Sound set-up? DTS or 5.1 or what?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Gordon Groff, Apr 20, 2003.

  1. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Is there a primer on-line somewhere or maybe one of you guys can answer for me about the different audio modes and how the receiver works with them.

    I've got a new, pretty cool system that I'm trying to use and when I put a movie in the DVD player, it sometimes offers me choices that I don't understand. For example, Shrek offered "Dolby DTS" or "Dolby 5.1" I understand 5.1, but what's DTS? I've got a 7.1 (I know it's only derived from 6.1) Denon 3803 system driving a full set of Rocket speakers and I don't know which one to select. We watched the whole movie on the "DTS" setting, then I went back and checked out a few scenes on 5.1 and it seemed better- more sound from the surround speakers.

    Since I think the Denon can decode most of what's out there, could someone list the different audio encoding schemes in desending quality order or point me to such a listing? Where's "Logic" fit into this?

    Thanks!
    Gordon
    Newbie with too many options
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  3. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Thanks, Michael!
    I vaguely remember scanning these when I first started my HT search back in December. Very cool.

    Gordon
     
  4. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    I learned something last night. I think.[​IMG]

    I've been using the prelude to LOR (you know the scene where the fingers and ring get cut off and everything is going Ka-Boom!) as a demo for folks coming to see my HT. The first time I demoed it for my daughter, it was SHOCK and AWE!!

    The next time, it was cool, but not quite the impact.

    Third time, it blew us out of the room and my poor SVS Ultra sub bottomed out repeatedly with loud "clacks" as I kept dialing the volume down. [​IMG] But Boy-Oh-Boy, can those Rockets TAKE it!!! [​IMG]

    Anyway, last night I figured out what was going on. LOR setup has the option of 6.1 DTS or Dolby Digital 5.1. I was mixing them up. I had assumed that anything 6.1 would be better on my 7.1 setup than anything 5.1, so when I did it "right", I selected DTS 6.1. 6.1 DTS was cool, but had a MUCH lower overall level and much less sub "impact". The surround was not as evident either. I had cranked the volume and sub level on DTS 6.1 to try to get the Shock and Awe experience back that I had somehow lost. On my third demo, I had inadvertantly set it for Dolby Digital 5.1 with those higher levels. Whoa.... I think my friends are still friends, but they don't trust me at the controls any more.:b

    Last night, I went between the two setup modes and dialed it in for Dolby Digital 5.1. It's BACK!!! SHOCK and AWE at it's most AWESOME!!! The sound comes ALIVE from all 7.1 speakers with DD 5.1. I don't know if this is unique to LOR, my receiver (Denon 3803 w/auto select that toggled between Cinema 6.1 and Dolby Digital EX when I toggled the source), or what, but in this instance DD 5.1 KILLED DTS 6.1.

    Gordon
    The Groff Home Theater
     
  5. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    Gordon, that's one sweet theater you got. Based on you questions and results it appears you were just stepping into HT. However your results appear to be a body slam into HT.
     
  6. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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  7. JimmyK

    JimmyK Second Unit

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  8. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    "I've found it really depends on the mix. On some titles the DTS mix sounds better than the DD mix, and on others the DD mix sounds better.

    Best thing to do is try both to see what you prefer. "

    Thanks, JimmyK! Sage advice!! I was hoping on a "one size fits all" solution, so I can simply slap a DVD in the player and hit "go" for movie night w/out a lot of setup trials to dial it in.

    I am going to do some more experimenting tonight with the LOR prelude. I have my mains set to "large" and LFE set to ".lfe + mains". (I LOVE the "slamming" bass of the Rocket 750's and my ear so far has liked this setup) There is a chance that DTS does not do well with this, but DD 5.1 does. My Denon auto-select mode for the DTS signal may be doing something wrong too. I really don't know, but there are some DTS advocates out there who question my findings on this, so I want to check it out more carefully. I am picking my way through this particular issue and appreciate your input.

    Thanks!
     
  9. JakeMcM

    JakeMcM Stunt Coordinator

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    I prefer the DTS of LOTR, I think it just depends
     
  10. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    Hi guys. I think I found my problem. I spent some time with it last night, playing the LOR prelude and taking dB readings at two defined points.

    Dolby Digital 5.1 - 97 dB and 108 dB
    DTS - 80 dB and 85 dB

    Whoa, BIG difference!! 17dB is HUGE!! No wonder I blew the room out when I had it set for that and accidently played DD5.1. :b

    I found out why. It turns out that my Denon 3803 is not "seeing" the DTS 6.1 signal! When I play w/DTS, the receiver goes to either "DTS Neo 6" or "PLII C", which are both simulated surround modes for 2 channel sources!! No wonder it sounded whimpy!!

    I've just to figure out how to fix it now. [​IMG]

    Likely suspects:
    1. My Panasonic DVD RP-82 is not sending DTS correctly.
    2. A bad DVD.
    3. Something wrong in my Denon 3803 reciever.
    4. Bad hookup (what can be wrong with one RCA digital audio cable???)

    Thanks!
    Gordon
     
  11. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    have you gone threw your set up menu on you dvd player? Some players have the DTS output or pcm turned off. My first dvd player that was a Panasonic. I had to go into the menu and turn on the dts output. At first I tought I had defective dvd's but it was the dvd setup. I personally find DTS to have better sound on most soundtracks. I have LOTR in DTS and it rocks. I have a pair of Altec Lancing Voice of the Theater cabnets that I am refinishing and recovering the grills. DTS sounds very good on these speakers.

    I would check your Panasonic's setting it might be the pcm setting or just changing the DTS out in order for it to work properly? Let us know if you get it fixed?
     
  12. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    That's IT, Dave! I just went into setup (for the first time:b ) and turned DTS to bitstream instead of PCM. It works now!!

    Gordon
     
  13. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    hopefully you will have a better experience with DTS now [​IMG] . Let us know how your DTS playback is now, you should get more detail and should like DTS more. Let us know how it sounds?
     
  14. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    DTS vs. DD5.1

     
  15. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    Gordon,

    Glad to hear everything worked out [​IMG]
     

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