Have DD & DTS decoders advanced over the years

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Chris_Eff, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Chris_Eff

    Chris_Eff Stunt Coordinator

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    The reason I am curious is that I have a few years old receiver (Pioneer Elite VSX-21) and I have enjoyed my movies with it but it always did not seem as good as some of my friends that have been buying newer receivers. Last night I tried using my dvd player to decode (sony dvp-NS775V) sending the signal over my analog inputs and the seperation and clearity seemed much better than decoding with my receiver. I tried a couple movies DD and DTS (AOTC and Mummy UE) and found the player winning both times. However I had to set my front mains to small to get the bass I was looking for.

    So my question is have decoders advanced over the few years or is it that my dvd player probably has newer DACS.

    Any theories or similar stories would be appreciated
     
  2. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    I know the professional encoders and decoders have improved over the years, but I don't know about the consumer decoding algorithms. Processing power has certainly increased, so there might be some gain there.

    I think it's probably a combination of better processors, DACs, and output sections on the newer stuff.

    Good question though. There's a few members floating around who work in that part of the electronics industry, so maybe they can shed a little light on the situation.

    DJ
     
  3. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I have the Sony TAE 9000ES Preamp. It came with the version 1.18 SW. It is now up to 2.5 and each version seemed to lower noise levels and refine the different decoding modes.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    In this case, I'm not sure the "newness" of the DACs has anything to do with it. It is simply that you prefer the sound of the DVD player's DACs. "Better" is a relative term. With my DVD player, I prefer to let my receiver's DACs handle the decoding, while my SACD player's DACs sound much cleaner.

    Not sure if your receiver has decoding for them, but two things you may be missing out on are DD-EX and DTS-ES.
     
  5. Chris_Eff

    Chris_Eff Stunt Coordinator

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    My receiver does not have DD-EX or DTS-ES (or PL II) so that is one reason I would like to upgrade. I still am working on my wife to let me pull it off.

    The reason I brought up the question was that the dvd player did sound cleaner but it was that the panning from left to right and the rear effects that seemed to be coming through more pronounced that really wowed me. It brought back that THIS is why I have a home theater feeling again. Bring on the next movie!

    This made me question what could be the difference because it is still the same receiver powering the speakers and the same player playing the movie. The dvd's speaker levels are all set to 0 so their effect should be minimal. So it seems that the only difference is that the dvd player is using its decoder and DAC's instead of the receiver's

    Thanks for the thoughts guys I appreciate it.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I don't feel PL-II is a huge improvement, but EX and ES are worth it [​IMG] Take a listen to the new Elites, they are quite good.
     
  7. RichardHOS

    RichardHOS Second Unit

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    I've wondered about this too. If I'm not mistaken, there were a couple of DD chips when DD first hit the market. I remember manufacturers specifically naming the chip as if they were using the "better" one. Was that all marketing, in that they were all using the same chip?

    In more general terms, I've wondered if increases in processing power over DSP microprocessor generation and advances in the decoding algorithms has lead to better sound quality for DD/DTS decoding (as opposed to simply adding new features, flexibility, or processing modes). I konw that the quality of perceptual encoding affects the sound quality, and this can often be linked to processing power and storage space, but if the encoding is handled on the front end can the decoder have an impact on the sound quality?

    Interesting question.
     
  8. Tobias Kepner

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    When dts first became available to the consumer (on laserdisc, in '95 I think) Millennium Technologies released one of the first outboard dts decoders. One of its claims to fame in quality sound was 20-bit DACs on the front channels, and the resulting sound was terrifically dynamic and clear. But no onboard bass management. Besides possible improvements in decoding algorithms and improved DACs, much better implementation of BM probably contributes to advances in surround sound performance. That and ball bearings. It's all ball bearings nowadays.
     
  9. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Run another sweep with an spl meter and a calibration disc and make certain levels are matched between the two comparisons (a friend of mine's Denon AVR 95 had to be turned down -5 db on the main volume comparded from his Toshiba's decoder level as it's pre-outs were a little hot). The difference could be that when your volume on your AVR at ref levels for it's internal decoding might be a little hot when left at this same volume using the DVD player's decoder.
     
  10. Marty Neudel

    Marty Neudel Stunt Coordinator

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    Tobias mentions the early DTS decoders. DTS Labs expounded on the flexibility of their codec to allow future expansion without the need to upgrade your equipment. Two or three years later, when DTS introduced its schema for DVD, the older decoders were unable to handle the new software.

    Just an interesting note in recent history.

    Marty
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  12. Tobias Kepner

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    Marty, you are right about the problems with the early decoders and dvd. I believe the codec was fine, it was the chip implementation that choked on the dvd bitstream.
     

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