DTS 5.1 vs dolby digital 5.1 vs 24/192 master in pro tools

Discussion in 'DVD' started by lakshmant, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. lakshmant

    lakshmant Agent

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    FIRST OF ALL THIS IS NOT ANOTHER DD VS DTS THREAD ONLY OBSERVATIONS..

    i was waiting to post this till i did my evaluations on the matter.

    i had to chance to visit a local DTS mixing stage and watch 3 films being mixed for 5.1 surround sound at 24 bit 192 khz in pro tools.


    It sounded phenomenal to say the least on the mixing stage.Now these same movies were released on DVD with DD and DTS on one disc .I went to the DVD authoring facility also no sweetening or any modification other than adjusting the tracks for DVD as against a theatrical mix was done ,which is done on all DVD's. DTS sounded very very close to the original master tape also the same master was used for DD and DTS. At 768 kbps there was only a slight drop in the high freq response as compared to pro tools made 24bit /192 master tape which we could A/B and some variation in the WAY the bass was playing,in the sense that it was very slightly lacking in definition at lower freq below 30 hz compared to the master and some very subtle nuances heard on the DTS mix theater at that freq were lost ,i mention very subtle nuances which one may never hear in a normal consumer setup at all other than that the mix was spot on in DTS on DVD and held up very well to the uncompressed master tape in quality even at 768 kbps.
    What most impressed me was a seamless sound field achieved and DTS duplicated the surround vectors exactly like on the stage . Now on to dolby 5.1 at 448 kbps.the bass was punchy to start with and lacked the subtle variations in texture in songs back ground score NOT effects as these are not a good way to test bass Imho which DTS played out it in much more coherent and well refined manner low bass was there but what was missing were little details in the bass and it sounded like a viel was on the subwoofer masking the detail.Also the high frequency detail seemed to be greatly reduced and again as if somebody put something between you and the speaker may a cloth viel or something masking the HF part. It is the quality of the 24 bit tapes that we here so much resolution even in dolby .also the sound seemed to jump slightly between surround and front channels and not pan very smoothly enveloping the listener within the surround vectors atleast like DTS or the master tape.

    This dolby comparison is to the original 24 bit tape.I am not saying dolby is bad it has it limitations and does not really put out everything the master tape does contains at a bitrate of 448 kbps IMHO

    I got the DVD's home and same result with DD and DTS ,i have a THX home theater set up to 75 db spl c weighted with DVE with fronts at 45 degrees and i followed the AES multichannel studio guidelines document for speaker positioning and calibration.

    this is not a DTS vs dolby war but my notes on quality issues...imho
     
  2. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure what to think of your comparison. Was there a blind test involved where you didn't know what format was being played back?

    At home, did you adjust playback levels for dialog normalization if applicable?



    Can you elaborate on this? You state no modification was done to the audio, but the tracks were "adjusted" nonetheless.

    Also, what is a "surround vector?"
     
  3. lakshmant

    lakshmant Agent

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    ok
    first point as i mentioned in my post i used a THX unit at home for listening and it compensates the +4db dialnorm diff between DD and DTS the dial norm on DD is normally -27dbfs

    Now secondly it was not a double blind entirely,but there is very little influence of the so called placebo effect,as i have been in the audio pro line for quite some time now and also i do not believe in it(placebo effect).i believe what i am hearing and hearing if trained subjectively can be made to listen for imperfections keeping aside differences in formats or its psychological effects.Having done pre mastering on DAT audio CD etc we have had many comparisons between them and there what counts is a objective judgment as to what is better as it determines a go ahead for mastering or not,which can make or break a deal for a CD company at times.

    surround vectors are commonly also known as the 5 channels as the give the impression of depth distance and amplitude of a sound and gives a three dimensional represntation of audio in a surround sound envoirment.


    this level adjustment is done to all DVD ,it was not done to laser disc therefore you had the theatrical mix on many LD which was very loud and was not compensated for the home environment which was enjoyed by many though.if you played a theatrical far field mix at home in a near field environment ,it would be almost unbearable to listen to therefore the center and surrounds are dropped by 3 db in both DTS and DD

    i will post some more on this later.

    you may use winDVD to check this out or any other DVD software.
    this is what micasa studios and so many other studios do for DVD like LOTR series.they dont remix they re adjust for a smaller room the mix sounds the same.


    you may kindly post any more quries which i would try and answer.
     
  4. lakshmant

    lakshmant Agent

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  5. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

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    Lakshmant,
    thank you for you informative insight into the DVD production process. It is nice to get professional input like yours.

    Are you sure, the center is dropped on dvd? I always have the impression that the center plays rather more prominent on DVD than on LD. i.e. I suspected that the effects are reduced on the DVD mix.
     
  6. Mark Lucas

    Mark Lucas Second Unit

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    Of course going from uncompressed 24-bit 192khz to extremely lossy AC3 or DTS is going to suck something out of the sound. Things like phantom imaging and subtle low end is probably the first thing to get lost. Hopefully with the HD formats we'll get fairly transparant sound tracks.

    So when a film's soundtrack is remixed for the home environment how does that mix sound in a big theater?
     
  7. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    lakshmant,

    Your impressions very much match my own in terms of the typical differences between DTS/DD presentation on DVD when the same master was used for both.

    But there's a bigger problem that's contstantly ignored...or even defended by the industry:
    I think it is WRONG that the audio engineering community has decided that everything needs to be re-balanced for home-theater. The very BEST SOUNDING home-video mixes on laserdisc (whether DTS or AC-3) were the ones that were unmodified from the theatrical mix. Think Jurrasic Park DTS, Casper DTS, and Phantom Menace AC-3.

    Every one of those same titles sounds "good, but not great" on DVD because the DVD mastering guys have got this misconception that things need to be rebalanced for our home-theaters.

    Now...allow me to say one more thing:

    The differences betten DTS and DD on DVD are MOOT. HD media is just about here which will offer hi-resolution lossless encoding. From that point on, the ONLY thing we really have to worry about is this misguided notion that home-video soundtracks need to be rebalanced.

    yet that's precisely the problem which continues to go un-discussed in all of these threads...

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    DaViD - Excellent point! Give us the goods.

    E
     
  9. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Star Trek - Generations on DVD sounds postively wimpy compared to the awesome Dolby Digital LD.
     
  10. Mark Lucas

    Mark Lucas Second Unit

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    I agree, David. Those DTS laserdiscs were awesome and didn't need to be rebalanced, remixed, or basically modified. They were just right the first time.

    GIVE US THE THEATRICAL MIXES!
     
  11. Marti D.

    Marti D. Extra

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    Marti D. replies:
    lakshmant,
    Where are you located? Where is there a "DTS Mixing Stage" and where are they mixing Movies in Pro Tools at 192? It isn't done!!! I know, I have a Pro Tools Mix Stage (The Dub Stage) and you can't mix a movie at 192! Please let me know where this was and who was mixing it!! You may of had a Print Master tracks recorded at 192, but there original source wasn't all 192.
     
  12. Marti D.

    Marti D. Extra

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    David,
    I agree with you. Nearly EVERY DVD Mastering guy has never ever mixed a Movie in his lifetime. People in mastering are remixing Movies the way "They" think they should sound. They are trying to be creative. How do they know how the movie was supposed to have sounded? There is a market that was created by some Music Mixers who saw there days of mixing dwindling and now they become Movie Sound Masters. They talk about poorly synced movies. Are you telling me they are calling sync? I bet half the time they couldn't tell you which line is Production and which line is ADR!!Absolute crap!
    There is only one person who should do any remixing of the Movie and that is the Re-Recording Mixer who mixed it!!!
     
  13. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Yes, the original DVD release did. However it sounded a bit smoother, less "compressed" than the LD version.

    The newer SE uses the original elements as the LD mix (remixed for EX) and sounds AWESOME in either Dolby or DTS.
     
  14. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Marti, I agree. This doesn't sound kosher. All I hear is DTS this and DTS that...and "BTW: the Dolby wasn't as good".

    DaViD..."Casper" and "JP" LD DTS are titles that were not mastered properly for home playback, the surround channels -3dB and LFE -10dB weren't made. They literally have too much surround and bass. DTS was taken to task on this and corrected subsequent releases. This isn't a "home remix" issue, it's transferring the sound at the proper levels to take off the BOOST given by the theatrical mixers, which has been done since the beginning on all home theater soundtracks.
     
  15. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    There tends to be ***much more*** than level reduction in the rears as far as this trend of "rebalancing for home-theater" is concerned (even if that's all that's supposed to happen). That is apparent because...

    If that was the case...just raising the rear levels or bass in your home playback would sound just like the DTS laser...which it does NOT on dvd.

    What about that Phantom Meance AC-3 laser? It has "slam" and dynamics that the DVD...with an even higher DD bit-rate...can't even stratch the surface of.

    Is that just another case of "reducing rear levels by 3db?"???

    PeterTHX,

    Doesn't it strike you as ironic that those "unbalanced" DTS laserdiscs...the ones you just told me weren't done "right" for home-video bcs they were unmodified, are the very laserdisc soundtracks that audio fan after audio fan cites as his REFERENCE material for "the best sounding DTS soundtracks"???
     
  16. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    No, for the same reason people pimp out their cars with gigantic subwoofers. "Bigger & boomier" is considered "better" and the words "accurate to the filmmaker's intent" isn't EVER cited in those reviews.
     
  17. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    I'd love to see the above magic words more often in threads like these myself.
     
  18. Philip Morello

    Philip Morello Auditioning

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    Do a search for "Bjoern's Place" and look for the comaprison of the LD and DVD of TPM.
    Can't post a link yet.
     
  19. Mark Lucas

    Mark Lucas Second Unit

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    It is all about the filmmaker's intent and i'm pretty sure Speilberg wanted the T-rex to shake the house when he entered.
     
  20. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    Peter hits the nail on the head. Leaving today's 5.1 film soundtracks in their original 85/82 mix levels will result in an unbalanced sound field, leaning toward the rear. While some may find boosted surrounds more desirable, they're better off mis-calibrating their own 5.1 set-ups while having the actual DVD audio to spec.

    This theatrical mixing practice has been in place for a number of years and was already hotly debated on usernet in the late 1990's.

    Surround attenuation aside, some 5.1 laserdiscs (DD and/or DTS) DO have a better dynamic range. Some don't. Many are the same. Like the Dolby Digital / DTS level differences that can cause so many to hear perceived differences in a given mix, this also applies to some of the 5.1 LDs to their 5.1 DVD counterparts. Phillip suggested an excellent link as a great example, using everyone's favorite Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Laserdisc edition - The Phantom Menace. http://www.videophile.info/Graphs/TPM/TPM_01.htm

    Note that many of Bjoern's comparisons are a couple of years old, so his assessment of the Jurassic Park mixes do not include the repressed DTS DVD, nor the original long OOP DTS laserdisc version.
     

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