Razer Have Stuffed A 5.1 Surround System Into Its Phone And I Can't Tell Why

Image: Razer

Notable gaming brand Razer went and surprised us all when they dropped their Razer Phone late last year, but apparently that wasn't enough for them. At CES2018 it announced that, in partnership with Netflix, it will be delivering both HDR-enabled content along with full Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound support. What?

5.1 surround support for a phone seems... excessive, but both Razer and Netflix appear convinced that it's inclusion is worth it.

For folks rocking a sweet pair of 5.1 surround headphones, this might be the thing you need to take your Netflix commute to the next level. But on its own, mobile phones are far too small to generate the kind of energy a true 5.1 system needs for us to physically hear it.

Not to leave out current Razer Phone owners, it also announced it would roll out a firmware update to bring further screen and sound improvements to current users, all with a view to bettering the Netflix experience.

I wonder if Bright would be a better movie if viewed on a phone?



    Razor is all about docking its phone, so I reckon it will come to fruition in some future docking situation.

    I've always been surprised that modern phones don't include support for virtual 5.1 through headphones. The screens are big and nice enough that I spend a fair amount of time watching TV/movies on my phone, even if it's not my primary device, and headphone surround would make that experience even better. Surely it can't be that difficult.

      I feel like pushing a 5.1 signal down a single cable might be tough to pull off, but maybe over wireless?

        Well they're not pushing a 5.1 signal out of the phone either, its down mixed from its 5.1 source material to 2 channel then 5.1 is using time delays out the phones 2 speakers. Same technique they use for headphones that @bondles was enquiring about.

          Then 5.1 is simulated using time delays.

          I didn't edit my post because it would be stuck in moderation for eternity.

            Ok, I said further down that this is a major gimmick. But if it is ‘virtual’ surround sound processing for headphones, then that is actually worth something.

        I'm talking about surround virtualisation - using timing and frequency effects to simulate 5.1 using stereo headphones, which is what I assume the Razer phone is doing, and it only requires a stereo signal through the cables. Dolby Atmos for Headphones is extremely convincing. I think iOS already supports 5.1 via HDMI out (and maybe AirPlay?)

          I'm think I'm a little stuck to the idea that 5.1 surround should be true 5.1 - with individually wired speakers and each with a single signal that are positioned in a way to make the sound truly envelop you. Then again, if I manage to get my hands on a Razer Phone and hear the thing for myself, I could be convinced otherwise.

            That's the ideal, but not always feasible. Have you tried headphone virtualisation lately? It really is quite good.

            You're not stuck on the idea. You're correct. That's what the standard is.
            5.1 requires 5 audio channels and one LFE.

            You shouldn't be convinced otherwise because it would be something else. Its simulated surround sound, not 5.1 but it is pure marketing spin.

    One of the most useless gimmicks I’ve seen in a phone to date

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