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Sound set-up? DTS or 5.1 or what? (1 Viewer)

Gordon Groff

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 27, 2002
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275
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
 

Gordon Groff

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 27, 2002
Messages
275
Thanks, Michael!
I vaguely remember scanning these when I first started my HT search back in December. Very cool.

Gordon
 

Gordon Groff

Second Unit
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Nov 27, 2002
Messages
275
I learned something last night. I think.:)

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. :frowning: But Boy-Oh-Boy, can those Rockets TAKE it!!! :D

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
 

Jerome Grate

Senior HTF Member
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May 23, 1999
Messages
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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.
 

Gordon Groff

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 27, 2002
Messages
275
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.
Thanks Jerome! Yes. As you correctly inferred from my newbie-esque questions, this is my first forray into HT. All I know is from poking around the Forums since December and I VERY much appreciate the expertise folks are willing to share! I bought everything sight-unseen based largely on Forum reports (sprinkled liberally with doses of salt). I just last week turned it on for the first time and am learning my way through it. I find this DTS vs. Dolby Digital interesting. It looks like DD beats DTS. Not sure why.

When I decided to build, I figured to go to the highest mid-range system I could afford to avoid the costs associated with continual upgrades. I've got to say that I believe the system I put together represents the greatest value possible in it's price range. I'm thrilled. I am a TRUE Rocket believer now and the Denon 3803 and SVS Ultra are all I had hoped they would be. I like your phrase "body slam into HT". Yeah, man!! :D Now all I've got to do is pay for it all. :b

You've got some great compontents in your HT too, Jerome! I notice you're running through a mixer board. I considered that at one point. I also like your homebuilt sub. I considered that as well. I think anyone willing to build their own sub can get the better results for their money than buying one. Very cool.

gordon
 

JimmyK

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Joined
Jun 21, 2002
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479
Real Name
Jim
I find this DTS vs. Dolby Digital interesting. It looks like DD beats DTS. Not sure why.
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.

Enjoy!

JimmyK
 

Gordon Groff

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 27, 2002
Messages
275
"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!
 

Gordon Groff

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 27, 2002
Messages
275
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. :)

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
 

Dave Moritz

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Jul 7, 2001
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Dave Moritz
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?
 

Gordon Groff

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 27, 2002
Messages
275
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
 

Dave Moritz

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Location
California
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Dave Moritz
hopefully you will have a better experience with DTS now :D . 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?
 

Gordon Groff

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 27, 2002
Messages
275
DTS vs. DD5.1

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?
Hi Dave! It was interesting.

I found the DTS descrete to have better surround sound details. Very cool.

Levels taken at the two spots I used earlier were roughly the same.

I liked the .lfe on the DD.5.1 better, though. On DTS, it was more boomy and pervasive. I dialed down my sub a lot.

On DD 5.1, it was just as loud when it was supposed to be, but not as annoying in other places. I could run my sub hotter w/o a lot of excess rumbling in various scenes.

I don't believe this is a characteristic of DTS vs. DD5.1, just my experience in my room with my sub on this particular DVD. I expect that different mixing engineers do the DD and the DTS, so I would be surprised if there were NOT stylistic differences between the tracks.

I did like the better surround detail enough to keep it on DTS for the rest of the movie! :D

Gordon
 

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