If I learned one thing about Dirac and their bass management solutions during my time with them at CES 2019 it’s that I really should toss all expectations out of the window. The Dirac name is one that we’re certainly familiar with on the pro-audio side of things. For years, the brand has made a name for itself in the home theater space, offering software that can help with bass management and sound correction to provide the optimal listening experience for the viewer or listener.
Heck, the company has even worked with the professional cinema and premium automotive markets to get their solutions embedded into the in-theater and in-car entertainment experiences. But what happened at CES 2019 is something that left a lasting impression on me—and likely has turned me into a bit of a mobile audio snob. During the demo in a hotel suite at the Westgate on the Las Vegas strip, Dirac hit me from all different angles when it comes to the flexibility of their audio algorithms.
First, Dirac showed off their latest addition to their still-relatively-new Dirac Live system, the Dirac Live Bass Management Module. An add-on to the Dirac Live suite, the new module provides a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use multi-subwoofer optimization solution for consumers and professional integrators. Utilizing their proprietary approach to subwoofer system optimization, Dirac gives the user (and integrator) a way to far smoother and tighter bass performance than other existing solutions.
What they showcased at CES, though, is the system’s ability to offer bass management and room correction for even the trickiest of spaces. Overlaying their tech on a 5.1 channel system that was set up in their not-so-ideal space for a home theater, Dirac’s team had the room sounding like a full on cinema, allowing the sound and bass to reach every nook and cranny of the room. If anything, it was proof that consumers and integrators have a tool at their disposal that can make any room work for a home theater setup.
But what really blew me away during my time in the Dirac suite were the mobile solutions the company showed off. Engineers from the team were on hand to walk me through a new bass enhancement solution that they’d developed for smartphones and small portable speakers. Being there for the demo is really the only feasible way to comprehend just how impressive the tech was. But the best way I can think to describe it would be that Dirac made an otherwise unassuming tiny, inexpensive and brand-less portable speaker sound like a several-hundred-dollar soundbar. Could it serve as a true center channel? Probably not, but to experience the sound reproduction that Dirac’s software helped to create was nothing short of jaw-dropping.
That same technology was then applied to a pair of mid-range headphones and a smartphone, and each demo had the same sort of impact on me as the listener. The sound stage for each product went from rather mundane and ordinary to completely wide open and full-bodied.
Whatever sort of sorcery Dirac is cooking up in their research labs, they ought to keep at it. The bottom line is, we’d all benefit from having their algorithms and software embedded into the audio products we use on a daily basis.