CES 2011: Dolby

It’s not every day you get invited to Caesar Palace’s Rain Man suite to check out Dolby’s latest technology, so when the opportunity arose, I had to cease it. Dolby completely took over the Rain Man suite. First, they started by renaming it the ‘Dolby Definition Lounge’. Second, they turned every bedroom and any available space into a place to demo some amazing tech. Whether it was a Need for Speed World demo complete with seat, steering wheel and pedals, mobile devices running the latest Dolby tech, or a complete home theater setup, which after experiencing made me never want to leave the room, ever.

Gaming Lounge
The first bedroom on the left was turned into the Dolby Gaming Lounge. Upon entering, I was greeted with a PS3, one of the fancy Tron controllers, and over in the back of the room was a racing seat, steering wheel, and pedals hooked up to a PC running Need for Speed World. A couple of folks from Dolby and the project manager on Need for Speed World (from EA), were more than happy to show me around. They quickly brought up the fact that this wasn’t just a sweet setup in a suite (sorry, had to say it), but, it was linked with the show floor. The purpose? To show off Dolby’s Axon technology. Axon is Dolby’s way of combining surround sound audio with clear, audible in game chat. I was told I could test it out, so I hopped into the chair, put on the headphones and away I went. Right away I noticed how easy it was to hear the people playing on the show floor. Even though it is chaotic down there, the audio was crystal clear. Not to mention I was still able to hear every in game sound perfectly. This is something the folks at Microsoft and Sony need to adopt for the Xbox and PS platforms. Check out the video for a better look at the setup.

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Mobile Devices
After I finished a race at the Gaming Lounge, I headed downstairs to check out some mobile devices. Here Dolby had three laptops and one LG Mini phone on display. One of the laptops was also running Need for Speed World with Dolby Axon. Since it wasn’t on the 1337 setup like the Gaming Lounge, I was able to poke around a bit more and see what Axon is really about. It appears there’s a friend list, private chats, and a pretty cool little map of everyone in the room.

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After that, I moved onto the LG Mini. There were a few music videos pre-loaded on the device so I decided to check those out. Dolby Mobile is the technology featured on the LG Mini, however don’t let the word ‘mobile’ throw you off. With Dolby Mobile enabled, the sound was much more crisp and clear. I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that I used Train – Hey, Soul Sister as the test track, but, it is a really good song for this type of test.

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It features guitars, over a pretty steady beat and some bright vocals. With Dolby Mobile disabled, it sounded pretty flat, some people would argue that is how it should sound, however, the enhancements that Dolby Mobile provided were well worth it. Dolby Mobile evened out the vocals and guitars while giving the track a fuller feel. For sound enthusiasts, there will probably be some things you enjoy with Dolby Mobile enabled, and for others you may opt to leave it disabled. Regardless, I enjoyed the benefits of Dolby Mobile and wish my iPhone had it.

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