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SRS Labs Wow technology explained

SRS Labs Wow technology explained

We met with SRS Labs today to talk about the company's latest announcement regarding the upgraded Wow sound-enhancement technology, SRS Wow HD. The HD stands for, you guessed it, high definition, and there's a good reason SRS has tacked it on to the Wow, but we'll get to that in a minute. First, I wanted to give a breakdown on what exactly SRS Wow does to your music, something even I didn't fully get until today.

SRS Wow is an audio-enhancement suite made up of three SRS technologies:

  • SRS 3D: SRS Labs calls this "wide stereo imaging and nonfatiguing headphone listening mode." In English, it breaks down like this: When you're listening to headphones, the sweet spot is actually in the center of your head. SRS 3D widens this area of sound so that the music isn't so concentrated in one small spot and makes it sound more as if you were listening in an open environment.
  • Focus: "Sound-image elevation used in combination with SRS to create a large sound image"--originally conceived for in-car listening, this effect is designed to lift the sound up near your head, something needed in a vehicle where speakers are (or were) generally placed at hip or ankle level.
  • TruBass: "Psychoacoustic bass enhancement to enable deeper, natural bass of audio source material to be perceived over small speaker drivers." This one's my favorite. Essentially, TruBass uses acoustic trickery to make your brain believe that you are hearing bass that is actually in the song but that the hardware (usually headphones) is incapable of creating.
Pretty nifty, eh? Of course, technology can always be improved upon (case in point: Have you ever seen a perfect 10 score on CNET?). SRS Wow HD adds a few new tricks to its predecessor's audio suite, one of which I'm not allowed to tell you about yet. The other new addition is Definition, which brings out the high end, providing more clarity and detail, as well as a more realistic listening experience for live music. SRS Labs also improves upon the TruBass function, adding user controls that allow the listener to select from eight speaker size settings. If this sounds like your kind of tech, be sure to check out the Alienware CE-IV when it comes out--it's among one of the first MP3 players to feature the new technology. MP3 players from Samsung will soon follow.