Playing DTS 6.1 movies without a rear center speaker

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Kevin_M_E, Jan 29, 2004.

  1. Kevin_M_E

    Kevin_M_E Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have a stupid question. I have a Yamaha receiver that can do DTS 6.1 but I never hooked up a rear center speaker. Here is my question... I am going to watch a movie that is DTS-ES 6.1, will it sound bad without the rear center speaker? Should I used DD 5.1 instead?
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes, you should use DD 5.1 instead....

    I do think it can distribute bewteen the two rear speakers, but in practice, I have never liked it when somebody has only 5.1.....


    Find a speaker, hook it up, maybe even barrow one, just to see. I find 6.1 / 7.1 a signifcant improvement myself. others feel there isn't much improvement though.

    With DTS Neo:6, DTS ES/Matrix, DD EX..ect..ect.. Effective 6.1 and 7.1 exists right now even though it is not descreet.
     
  3. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0


    NO!!

    DTS ES(matrix and discrete), along with DD EX, are TOTALLY 100% backwards compatible. As long as your receiver is set such that your rear channel/channels are set to "OFF" or "NO", then you will get a complete 5.1 playback, and will not be missing anything.

    Keep in mind that DTS-ES matrix, and DD EX, are 5.1 ONLY, to which processing is applied to CREATE a 6th channel. With the rear set to off, the sountrack remains in 5.1 as it is on the disc.

    DTS-ES discrete is a tad more complicated, but also provides the complete 5.1 mix for regular DTS decoders that cannot recognize the 6th discrete channel (duplicates of it, in essence).

    Feel free to select any EX/ES matrix, or ES discrete soundtrack, and as long as your receiver is correctly set such that there is no rear center (since you have none) you will be getting all the sounds that are on the disc in full 5.1.
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "NO!!

    DTS ES(matrix and discrete), along with DD EX, are TOTALLY 100% backwards compatible. As long as your receiver is set such that your rear channel/channels are set to "OFF" or "NO", then you will get a complete 5.1 playback, and will not be missing anything.

    Keep in mind that DTS-ES matrix, and DD EX, are 5.1 ONLY, to which processing is applied to CREATE a 6th channel. With the rear set to off, the sountrack remains in 5.1 as it is on the disc.

    DTS-ES discrete is a tad more complicated, but also provides the complete 5.1 mix for regular DTS decoders that cannot recognize the 6th discrete channel (duplicates of it, in essence).

    Feel free to select any EX/ES matrix, or ES discrete soundtrack, and as long as your receiver is correctly set such that there is no rear center (since you have none) you will be getting all the sounds that are on the disc in full 5.1. "


    While I posted that it works, I just personally don't like the way it works in real world practice and posted as such.
    Sort of have the effect of bringing the 2 rears back somewhat to mono, not that is what is happening, but that is the way it comes off to my ears in real world use of it.

    The DD EX part is not near as bad as the DTS-ES part either on this for me. That is why I said go back to the DD 5.1 tracks.
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You misunderstand what is going on:

    EX and ES matrix ARE 5.1 formats. Leaving them 5.1 doesn't "collapse anything to mono" or "lose" or otherwise adversly affect ANYTHING. The same goes for ES discrete.

    The benefits you hear with using a 6.1/7.1 setup can be significant, however using a labeled "5.1" track over one labeled EX or ES is silly, as those ARE 5.1 as well.

    In a well-setup 5.1 system, rear imaging while not as strong as with a 6.1/7.1 setup, should be apparent.
     
  6. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes, since I said go back to the 5.1 I was not really including dd ex. But with DTS 6.1, I don't like it at all without the rear center, or 2 rear channel speakers.

    That is my perception on it, if you do not have 6.1 / 7.1, DTS 6.1 just does not sound right to me. I do understand that there is not really a mono signal being applied to the speakers. But if you play a 6.1 DTS source, on 5.1, you would be surprised at how much content is the same in your 2 back 5.1 speakers.

    Thats my story on it, and so far I am sticking to it.. lol

    In other words, I still say if the DTS offered on the disc is really 6.1, and you only have 5.1, you should use the DD 5.1 and or DD EX track on the disc.

    He should try it, experiement some and come back and tell us what he found with it.
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm saying there should be no difference between the two. Nor would there be anyway.
     
  8. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Not in my experiences. You have been expose to a fair amount of 6.1 and 7.1 setups? Or is this your finding on your own setup? I have even shown owners I convinced to go 6.1 / 7.1 the difference once I have them setup. Maybe it is just the advantage of having a back center and/or dual back speakers. But even if that is the case, the difference is way more pronounced on real DTS 6.1 than DD EX. in having that back center channel -vs- playing real DTS 6.1 without having it. Like I said, it just sounds funny to me.
     
  9. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't argue that going 6.1/7.1 setup isn't superior when done right, it certainly is. However with a 5.1 setup, using a "6.1" track should make no difference since there really is no such thing.
     
  10. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    I agree with Chris. I went back to a 5.1 setup after a year with a 6.1 setup, and while it is not quite as "full" without the extra speaker, surround activity on ES material is still very good (I own quite a few ES movies). It doesn't sound strange to me at all, when the rear center info is folded into the surrounds. As Chris said, no information is lost, but not having the rear center(s) does not make a major difference to me.
     
  11. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0


    I don't mean to keep nitpicking, but the devil of confusion is in the details and word choice in HT. [​IMG]

    The rear center is *NOT* in any way shape or form "folded" into the surrounds. There *IS NO* rear center unless you CREATE it. With a 5.1 system only, everything stays in 5.1. No processing is applied, and you get the full 5.1 soundtrack in its entirety, as it is on the disc. Period.

    --And again, I certainly feel that the added speakers and channel/channels in a "6.1"/"7.1" system is beneficial if done right, but this was not the original question. The original question pertained to how or whether to play an EX/ES track on a 5.1 system. This question embodies the confusion of "6.1" by assuming that there is a 6th channel that could be lost if played back on a 5.1 system. As I explained above, for EX/ES matrix tracks there IS NO 6.1! It is 5.1 on the disc, and stays completely intact in a 5.1 system when it's played back

    ES-discrete is a tad more complicated but the end result is the same: it stays in 5.1 the whole way and nothing is lost or "folded" into anything. There is duplicate information contained in the 5.1 mix, and ALSO in a 6th channel discrete rider. This discrete information is ignored in a 5.1 system, and the 5.1 track is played back in it's entirety. The 5.1 track contains the 6th channel info in the two surrounds for this backwards compatibility. You can simplify this with my paragraph above in essence. ALL the data is contained here in the 5.1 mix, and when left untouched, you get ALL of it played back on a 5.1 system. There is NO "folding" of a 6th channel into the rear surrounds. It *IS CONATAINED* in the rear surrounds.

    I hope that clears things up.

    There may be instances where a partuclar mix may sound better than another, but this is a totally different question than whether or not to play an EX/ES track on a 5.1 system. You can play ANY and ALL EX/ES titles on a 5.1 system and not lose a thing.

    Yet again, the benefits of moving to a 6.1/7.1 setup certainly give you an improvement, which may make 5.1 sound kind of "funny" when you go back to it. This has nothing to do with the fact that a track is in EX/ES.
     
  12. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I can see that Chris, thanks for the additional explanation...


    I think your right, when we have become familure with the 6th channel info on any given disc, I think going back to 5.1 could just sound funny. That is probably it.
     
  13. Kevin_M_E

    Kevin_M_E Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks everyone. I did some testing of my own and I couldn't notice any difference.
     
  14. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John

    I don't think this exactly correct. Yes, the info is contained in the 5.1 mix, however, processing does change how the surrounds are handled. The center is not simply added, the surrounds also receive a slightly different signal. I found this out when an idiot drunk friend damaged my rear center wire and I was getting no information from it with a discrete track - the information for the rear center was actually missing, and was NOT PRESENT in the side surrounds. So while "folding" was probably the wrong way to say that all the information is always present in each type of setup, there IS a difference between the handling of the two in each setup. I noticed it immediately, just like if you were to unplug your main center speaker.
     
  15. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    John:

    It is correct, and your example actually illustrates what I mean. However you are misinterpreting what happened.

    I will use an example of a 5.1 EX-mixed track as an example for simplicity, but the same holds true for an ES-discrete title(and obviously for an ES-matrix title):

    This is a disc with 5.1 channels discretely on the disc. You, with a 6.1 speaker/receiver system, can engage EX processing to create/extract the rear center information that is contained on the two surrounds. This is very much the same way a center channel is created in a pro-logic system. Sounds with the same volume, thus equally in both surrounds (that would image roughly behind you anyway) are *removed* by the processing from the two surrounds, and sent to a rear center speaker(s). When the connection to that speaker was broken, then yes you WOULD lose that information, since it had been removed from the surrounds by engaging EX processing. By disengaging EX processing, you will see that that information is indeed contained in the surrounds, and is not lost at all.

    So, if you have 6.1 capabilities, but NOT a 6th speaker, you should be sure that that rear center is set to "off" or your receiver may attempt to create a channel there, where there is no speaker. This is exactly what happened in your example. The receiver was still creating (in essence rerouting) that audio to a matrixed rear surround, which was non-existant (because of your buddy).

    On your setup, try disconnecting your rear center, then engage, and disengage EX/ES processing, and you will notice that indeed, the information should be present in the surrounds when disengaged (no processing going on) and missing when engaged (because it is being routed to your rear center which is unplugged temporarily).

    There is never a 6th channel that is being "folded" into the regular surrounds by your receiver processing. This is done at the mixing studio, NOT by your system. There are only 5.1 channels on the disc. You do not lose anything by leacing it in 5.1 unless you have your receiver incorrectly routing audio to places where you don't have speakers, which is what happened in your example.

    I hope my explanation was helpful, because it is confusing, but once it *clicks* it makes a lot more sense.

    I could probably explain it better with pictures, but my ms-paint skills are lacking [​IMG] .

    I may draw some pictures later anyway, as bringing DTS-ES discrete into my explanation is a little more difficult if you don't 100% get what's going on in a normal 5.1 EX/ES disc.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think we've moved beyond Basics here. Relocating thread . . .

    M.
     
  17. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I drew a picture, but since I can't upload it, I've been saved the chance of ridicule for my laaaaame paint drawing. [​IMG]

    But I think DTS summarizes what's going on well here:

    http://www.dtsonline.com/home&car/ov...?ID=1026399626

    And I quote:

    Star Wars: Episode I was the first of a number of films using an additional rear channel routed to the array of speakers along the back wall of a cinema. In the cinemas, this center surround channel is not a discrete channel, but is matrixed into the left and right surround channels, much as the center front channel was matrixed into the left and right front channels in earlier matrix optical surround formats. This matrixed center surround channel is embedded in the soundtrack print master, so finds its way into all cinema digital sound formats. DTS uses the name “ES” on its cinema decoder; others call the process “Surround EX”. Either set of letters stands for “Extended Surround.”

    When the film soundtrack is transferred to DVD, the matrixed center surround channel again automatically appears in the 5.1-channel soundtracks on the disc. However, DTS, with its greater bandwidth, is able also to offer a fully discrete center surround channel, which can be recovered by a new generation of decoders. Such soundtracks are fully compatible with existing 5.1-channel DTS decoders; on a 5.1 setup, the center surround channel information would be heard in and between the left and right surround speakers. Thus "ES" is the general term for DTS tracks with a center surround channel, and "ES 6.1 discrete" is the particular case where the center surround channel is discrete.

    Summarizing DTS-ES 6.1-channel capabilities for consumer playback:

    The center surround channel is always matrixed into the LS and RS channels.
    A discrete center surround channel can optionally be encoded as well.
    A DTS-ES 6.1-discrete decoder will play the discrete center surround channel.
    It will also subtract the discrete center surround channel out of the matrixed LS and RS channels, restoring the LS and RS channels as independent.
    Any DTS-ES track, discrete or not, is fully compatible with 6.1-matrix decoders because the matrixed tracks are always present.
    Any DTS-ES track is fully compatible with 5.1 decoders because the center surround channel information is matrixed into the LS and RS channels and will thus be heard in and between the LS and RS speakers.
     
  18. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    And then just so I can use this thread in the future, for completeness I will include a link to an even more in-depth info on what's going on:

    http://www.dtsonline.com/media/uploa...20Overview.pdf

    Dolby doesn't have as thorough an explanation that I could find. However, DTS-ES matrix, and Dolby Digital EX are indentical in their functions. In fact if I recall correctly, DTS pays royalties to Dolby/THX for use of their EX-processing. The only difference is that DD-EX does not support the extension rider for a discrete version of the 6th channel, as does DTS for DTS-ES discrete.

    I think that covers it pretty much for now! [​IMG]
     
  19. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 1999
    Messages:
    1,479
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Since some seem doubtful, let me assure you that Chris is right. If a ES/EX track sounds unusual in a 5.1 setup, it is because of an inherent problem with the soundtrack itself, not because it has 6.1 capability.

    DJ
     
  20. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Chris,
    No illustrations neccesary, your posts where very clear and informative.
    Thank you for the information sir.
    Just one question (or three) though. Isn't information also sent to the center rear in just regular old DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1?
    And if so, is there really a noticable difference in sound if you switch to DTS-EX or DD-EX?
    Seeing how a 6th or 7th channel doesn't really exist, what would the differences be?

    Thanks,
    Brad
     

Share This Page