What does each audio type on DVDs mean?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by StephenA, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2001
    Messages:
    1,512
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What does DTS, Dolby Digital, mono, etc mean? Also, what makes them so different that some people prefer one over the others? Sorry to sound stupid, but I don't really know much about the audio types. I don't have the greatest audio setup so I'm not sure I could tell the difference now, but I hope to have a better one someday.
     
  2. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,160
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Here goes:

    DTS = Digital Theater Sound; at least 5.1 channels consisting of right front, center, left front, rear right, rear left, subwoofer. Less signal compression than Dolby Digital 5.1. Rears are also known as "surround" channels/speakers.

    Dolby Digital 5.1 = Same channels as DTS. More audio signal compression than DTS.

    Dolby Digital Mono = One channel usually played in the center speaker on a 5.1 system.

    Both DTS and Dolby Digital now offer up to 6.1 channels in the EX versions; the 6.1 systems add an additional channel to the rear surround speakers, usually a center surround channel.

    Some people say that DTS has superior sound reproduction over DD. However, it is usually the way the sound track is mixed that makes the difference. I have heard DTS sound tracks that are awesome and some so so. Same with Dolby Digital.
     
  3. Chad A Wright

    Chad A Wright Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Dolby Digital and DTS are both for 5.1 setups. Meaning a set up with Front left right and center channels, rear left and right channels, and a Subwoofer. Each speaker will kick out it's part of the soundtrack to give the impression of being surrounded by the sound.

    Mono means it the same sound comes out of both front speakers.
     
  4. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,264
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This would be a better thread in the Home Theater Basics forum...

    But, anyways, heres my understanding:


    Dolby Mono: Only plays through the center speaker. There is no panning, no real virtual sound. The very basic of audio.

    Dolby Surround (2.0): Plays through the left, right, center and subwoofer channel. Most TV shows on cable have this. You will hear some surround sound occasionally.

    Dolby Pro Logic: Now the name may be wrong, because I'm an idiot when it comes to the names of things. This creates a "fake" virtual surround using your left, right, and center speakers, and occasionally your surround speakers. Used in many Gamecube games.

    Dolby Surround 5.1: Standard on almost all movie releases on DVD. Uses all of your speakers (5) and your subwoofer (.1). The EX version adds a track for your rear speaker, if you have one. Some amazing tracks using this are Terminator 3 and Star Wars Ep. 2.

    DTS 5.1: Almost the same as the Dolby Surround 5.1, but depending on who you ask, much cleaner and better sounding. Think of it as an alternative to the Dolby Surround track if its not sounding as good as you want.



    Im somewhat new also, so Im not 100% on the names and tech stuff. EDIT: looks like some people beat me to the thread!
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 1999
    Messages:
    6,499
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There is a document called the FAQ and PRIMER for this forum (a link is in my sig) that might help you.

    -V
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  7. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2001
    Messages:
    1,512
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ok, thanks everyone. Someday I'll know most of this stuff. Coming here the last couple years has taught me alot already. Glad I found this place, or I'd be lost concerning movies and DVDs.
     
  8. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 23, 2003
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Windermere, FL
    Real Name:
    Jeff
    If you want to know more, you should get the Digital Bits' book...they give good explanations of these in there...
     
  9. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Most of the explanations previous were good, although there are a few quibbles I'd like to correct/clarify:

    What confuses people, is that Dolby Digital is a compression system, which *can* support up to 5.1 discrete channels of audio. That is, it can be ANY combination of 5 main channels and an LFE track (.1), be it stereo, mono, 3 across the front, full blown 5.1, stereo with some LFE, whatever.

    The same holds true for DTS, although DTS is a tad more complicated. DTS is a competing compression format, and the arguments between DD and DTS are endless, and go beyond the scope of this thread. DTS can also support up to and including 5.1 discrete channels. The caveat, is that DTS-ES discrete can ALSO support a discrete 6th main channel, for 6.1. (keep in mind DD does not support discrete 6.1, but a matrixed variety, called DD-EX, which also matches DTS-ES matrix)

    Pro Logic (and now PLII) are processing formats that are applied to ANY stereo source you want. That is, any stereo input, whether it be the radio, a VHS tape, TV, CD, or stereo tracks that are encoded in Dolby Digital on a stereo DVD, can be processed to create (or extract) channels from those sources. These channels are not discrete, and while MANY movies have been mixed with this processing in mind, many things, such as music have NOT, and while you CAN apply PL (or any of the other matrixed surround systems) your results may be mixed.

    To clarify also, David used some confusing/misleading terminology, which gets the point across, but because these things are so confusing, you should take care to denote the differences.

    Dolby Surround is the old version of Pro Logic, today these things are pretty much interchangeable lingo. That is, these are stereo tracks, to which Dolby Surround/Pro Logic processing will be applied to create a matrixed surround sound.

    It is VERY misleading to call DD, "Dolby Surround 5.1." No such thing exists, the correct terminology should be Dolby Digital 5.1. The differences between discrete DD5.1 and Dolby Surround are profound.

    Just remember, that regardless of the number of tracks, 1, 2, 2.1, 3, 5.1, whatever, it can still be called Dolby Digital if that's the audio format being used on a DVD, or other media.



    To be 100% clear, this passage should read that DTS is an alternative to Dolby DIGITAL, NOT Dolby Surround, which as I explained, is matrixed processing and totally different.

    The FAQ also provides this information, and I also believe that the FAQ has it correct. A long while back it got the discrete versus matrix 6.1 wrong, but it's been fixed.

    Hope that's clear, as these subtle (and yes VERY confusing) things can really get people confused.
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

Share This Page