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Iogear brings surround sound to headphones

The Iogear USB Theater Sound Xperience looks like an old vacuum tube, but it delivers simulated surround sound through headphones for movie watchers on the go.

Iogear USB Theater Surround Xperience
It looks like a vacuum tube, but it doesn't act like one. Iogear

Surround sound on the go has never been an easy proposition. There's no point in hauling your massive surround sound home theater speaker system around with your laptop. Besides, your neighbors on the plane would complain.

Iogear is aiming to make surround sound convenient and portable with the USB Theater Sound Xperience, a gadget that simulates surround sound through your headphones or external speakers.

The $39.95 device harnesses a technology called DTS Surround Sensation that clarifies voices, enhances the bass by augmenting the harmonics, and creates a phantom center channel to give the impression of greater audio depth.

This won't replace a full-on speaker system that rumbles your seat and tickles your eardrums, but it can add some spark to the mobile movie experience.

Switch between movie or music mode. The USB Theater Sound Xperience has two 3.5mm jacks for microphone-in and audio-out.

The concept of surround sound through headphones is cool, but the device's design is even cooler. The USB Theater Sound Xperience is made to look like an old vacuum tube. That's a nice anachronism to have sticking out of the side of your sleek, modern laptop.