Headphone:X from Qualcomm and DTS brings 7.1 surround sound to your phone

Qualcomm and DTS have shown off a new audio technology that is likely to make the need to have impressive headphones a thing of the past.

The new technology, which Pocket-lint has already been treated to in a demo, replicates a 7.1 sound system through any headphones on your phone - as long as it has Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 800 processor.

Dubbed Headphone:X, the new system is based around the idea that the new processor - expected in phones and tablets in the second half of 2013 - can handle the post-processing that is needed to trick your ears into believing you are surrounded by speakers.

What's remarkable is that the post-processing is handled by the Qualcomm processor rather than the headphones, meaning it will work on anything from the normally sub-par headphones in the box to the top of the range models like those from Beats or Denon.

Testing out the new technology in demo room on the Qualcomm stand at Mobile World Congress, we are very impressed.

READ: Snapdragon 800 prototype tablet preview

The demo, designed to show off the new technology to the full, had us first listening to a standard 7.1 surround sound system and then the same again but wearing headphones.

We and the other journalists in the room at first doubted that the sound was being played through a rather average pair of Sennheiser headphones, rather than the Marantz powered 7.1 speaker system in the room, but it sitting through the demo twice, it was clear that it was.

Qualcomm admits that the new offering from DTS could be possible with some of the company's current top of the line processors like the Snapdragon S4 Pro, however it won't be coming to anything but the new chips.

Qualcomm hopes that, combined with the Snapdragon 800's ability to run 4K video footage, the new processor will appeal to manufacturers like Sony, Nokia, and HTC enough to convince them that its customers will want the cinema experience via their phone - we certainly want them to.

DTS Headphone:X will be available on Snapdragon 800 processors in the second half of 2013. Qualcomm warned that manufacturers can opt not to include 7.1 support in the device, but suspect they will because it is such a good feature.

At the moment most streaming and download movie services like Lovefilm and iTunes offer only 5.1 audio with their movies and TV shows, which could either speed up adoption of the 7.1 system if phones with Qualcomm's chip prove popular, or mean manufacturers are not yet bothered as there is limited content available.

Having experienced it, we hope makers do opt to support the new audio technology.