Always PCM for certain DVDs and LDs?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sam R. Aucoin, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

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    As PCM is (as I understand it) a "pure", uncompressed form of the sound of a movie, am I correct in stating that one should always listen to a movie that is only ProLogic (or less) in the PCM mode?

    For example, I have NEVER seen a post on the HTF that does not advocate listening to the original Star Wars Trilogy (NOT the 1997 remakes) PCM tracks, as opposed to the ProLogic tracks.

    For the purpose of this discussion, I exclude the use of a newer receivers that have ProLogic II capability (which means it can do some pretty amazing things with the old ProLogic tracks).

    Thanks in advance for any responses.

    Sam
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    PCM is an encoding method. CDs use PCM stereo. LDs do also, and often this PCM stereo track is intended to be decoded into ProLogic. DVD-Vs can use PCM stereo also for stereo and/or ProLogic tracks. DVD-A can have up to 5.1 channels of PCM audio at a high bitrate.
     
  3. Bill McCamy

    Bill McCamy Second Unit

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    Does it matter whether the PCM track is decoded to prologic by the laserdisc player (and sent to the receiver by composite cables), or sent to the receiver digitally and decoded by the receiver?
     
  4. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    PCM is a means to deliver two channels encoded digitally. If those two channels are mixed for matrixed surround sound, then you should turn on your Dolby Pro-Logic decoder when listening to them.

    Specifications for PCM encoding do not include flags for additional information such as whether the channels are mixed for surround, so digital receivers with an "auto-format decode" setting will always treat PCM as two channel stereo. You must manually select pro-logic when appropriate.

    Whether you send the signal to your receiver digitally or via analog cables makes any difference is probably a function of whether your player or receiver has a better Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) more than anything else. Let your ears be the judge on that one.

    Regards,
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  6. Mike Friedrich

    Mike Friedrich Stunt Coordinator

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    ~ Very well said Vince ! I myself the majority of time, when playing back PCM/*Dolby tracks off of *LD's , CD's, and some *Dvd's, love using my Elite DVL91 internal "Hi-bit Legato Link Conversion", it's a night and day difference you can hear compared to my receiver, it takes the harsh right out of the most edgy tracks. Hell I even benched my CD player it just can't match the smoothness of the L link.
    Most importantly when I spin non AC3 LD's I tap the Virtual Dolby Surround along with the L-link and it really brings the 2 channel tracks alive in such a discrete manner, I sometimes prefer it over 5.1DD from other sources, it basically depends on the 5.1 mix.
    ~ Sam, like Vince mentioned all you have to do is listen in various manners, you'll hear the difference, by the way long time no talk, how's your new baby "The Day the Earth Stood Still" doing ?
    bodymov'n [​IMG]
     
  7. Brian G

    Brian G Extra

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    I've also noticed that some music/concert DVD's sound better on their pcm track than the 5.1 DD mix.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    PCM is a GREAT choice for a music-only track...such as a musical score track for a silent film.

    Image's City Lights DVD has a wonderful 2.0 PCM track for the digitally recorded score. You can hear every single nuance of the instruments...and boy, is it a powerful track! Reference quality stuff.

    On the other hand...PCM isn't a good choice for a movie such as Moulin Rouge.

    Someone needs to come up with PCM 5.1!

    PCM has a much fuller sound than DD or even DTS. Yes, your speakers aren't filled up, but isn't sound quality more important than sound *quantity*?
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  10. Jon D

    Jon D Stunt Coordinator

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    The DVD of Pink Floyd's "the Wall" has a surround encoded PCM track. While it sounds just slightly more spacious than the Dolby Digital track, the soundstaging isn't nearly as impressive (i.e. lack of split surrounds and LFE).
     
  11. Michael St. Clair

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  12. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    There are far too few linear PCM soundtrack DVD's. We need more as Dolby AC-3 sound quality, while able to be very good, is often just over rated.

    Is there a comprehensive list on the net somewhere of DVD's that have a PCM soundtrack?

    The only 2 I have are Journey to the Far Side of the Sun and A Reader's Digest National Parks DVD.
     
  13. Chris Lynch

    Chris Lynch Stunt Coordinator

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    I would like to know the answer to that myself. "Jeff Buckley: Live in Chicago" has both a 2 channel PCM and a 5.1 DD soundtrack. To bad my Toshiba has problems playing it.[​IMG]
     

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