work, because they're stuck on your head. With headphones, the sound ALWAYS comes from inside your head, no matter what. All you can discern is L-R, but all front-back information is lost, because you can't rotate your head in relation to the sound source, and that's the only way we can differentiate front and back sounds!
Once you hear the Smyth Realiser products, you will discover that Surround Sound over Stereo headphones is indeed an option.
And yes it is unbelievable until you hear it. As the Symth demos at CanJam and other audio shows have demonstrated to many listeners.

 

EMR

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@DanielTheGreat:

You are mistaken, and head rotation has nothing to do with it. I've never heard a Smyth Realiser, but I own a set of Sony HDMI digital headphones and they are, indeed, fully surround, although the binaural algorithms are good only for movies and gaming, so surround is almost nonexistent for quadraphonic music. The idea behind all such algorithms is as follows: Imagine you hear a bell that is moving horizontally and/or vertically around your head. Although you have just two ears, you are perfectly capable, even without seeing the bell, of knowing it is, for instance, just above your head, or closer to your right ear or immediately behind it. Now, imagine someone was able to place tiny microphones close to your eardrums and record the sound reaching those eardrums. If such a sound were to be recorded and then played back through headphones, wouldn't that faithfully reproduce the original sound? Of course it would, and your brain wouldn't perceive a difference between the original, fully surround bell sound and the fully surround recorded version of the same sound. As I've said, I have first-hand knowledge that this works as described on my Sony cans. I'm sure more sophisticated hardware, such as the Smyth Realiser, will work even better.
 

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...Now, imagine someone was able to place tiny microphones close to your eardrums and record the sound reaching those eardrums. If such a sound were to be recorded and then played back through headphones, wouldn't that faithfully reproduce the original sound? Of course it would, and your brain wouldn't perceive a difference between the original, fully surround bell sound and the fully surround recorded version of the same sound.
What you're describing is the principle behind binaural recordings. They are astonishing in their realism and are created using a stationary dummy head with a microphone in each ear. So they are technically stereo recordings, but create a 3 dimensional soundstage played back over stereo headphones. There are lots of free binaural sound files on the internet for anyone to sample.
 
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