Dirac, an Uppsala, Sweden-based developer of digital signal processing (DSP) technologies for home, PC and mobile electronics products, has entered a commercial agreement with British earphone manufacturer RHA to integrate Dirac audio algorithms into RHA earphones for expanded and customized listening experiences.

The engineering teams of each company have been collaborating to design customized versions of Dirac’s digital audio solutions for RHA headphone hardware to create new levels of immersion and realism in personal audio, according to a statement announcing the deal.

Dirac said the collaboration marks the further expansion of its digital sound optimization technologies into the AV-entertainment and communications earphone space, adding to its portfolio of DSP contributions developed for the luxury automotive, home theater, and mobile markets.

Lars Isaksson, Dirac’s GM of headphone audio, stated: “Dirac has grown into the globally-recognized leader in digital sound optimization that it is today through both best-in-class technology, but also successful collaborations with premium brands that share its passion for excellence,” stated Isaksson. “This is true of our automotive business and its work with Bentley, Rolls Royce, and Volvo; our home theater business and its work with Harman, Datasat, and NAD; our mobile business and its work with OnePlus, Oppo, and Xiaomi; and now our headphone business, thanks to our collaboration with RHA.”

Kyle Hutchison, RHA’s Director of Product, explained how a relationship with Dirac reinforces the company’s mission to deliver the best possible audio quality for customers. “Dirac shares our vision for the future of personal audio. This collaboration combines our design and engineering experience with Dirac’s award-winning sound optimization software and strong research background. Our shared creative outlook and commitment to the highest standards in audio technology promise to deliver a unique suite of headphone solutions,” said Hutchison. “This collaboration will help us to push the boundaries of audio immersion and develop a new standard for headphone listening.”

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Isaksson said his company expects the headphones and earbuds category will evolve in time from a device that allows one to consume content to an always-on experience. He added that digital audio technologies like Dirac’s will become increasingly important components in earphone designs, particular where use with mobile devices is concerned.

Dirac’s suite of headphone optimization solutions includes Dirac 3D Audio and Dirac HD Sound, both of which are optimized for specific hardware requirements.

“Dirac 3D Audio allows headphones to achieve more convincing externalization, a realistic sense of space, accurate acoustical characteristics of different audio objects, correct distance and location, and more. Dirac HD Sound corrects headphones’ impulse and frequency response to transform distorted sound stages, feeble bass or poor clarity into a pristine, dynamic sound experience,” the company said in a statement.

Dirac electronics manufacturing customers include: BMW, Datasat, Harman, NAD, OnePlus, OPPO, Rolls Royce, Volvo, and Xiaomi.

At the custom electronics CEDIA Expo 2019 in Denver earlier this month, Dirac announced the Dirac Live Bass Management system for the AV residential market. This is a room acoustics solution that optimizes a home theater system’s subwoofers and speakers for the distribution of consistent, accurate bass throughout a room.

Dirac Live Bass Management, the first in a series of modular add-ons for Dirac Live, has been developed in two versions: Single-Sub, for single subwoofer home theater systems ($249 retail price) and Multi-Sub ($399) for systems with more than one subwoofer.

Manufacturing partners looking to integrate DLBM technology into their own advanced home theater components include StormAudio (coming to its full line of processors and amplifiers), Arcam and JBL Synthesis, each of which will incorporate DLBM into a majority of their AVR product portfolio.

In the earphone space, RHA, which launched in 2011, introduced its first true Bluetooth 5-based wireless earbuds, called TrueConnect, to favorable reviews last year.

By Greg Tarr

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