What Is DTS Headphones X And How Do I Use It?

You’d only be able to enjoy great surround sound in a movie theater, or at home with your own system at a certain point in time. These systems aren’t usually the most cost-friendly endeavors either. However, spatial audio has really taken off, becoming more readily available to the masses. Sony, Apple, and many other brands are integrating all their latest headphones and earbuds with immersive audio that stands outside your usual stereo configuration. These companies have collaborated with names like Dolby in an attempt to bring their standard to many Bluetooth products including sound bars, integrating their Atmos technology.

You will usually see Dolby’s name on products that are compatible with spatial audio and Atmos, but they aren’t the only name you should look out for. Sometimes, you’ll see products labeled with DTS. Their logo is displayed with under-case letters, standing for “digital theater sound.” Let’s get into what exactly this means and how you might be able to experience it.

What is DTS?

I mentioned that DTS stands for “digital theater sound,” but what does that really mean? To put it simply, DTS is just another surround sound format that you can stumble across. You’ll see it featured in many consumer and some professional products too. They’ve been going strong since 1993, innovating in immersive audio with higher bitrates than Dolby and overall less compression. DTS has been commonplace on many Blu-Rays, theater installations, and games. Basically, they are Dolby’s main competitor.

What Is DTS X?

Like Dolby Atmos, DTS X digitizes the surround sound experience for home audio systems. It uses an object-based algorithm to go outside the bounds of stereo imaging and reproduces a spacious bubble of sound for a more immersive environment. What separates DTS X from Dolby Atmos is that you don’t need extra speakers for it. Atmos requires additional overhead speakers, while DTS X doesn’t. Any surround-sound speaker configuration will work with DTS X, no matter if you have a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker arrangement.

Can I Get DTS X On My Headphones?

DTS has its own dedicated software called DTS Sound Unbound that you can download for free from the Microsoft store. It aims to bring its spatial audio format to any pair of headphones. Being that the software can only be obtained through the Microsoft store, you’ll need a PC with Windows 10. Any version below that won’t be compatible, as DTX Headphones: X requires the Windows spatial sound option that you can find in your system settings. You will need to pay a monthly fee to access these features though, and you can get a free trial to see if it enhances your headphones the way you want it to.


If you own any pair of headphones and use Windows 10, you can experience spatial audio with DTS Headphones: X. Anyone looking to enhance their immersion through audio should think about giving it a try. Your music, movies, and games are sure to benefit from what spatial audio has to offer, and using DTS is a good place to start, as long as the media you’re using it for is compatible.

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Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.