About Sensaura's tech (that Creative bought out):
Very top comment by a former Sensaura employee.
Section 3.7 of the Toneboosters Plugin Users Manual; provides a very basic rundown of what's involved (i.e.basic psychoacoustics):
Sensaura's Tech and Toneboosters Isone are both based on HRTF. Dolby is based on a multi-speaker room setup.
It's basically this:
Headphones, by design, do not provide correct sound localisation. As one ear is isolated from each other, you hear in two 'blobs' of audio, called 'lateralisation', which does not mimic what happens in real life. In real life, you hear a sound cue with both ears, with one ear hearing it sooner than the other. Also the pinnae (the fleshy outer part of the ear), size of the ear and the size of your head affects how you hear the sound as well.
Combine it with soundwaves being affected by objects in the environment as well. You must factor for all of this for accurate audio positioning. This is where surround sound DSPs come into play. However as they are not customisable (except for Tooneboosters Isone and proper HTRF calibration), the effect of this depends on how the surround DSP and how close it matches your HRTF (your head and ears).
The problem with Dolby tech is that it's develops for surround sound for music / movies purposes, where you don't have objects in the environment to contend with (nor early reflections off walls etc). Sensaura's tech, like factoring height of sound, such as in MarcoFX, allows for much more flexibility.
Creative held back gaming audio for years when they bought out Sensaura and Aureal3D.
The quality of game audio has improved a lot (see BF3), but gaming audio positioning has been held back for years now. 'Consolisation' of games doesn't help either.