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5.1 Dolby Digital Laser disc vs. DVD, is there a difference in sound??


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#1 of 45 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

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Posted September 30 2002 - 04:44 AM

I'm on the LD kick again, see some good deals on players. DTS certainly is one reason, but with out a demodulator DTS is the only disc I can play on a LD. Hence the question, is 5.1 Dolby Digital better on Laser as oppose to DVD?
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#2 of 45 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 30 2002 - 04:52 AM

In theory, it's worse because it's at a lower bitrate (all fts being equal of course)

Some discs are supposed to sound better (like Star Trek Generations) because they haven't been remixed for the near field and people with monster HTs will get better performance out of them

#3 of 45 OFFLINE   Chris Purvis

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Posted September 30 2002 - 05:04 AM

having owned both LD and dvd's of several 5.1 movies I couldn't really tell a difference in the audio quality between the two. If you don't already have a huge collection of 5.1 LD's I'm not sure it would be worth the cost of the demodulator (seems like they sell for around $150.00 these days) unless you can find one cheap.

#4 of 45 OFFLINE   Sanjay Gupta

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Posted September 30 2002 - 05:06 AM

Not just theory, the fact is that LAser DIsc Dolby Digital blows away Dolby Digital on DVD atleast most of the times. What a shame that a newer format is actually inferior to an older one.

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#5 of 45 OFFLINE   Geoff_D

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Posted September 30 2002 - 06:42 AM

I can't comment for all LD's, but I have to agree about ST:Generations. The region 1 dvd sounds limp and lifeless. But the ac3 LD is wonderful; it just seems to have more energy. The bass response in particular is much improved over the dvd. Is it the best DD track ever? No. But is it better than the dvd? I would have to say yes.

#6 of 45 OFFLINE   Vince Maskeeper

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Posted September 30 2002 - 07:27 AM

Well, it seems as so far the answers have varied between what should theoretically be true and what has been experienced...

The technical answer is that they should, for the most part, be virtually identical. While DVD is capible of higher bitrate DD soundtracks, truth is that the majority of releases are using the same rates as were present on laser. The higher rate does appear on DVD, mostly on newer releases- but it is not yet in any numbers that would warrant it be considered the standard just yet.

So, if numbers told the whole story- this would be all there is to write on the topic. However- it seems that numbers are not the be all, nor the end all.

Many posters have claimed a "better" DD soundtrack on many LDs. I believe HEAT and STAR WARS: EPISODE ONE are often cited as examples of the LD being superior to the DVD. The question as to why almost certainly points to the master process and the mixes used. However- it would then stand to reason that the preference of LD DD vs DVD DD would be split down the middle- however those with a pref often side with the LD as their favorite.

I'm beginning to wonder if there is a weak chain or two in the signal processing chain for DVD prep. It seems that most modern DVD tracks, at some point, spend some time in a PRO TOOLS environment- and I wonder if the same was true for laser. Pro Tools, while overwhelmingly popular, has been the target of complaints by many in the audio world for its lackluster sound quality.

Some have argued that there are night and day differences on some discs-- since there is no rule of thumb for determining which discs have these giant differences, I would allow your own ears guide you...

I think the bottom line answer to this question of "is there a difference in sound" comes doen to a response question of: "I don't know, do you hear a difference?"


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#7 of 45 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

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Posted September 30 2002 - 08:59 AM

Here's what I'm looking to do, for 100 bucks I can probably by a good LD player, but as Chris Purvis said, a demodulator is about 150.00. 250.00 for a player and demodulator is just too much for me to spend on something that's obsolete. However, the task would be to get DTS discs to play with the need of demodulator. Am I making a mistake in considering the purchase of a laser disc player just for DTS titles that might be hard to find (haven't looked yet)???
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#8 of 45 OFFLINE   Artur Meinild

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Posted September 30 2002 - 11:26 AM

Quote:
I'm beginning to wonder if there is a weak chain or two in the signal processing chain for DVD prep. It seems that most modern DVD tracks, at some point, spend some time in a PRO TOOLS environment- and I wonder if the same was true for laser. Pro Tools, while overwhelmingly popular, has been the target of complaints by many in the audio world for its lackluster sound quality.


Interesting point Vince. I don't find it hard to believe that Pro Tools does *something* to the sound quality, although I don't know exactly waht that would be.
I didn't actually know that Pro Tools was the target of complaints - that makes me wonder if there are *any* Computer Multitracking system that has not been the target of complaints about sound quality. The other two I know of - Logic and Cubase - have definitely had it's share of complaints!
Is it simply a bad idea to run a DVD soundtrack thourgh a computer??? If it is, what are the alternatives?

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#9 of 45 OFFLINE   DeanWalsh

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Posted September 30 2002 - 12:47 PM

Isn't another factor contributing to increased sound quality on LD the lack of jitter compared to a dvd?

#10 of 45 OFFLINE   greg_t

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Posted September 30 2002 - 02:05 PM

I tend to think that it's more in the mix than the technical side. Laserdisc DD was mixed for people who had rather expensive ld players, and likewise, likely had good sound systems to play them with. So maybe the mixes were made a little stronger since the end consumer likely had a pretty strong system. Also, there was no need to worry about downmixing to a 19" TV with mono speakers. LD DD was true 5.1 with no downmixing.

#11 of 45 OFFLINE   Tony Kwong

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Posted September 30 2002 - 04:22 PM

Why would the SQ degrade with ProTools? Maybe the TDM or Audiosuite processing? I have less problems with ProTools than any other DAW out there. I also use some of the CreamW@re products.
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#12 of 45 OFFLINE   richard plumb

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Posted October 01 2002 - 12:22 AM

whatever happened to separate DD2.0 mixes? Weren't they supposed to do away with the need to compromise the DD5.1 mix to allow for downmixing to stereo? Do most releases these days not include a 2.0 track?
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#13 of 45 OFFLINE   Christopher_J_F

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Posted October 01 2002 - 04:26 AM

Jerome-

Quote:
the task would be to get DTS discs to play with the need of demodulator. Am I making a mistake in considering the purchase of a laser disc player just for DTS titles that might be hard to find (haven't looked yet)???

I assume you mean withOUT the need of a demodulator?
You do not actually need/use the demodulator for DTS LD's! You WILL need to make sure that your player has the correct output. Forget any Sony models... Look into a later model Pioneer. I would say post 1994 and you should be fine. (I assume that you are already watching DD & DTS dvd's, so your reciver SHOULD already be ok.)

Check out the excellent Laserdisc Forever page here
http://www.mindsprin...ber/askjosh.htm
and it should explain everything for you.
*
Personally, I regret buying my Demodulator. I have over 500 ld's, and not very many of them use DD, and MOST all of the ones that did are out on dvd as special editions so I repurchesed them...
DTS on LD however, is a wonder to behold. SOME titles can be found on ebay regularly for a fairly cheap price, but a lot of the titles are a lot more difficult to track down.

Are you making a mistake getting into LD's just for DTS discs? I would say yes. Get into laserdisc because you love film and suddenly realised that between LD & dvd you get pretty much anything you are looking for in a high quality format! Personally, I buy & collect dvd's... I buy, collect & treasure LD's.
Hope this helps-
Good luck!
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#14 of 45 OFFLINE   Chris Brown

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Posted October 01 2002 - 06:57 AM

With Dolby Digital on Laserdisc only being encoded at 384, I always thought it wasn't as good as on DVD. I didn't really care because I always listen to the PCM tracks anyway. But then I heard that Dolby Digital on Laserdisc is actually better because the only channels that are DD encoded are the center and the rears, while the mains use the PCM. In that case i'd probably give the edge to laserdisc, but it sounds kind of far fetched. Can anyone shed any light on this?

#15 of 45 OFFLINE   Wayne Bundrick

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Posted October 01 2002 - 07:10 AM

It's not true, Chris. The Dolby Digital and PCM on laserdisc are mutually exclusive.

I don't have many Dolby Digital laserdiscs but as far as I can tell their sound quality is the same as the DVDs I've bought to replace them. I did a direct comparison of Star Trek First Contact and I couldn't tell a difference.
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#16 of 45 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted October 01 2002 - 07:29 AM

Quote:
Laserdisc DD was mixed for people who had rather expensive ld players, and likewise, likely had good sound systems to play them with. So maybe the mixes were made a little stronger since the end consumer likely had a pretty strong system.

I doubt that much thought was put into it. Most DD LDs appeared at a time when the encoders were fairly new and few people had DD decoders because they were rare and very expensive. (BTW, the cost and quality of the LD player were not a factor; it either passed the RF-modulated DD signal or it didn't.)

Most of the differences that I've heard between DD on LD and DVD are a matter of volume and dynamic range. I can understand why people are often impressed with the LD tracks, but that doesn't mean they're better.

Let me take a specific example: Mission Impossible (the first one). The DD track on LD is much, much louder and the swings in volume are much more extreme. If you set your volume knob for the right level so that you can hear dialogue and effects in quieter scenes like the vault, you'll be blasted out of your seat at certain moments like the helicopter sequence. This makes for a big "gee whiz!" factor, but that doesn't make it a superior soundtrack. The DVD's mix, which sounds to my ear like it got a near-field remix, is a much better balanced presentation and does a more accurate job of reproducing what I recall from the theatrical experience.

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#17 of 45 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

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Posted October 02 2002 - 12:06 AM

Christopher, yes that's the plan.
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#18 of 45 OFFLINE   Brian Perry

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Posted October 02 2002 - 12:15 AM

Quote:
Isn't another factor contributing to increased sound quality on LD the lack of jitter compared to a dvd?

If you're referring to the DD track, jitter is not a factor.

#19 of 45 OFFLINE   Neil S. Bulk

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Posted October 02 2002 - 01:33 AM

My understanding of Dolby Digital on LD is that the films used the standard 6 track masters created for theaters. It's pretty much common knowledge now that films are being re-mixed for DVD to ensure compatibility with down mixing.

And I can also vouch for the superiority of the Star Trek - Generations mix on the LD. It has impact. The DVD is thin and wimpy sounding. The DVD is not what it sounded like in the theater.

Neil


#20 of 45 OFFLINE   Craig W

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Posted October 02 2002 - 03:45 AM

Neil,

I believe you are right. When DD debuted on LD it was only a relatively short time after DD appeared at the local megaplex. Also when this debuted, the number of homes with the capable hardware was microscopic in relation to the LD community as a whole which also was quite small. So I highly doubt studios were going to remix for a few who would benefit.

Whats that curve that keeps getting mentioned, the Q-curve?
Basically when a mix is done for theaters they bump up the higher frequencies and I think they increase the bass output also since they are dealing with a much larger environment. This might explain why many claim that LD sounds superior because it has a much more in your face factor in the home environment. I prefer remixed for near field soundtracks. I am against limiting DD5.1 for in player downconversion. They should always contain a DD2.0 track. Why can't they put a similar warning message like they do with dts to let the user know that if they don't have a 5.1 capable system they should select 2.0?


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