2 speakers on a 5.1 receiver

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Josh Varghese, Nov 23, 2003.

  1. Josh Varghese

    Josh Varghese Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's my question:

    Say I have a 5.1 dd/dts receiver, but only L and R front speakers hooked up. I go through the receivier menu's and tell the receiver these are the only things connected.

    When I play DVD's should I:

    a) play the 2.0 soundtrack since it is specifically designed for this scenario

    b) play the 5.1 soundtrack and let the receiver downmix the signal

    I am hoping the answer is b because I would rather use the higher bitrate soundtrack. I guess my main ? is whether the receiver handles the downmixing properly so I don't lose any of the sound information?

    Does my question even make sense?

    Thanks
    Josh
    [email protected]
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Not all receivers have the ability to downmix a 5.1 signal to two channels. All DVD players do, though, and that's how you should be handling this. Connect the player to the receiver with left and right analog cables, and let the player handle the downmix. And if there's a 2.0 track on the disc, I'd select that instead.

    M.
     
  3. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    a).

    If there is a 2.0 track available use that.

    And I was not aware that some receivers couldn't downmix 5.1 into 2.0. If your receiver can, though I'd leave it connected via digital for convenience, if not, then micheal's suggestion of using the analog interconnects is correct.
     
  4. RolandM

    RolandM Stunt Coordinator

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    I would also agree in saying if there is a 2.0 track on the disc to select it instead--that is what I would do. Also I wouldn't say you have to use the analog L/R outputs... You could also set the DVD player to output PCM for DD tracks (and DTS tracks if a DTS decoder is built into the player, explained below).

    DD downmixing is easily explained but DTS is a little more complicated!:

    Also note that while all DVD players can downmix a DD 5.1 signal to 2 ch, only DVD players with a built-in DTS decoder can downmix DTS to 2 channels. This is different than DD because the DVD player needs not have a built in DD decoder to downmix the DD 5.1 because the specification for the DD chip that has to be in every DVD player requires that it be able to downmix the signal. (This is due to the fact that DD is the "official" sound format for DVDs).

    If the DVD player does not have a built in decoder for DTS it can't do a downmix (of a DTS track) in either analog stereo or PCM (stereo) digital.

    Any DVD player that has a built-in DTS decoder must also have 5.1 channel analog outputs but not every player with 5.1 outputs has a DTS decoder as there are some players with built-in DD decoders but not DTS decoders as well. The easiest way to identify a DTS decoder built into a DVD player is the DTS logo on the front...

    A player with a built-in DTS decoder will have the logo "dts" with the words "SURROUND" below it; one without a decoder built in will have the words "DIGITAL OUT" below "dts".
     
  5. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    If there is a 2 ch track on the DVD, use that. A sound designer went through the movie and decided how it would sound best with 2 channels. If you use the 5.1 track you are letting a computer chip decide where to send what. I would rather let a person downmix it instead of a computer.
     
  6. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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  7. Ron:L

    Ron:L Auditioning

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  8. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    i would NOT downmix at the player, unless you know exactly how yours behaves. many players (not receivers) will completely drop the LFE channel altogether when performing a mixdown. i'd highly recommend you read THIS THREAD thoroughly, and check carefully, for yourself, what your particular player does.

    edit: ooops, Ron:L, i just noticed that's exactly what you just said. probably worth repeating. i'll leave it.
     

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