“dts” vs. “Dolby Digital 5.1”: Which one is Superior?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Shawn_T, Sep 10, 2001.

  1. Shawn_T

    Shawn_T Agent

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    Dear All,
    Both my DVD Player and my A/V unit have support for dts and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio formats. Most of the DVD’s that I have watched were in DD 5.1, but the other night I watched “Meet the Parents” (Very funny movie!) and I used its dts audio feature and I couldn’t tell the difference from DD 5.1 format.
    My question to you: Which one is ‘superior’?
    p.s. I have a full 5.1 Speakers setup, but I have heard a ‘new’ dts 6 speaker has been announced that adds an extra speaker somewhere in the middle. I really appreciate your insights and hints.
    Thanks in advance.
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    Best Regards,
    Shawn
     
  2. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

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    Lookout. Here we go again.
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    "What do you mean its too loud? My ears aren't even bleeding yet!"
    Radden Home Theater
     
  3. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Personal preference.
     
  4. James Nguyen

    James Nguyen Second Unit

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    Shawn,
    well, it depends (in my opinion). Be aware that this is one of the great holy wars of home theater. Well intentioned inquireries here often blow up into full on flame wars.
    But to answer your question, it really depends on the work done by the sound engineers, what source material they had to work with, and so forth. In the end, both are just differing compression algorithms used to store all the sound data onto film and your DVD. In general, Dolby takes up less space due to a lower bitrates used. The issue is complicated further (at least on DVD) since the vast majority of DVDs use what is known as half rate DTS (i.e. half the space that is allocated to DTS soundtracks used in the theaters is used on the DVD). In the end, I feel it's always great to have an option between the two and I in cases where both soundtracks are available, I try to listen to both to make my own determination on a title by title basis.
    There are plenty of great Dolby Digital soundtracks out there, but for reference, the benchmarks of DTS quality are typically Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, and the Haunting.
    Regarding a new sound format..... there's several actually. Hope I get the details here right! [​IMG]
    First off is THX Surround EX aka Dolby Digital EX. This is technically a 5.1 format but it matrixes a "surround back" channel by using the information from the left and rear surrounds. I believe the spec calls for two amplified channels to be used for this "surround back" (aka rear center).
    Then there's DTS-ES and DTS-ES Discrete. DTS-ES is similar to THX EX in that it is a matrix channel that is created from some alogorithm applied to the rear surrounds to determine a proper rear center channel. It is also technically a 5.1 format.
    DTS-ES Discrete is as the name infers, an ES format with discrete sound data. It carries 6.1 channels of discrete sound information, now allowing sound engineers to specify specific sound information to a rear center channel.
    DTS-ES Discrete, because it carries a new channel of sound would have to be mixed specifically for that purpose. I can't recall how many movies where this is true, the Haunting and Gladiator come to mind. I'm sure the gurus of HTF can point out others.
    As to the quality of each, I do not know nor do I care to venture into that without much first hand experience. I'd hazzard a guess that a true discrete 6.1 format like DTS-ES Discrete would be supperior to any matrixed sound format, but who knows, I don't have first hand experience with either.
     
  5. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Personal preference.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    can 'o worms [​IMG] [​IMG]
    They are both 5.1, so the processing is basically the same. It just sounds to me that most DTS tracks are better quality than their DD counterparts, but not always.
    On a movie like Meet the Parents, I doubt you would hear a difference, but if you try out Gladiator, you will be much more likely to hear a difference.
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    to live beyond it's income.
    ITRCA ** Speedring (sorry, car guy)
     
  7. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    Shawn, your question has been the source of many a flame wars since the dawn of time. Both DD and DTS have their strong points and their weak points, and the past several years have proven that there is room for both of these formats to co-exist together in peace. View it as healthy competition where both formats keep each other on their toes. As consumers, really, we are the winners because we have them both to choose from. So, instead of trying to decide the superiority of one over the other, revel in the fact that healthy competition is alive and well when it comes to the choice of how we listen to our movies and music. Having said all that, BOY DO I LOVE THE SOUND OF A WELL MASTERED DTS TRACK!
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    "What does God want with a Starship?" - Captain Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
     
  8. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    You'll here many debates about these 2 formats, but, by and larger, you'll here more people touting DTS as having a more "fuller" sound more bass directionality. Proponents of DTS will say that it sounds better than DD.
    Defenders of Dolby Digital will say that DTS doesn't always sound better and will argue that DTS sound is not as close to the THEATER SOUND as DD.
    In general, a well recorded DD and DTS will yeild the SAME ENJOYMENT While watching a film. Listening to either tracks, the FILM EXPERIENCE will depend ENTIRELY on the quality of the FILM ITSELF.
    I prefer DTS, not because it I think it sounds closer to the sound in a movie theater (I don't think it does), but because it exhibits characteristics that bring the best out of my HT setup)
    Elbert
     
  9. John-D

    John-D Stunt Coordinator

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    .. and DTS claims independent survey's reveal a higher public preference for DTS encoded material over DD.
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    The things we own end up owning us
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i'm not even going to read everyone else's responses...this horse is definitely beat to death!
    let your ears decide shawn.
    no one else can tell you what sounds good to you. go with your ears and be at peace with the world.
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    You step in the stream,
    But the water has moved on.
    This page is not here.
     
  11. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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  12. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    My feelings when perusing this thread:
    Uh oh. [​IMG]
    Phew. [​IMG]
    Cool! [​IMG]
    Good job on keeping it civil!!!!
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Mike
    [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Mike Voigt on September 10, 2001 at 07:30 PM]
     
  13. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    Lots of good information from sspears in there. Lots of misinformation from others though (soundtracks on the fly not taking up bandwidth; 1.4 mbps DTS (?); Dolby unable to extend to 20kHz; limited use of 448kbps; compression level comparisons across different algorithms etc.)
    Gotta feel for sspears, but still an interesting read.
    Adam
     
  14. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    Well, it depends on the cables and whether your receiver is THX certified or not! [​IMG]
     
  15. Rob Roth

    Rob Roth Stunt Coordinator

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    IMHO there is a slight advantage to DTS on film tracks, but a decided advantage on music DVDs, especially live concerts that have a greater dynamic range. I also notice that more and more DD tracks are in the lower 384kb mode rather than 448 as bit real estate becomes more precious.
     
  16. Kevin Webb

    Kevin Webb Agent

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    Glad I found this thread as this is something I have been curious about. Having had a DD-only reciever for the last several years (HK AVR-55), I was wondering if I was missing out on anything on the DTS side.
    As always it seems as if it comes down to the combination of source material, player, reciever, speakers, and cables. Which is the fun and frustrating part of home theater [​IMG]
     
  17. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    Really, Rob? I can't remember the last time I saw a 384kbps soundtrack. The only studio that I'm aware of that still regularly uses 384kbps is Warner Brothers; the others have all 'seen the light' and switched to (or used from the beginning) 448kbps.
    Adam
     
  18. Zacha R

    Zacha R Stunt Coordinator

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    While we're on this topic.. I once read an excellent article on an actual double blind test of DD vs DTS on film, in a University lecture hall.
    But I lost the URL. And the name of it.
    Can anyone help?
     
  19. Andre F

    Andre F Screenwriter

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    I like DTS better and that is my personal opinion. [​IMG]
    -Andre F
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    -= Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape! =-
     

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