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Breaking News: Dolby TrueHD Elevates the Quality of Lossless Audio on Blu-ray (Must Read)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, May 17, 2012.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Dolby Elevates the Quality of Lossless Audio on Blu-ray

    Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling integrated into Dolby Media Producer delivers enhanced studio-quality surround sound


    San Francisco, May 17, 2012—Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) today announced the ability for studios, authoring houses, and mastering facilities to unlock the full sonic potential of television, movie, and music content, further elevating playback performance of lossless audio on Blu-ray Disc™.

    Blu-ray Discs premastered using Dolby® TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling can now deliver to consumers a full-range high-definition surround sound experience ensuring optimum performance from today’s advanced A/V receivers and Blu-ray Disc players. The new Dolby TrueHD coding solution enables facilities to integrate the benefits of 96 kHz playback quality audio into the final master while simultaneously reducing the incidence of digital artifacts introduced during the content-creation process.

    “Lossless audio is a key distinguishing feature of Blu-ray content. All things being equal, you cannot improve on the quality of lossless audio coding; however, you can improve on the quality of the source PCM content prior to lossless encoding, and this is precisely what we have achieved with our advanced 96k upsampling technology,” said Craig Eggers, Director, Content Creation and Playback, Home Theater Ecosystem, Dolby Laboratories. “A significant amount of Hollywood content has been captured in native48 kHz. Studios and authoring facilities that implement Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling can elevate the quality of PCM audio prior to lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding, ensuring that consumers get the very best audio performance possible from their Blu-ray playback systems.”

    Besides enabling optimum 96k upsampling, this technology features a unique apodizing filter that “masks” the unwanted digital artifacts known as “preringing,” which is introduced during the content-capture and content-creation process. These digital artifacts can introduce an unnatural edginess or harshness to the audio. Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling restores the natural tonality of the soundtrack. The effect can be subtle or dramatic, depending on the quality of the source material. Content mastered with Dolby TrueHD with advanced upsampling is fully playback compatible with all Dolby TrueHD enabled Blu-ray™ players and A/V receivers. Listeners are assured the highest-quality playback experiences possible through their systems.

    Respected authoring houses and mixing facilities worldwide have recently upgraded to Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling within the Dolby Media Producer Encoder v2 to provide customers with the highest-quality audio experience available on Blu-ray. These facilities include United States-based Deluxe Digital Studios, Giant Interactive, Mi Casa Multimedia, POP Sound, and Technicolor®; and leadingGreater China-based companies Best & Original Production Limited, Hualu Publishing & Media Co., Ltd., and Media Asia Films.

    “Deluxe Digital Studios recently installed Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling after we conducted a blind test, and everyone agreed the upsampled stream was better than the original,” said Roger Fiets, Technical Manager, DVD and Blu-ray Audio, Deluxe Digital Studios. “With the advanced 96k upsampling treatment, the sound was clearer and is especially advantageous for titles that have levels ranging close to 0dBFS, delivering less fatigue for the listener.”

    “We were particularly impressed with the excellent results of Dolby’s new Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling on one of our most recent projects, the San Francisco Symphony at 100 Blu-ray,” said Luke Fazzary, Director of Operations, Giant Interactive. “We’re very pleased to be able to share the benefits of this technology with our clients and plan to use it on future projects, whether concerts, live-action films, or episodic programming.”

    “One of the best features in Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling is the apodizing filter, which makes remarkable improvement in the articulation in high-frequency attacks while simultaneously cleaning up midrange mush,” said Brant Biles, President and Chief Engineer, Mi Casa Multimedia. “Upsampling with the apodizing filter on any program information, whether it is music, dialogue, or effects, delicately unveils the sound and adds an extra dimension of depth and clarity. Job well done, Dolby!”

    “I am very impressed with Dolby TrueHD advanced 96k upsampling as it definitely makes a difference with some of the transient elements of the audio mix,” said Tim Hoogenakker, Senior Mixer, POP Sound. “For example, when I used the advanced 96k upsampling on a portion of a film that I mixed recently, I noticed the cannon shots had a sharp transient quality that blended well with the loud crack and thump of the cannon fire that provided much more depth at 96k.”

    “As a pioneer on the premastering of Blu-ray Disc in Greater China, Best & Original constantly seeks for innovative technologies that help us better maintain the artistic intent of the content and bring the home theater viewing experience to a higher level,” said Michael Lau, Production Director, Best & Original Production Limited. “Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling definitely is one of the best from this perspective, and we are delighted to be the one of the first production houses in the region to use this solution with the latest Chinese blockbuster Blu-ray release, The Flowers of War.”

    “As one of the top studios in the region, Media Asia’s mission is to offer the best possible entertainment experience for people in the cinema and at home. The capability of Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling delivers superior audio that fulfills our needs,” said Ricky Tse, General Manager, Sales & Distribution, Media Asia Films. “We are planning to use Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling in the Blu-ray version of a series of movies set to be released in this calendar year.”

    Dolby plays a critical role in ensuring that the artistic intent of the audio mix is maintained through the entertainment ecosystem, from the soundstage into the home theater. Dolby TrueHD delivers powerful sound that is bit-for-bit identical to the original studio master, unlocking the full entertainment value of Blu-ray Disc and other HD media. The advanced 96k upsampling raises the bar for playback of movies, television, and concert films mastered for Blu-ray Disc. Beyond the Greater China release of The Flowers of War, Blu-ray Disc titles including the Joe Satriani concert film, Satchurated: Live in Montreal, and San Francisco Symphony at 100 have been premastered using Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling.

    To learn more about the use of Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling used in the San Francisco Symphony at 100 Blu-ray Disc release, visit .
    Hear director and producer François Lamoureux and drummer Jeff Campitelli give insight into the making of the Joe Satriani concert filmSatchurated: Live in Montreal now available in Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling, .

    Studio staff and others interested in learning more about Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling can read the following PDF white papers: Dolby TrueHD Encoder with Advanced 96k Upsampling and Elevating the Performance of Lossless Audio in the Home Theater: Dolby TrueHD with Advanced 96k Upsampling.


    About Dolby TrueHD
    Dolby TrueHD is a 100 percent lossless audio coding technology that reproduces movie and music playback in the home that is identical to the studio master. Supporting up to 7.1-channel playback of 96 kHz/24-bit audio on Blu-ray Disc, Dolby TrueHD reproduces powerful special effects and enables you to hear every dialogue track and musical note in rich detail. Listeners are transported right into the middle of the action in a movie, and to the best seat in the house for a concert event.

    About Dolby Laboratories
    Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB) is the global leader in technologies that are essential elements in the best entertainment experiences. Founded in 1965 and best known for high-quality audio and surround sound, Dolby creates innovations that enrich entertainment at the movies, at home, or on the go. For more information about Dolby Laboratories or Dolby technologies, please visit www.dolby.com.
    Dolby and the double-D symbol are registered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. Blu-ray and Blu-ray Disc are trademarks of the Blu-ray Disc Association. Technicolor is a registered trademark of Technicolor Trademark Management SAS. S12/25686 DLB-G
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Both Adam and I have just returned from San Francisco where we both
    spent a considerable amount of time listening to the new 96k upsampled
    technology that Dolby is bringing to the marketplace.

    We will be offering a write-up on our experiences listening to this new
    coding solution over the next few days.

    I just wanted to let you know that this is not "smoke and mirrors" audio
    that is being brought to the Blu-ray format. Both Adam and I had the
    opportunity to carefully listen to samples of film and music presented
    both in 48k and upsampled 96k, and we could hear distinct improvements
    in the audio.

    Additionally, with newly designed tools that Dolby will be offering the
    studios, adding this new codec will be simpler than ever. It is my opinion
    that this 96k technology has the potential of becoming the new standard
    in Blu-ray presentation. After all, Dolby TrueHD offers the best sound
    quality currently available in the marketplace.

    Stay tuned for more information on Dolby TrueHD right here on HTF.
     
  3. Vegas 1

    Vegas 1 Supporting Actor

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    Cool! Looking forward to your writeup.
     
  4. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I take it this is Dolby's way of getting a leg up on DTS? Because currently DTS-HD Master Audio Blu-rays far outnumber Dolby TrueHD Blu-rays. Maybe future releases will swing in the other direction.
     
  5. Adam Gregorich

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    Could be. As part of this they are really improving their tools that the encoders use, so I'm sure that's a big part of it as well. The best thing about it is almost all consumers will get the benefit without needing any HW or equipment upgrades as the improvements are done on the encoding/authoring side. If your DACs can handle 96 (which just about any device than can decode TrueHD can) you are good to go!
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Quote:

    Mark,

    Exactly!

    Here is the reason why this announcement is so important....

    I think Dolby fell behind the curve for the past few years. Their software
    tools were difficult to use, and slowly the studios began favoring DTS
    to the point that it became the dominant sound format for Blu-ray.

    For these past few years, as everyone was wondering what happened
    to Dolby, the company had quietly gone into overdrive to bring forward
    something remarkable that would change the industry.

    They have achieved that with this new 96k technology.

    When we had the opportunity to compare music and video clips from
    standard 48k to the upsampled 96k, the results went from being subtle
    to rather dramatic. For instance, dialogue sounded more pronounced on
    the upsampled version compared to its 48k counterpart. There is far
    less brashness associated with hard-hitting sound effects or clashing
    orchestral highs.

    The great thing here, as Adam explained above, is that Dolby didn't
    opt to put this technology into new audio equipment that you would have
    to pay hundreds of dollars to upgrade. Instead, they incorporated it into
    Blu-ray software that most everyone has the capability of encoding on
    equipment they own already.

    All we need is the studios to widely accept this new technology which
    I think is inevitable. For starters, Dolby isn't charging the studios anything
    extra to license this technology. Secondly, the tools they are making
    available for the studios to encode their discs with the 96k upsampling
    are extremely easy to use. Dolby is essentially giving this technology
    away with simplistic tools in an effort to ensure that every film or concert
    released to Blu-ray sounds better than what the competition has been offering.
     
  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    It's really great to know there won't be a need to upgrade our home audio systems to get the benefits of their new methodology. Looking forward to hearing the first releases to use this.
     
  8. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    What does this mean for those of us who decode in-player and send LPCM to our receivers? Will it require a firmware upgrade, or what?
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Matt,

    We feel in order for consumers to really understand the
    improved audio experience that this technology offers, they
    need to hear it for themselves and then be able to expound
    its virtues to other enthusiasts.

    That is what we are doing here, but really, we need more
    of you to be able to hear the differences for yourselves.

    We are working to hopefully give attendees of our 2012
    October HTF Meet the opportunity to hear 48k and 96k
    TrueHD samples played side-by-side. Perhaps, Matt, you
    may have the opportunity to listen and make some personal
    judgements yourself as to how much better TrueHD can be
    over what you presently are hearing in Blu-ray product.
     
  10. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    It seems you will need decent equipment to hear the difference. I doubt you will hear much of a difference if you have a HTIB as opposed to a higher grade system. This will be akin to the difference between CDs, SACDs and DVD-As. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    In any event, I am looking forward to the improvement.
     
  11. Adam Gregorich

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    Odds are you will need to do nothing as your internal decoder should handle 96k sampling just fine. Just insert the disc and press play. That's the beauty of it from an end user perspective. We don't have to do anything other than hope encoders check that box in the tool to use the upsampling.
     
  12. Adam Gregorich

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    I suppose it wouldn't hurt, but I wouldn't want to say that there is no benefit on a HTiB. In my limited experience with it, the effect varried based on the material, where people were seated, and the individual.
     
  13. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Owner
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    Dolby's engineers were confident you could hear a difference regardless of the gear reproducing things - and that seems to hold true given the nature of the improvement - it's not upsampling per se that improves things, it's the apodising filter that cleans up the attack by reducing pre-ringing.
    I was in the room with Adam and Ron at Dolby - we all heard differences - though occasionally they were subtle, the more sonically dense the material was the more dramatic the difference in sound was - especially when seated in the sweet spot as imaging was improved too.
     
  14. Paul Rossen

    Paul Rossen Supporting Actor

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    It's way too soon for me to consider this a 'Marketing ploy' for there is plenty of room for improvement in Home Theatre and Music sound. That said I'm sure that the most perceived improvements will come from the higher end systems as sound is always system dependent. Doesn't DTS already have a 96k system in place?????? I certainly hear -up to now-a huge difference when listening to either Dolby Digital vs DTS as well as DolbyTruHD vs DTS HD Master Audio. And I certainly hear a huge difference between the Master Audio codecs vs run of the mill DD and DTS. This will be interesting to say the least(especially if one doesn't need to upgrade MultiChannel systems as well as Bluray machines)....
     
  15. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Will there be any way for the end user to know for sure that a disc you are playing has been encoded with this new improvement (other than it being stated as so on the package)? It would seem not, as no change is needed on the user's end, so there won't be any flag that turns on a different light on the receiver or something.
     
  16. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Glenn,

    Since there have been no specifications for this encoding built into existing
    equipment, there is no way for the audio to be flagged and any indication given
    that you are playing TrueHD 96k.

    ...at least this is my understanding (and it makes the most sense).

    For the moment, the packaging will be the only way to know if a disc has
    been encoded with the TrueHD.
     
  17. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Very exciting news! Looking forward to reviews and hopefully some debut titles with the the new rate!!
    Question. How does the new 96k rate with Dolby TrueHD compare with DTS MA? Does this mean that both Dolby TrueHD and DTS MA are now even at 96k?
    Will DTS MA also be making any improvements or changes?
    Selfishly asked as I am really looking forward to the Bond 50 blu ray set, which I believe is using DTS MA.
     
  18. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Osato,

    We don't know DTS' plans. This is something that Dolby is doing that we
    hope will revolutionize the industry. I would assume their plan is to provide
    a new audio format that exceeds and replaces DTS-MA.

    So, presently, the answer is no -- DTS MA is not at 96k. Will they try to
    play catchup? Perhaps. However, it is my belief that Dolby has the perfect
    storm of audio perfection and supportive tools that will make it difficult for
    the studios not to widely adopt this new format for future releases.

    Pretty much, at this point, we are quite excited, but basically sitting on
    the sidelines to see what happens next.
     
  19. moovtune

    moovtune Stunt Coordinator

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    I had assumed the preference for DTS HDM over True HD had more to do with the need for an embedded Dolby Digital element as well for backward compatibility - where as DTS HDM uses the extension to a core DTS for the extra quality. So I don't necessarily see this causing a comeback for True HD over DTS HDM because 96K will take up more disc space and won't there still be a need for a DD element as well, for backward compatibility? hence taking up even more space on the disc.
     
  20. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    It really is refreshing to see a technology advancement that is truly passive* for the end-user/consumer.

    Looking forward to learning more about it, and more importantly, hearing some comparisons.


    * "passive" in the sense that the hardware doesn't need to change... I make no promises regarding the inevitable urge to "upgrade" existing discs to the newer format...
     

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