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Volume jump from Dolby Digital to DTS...Why?


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#1 of 20 OFFLINE   Jason Cheung

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Posted September 23 2003 - 08:06 PM

Hi,
I just got a Denon 3803 and, finally, for the first time, listened to both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS in my home. (What an experience!)
But I have a question I hope some of you more knowledgable HT owners can help me with:
When I switched from DD to DTS on the receiver, I was taken aback by the unexpected volume increase in the system. It was so loud my mom gave me a little lecture. I was at about -10 db while listening on the DD format, but when I switched to DTS, the volume got significantly louder. I was even afraid I might have blown my speakers.
Anyways, is this "normal" when switching from format to format? Is this caused by different recording levels on various DVD's?
What's the best way for me to not get "surprised" like this anymore.
Well, any help with this would be very much appreciated.
Thanks,
Jason

#2 of 20 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted September 24 2003 - 12:47 AM

The first question is - did you calibrate your system? If you have not calibrated, your levels could be very different for DTS and DD (They should be roughly the same). Second, what DVD were you listening to? Usually there is not much of a difference in the levels between DTS ands DD (not 10 dB anyway), but the DVD you were using may be an exception.

#3 of 20 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted September 24 2003 - 03:26 AM

It's possible that dts soundtrack could be around 4dB louder than the DD soundtrack (due to mastering levels and dialnorm).
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#4 of 20 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted September 24 2003 - 03:54 AM

Also check that "night mode" or "midnight mode" or dialog normalization is OFF for DD, as this will very significantly reduce the volume of loud scenes and generally compress the dynamic range, which may be why you saw a huge change in volume level when you switched.

#5 of 20 OFFLINE   JamesCB

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Posted September 24 2003 - 07:18 AM

I have verified on several occasions that the DTS track is louder (seems like more than 4db difference) than the DD track. This may be the reason some ppl say the DTS track sounds better (like comparing speakers, the louder one usually sound better). I have never been able to determine any difference in sound quality between the two.

#6 of 20 OFFLINE   Gary Mui

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Posted September 24 2003 - 05:43 PM

Basically it comes down to the age old question of DD vs DTS:

http://www.5point1.com/dts/battle.html

As that website shows, DD is a highly compressed format compared to DTS, which may account for the loudness you describe when switching to DTS.

From my own personal experience, I typically find the DTS track to be fuller and more enveloping than the DD track. I find the DTS track to have more subtlety and clarity as well.

#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Adam Barratt

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Posted September 24 2003 - 06:28 PM

Quote:
Also check that "night mode" or "midnight mode" or dialog normalization is OFF for DD, as this will very significantly reduce the volume of loud scenes and generally compress the dynamic range, which may be why you saw a huge change in volume level when you switched.

Dialog normalization and user-adjustable dynamic range compression ('night/midnight mode') are two very different things. The former is not adjustable by the listener and does not impact real-world dynamic range, only playback volume. The latter affects both dynamic range and to a much lesser extent playback volume.

Quote:
As that website shows, DD is a highly compressed format compared to DTS, which may account for the loudness you describe when switching to DTS.

While Dolby Digital is more compressed than DTS, neither volume nor dynamic range are causally affected by an audio format's compression level. Gary, I should also point out that things have changed considerably since the article you link to was published, and much of its content is no longer accurate.

The most likely causes of the volume difference, as mentioned above by Patrick and Chris, are recording levels and dialog normalization.

Adam

#8 of 20 OFFLINE   Gary Mui

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Posted November 20 2003 - 05:47 PM

Sorry to stir up an old thread, but I'm still puzzled about how I can get a DD track to sound as 'loud' and full as the DTS track?

I have the Yamaha HTR-5550 receiver, and a Panny RP-82 DVD player, connected with an optical cable.

So is there a setting on the receiver for 'night mode'? So far I am not aware of how to turn it 'off'. Any help is greatly appreciated guys, thanks!

#9 of 20 OFFLINE   Vince Maskeeper

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Posted November 21 2003 - 02:45 AM

As that website shows, DD is a highly compressed format compared to DTS, which may account for the loudness you describe when switching to DTS.


This is false- this might, maybe in very specific cercumstances, affect DYNAMICS- but not overall average level.

The volume diff is almost certainly due to dialog normalization settings- which are a good idea that has never been used properly.

Sorry to stir up an old thread, but I'm still puzzled about how I can get a DD track to sound as 'loud' and full as the DTS track?


As "loud"? Turn it up 4 db. As "full", well that's a whole can of worms.

As far as night mode- there is a DD feature allowing dynamic compression (sometime called DRC sometimes called "night mode")-- how it is used in your system, and how it disable it will depend on the receiver. I don't have a Yamaha- so maybe someone else could chime in on where to find the setting.

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#10 of 20 OFFLINE   Gary Mui

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Posted November 21 2003 - 03:52 AM

Yes, I guess what I'm after is turning off 'normalization' for the DD track. Because it definitely sounds like the higher highs and the lower lows have been chopped off, compared to the DTS track.

As of right now, if I were to close my eyes and listen to one track, then the other, it's very obvious which is which. From what I've read, there really shouldn't be that much of a difference? So that's what I'm after. TIA!

#11 of 20 OFFLINE   Vince Maskeeper

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Posted November 21 2003 - 05:22 AM

Yes, I guess what I'm after is turning off 'normalization' for the DD track. Because it definitely sounds like the higher highs and the lower lows have been chopped off, compared to the DTS track.


Normalization is simply a gain offset- it turns the whole track up/down based upon an offset value.

The smart folks at Dolby were thinking ahead to DD being a standard for a media carrier like Television- figuring that they could put an offset in the stream- meaning that soundtracks wouldnt have to be re-processed for Dolby encoding (so things like LOUD RMS tv shows, which are mixed on a dif ref level from film wouldnt have to be remixed- the DD codec could reduce the volume internally so all dolby encoded elements could have a standard average level).

Normalization- even on systems you can bypass it on, will affect overall volume, not freq response (although, louder sounds tenf to seem more "top heavy" than quieter, thus the old "loudness" button on stereos that gave a high/low end boost to sounds so they sounded louder at low volumes...

As of right now, if I were to close my eyes and listen to one track, then the other, it's very obvious which is which. From what I've read, there really shouldn't be that much of a difference? So that's what I'm after.


Well- depends on the track, the disc and the mix. Some are NIGHT AND DAY diff- although one would argue mix differences are a part of that. Some are closer.

I have also found that some receivers are not playing fair- and DD or DTS sounds better inside the unit-- the decoding circuits and DSP chips being better for one or the other.

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#12 of 20 OFFLINE   Phoenix

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Posted November 21 2003 - 06:01 AM

DD may be more universal but i prefer dts mostly due to the increase in recorded volume. i find that the louder signal masks the hissing sound when the volume is high and the passage is quiet. has anyone else noticed this? i have a yamaha htr-5560 the range compression is in the main menu number 5 or 6 down the list i believe. it only affects DD signals as was stated above. There is a night mode, but it will only activate if you are using the headphone jack on the front. also i read that dolby digital is recorded onto the film itself(in between the frames) in the theaters, and DTS is recorded on multiply cd's. is this true? i think a cd would sound better than a tape reel.....
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#13 of 20 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted November 21 2003 - 06:08 AM

Quote:
i find that the louder signal masks the hissing sound when the volume is high and the passage is quiet.

I’ve never noticed a hissing noise on my system, other than AM radio. And I listen quite carefully.
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#14 of 20 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted November 21 2003 - 06:12 AM

Quote:
i prefer dts mostly due to the increase in recorded volume

There's no increase in recorded volume. The dialog normalization feature being discussed here does not affect the volume of the recorded signal; it instructs the decoder to decrease the volume on playback.

Quote:
i think a cd would sound better than a tape reel.....

DTS in theaters is indeed supplied on CDs. There are debates about which medium is more durable, but I'm not aware of any issue about how the storage medium affects sound quality. They're just different ways of storing digital data.

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#15 of 20 OFFLINE   Vince Maskeeper

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Posted November 21 2003 - 07:12 AM

DD may be more universal but i prefer dts mostly due to the increase in recorded volume. i find that the louder signal masks the hissing sound when the volume is high and the passage is quiet.


Ugh, I don't have an hissing issues. Although, the "louder" element of DTS should only be 4-5db difference- which shouldn't amount to a huge reduction in noise, even if you have a hissing issue...

also i read that dolby digital is recorded onto the film itself(in between the frames) in the theaters, and DTS is recorded on multiply cd's. is this true? i think a cd would sound better than a tape reel.....


Lol- it's digital data- it's either there or it's not. The reel tape element would have little to do with it beside durability.

And this would have zero inpact on DVD- as the DVD tracks are sourced from the files (that are either carried on CD or Film for theatrical exhibition.

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#16 of 20 OFFLINE   Phoenix

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Posted November 21 2003 - 08:24 AM

So I stand corrected, what can i say:b So it is the decoders that raise the volume of DTS tracks? Maybe that is a marketing ploy from DTS because the average person thinks that what is louder is better right? The hissing I am referring to is not loud, but just enough to hear when the volume is set at -40 to -35db. Isn't a 3db increase in SPL equivalent to being twice as loud to the ear? If that is the case then wouldnt 4-5 db make a big difference? Please note that I am not trying to pretend like I know what I am talking about, these are just things that i have heard over time, many of which are form this forum.I apologize if my information is not very accurate because I am, after all just a noobPosted Image I realize that DVD and theater recording media and practices are different I wansnt sure if they used CDs or not.
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#17 of 20 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted November 21 2003 - 08:26 AM

Redundant information
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#18 of 20 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted November 21 2003 - 08:39 AM

One decibel difference is generally considered the smallest change that the human ear can detect. This general statement is dependent on a number of other factors.

So a three dB change, while certainly audible is not a change on the order of twice as loud. It does take, more or less, about twice as much amplifier power to cause a 3 dB increase however. Or an order of magnitude (10 times) to get twice as much sound.

However, as human hearing is not exactly straight line, some of the above depends on a number of other factors.
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#19 of 20 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted November 21 2003 - 09:00 AM

Quote:
So it is the decoders that raise the volume of DTS tracks?

No. It's the decoders that raise or lower the volume of Dolby Digital tracks, depending on what value has been set for dialnorm at the encoding stage. The default value, and the one most commonly used on DVDs, tells the decoder to reduce the volume by 4db.

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#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Phoenix

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Posted November 21 2003 - 03:45 PM

I see... thanks for the info. I understand a lot better now. Sorry for changing the subject of the original post. i hope you found what you were looking for Jason, good-luck Posted Image
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