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DTS Headphone X, the sound of 11 speakers inside the headphones

The new system launched on Android and iOS with Superunknown, the Soundgarden album reprinted specifically for the occasion

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The sound of 11 speakers in a pair of headphones? It seems a contradiction in terms, but the promise of a system developed by DTS, a company that for two decades has been working on sound diffusion systems for cinemas and home systems. A portable version of the Home Theater, in short: it is called DTS Headphone X, it was presented (a little muted) at the last CES in Las Vegas.In the meantime, however, came a publication that allows you to really test the system to the public. This is the reissue of Soundgarden's Superunknown: the Seattle band's first rock album released in this format.

The disc – that of Black hole sun, so to speak – returned to the market for the twentieth anniversary of the original publication, dated 1994. As always in these cases, the reprint of the disc was published in several versions: the original album remastered, versions expanded with rarities, demo and whatever. These include the Super deluxe edition, a luxuriously packaged book that contains 5 CDs (one in Blu-Ray high definition audio), costing around 60. The book also contains a code, for download the album in DTS Headphone 11.1 version to listen on iOS and Android, with a free app available (from iTunes you download here, from Google Play you download here).

We listened to it, e definitely keeps the promise of the DTS Headphone X.

Once the app is downloaded, you are greeted by a short video with Kim Thayil, the band's guitarist, and a short demo, which shows the positioning of the audio points. Connect the headphones (the app has different settings for the in-ear headphones, the on-ear and over-ear headphones – these are the ones that isolate the ear), a voice comes from different points: front up, top right, and so on Street. Here the remarkable effect. The app contains a free song, Spoonman (which was the first single of the album), while to download the entire disc (weighing about 250MB) you need the code contained only in the "Superdeluxe edition".

The whole record, listened in this way, acquires depth – with a bit of emphasis on the bass – especially the drums. But the general effect is to clearly separate the instruments, distribute them better. The application also includes the disc in digital format with the "normal" audio mix – you can switch from one format to another in real time inside the app – and the impressive difference: the normal version by comparison appears flat.

Dov the rip-off? They are two, or rather three: the unique code works only once: so if you delete the app, you also lose the disk and you can no longer download it another time (even if you can actually make a backup of the files with those applications that allow you to browse inside the contents of the app on the phone). And to really appreciate it, you need to have a good pair of headphones: the effect is felt even with the white iPhone headphones, but reduced.

The third rip-off instead of the music in this format is not sold separately. The Superunknown box, for Soundgarden fans is definitely worth the pain and for its contents has a (relatively) affordable cost, but it is desirable that in the future some such discs will be sold separately, perhaps through specific apps with direct purchase.


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