DTS and Dolby Digital

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Brad E, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

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    After much experimentation I have come to the following conclusions about DTS and DD.

    DTS
    Normal dialogue is very clear. It also seems like background music is toned down a bit, which is also beneficial.
    However in action scenes and other high volume scenes the sound is very shrill to the point that it destracts from the movie. I don't like playing with the volume during a movie and I find myself breathing a sigh of relieve when the high pitched noise finally goes away. Even when someone raises their voice, it just seems a little too high pitched for me.

    Dolby Digital
    Dialogue is not as clear as with DTS. It could just be that the background noises are a little louder, which muffles the voices a bit. Don't know for sure.
    There is a little more bass than DTS.
    Action and other high volume scenes sound perfect to my ears. The shrill edge is not there, like it is with DTS.

    So while neither one is perfect, my wife and I greatly prefer Dolby Digital. I have tried and I just can't sit through an entire movie with DTS, it just dosen't sound right to me.
    Anyone else come to similar conclusions?
     
  2. jeff peterson

    jeff peterson Supporting Actor

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    Brad, this debate has raged over many threads, do a search and you'll find more opinions than you ever wanted.
     
  3. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

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    I'm new, so before this gets too crazy, I would like to add my 2 cents.
    Some movies have really great sound engineers working on them and some don't. DD and DTS are just "tools" each with there own strengths and weaknesses. It is the tool user that makes the real difference.

    Do any of us really remember the sound engineers on movies? I am ashamed to say I can't name one. Maybe I should start.
     
  4. Rick_FL

    Rick_FL Stunt Coordinator

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    that definitely has not been my observation. Sound and surround quality/quantity seems to vary greaty from one DVD to the next. some studios I guess refuse to follow guidelines. I prefer DTS ES discrete to DD EX. But there is almost no DTS ES discrete DVD's



    what do you mean? the only name I ever remember for movie sound is John Williams. simply the BEST composer for movies EVER
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I agree 100% that John Williams is the best composer for movies. I don't think you could find many people to argue with that. However, composer and sound engineer are two very different things. I doubt there are many people who know the sound engineer for any movie, but the sound engineer is probably the most important person to those of us who follow this hobby (read "obsession") that is home theater. The sound engineer is the person who mixes all of the audio/dialog into DTS or DD tracks for the DVD. This person holds the audio quality of the movie in his or her hands. Obviously some are better than others which affects our perceptions of DTS vs DD.
     
  6. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Well, maybe my head is just full of useless trivia, but Ben Burtt from Lucasfilm springs immediately to mind [​IMG]
     
  7. Robert AG

    Robert AG Stunt Coordinator

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    There is no such thing as "THE sound engineer" on movies. There are teams who mix the movie, there are teams that create the sound effects, there are teams that edit and loop the dialogue, and there are teams that create, record and edit the music (I am a member of this team).

    All of these people create very good sounding work. It is the DIRECTOR OF THE FILM who has the final say on the sound mix, which elements of the sound effects are featured, and what music ends up in the film and in what proportion.

    I have NEVER in my career heard genuinely bad sound on the dubbing stage as originally created by these teams. I have heard MANY final mixes of movies with harsh, brash, loud, and shrill sounding final soundtracks - and these have ALWAYS been because of decisions of the director of the film, and in some instances the "suits" at the studios.
     
  8. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    So then why they are credited a such?[sound designer]It is true that it gets done by a team of people but in many cases one person gets the credit,because of his "design" that might get implemented by his team,but it is his design.Yes the director has a final say,and some are more involved as otheres. Same as Stan Winston gets credit for the "Aliens" and "Preadtor" creature designs,but most likely a dozen people help to build them.
    Ben Burt is named on all Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies,as "sound designer".
     
  9. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

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    I agree that the sound varies greatly between DVD's. But on every DVD I tested (8 in total) I noticed the same differences between DD and DTS in each one. Some more noticable than others.
    Pearl Harbor was the only movie out of the bunch that I could watch in DTS and not find offensive to my ears.

    Of course everyone has different speakers, reciever, rooms etc., and I'm sure this accounts for a lot of sound variations as well.[​IMG]
     
  10. Brent_j

    Brent_j Stunt Coordinator

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    Brad, the best sound engineer job I have ever heard so far, has been on U-571. The DTS track is 1000 times better than the DD track. So I think it all comes down to who is doing the mastering of the track.

    If you have U-571 cool, if not, go grab a copy! For this test go to the start of chapter eight (its the one where the Americans are getting out of the rafts and onto the Nazi sub) listen to both the DTS and DD tracks there is a HUGE difference. With the DD track its like I need a hearing aid and everything is just so FLAT sounding (the rain, the big guns) there is just no definition to it.

    As a general rule though, I prefer DTS over DD (I do enjoy DD trailers over their DTS counterparts, the Yamaha piano thing is getting old)

    just my .02 cents.
    Brent.
     
  11. Dennis Gardner

    Dennis Gardner Stunt Coordinator

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    For sound effects, DTS uses more dynamic range on alot of what they do. They are sometimes recorded overall "hotter" than the DD track. This is why some like it better, it seems more "live" due to the range and volume.

    I have also found this to be very disc dependent. For heavy action films, I seem to prefer the DTS track more times, but if it is a more subtle sound track, DD seems to blend better for my ears.

    By the way if you haven't heard the DD track on "Darkness Falls" it is the best use of surround there is to date. It will freak you out! Average movie, awesome effects!

    DG
     
  12. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

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    You are absolutly correct. I appologize if I offended anybody (you?). I was just trying to express things as simple as possible. Maybe I took it a too far.
     
  13. Robert AG

    Robert AG Stunt Coordinator

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    >>> So then why they are credited a such?[sound designer]It is true that it gets done by a team of people but in many cases one person gets the credit,because of his "design" that might get implemented by his team,but it is his design.Yes the director has a final say,and some are more involved as otheres. Same as Stan Winston gets credit for the "Aliens" and "Preadtor" creature designs,but most likely a dozen people help to build them.
    Ben Burt is named on all Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies,as "sound designer".
     
  14. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

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    Robert, that is really interesting. I have done some work in community theater with sound and music, but I didn't really know what was happening in the movies.


    Lewis, for the same reason my boss gets a quaterly bonus when I finish my job on schedule and within budget. He is the one that has to deal with deadlines, customers, bigger bosses, etc. I am happy to stay in my cube and let him deal with the crap when I don't get my work done. Fortunelty, he is a good guy and buys us lunch/drinks occasionally.
     
  15. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    Maybe someone can verify this, but I noticed a huge difference between DD and DTS on the Diana Krall Live in Paris DVD. The DTS seems more closed, vocals only from the centre channel (or mostly), etc. DD is more diffuse and more spacious.

    There can be differences, and to each his own in regards to preference. By habit, if it has DTS, then I'm usually watching it in DTS. There's no method to my madness [​IMG]
     
  16. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

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    Whether or not the sound designer/engineer/mixer ect., is an individual or a team is irrelevent. The point is that the DTS and DD soundtracks are different. And in the movies I've listen to, the differences are consistant.

    Brent, I just started buying DVD's so I don't have very many yet. U-571 is on my list to get and now it just got bumped up the list.
    Same goes for Darkness falls. And actually I've never even heard of that movie before.[​IMG]
    If there's a movie out there where the DTS track sounds better, I'd definately like to hear it.
     
  17. Robert AG

    Robert AG Stunt Coordinator

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    >>>Whether or not the sound designer/engineer/mixer ect., is an individual or a team is irrelevent. The point is that the DTS and DD soundtracks are different. And in the movies I've listen to, the differences are consistant.
     
  18. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Drew,

    Respectfully disagree with you on the Krall dts Live in Paris.

    Having been my reference dts audio disc for 2 years (since the release), I have listened to this ( and the DD track as well a few nights ) so many times that I had to buy 2 additional discs due to "wear".
    After a "few" turns, and to MY ears, and in my room with my gear, this is one of the finest dts audio tracks to ever see the light of day.
    Closed ? The orchestra, DaCosta's percussion, Hamilton's drums..etc, and A. Wilson's guitar, not to mention Krall's piano, fill the LR front channels like no tomorrow, with the vocals centered as they should be. It fills the Room, and no hokey rear channel nonsense like Steely's 'two against nature'.

    Honestly, ( and absolutely no offense intended ) if you can't hear the orchestra in full score and distinctly separate their instruments, then you have a room in need of treatments, or speakers which need a realignment in your room.
    It is just that simple. This disc is reference dts all the way. I have listended to all the dts audio discs which reach this level and this disc is the finest dts audio track.... IMHO, of course.

    The DD vs dts debate is not worth a nickel. They both are mastered so well these days that who cares.... pick your preference. But there are differences.

    BOK

    Drew -- You have an open invite to my basement HT.
     
  19. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    I was speaking relatively to the DD track, but those were my initial impressions...I'll toss it in again. That DVD is so good, listening to it over and over again isn't at all fatiguing.
     
  20. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    And if I'm ever in MA, I'll pop by and say hello [​IMG]
     

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