Is THX Ultra 2 worth the extra cost ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug_Z, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. Doug_Z

    Doug_Z Agent

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    I posted a question a few days ago, in the speaker forum, about a new system I am trying to put together. It was suggested I post different questions in other sections of this forum. So..... My main interest is getting the most out of DVD/TV sound.As a result I am looking at M&K powered speakers connected to pre/pro balanced inputs. Plus a 4 channel amp to run the 4 tripole rears.
    Since Dvd/TV sound(I will save my TV monitor questions for another time) is most important to me at the moment I want a receiver or pre/pro that has DD-Ex; Dts-es (discreet + matrix and THX Ultra 2 post processing. (I will post another question about whether anyone has heard 5.1 software in THX Ultra 2 mode and whether it is actually effective in producing a credible 7.1 sound.)
    I am trying to decide between the B&K 50 or the Anthem av20 with the 2.0 upgrade.If someone has another suggestion in this price range please let me know.I would definitely go with the B&K since it is new but I am a little worried about their customer support and the ability to upgrade.I know new processing circuity is already in the works. I have heard great things about Anthem support and upgrading and bad things about B&K. Have people on this forum had the same experiences? Any other suggestions? I like the Rotel 1066 but no Ultra 2 post processing (5.1 into 7.1)........ Thank you[​IMG]
     
  2. BrentPollard

    BrentPollard Second Unit

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    From what I understand and I may be wrong the THX Select/Ultra designations simply take the THX standards and apply them to larger rooms with Ultra used for very large home theatres. There may be some other differences but I think that the above is the basic diff. [​IMG]
     
  3. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Doug, do a search here. The validity of THX certification has been discussed to no ends. THX Ultra 2 does not in itself make any piece of equipment cost significantly more. You are paying for increased quality of components to meet the Ultra 2 specification, so essentially you are paying for a better piece of equipment, not just a badge.

    A safe assumption to make is that for a particular price range, the THX component will perform right near the top, giving you a guarantee of quality.

    J
     
  4. Doug_Z

    Doug_Z Agent

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    Brent: Thanks for your reply but I'm sure there is Ultra 2 post processing that creates 7.1 channel sound from a 5.1 sources. It's interesting that no one seems to know about this. I posted a question on the Software Forum and asked if anyone had listened to a well recorded 5.1 DVD ,such as Air Force One , in the THX Ultra 2 Cinema mode(THX suggests using 4 dipoles in this mode).I got no answers on that forum. For Ultra 2 Music they suggest monopoles and again sources are matrixed into 7.1 sound.

    In Robert Harley's recent book on Home Theater he writes "THX is a combination of new performance criteria for switching video signals....as well a new signal processing algorithm for creating 7.1 channel playback from 5.1 sources" Since no one I have talked to and no one on this forum seems to know about this new processing I am assuming it doesn't work as well as something like Logic 7 or it's so new no one has tried it. However, it's been out about a year so I can't believe there is no experience,especially on a forum known for it's expertise in HT, with this new 7.1 Cinema mode. Happy Thanksgiving
     
  5. Todd_Petersen

    Todd_Petersen Stunt Coordinator

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  6. Tom Camlioglu

    Tom Camlioglu Stunt Coordinator

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  7. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Happy Thansgiving!

    I have used Ultra 2 with the Pioneer 47 & 49TX. IMO, it does do a better job and more consistently on 5.1 material, as it should, than just a 6.1 receiver with the rear centers on(using my Pioneer 45TX as reference).

    With some movies the 45, which is Select certified, yields good results, but with multi-channel music it throws the rear soundstage off(again as expected).

    DJ
     
  8. Marc_E

    Marc_E Supporting Actor

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    Logic 7 is different in that it makes 7.1 from stereo.

    Ultra 2 has decoding methods that turn 5.1 to 7.1. I have an AVM-20 v2.07 and LOVE it. the 7.1 processing is very cool. For me (purely my opinion) that added flexibility of additional decoding methods is important. I do not universally convert 5.1 to 7.1 because the quality of the outcome is source dependent. I have noticed sometimes a change infidelity of the center channel in Utlra2. Most times I like it.

    Good luck
    Marc
     
  9. Doug_Z

    Doug_Z Agent

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    Thanks Guys especially Todd for the link and David and Tom for their real life experience with this new processing mode. If anyone else has any other experiences let me know. Also are most of you using dipoles/tripoles for the rear in the Ultra 2 Cinema mode. Now back to cooking my Turkey. Thanks.
     
  10. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

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  11. Marc_E

    Marc_E Supporting Actor

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    Direct fire on the sides and dipoles in the rear. I will soon be upgrading to direct fire all around (B&W CDM-SNTs).
    Marc
     
  12. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Tom Camlioglu

    Tom Camlioglu Stunt Coordinator

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    Larry,
    I've reflected on your last post ...
    Where exactly does it say to have the Rear speakers spread "wide" ?
    I own the H/K 8000 (and Anthem AVM20 for that matter) and it doesn't seem to mention in the manual anything like that (possibly due to the 8000's THX Ultra certification precluding from such a mention?) - Or I may have missed that somehow ..
    The 7.1 of Logic7 can indeed start with a "true" stereo signal, however boosting the bass in 40Hz-120 Hz range in addition to "increasing Center Channel intelligibility" in Logic7 Cinema mode, to increasing the "ambience in the rear" hardly can be called a truly "acceptable" STEREO signal.
    Simply put ... (Logic7, like THX modes) is an overlay that introduces "processing" (read "alteration") to the signal.
    What matters most is how the end result "sounds" to the individual and making a preference based on that.
    Tom[​IMG]
     
  14. Doug_Z

    Doug_Z Agent

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    I agree with Tom. I have now listened to the THX Cinema Ultra 2 post processing mode with 5.1 DVD's, with 2 rear and 2 back dipoles. The back speakers were 2.5 feet apart. I have also listen to the same DVD with the same setup in Logic 7 mode with the speakers 8' apart. It was hard to tell the difference. If I had to choose it would probably be the Ultra 2 mode.

    THX claims they have an algorithm which compensates for the close proximity of the 2 rear dipoles in the Ultra 2 cinema mode. It seems to work but I know Lexicon owners (especially ones who have paid 10K for the MC12)refuse to believe this and instead constantly denigrate THX and it's post processsing abilities. I know the Cinema 2 mode only works with 5.1 material and logic 7 works with stereo and surround material...... but with 5.1 material I think Ultra 2 is at least as good as Logic 7.
     
  15. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    That's interesting Larry, but your stereo analogy is apples and oranges compared to the rear soundfield of Ultra 2.

    Remember, we also have two side surrounds, so those go through decorrelation and the rear centers work in concert to(as the theory goes)create a wraparound effect in the rear soundfield. So, for your analogy to work, you would have to include two more speakers spaced farther apart from the original pair spaced close together.

    Actually, it still wouldn't work because I don't think there's any intention for the rear centers to create a stereo rear soundfield. The two different sets of rear speakers go through completely different types of processing based on the type of surround information contained in the soundtrack.

    Granted, it's certainly not your traditional set-up, but with Ultra 2, at least, they figure it will result in not only in a better rear image for movies that will presumably contain alot of dicrete effects and mono surround information, but will also work well with multi-channel music, which was one of the big criticizms of THX Ultra.

    DJ
     
  16. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Stunt Coordinator

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    With regard to my 2-channel stereo analogy I concede to you and the other posters, Doug and David, that it was too over simplified when dealing with a subject that clearly is not that simple. :b
    However, whereas I am also forced to concede that Logic 7's rear surrounds are also not "true" stereo, still I find it counter intuitive to say Ultra 2 (even with its compensation algorithm) can deliver 7.1 channels on playback, when the rear two speakers are only inches apart. [​IMG]
    Thanks for the clarifications, you all made excellent points.
    Larry
     

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