DTS X vs DTS Virtual X. (Difference & Which One Is Better?)

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After Dolby Atmos, DTS:X is getting popular and many newbies are eager to know about this technology. The same to virtual Atmos, the Dts company has introduced DTS Virtual X. But what is the difference between DTS:X and DTS Virtual X?

At A Glance: As a general rule of thumb, the basic difference between them is that you need more than a 2.1 speakers layout for DTS:X and the DTS virtual X can be delivered with and below the 2.1 speakers layout.

Keep reading as we will be discussing much more about the difference between them. Also, I will analyze each one for every possible setup of the home theater. Don’t forget to stay for the final verdict at the end and read the answers to the most frequent questions about this topic.

Before diving into discussing the difference in detail. Let’s first discuss both of them and where you can get them. At last, we will discuss their difference.

What is DTS X? 

DTS:X is a rival to the Dolby Atmos. These both are object-based 3D sounds. But you don’t need to install height or ceiling speakers for the DTS: X. While you need those speakers for the Atmos. These speakers are required for Dolby Atmos.

The DTS:X can deliver object-based audio with the above 2.1 speakers layout. You don’t require ceiling speakers, but adding height speakers will be a blow to the fire. The sound will get better with them.

What is DTS X in the soundbar?

In-Short: The DTS:X soundbar whether it has up-firing speakers or not can deliver object-based audio because they are equipped with DTS:X software. 

In-Depth: But that is another debate about whether that object-based audio is immersive or not. I will discuss this in the final verdict.

But you will find the DTS:X soundbar comparatively cheaper than the Dolby Atmos soundbar. However, brands nowadays know the need of the market, and they are providing DTS:X and Atmos in the same soundbar.

Read my review about the best soundbar under $300. One soundbar is both Atmos and DTS: X capable.

When to use DTS X?

In-Short: If you are not comfortable drilling holes in the ceiling for getting object-based audio, then you need to go for DTS:X instead of Dolby Atmos.

In-Depth: Since the DTS:X doesn’t require you to install speakers in the ceiling for overhead sound effects.

In this case, you can go with DTS: X.

Going with it is not a bad thing. Because production companies are going to both Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. 

That’s why you can have plenty of content both in streaming services and on Blu-rays that will be decoded in DTS: X.

You can have plenty of options to enjoy.

Know how to connect Amazon Fire TV to a home theater. I have included at least 5 options to do this connectivity.

What is DTS Virtual X?

In-Short: The DTS Virtual X is a transferred form of DTS: X. For virtual X you don’t need more than 2 speakers to carry out the object-based audio.

In-Depth: The virtual X is designed for those that have fewer speakers or are not comfortable with a lot of speakers in their room. These types of users can have object-based audio with fewer speakers and less budget.

What is DTS Virtual X on TV?

In-Short: Virtual:X enabled TV whether they have speakers at the back or front or the bottom, they will be able to deliver object-based audio because they are equipped with DTS:X chip.

In-Depth: These two speakers can deliver object-based audio. While this is another debate that I will answer in the final verdict on whether this object-based audio is immersive or not.

But this audio will have better dialogue clarity than ordinary TV speakers.

Read this guide TV vs Projector: which is better? I have recently updated this article with points for modern technology needs.

What is DTS Virtual X for soundbar?

In-Short: The soundbar which has Virtual X software can deliver object-based audio with the same arranged speakers as any other soundbar. But these soundbars can deliver 3D audio.

In-Depth: Ordinary soundbar audio is very flat and one-directional. But virtual X software makes these soundbars fire 3D sound and keeps the audience inside the sound bubble.

Amazingly, these soundbars don’t cost thousands of dollars and come cheap.

Know is a soundbar good for TV, gaming, music, and karaoke? I have analyzed it for each purpose in this guide.

What is DTS Virtual X in the receiver?

In-Short: This virtual X receiver can provide 3D audio with only a stereo speaker setup, whether that setup has a subwoofer or not. These receivers are wonderful because they can deliver the next level of audio with minimal setup.

In-Depth: Almost every newer receiver is equipped with this type of software. This doesn’t raise the price of the receiver. Because every brand wants their receiver to have Dolby Atmos and DTS virtual X.

Read my this review guide about the best receiver for home theater. Few receivers have all the modern features needed for your entertainment.

When to use DTS virtual: X?

If you are not comfortable choosing and setting up speakers in your room and all the hustle that comes with it, then you can go for virtual X by just acquiring a soundbar that can deliver it.

The Difference In Detail

FeatureDTS:XDTS Virtual X
Maximum channels11.22.1
Minimum channels4.12
Immersive sound without Height speakers requiredNoYes
Immersive Scale10/104/10 but in a few cases 1.5/10
Budget-Friendly rating7/1010/10
The immersive scale varies. Read the article below to know why

Speakers setup

The DTS:X can be delivered with 4.1 or 5.1 setups but to make the sound truly immersive you need to install height elevated speakers.

These speakers need to be installed above the front and back speakers. They should be closed to the ceiling and should not be installed in the ceiling.

These speakers will give the immersiveness for which this sound format is developed. These height speakers are not necessary but they will transform the sound.

But you don’t need height speakers for the DTS virtual X. This can be delivered with these speakers with full power.

The Virtual X is designed so everyone can have the taste of DTS:X even with minimal speakers setup.

That’s why Virtual X is a winner in this feature.

Immersiveness Of Sound

In the above section, I talked about how the DTS:X immersiveness can be boosted by adding height speakers to the layout.

Now, just think how the immersiveness of a sound will feel when you have only a 2.1 setup and no surround speakers or height speakers. The immersiveness will be so dull. Right? Yes, it is.

That’s why the virtual X is a loser in this feature.

Stay for the verdict to discuss this feature from a different angle.

Read this guide on how to optimize home theater audio. I have my favorite 5 steps in this guide for you to follow.

Budget Friendliness

For the DTS:X, you need more than a 2.1 speakers layout but for Virtual:X you don’t need more speakers.

The existing speakers of the TV or soundbar are enough to deliver the virtual: X.

Also for DTS:X, you need amplifiers or av receivers to manage the speakers.

That’s why the virtual: X is a budget friend because you don’t need to spend more to get the virtual: X aroma.

In this feature, Virtual:X is a clear winner.


For DTS:X you need to choose the best speakers or hire a professional to choose and set it up for you. Otherwise, you will have to choose the speakers and then bring a matching receiver or amplifier for these speakers.

Then installing the speakers and dealing with the wire management of it too.

On the other hand, you just need a soundbar or TV speaker to deliver the virtual: X.

That’s why the virtual:X is a winner in this category too.

Final Verdict (Which Is Better?)

People create home theaters to have the immersive nature of the movies, games, sports, and TV shows right in their homes.

The home theater’s purpose is to give you an immersive experience. So, to keep this point in perspective. DTS:X is the best to go with.

Yes, this will cost you more than requiring a soundbar with Virtual X ability but you will have a sound that you can’t imagine comparing with a full complete speaker setup for DTS: X.

But if you have never experienced the real DTS: X with 5.1 or 7.1 on-ground speakers and with 4-height speakers then you will like Virtual X.

But If you have experienced it then you will not like Virtual X. In fact You will hate Virtual X.

Did you get something out of this object-based audio guide? Hold On We Have Something Exciting To Share.

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Is DTS Virtual X better than surround sound?

The DTS Virtual X can never be better than surround sound. Because surround sound has real physical speakers placed all around you but virtual X doesn’t.

This real setup of speakers can give better and more immersive sound than the virtual X. Virtual things can never beat the real setup in any form.

Is DTS Virtual X any good?

The DTS Virtual X is better when you have less budget and less patience for managing the speakers’ setup for Dolby Atmos or DTS X. 

The virtual X can save you money, time, and energy. You can set up object-based sound in less time, with less money, and with less energy.

Does Netflix use Dolby or DTS?

Dolby or DTS is not dependent on any streaming services because the producers of the content decode content in them. That’s why Netflix has both Dolby and DTS content.

Don’t worry you can have plenty of content on Netflix that can provide object-based audio-enabled content.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. This was my opinion, read more about it on WhatHifi Blog. (Resource for the first answer)
  2. This was my opinion, read more about it from the Netflix help center. (Resource for the third answer)
This article was first posted on Homelytainment.com.
Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

I'm Ayaan khan, a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After my degree, I started an internship with my father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month I realized that this is the best job in the world for me and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when my internship ended, I joined my father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. I test new equipment and approve it before it can be installed in the customer's house. I love to test equipment and sometimes love to install it by myself in the customer's theater room. I have the right experience and knowledge to learn from my articles. In my Free time I write & answer questions here on AVSFORUM. Every Article on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy. If you have any questions for me. Reach out to my email (Support(AT)homelytainment.com)

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