A general question about dolby digital

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark E J, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    I live in an apartment and therefore find myself doing most of my movie watching and music listening through earphones. I was wondering should I bother upgrading to a Dolby Digital reciver? I know that I will not get the full range surround sound that I would get with a full speaker system, but would I be able to hear any noticable improvement in sound clarity over the regular down conversion if I used earphones with a DD reciver?

    You see, the biggest problem I have with listening to DVD's through earphones is the sound is very muted in the 2 channel down conversion. When I listen to old 2 channel LD's the sound is often far more clear and robust that the down converted 5.1 on same film.

    Will listing to the fully decoded 5.1 soundtrack sound any better through earphones?
     
  2. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2002
    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mark if you take a 5.1 DD soundtrack and listen to it through headphones it's still going to be down converted. The only way to listen to a 5.1 soundtrack without down conversion is with at least a 5.1 setup. I think quite a few people here live in apartments and have a 5.1 setup do your neighbors complain alot if you play music. I'm they wouldn't complain if you played your movies at a reasonable volume.

    I'm also a little confused a bout your question "Will listening to the fully decoded 5.1 soundtrack sound any better through earphones?", sound better than what? What are you listening to now?

    I think most if not all DVD players have at least a 2 ch Dolby Digital decoder where it takes the 5.1 soundtrack and converts it to 2ch, I think that's the law, since every dvd must have either a PCM soundtrack or Dolby 2ch soundtrack at the minimum.

    Daniel Smith
     
  3. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Due to my schedule I do most of my movie watching at night and yes the neighbors have been known to complain.

     
  4. Jeremy Allin

    Jeremy Allin Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2001
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    0
    FYI, yes, DVDs must contain either a DD or PCM track, but it doesn't matter whether the DD track is 1.0, 2.0, 5.1 etc.

    If you listen to a 5.1 mix through your headphones, it probably won't seem all that different than most 2.0 tracks.
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    I live in a cozy urban apartment, and I have a full 5.1-channel setup. Find the sweetspot, and you'll be amazed at how full and rich the sound is even with the volume turned really low. Rich, transparent, and seamless.

    And when I leave the living room, I can barely hear the system.

    It's all a matter of positioning oneself in that sweetspot.

    Even the best headphones can't make up for a full surround-sound experience.

    Again, you don't really have to play the system loud to experience good multichannel sound.
     
  6. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Jack, I might give it a try.

    I have one other question though. When you use a DD/DTS decoder are you still through the digital to analog converter or are you getting a pure digital signal wether you listen through earphones or not?
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    i get the feeling mark is a little confused... When listening in stereo, either the dvd player or the receiver is downconverting the 5.1 mix into 2.0 (or there is a separate DD 2.0 track on the disc that you have selected instead). So, no buying a DD receiver won't do squat listening through headphones because you're still listening in stereo. If you have a surround system, which you seem like since you say "it bothers the neighbors," then yes getting a DD receiver for a surround sound setup will be way better, as jack said.
    ? "pure digital signal"? I'm confused about what you're asking, but i'll just breifly try to explain a little more. The sound is on the DVD in Dolby Digital encoding. It is a compressed format that can support up to 5.1 channels of discrete sound. When listening to DD, it gets sent to a receiver, where it is then decoded into analog (there is adjustment for calibration, bass managetment, etc. in there) then amplified and sent to the speakers. The same thing is happening if you have a dvd player and are listening just in stereo, except the decoders are also "downmixing" the 5.1 (or whatever) track is there into stereo. You aren't sending a digital signal to your amplifier, headphones, or speakers. It's just like listening to a cd really, the data is STORED digitally, then converted to analog for playback. The only difference here, is that there is also video, and there are more channels, and the digital encoding is different for Dolby Digital. You are never sending a "pure digital signal" to your speakers or headphones, unless you have some extremely expensive Meridian setup or the like, where all the amplification and D/A conversion happens in the speaker. Still... you are using a digital source that is being converted to analog for the speakers. You aren't actually listening to the digital signal directly... that would sound hideous. Actually, i have no idea what that would sound like, probably just a long string of fast-beeping tones. Hope i've clarified stuff for you, if not ask away. [​IMG]
     
  8. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Chris, you DID clarify what I needed to know. Thanks alot.
     
  9. Fernando Saa

    Fernando Saa Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    0
    Many DD receivers have a feature that further compresses sound, in mine (Pioneer), it is called "midnight". I set it when my kids are asleep, it does a great job at keeping loud explosions and action to a "compressed" level. Beware that if you choose a DTS soundtrack, the midnight feature will not work. But yes if you want to upgrade, by all means do. Listen to your complete setup and forget your headphones forever. You'll be glad you did. I know I did.
     
  10. Fernando Saa

    Fernando Saa Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    0
    I read your question again and noticed that you do not have a 5.1 home theater setup, well if you're thinking in upgrading to a DD-DTS receiver, don't unless you're planning on purchasing a speaker system to accompany it otherwise stay with your current stereo and headphones until you do
     
  11. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Fernando, Thanks for the heads up on the speakers. I'll keep that in mind.

    My current set up is a KLH R-3000 stereo reciever and a pair of Optimus speakers. This set worked pretty good for my LD collection, however I did get complaints from neighbors so I started to watch my movies with headphones especialy at night which lately is the only time I have to watch a movie.

    When I upgraded to DVD's I never got a new reciever and just continued with headphones. It wasn't until I heard the Dolby Headphone track on the Pearl Harbor disc that I started to think about upgrading. Since it looks like there is no plans to take the DH feature mainstream I was looking at all my options.

    Chris was right I was confused as to just what DD decoders did. I think my best options are either going ahead and getting a full DD/DTS set up and look for the "sweet spot" that Jack talked about, or getting a wireless DD headphone system which decoded the DD/DTS tracks then simulates the 5.1 effect for headphones. So far I have seen 3 of these, 1 Pioneer, 1 Sony, and 1 from a company called Acoustic Research. The Pioneer and Sony both cost around $400. The AR is $170. Does anyone know anything about these systems? If not does anyone have any experience with Acoustic Research products at all? What quality is their products in general?

    Anyway I thank everyone for their replies, they helped me quite a bit.
     
  12. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  13. Mark E J

    Mark E J Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Aaron, Thanks, I tried turning off the DRC and it did make a diffrence. However since I heard the Dolby Headphone feature on the Pearl Harbor disc I'm still interested in trying to get as close to DD with headphones as I can or just getting a full DD/DTS set up. Could you tell me the models of Sony with the headphone DSP mode? I'd love to check these out.
    Thanks again. [​IMG]
     

Share This Page