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Forcing DTS output in all PS3 games. Good idea?

Discussion in 'PS3 Forum' started by Staticks, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Marv

    Marv Member

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    Since upgrading from a non HD 5.1 Sony amp to a to a HD Onokyo amp all my games output as Multichannel PCM which i assume is better than Dolby and DTS outputs in games since PS3 games dont feature DD HD and DTS Master and PCM is an uncompressed format.

    That said i would like the option to output my games in dts or dd.
  2. Barry_

    Barry_ Active Member

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    No different - just one way the PS3 codes and the other the amp decodes - results are the same
  3. manonline

    manonline Member

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    I see this confusion all over the place... Generally, for games, you DO NOT want the PS3 converting game sound to DTS or DD encodings of any flavour, stick with LPCM over HDMI !! I say generally as it all depends on your AV amps capabilities (more on that later). The reason is simple, the original sound affect 'gun shot' or music score etc are not pre-encoded DTS or DD files like you get on a blueray movie. They are real time affects, each sound affect or stereo music score may be stored on the games disk as a high quality WAV FLAC or ACC file, they are then processed by the game and PS3 DSP into a multi channel sound stream. You now have two choices, taking the raw output of its DSP, transcode this to PCM format which does not compress the data, then allow the PS3 to pass each channel directly to your AV over HDMI, OR have the PS3 take that raw original data, pass it on to the "DTS Direct" or "Dolby Digital Live" real-time encoder, which will then compress the audio into a lossy sound format then encode it into a DTS or DD stream then pass that on to your AV amp for it to then de-encode and uncompress then play. As for asking the PS3 to take raw game data and encode to the best of the respective encoding flavours, DTS HD MA OR Dolby TrueHD, what would be the point as the decoded PCM sound should be 1:1 equivalent to originating PCM audio data, bit for bit, so encoding to DTS HD MA and Dolby TrueHD would represent a redundant thus unnecessary step, a waste of processing power.

    It does not take a rocket scientist to chose the best quality option out of these two when you put it like that does it, clearly uncompressed and lossless LPCM is the way to go if your AV amp treats it right (as i say more in a moment).

    I cannot speak for the algorithm that Sony use to chose between the many output types a detected device supports, but I would like to think when you chose automatic and the PS3 detects LPCM 5.1 / 7.1 etc, it opts to send data in that format first if it can, before resorting to compressing by DTS or DD real time encoding, when it comes to games, however the PS3 does not truly know your AV amp only that it supports a given stream type, an AV may have various caveats and criteria that mean that certain streams are preferred over others, the PS3 is not to know this, so this is where reading the manual is critical in understanding and then limiting the PS3 to appropriate stream types comes in. Dont let the PS3 guess what's best, you will need to do the work for the best result.
    , this is why the PS3 provides the optional customisation to its output range, it starts out aiming for best compatibility not best sound quality. From Sony's persepctive, it just wants the PS3 to work for you and provide sound, it up to you to fine tune.

    So why put DD or DTS on a game cover, why would anyone chose to use it? Well, marketing is one factor for sure, but marketing aside, Dolby digital could also mean it was mastered using Dolby technology, and have nothing to do with encodings. But before HDMI was available, sending each channel of a 5.1 or 7.1 source, as a raw uncompressed super HQ audio stream (LPCM) from one device to another was impossible in commercial grade equipment, both optical and SPDIF standards did not have the bandwidth HDMI enjoys today.
    The various flavours of Dolby Digital or DTS were the only viable method of providing widespread surround sound ability / availability. There are many home systems that still require optical connections with no HDMI option, for these people, its the only way they will get true surround sound, albeit compressed. So if a game supports the PS3 encoding to one of these formats, then all the better for legacy systems.

    However, DTS or Dolby formats are still desirable for movies, whether it be DVD disk or blueray disk, regardless of which format, if not for the benefit of equipment compatibility for old systems, both formats and there respective flavours can at least offer space reduction, even their respective lossless flavours, DTS HD MA and Dolby TrueHD. More space on disk means more content, more bonus features etc, not to mention Dolby and DTS are in business after all, so its not as if there going to wish to make themselves redundant either, now synonymous with the perception of high quality sound (even though nither have anything to do with the quality perse, more distribution therof), they are buzzwords which help sell electronics.

    It's worth noting that the PS3 differentiates blueray movies form games and other audio files, depending on how you have set the movie streaming option in the video setting category in the PS3 settings menu.
    If you set it to Bitstream(direct), it will always send the Movies sound track direct from the disk to the AV, if you chose PCM then it will decode (and decompress) and send all channels to the AV via LPCM saving the AV the job, end result should be the same regardless (again depends on your AV amp). Forget Bitstream(mix) unless you plan to always use DTS HD MA and Dolby TrueHD disks, as it results in double encode-decode steps to mix PS3 audio affects into the sent sound which i have never seen the need to do any ways, with lossy encoding, this would result in a drop in quality due to 'Generational degradation'. Avoid.

    This brings me to the AV Amp and why some people get perceptually better sound by avoiding direct raw PCM streaming. You really must read the manual of your AV amp and understand what its PCM multi channel audio capabilities are. Some amps may only add post processing 'affects' to a DTS or DD bitstream, so the nice blue light also means your getting your room EQ applied etc, but not against PCM input streams. Some Onkyo's for example only apply room eq etc to PCM under 24-bit, 96 kHz. Other sample rates bypass processing, ahhh!. I'm not sure how the PS3 decides what sample rate a game or other 'audio files' should be sent at, movies can be locked at 48kHz however in the movie settings. Better to have a decent AV to be honest without such restrictions, problem solved.

    The PS3 is an incredible piece of kit, if only they took more time explaining all this. Shame on Sony there.

    I would urge you to also briefly gen up on what LPCM is so you understand why its offers the best lossless quality streaming of audio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_pulse-code_modulation
    Then look up Dolby and DTS:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Digital#Dolby_Digital_Live

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DTS_(sound_system)#DTS_Connect
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    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  4. prvjoker

    prvjoker Member

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    So why then is DTS 5.1 a higher bitrate than DD? Because I can hear the difference and for those people who can't get LPCM, DTS is their next best step down.
  5. manonline

    manonline Member

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    Indeed it is, but that is a separate question . Absolutely go for the best format you can when it comes to movies and alike, again, dependent on your equipment. If you have a lossless format capable processor, either Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD MA will provide you with uncompressed original source audio. However DTS tends to be the reference when it comes to lossy based formats such as DTS core vs. Dolby Digital. The wiki pages provide a good breakdown and make an easy read.

    Its worth noting that with lossy encodings of any sort, bitrate IS NOT always measure of quality in of itself, its more complex that that. Some compression routines may be better than others, i.e. look at the case of OggVorbis vs ACC+. Some still argue that Ogg is sonically superior. I'm not sure of the same simile with respect to Doby vs DTS, but imagine it the analogy be entirely comparable. Perhaps someone has performed a double blind test to qualify which format provides better lossy based sound quality regardless of bitrates. Also, some AV amps might only provide processing features for Dolby, but not DTS or visa versa. Sadly , it can all be a bit of a mine field, its a joke really, for in no way should the landscape be such a mess.

    The best advise would be to purchase an amp that the manufacture can categorically state, applies the same processing to LCPM input, as it does for DTS and Dolby after decode, without any differentiation as to the way it applies any form of DSP.

    Then for moves you should strive for the lossless format encoded material first Dolby or DTS, matters not at this level, followed by lossy based formats, where the preference should be DTS first, Dolby last.

    For gaming its clearly LCPM.

    Arguably, if your AV accepts and correctly processes LPCM, you could set the PS3 to stream everything in LCPM taking the workload off the AV which in some AVs means you get better processing as your taking load off the AV processors, Uhh huu, Onkyo!!, and there should be no difference, simplifying even further, the PS3 setup options.

    It pretty much rests on the AV and its capabilities, as you can see. What an AV decides to do at each stage of its audio processing pipeline 'work flow' if you will, will ultimately decide how that sound is reproduced when using LPCM vs Bitstream, and drive the choice of PS3 output settings you should select, just because the PS3 hdmi "Auto" detect, detects that your av device supports umpteen types of output does not mean the PS3 will always chose the best output type for that AV in the case of a movie or a Game, as the AV might have strange conditions on its inputs, read your manuals. For the PS3 to give us such a wide rage of customisable options is gracious of Sony to say the least, but sadly a requisite to the uncoordinated bespoke treatment of all these formats by the industry, flexibility is key, matching your PS3 output to your equipment mandates you to fully understand your AV to ensure your getting the best possible output.
    Perhaps some enterprising Onkyo rep or alike could chip in and advise what units provide post LCPM stage DSP on its source inputs, not dissimilar in any way - to how it treats DTS/Dolby post decode. I would think THX certified equipment should provide this, but my confidence in THX certification as of late is mediocre at best, they certify Panasonic TVs where latest plasma GT and VT ranges 46" upwards are reported far and wide as suffering what has even become a coined phrase, the "green blob fault", where manufacturing faults in the phosphor chemical application process, result in patches of the screen having a distinctly green glow, discolouring and ruining the picture. Much like when you used a magnet on old CRTs and wrecked your TV, similar in visual appearance and permanence it would seem. THX should not condone this, they independently QA samples off the shelf, they are involved in the development process from cradle to grave. With such wide spread failures THX should threaten to revoke there certification, yet they have done nothing, so THX does not mean quality and assurance anymore. Be careful out there, there is corruption and decent in the ranks and the quagmire of lies and marketing BS is deeper than ever in history.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  6. prvjoker

    prvjoker Member

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    The original purpose of this thread was to determine if by forcing DTS, you override DD and therefore obtain better sound for those unable to process higher than DD/DTS 5.1. Of course LPCM is the ultimate goal/choice but that is so obvious as to not even be in dispute.
  7. manonline

    manonline Member

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    It' s worth adding, real-time encoding to DTS or Dolby is not independent of the game, you cannot force a game that only has a licence for Dolby to encode in DTS or visa-versa. If a game provides DTS and Dolby licensing (most do) then obviously DTS is the way to go if your equipment cannot correctly handle the raw LPCM data.

    If a game dictates an encoding format, it will be used automaticly if you have enabled the format to be streamed by the PS3 (remember compatibility before quality in my previous post), unless the game provides an option to modify that behaviour. OR if you disable streaming of the encoded format and all its siblings , be it Dolby or DTS, and leave only LPCM, then the PS3 will detect this and skip encode, sending raw uncompressed to your AV via LPCM. However if a game does not support DTS and you leave it as the only encoding option, the PS3 will send LPCM 5.1 or 7.1 depending on how many channels the game supports and the supported modes of your connected AV, safe to say if your AV does not support 5.1 or 7.1 LPCM the sound ends up downmixed to stereo.

    Its worth noting what is said of DTS real time encoding in wikipedia...

    "DTS Interactive: This is a real-time DTS stream encoder. On the PC, it takes multichannel audio and converts it into a 1.5 Mbit/s DTS stream for output. Because it uses the original DTS codec to transmit audio, fidelity is limited to 5.1 channel at 48 kHz, 24bit. More than 5.1 channels, a higher sampling frequency or data rate are not supported, due to the lack of support for DTS variants such as DTS 96/24. It can also be found on some standalone devices (e.g., Surround Encoder). Nearly a dozen titles on the PlayStation 2 feature the "DTS Interactive" real-time stream encoder, such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."

    vs. Dolby

    "Dolby Digital Live (DDL) is a real-time encoding technology for interactive media such as video games. It converts any audio signals on a PC or game console into a 5.1-channel 16-bit/48 kHz "

    So for real-time encoding in the PS3 note that:
    DTS is 24bit (greater fidelity sound)
    Dolby is 16bit

    Both have the same sample rate 48khz (more than good enough for humans, above this and you need to ensure the clock components in the sound equipment are able to keep up - many consumer-level products use cheap clocks / components, which do not output consistently accurate (time-wise) samples which can wreak havoc in the audio domain, introducing jitter which collapses the stereo image resulting in a sound which is perceptually worse than a lower sample rate.)

    more here: http://www.tested.com/news/the-real-differences-between-16-bit-and-24-bit-audio/1905/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_bit_depth

    Remember, encoding is about compression, DTS is not only better on paper, but its compression algorithm, like mp3 vs ogg, is said to be 'better' than Dolby, sound better. Each encoder will always impart an influence on the sound when it is compressing, likewise the decoder, they may present certain filters that equalise the sound and remove low frequency information and high frequency information in a bid to reduce the size of the audio data. DTS makes less compromises, Dolby creates the smaller lossy sizes which in this day and age, is no longer relevant given most AV amps support such high bandwidth interconnects.

    I was encompassing the people out there who questioned why there AV sounded better when streaming DTS/Dolby vs LPCM, qualifying why this could be so. hope that helps.
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    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  8. jungleguru

    jungleguru Member

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    So having the phat PS3, the 60Gb one, I am limited to outputting LPCM. Which
    I've gathered from reading the thread, is the better option for games.

    My question is this, if I am outputting via HDMI to a amp such as Denon AVR-1912, when playing PS3 games only, for those games that support DTS, how do I choose DTS over DD 5.1? Or is DTS choose automatically?
  9. BradleyLove

    BradleyLove Member

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    Personally, I wouldn't worry about forcing anything.

    Let the software choose the "best" method. Most games for me default to LPCM which is by far the best. If a game defaults to DD rather than DTS then I believe there must be a reason for that.

    As has been stated previously, if a game does not explicitly support DTS then forcing DTS will probably result in the PS3 defaulting to 2.0 PCM.

    Unless there's an option in game to change sound output, the only way to force DTS is to disable DD5.1 in the PS3 Audio option. But given that you could be forever having to adjust your audio options depending upon which game you're playing, why not just leave it as it is?

    As I said, there must be a reason why DTS supported games aren't defaulting to DTS. Perhaps whilst DTS might be "better", the actual resulting sound is worse than DD5.1 for those games that don't default to it?
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