Wireless headphones for "serial marathons": in Dolby they will be offered for $ 599

    Dolby introduced the first consumer product to the market - Dolby Dimension Bluetooth Headphones. Their cost is $ 599 (about 40 thousand rubles). Let us see if Dolby offers something unique for this impressive amount, and what testimonials the testers left about them.

    Photo by Dmitry Kabanov / CC BY-SA

    Who are the headphones for?

    Previously, Dolby did not do the technique itself and exclusively developed the standards and formats of audio coding for the film industry. Directly in the audio systems and portable gadgets technology Dolby introduced third-party manufacturers.

    However, in November 2018, the company announced the first product under its own brand - Dimension headphones. They are intended for use at home, in particular for watching movies and TV shows. Dolby herself called Dimension headphones for “serial marathons”. According to the company , people are increasingly watching movies alone. The product is designed for such “individualized viewers”.

    How headphones work

    Dimension design and characteristics of their battery correspond to the purpose of the device. Headphones are more convenient to use at home than on the road: they do not fold and work continuously for up to 16 hours. For comparison: similar in cost models available on the market can withstand 20-30 hours without recharging.

    Distinctive features of the product - LifeMix function and virtualization.

    The LifeMix active noise cancellation system allows the listener to choose the level of immersion in audio. Technically, this is implemented as follows. There are five microphones on the body of the Dimension, they record the surrounding sounds, such as the voice of a household standing nearby, and feed them to the speakers. The listener is available twelve steps of noise reduction: from full sound insulation to the full "permeability".

    This feature is useful for those who do not want to completely cut themselves off from the family. For example, young parents can watch a movie and watch at the same time whether the child is awake.

    Well, virtualization is an opportunity to “fix” the source of the audio stream in space. The sensors on the headphones track the position of the listener's head, and he hears the film’s soundtrack as if the speakers were playing it.

    Since Dimension works only via Bluetooth, they do not support the Dolby Atmos multi-channel sound format , which is designed to create a home theater atmosphere. But thanks to the built-in processor with the ARM architecture - the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon - the headphones allow the viewer to get a similar experience, with deep immersion in stereo.

    Headphones can be connected directly to three sound sources. You can switch between them using the buttons on the cups or through a special application: it also adjusts other Dimension parameters, including noise reduction and volume.

    Photo Orin Zebest / CC BY

    In addition to the buttons on the headphones is a touch control panel. By clicking on it, the viewer activates or deactivates LifeMix, adjusts the volume level, switches tracks or receives calls.

    For wireless charging of headphones, a special station is used, to the surface of which the Dimension are magnetized. It takes two hours to fully restore the power supply of the device .

    The advantages and disadvantages of the gadget

    The authors of reviews in the Mashable and The Verge editions were pleased with the quality of the Dimension sound. Especially good headphones manifested themselves when playing sound in movies and TV shows. For example, the journalist of the portal Engadget, while watching the fantastic thriller “ Silent Place ” in Dimension, heard in the beginning of the film a whisper, which he had not previously distinguished.

    With headphones playing music copes a little worse. Columnist The Verge claims that the songs in Dimension sound good, but too “cold” and “strictly”.

    Many observers like the look and design of the device. Digital Trends journalist writes that Dimension sits comfortably on the head and it is easy to wear them for several hours. Although to another author, they seemed too heavy (330 g) in order to use them outside the house for a long time and with comfort.

    True, the device showed technical flaws. In one case, Dimension did not work well when playing videos from YouTube, although the sound from other sources was transmitted without any problems. In the second, the user could not hear what was being said to him, despite the correctly chosen level of noise reduction using LifeMix. And in the third, the headphones didn’t cope with the noise cancellation function at all and let the high-frequency sounds through from the outside.

    According to the browser The Verge, the device for $ 600 should be free from such shortcomings. Moreover, the price is called one of the main disadvantages of Dimension. For the same money, you can buy a soundbar with Dolby Atmos support, and headphones that are comparable in characteristics will cost even less than Dimension.

    What are the prospects

    Dolby Dimension is hardly waiting for truly massive popularity. Judging by the reviews, the headphones are not so convenient when using on the road and while listening to music. Therefore, the range of potential buyers of the Dolby product is really limited to those who like to watch movies at home with headphones and are willing to spend money for high sound quality.

    But in order for these people to make a choice in favor of Dimension, Dolby has yet to fix malfunctions in the work of the gadget. The company says they plan to refine the Dimension application and release new firmware for the device . Probably, Dolby will eliminate the previously mentioned shortcomings in the near future, as soon as it receives feedback from the first buyers of the device.

    Since November, Dolby Dimension is sold on the company's website, and on December 1, the headphones appeared in the US b8ta chain stores. While the device will be available only in the US market.

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