Cinema Studio Ex

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by David Payne, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. David Payne

    David Payne Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello everyone. I know this subject has probably been discussed here before, but I'm new to this forum (and Cinema Studio Ex). First of all, I'm a little confused at how to use it, since I'm not sure how I'm supposed to switch between Cinema Studio Ex and AFD mode. Sony told me via e-mail that the Cinema Studio Ex mode can't be switched off, implying that I have to use it all the time whether I want to or not, which seems stupid. Secondly, is it worth using the setting at all, and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each Studio Ex mode? (especially A since the manual just says "suitable for almost any movie"). Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Doug McBride

    Doug McBride Auditioning

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    David - I believe Sony is incorrect in saying it can't be switched off. When in AFD (auto decode, etc.) there are no sound fields active and it should just decode Dolby/DTS.

    As far as whether to use it or not, try them out and see - let your ears be the judge. They are just another set of DSP modes that are proprietary to Sony, much like other manufacturers have in their lineups. I used to use them a lot (A for almost everything but blow-em-up stuff, B for them, and C hardly ever) and now hardly at all, primarily to hear the material as the director/sound designer wanted it to be heard.

    Short of wanting to hear the original material without additional processing, I found them to be pretty good. Definitely provides a more complete and enveloping soundfield (which is what they are for) and did not add any objectionable effects that hit my ears anyway.

    Play around and have some fun. Double check your manual, but I think you'll find that AFD does not engage any soundfield unless your model allows for it, which would also allows for shutting them off.

    Enjoy,

    Doug
     
  3. David Payne

    David Payne Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks. I had a play around with it and it does seem that pressing the AFD button overrides the Cinema Studio Ex modes. The manual isn't clear about this, and it looks like the customer service people at Sony aren't sure about it either!

    I'll try out some of the different settings and see what I think. But, I've noticed some people say it has an affect the actual sound of the signal, such as the use of the LFE channel, rather than just affecting the surround affect. Have you noticed this?
     
  4. Doug McBride

    Doug McBride Auditioning

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    Hi David - I never noticed the LFE effect you mention, but I'm sure it is possible. The one thing I did notice - because I left it on once by accident when calibrating with Avia - is that it does move sound from one channel to another. As I recall, it would take some of the sound from the mains and put it to the surrounds which I'm sure is related to the "more enveloping soundfield" effect I mentioned before. I also found these soundfields to help when I was using smaller, less capable speakers than I have today. Maybe that's why I have been using it less and less over time as I've upgraded my HT system.

    I think the various DSP modes from any manufacturer are a matter of taste. It's kind of fun that they are there to play with, and if you like them that's great. Probably for some material that is primarily 2 channel, the Sony Cinema modes do a good job of spreading it out and adding some depth. For better mastered material, I think they take away from what the director intended to a certain extent.

    Every once in a while I'll play with other DSP modes like Hall, Church, Stadium, Club, etc., but any more I seem to keep going back to using just what comes off the disc for DVDs, and use Dolby PLII or DTS Neo which don't have as much processing as the Sony modes for 2 channel stuff. Personally I'm glad they are there if I want them, and also that they can be shut off if I don't.

    FYI - a very Sony-focused forum exists if you are not aware over at agoraquest.com which has a receiver sub-forum loaded with very knowledgeable folks. Check it out if you are interested.

    Enjoy,

    Doug
     

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