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New dts format: 5.1 channel sound at 96 kHz/24-bit.

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by MarkB, May 16, 2001.

  1. MarkB

    MarkB
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    The following post was made on the AVC-A1SE/AVR-5800 forum by Vakavanha, I thought I would share it with you:

    DTS® Entertainment, a leader in multichannel digital audio announced that at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) conference in Amsterdam, it is demonstrating its new system for 5.1-channel sound at 96 kHz/24-bit for DVD-Video.

    Previously, 96 kHz/24-bit has been available on DVD-Video in only two channels, and with video limitations. Now DTS exclusively can deliver 5.1 channels in 96 kHz/24-bit, along with full-motion video, for feature film soundtracks and music programs on DVD-Video. This exclusive technology can also be used on DVD-Audio discs where a DTS 96 kHz/24-bit track can be placed in the video zone, so that people without DVD-Audio players can enjoy multichannel 96 kHz/24-bit quality using their DVD-Video players. The DTS 96 kHz/24-bit soundtrack is fully backward compatible with all existing DTS decoders, which will deliver up to 48 kHz/24-bit. Advanced 96 kHz/24-bit DTS decoders for consumers will be available later this year from major consumer electronics manufacturers.

    DTS is an international digital technology company specializing in multichannel audio. DTS is featured on more than 20,000 motion picture screens worldwide, in a variety of products from all major consumer electronics manufacturers, in automobiles, in computers, on games for DVD-ROM, and on films and music for DVD and CD. DTS is a registered trademark of Digital Theater Systems, Inc. of Agoura Hills, California. International offices for the company are located in the United Kingdom and in Japan. For further information, visit www.dtsonline.com

    Mark
     
  2. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Another good (?) reason to upgrade? ;)

    Where is 10.2 !?!?
     
  3. Matty N

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    Mark,

    I also noticed this over the weekend, haven't managed to find an official press release but then I didn't really look :)

    Not sure what hope we have for our A1SE's?? As far as I am aware, it will be a sole software update and (for the A1SE) would require no additional hardware. Obviously all the components are up to 24/96 and I can only assume the throughput of the SHARC's will cover the extra data being shifted. Here's hoping we see a software upgrade next year.

    Could this be why developers are holding on the software implementation of DPLII. Could we see a delayed combination upgrade for the A1SE - Denon were the first mainstream for DTS ES Discrete??!!

    Hope you're still having fun with it...

    Matt
     
  4. WSquared

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    I couldn't help but laugh :eek: at the "marketing" crap that was in that "release", if it is a release. DTS in cars... Only a few have DVD players and they are aftermarket. Plus, I bet you could count on one your fingers the number of those cars that have DTS decoders whose outputs are mixed with the normal car audio before being fed to the external amps. Face it, these must be cars sponsored by DTS.

    Sure, lots of feature cinemas are equiped with DTS, but how many DVDs on your shelf at home have DTS. And how many of those are the full rate DTS rather than the cut-down version which is negligebly better than DD.

    Don't get me wrong, I would love to have this "new DTS" on both DVD-video and DVD-Audio discs. But first, DTS needs to convince the Film Makers to use DTS on DVDs. Also, if it means I have to upgrade the decoder(receiver or DVD player) to get it, I may as well get a DVD-Audio player instead.


    There's always something new to spend your money on. :rolleyes:

    WSquared
     
  5. MarkB

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    Matt,

    I should imagine that the SHARCS do have ample capacity for the processing of the audio format, if it exists. I looked for it too but came up with nothing. You are correct about the upgrade – perhaps the upgrade will have to be a yearly routine!

    The thing that gets me about it is why didn't they announce it as an upgrade to their discreet 6.1 surround mode instead of just 5.1? This surround mode really would have Dolby worried!

    As for the AVC-A1SE itself, it really is an incredible machine! All I have to do now is replace my speakers with Infinity Alphas and I'm away!

    Mark
     
  6. Matty N

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    By default the 24/96 system will be DTS ES Matrix compatible (assuming you can still retain the second SHARC for post-processing) and based on current supposition it will support DTS ES Discrete also.

    Until there is a proper press release with some details it is unlikely anything else can be confirmed. Oh, and Denon's position.....? Don't wait for a reply!!

    Matt

    PS-Ditto about the amp.
     
  7. Wayne Moule

    Wayne Moule
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    WSquared.

    You are spot on with what you say about the amount of and quality of DTS DVD's over DD,R2 DTS especially.
     
  8. MarkB

    MarkB
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    It's always been known that the Dolby Digital compression algorithm is far better than dts' as far as the compressed file size goes. DD frequency response is (apparently) ruler flat, even when the most compact form has been used. I, however, have always preferred the output from dts, and as stated above, American discs are the best.
    Really and truthfully there is little between the formats (not taking into account dts 6.1 ES Discreet) but DD is smaller, and software publishers are now thinking about dropping dts altogether. However, if dts can make a vast improvement in their frequency response to outperform DD – but keep a relatively low file size, perhaps the software houses will think again.
    Perhaps if they stuck less foreign languages on the R2 discs there would be more room for both DD and dts soundtracks.
    Mark

    [ 18-05-2001: Message edited by: MarkB ]
     
  9. Wayne Moule

    Wayne Moule
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    It sounds to me that it has been a waste of time and money for me upgrading to DTS then,DVD DTS film wise.
     
  10. Stuart M. Robinson

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    Folks,

    What interests me most about the new DTS extension (bearing in mind that we know so little about it) is that it'll still be a lossy format, unlike MLP or DSD which are both loss-less. The whole point of a lossy CODEC, is to discard information that we cannot hear based upon a perceptual, psychoacoustic model in order to reduce the amount of data used to store the audio.

    The new DTS system, I believe it will be called DTS Patriot and will be exclusively available only through Pioneer products for the initial period, boasts a 96kHz input capability which theoretically will provide a frequency response up to 43kHz. As we cannot hear above (typically) 20kHz and very few loudspeakers, processors and receivers have such bandwidth, one would think a sensibly designed perceptual coder could safely discard the content above approximately 24kHz rather than sapping yet more valuable bandwidth.

    I'd be interested in the thoughts of the folks here on the following: Would you rather DTS concentrated on releasing more software in the DTS formats we already have, especially at the full data-rate, or are you happy to live with the scarcity of software while DTS release yet another exclusively-licensed format every twelve months?


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  11. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I am personally more interested in more R2 DTS film issues. Although I am glad Tag are working on an upgrade already and look forward to it's release but I want more software. I love the idea of 24 bit / 96khz software, particularly if it is backwards compatible with ordinary DTS decoders. It gets round the silly issue of no digital output from DVD Audio players even if it lossy rather than loss less systems.

    Personally I am more impressed with 6.1 and 7.1 systems than the higher spec decoding although I understand there is a limit to how many speakers most people can have.
     
  12. Matty N

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    Whether lossy or lossless, the jump from 16bit to 24bit is noticeable - just in the same way the jump from 8bit to 16bit was noticeable in the early 90's. I think the keyword here could be 'transparency', helped by an output signal that (theoretically) should much more closely approximate the waveform of the input signal. Quantization distortion should be much less noticeable - though it is hard to describe how this sounds. (Anyone any thoughts on this?)

    Stuart, I believe TagMaclaren Audio have already announced an upgrade for their processor to support the higher bandwidth audio format, confirming the assumption that DTS 24/96 can be output as bitstream from the DVD player.

    I agree that DTS are trying to spread the net out too far, while not harvesting often enough and deep enough in their current areas. As a side thought - I discovered, after a rather disappointing DD5.1 track, a half bitrate DTS track on 'Little Nicky' R2. To be honest, from the little I heard (hoping desperately for a different mix in the DTS track) it was better on the DD5.1 448kbit track, albeit much underused and apparently 'compressed', rear effects sounding like they came from tin-can speakers. This is a complete departure from the clarity of, for example 'Hell Freezes Over' Eagles DTS full bitrate, which actually sold my amplifier to me.

    So I would prefer to see more full bitrate releases, irrespective or R1 or R2 denomination, with quality mixes. However, to attain market penetration in the next generation sound formats for DVD Video and to remain on the technical high ground, I believe this is a predictable step for DTS and support their efforts - as long as they offer software licenses to big Licensee companies, such as TAG and Denon.

    Stuart, true, we cannot hear over 20kHz and many of us don't even reach that anymore - there is a big arguement that higher frequency harmonics will cause audible interactions at lower frequencies. It's worth remembering that the differences between Stratavarius violins and other pinnacle violins are argued to be due to high frequency characteristics. Also, most good loudspeakers will reproduce frequencies (usually +-6db) up to ~30kHz - do you think this may be enough of a response to generate audible differences in quality??

    Finally, based on Dolby's findings - do you think that the response will be ruler flat to their top end rolloff, around 43kHz?? If not, this adds weight to the argument of having a lower rolloff to save bandwidth.

    Interesting...

    Matt
     
  13. Guest

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    On a slightly sidewards tangent DTS as a "company" have no say as to which if any software (video and audio) utilises "their technologies". I am unaware of their "courting rituals" as far as Rights owners and distributers are concerned and it would seem that pretty much all apart from the ever loyal Spielberg SKG/Dreamworks consider it as the "small boy on the block".
    Request an info package from DTS U.K and it comes complete with a photo of their U.K H.Q, which DOES NOT IMHO carry across the premier league status it tries to lend itself (more Bob's M.O.T center i think).

    Regards

    SteveEX
     
  14. Stuart M. Robinson

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    Matty,

    You raise some excellent points.

    “Whether lossy or lossless, the jump from 16bit to 24bit is noticeable - just in the same way the jump from 8bit to 16bit was noticeable in the early 90's. I think the keyword here could be 'transparency', helped by an output signal that (theoretically) should much more closely approximate the waveform of the input signal. Quantization distortion should be much less noticeable - though it is hard to describe how this sounds.”

    Remember that we're not jumping from 16bit to 24bit with the new format as both Dolby Digital and DTS already use word lengths above 16bit, but this raises yet another question about a (theoretical) 24bit signal. If home playback levels match those in the cinema - where reference level produces 105dB from the five main channels and 115dB from the LFE – then that dynamic range can be captured with less than 24bits. Only when we try to push the volume up yet further will the noise floor come into play. It could be argued that the noise floor of the average room precludes any benefit, but leaving that aside, if we push the 24bit system up to the point where the increased dynamic range becomes beneficial, then we'll be listening at 144dB from each of the five main channels and 154dB from the LFE. No thank you very much! [Remember no DAC offers true 24bit performance]

    The increased sample rate theoretically should improve the audibility of quantisation noise, but it won't in practice, since in a properly dithered 48kHz system quantisation noise isn't audible. Moreover, I wonder how many movies are mixed and mastered at 96kHz 24bit and whether DTS will simply upsample 48kHz 20bit master tapes to produce software.

    There is a school of thought which believes high frequencies beyond our hearing range, harmonics et al, contribute to the fidelity of a playback system, but I've yet to see any studies actually proving the concept. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me – if we can't hear something then… we can't hear something. But giving the theory the benefit of the doubt, how many loudspeaker systems can reproduce 43kHz? Time to invest in some Tannoy SuperTweeters maybe.

    I'm more concerned about how DTS are going to encode this new system given the finite limitations of DVD. Some have said that the DTS data rate may increase, but that isn't technically possible given the DVD sector size (a block of audio has to fit into a sector, otherwise the disc won't be compatible with most players). In which case, if the new DTS system runs at the same full data rate, the additional content, whatever its value, will have to be encoded at the expense of the remainder of the audible data. To my mind this doesn't make a great deal of sense, the system may ‘borrow' valuable data from the audible portion of the signal to encode data above 20kHz, data we cannot hear.

    Perhaps as the weeks pass we'll learn more of the technical issues involved, but DTS aren't usually forthcoming with such information.

    Incidentally I believe TAG has announced that they can support the new format (got to love those SHARCs) not when they will support it. I'll ask Buzz Goddard for more info, maybe he can shed some light on their release schedule.


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/

    [ 30-05-2001: Message edited by: Stuart M. Robinson ]
     
  15. MarkB

    MarkB
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    Compression algorithms are moving forward all the time. The people behind MP3 can now store twice the data they used to in the same space. What gets me is how they make it backwardly compatible.

    I recon that the days of the 20kHz roll off of loudspeakers is numbered. All Sony's new speakers introduced this season roll off at 50kHz or higher, and I believe that this is what all speaker manufactures will be striving for in the future.

    Mark
     
  16. Stuart M. Robinson

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    Folks,

    I have a little more information on this subject today…

    Having spoken to someone at Pioneer not involved in product marketing, their “exclusive” 96/24 DTS implementation is not “exclusive” in the sense that nobody else can implement the format, but is “exclusive” because they're simply the first to market. It's a scoop so to speak, but not an agreement in the same vein as that struck between DTS and Denon over the rights to DTS ES 6.1 Discrete.

    DTS claim that the added resolution will only marginally affect the existing (audible) data as the additional content can be compressed so efficiently, understandable given the lack of content above our hearing threshold. This is good news, especially if we're ever to see half-rate 96/24 DTS.


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  17. Matty N

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    Thanks for the info Stuart,

    presumably by 'compressed so efficiently' we are talking a large roll off beyond the audible frequencies, particularly as we reach theoretical maximum sample frequency, determined by the sample rate, as it becomes harder to reliably describe the nature of the waveform?

    Regards,

    Matt
     
  18. Stuart M. Robinson

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    Matt,

    “presumably by 'compressed so efficiently' we are talking a large roll off beyond the audible frequencies, particularly as we reach theoretical maximum sample frequency, determined by the sample rate, as it becomes harder to reliably describe the nature of the waveform?”

    Not exactly. As there really isn't any content above 24kHz, the 24kHz-48kHz region can be compressed right down to next-to-nothing. In other words, an encoder of any type is highly efficient when it has nothing to encode. Even if there is content up to 48kHz (as unlikely as that may be, especially for motion picture material), the amplitude and importance of that content tends to facilitate efficient coding.

    Provided the sample rate is twice the highest frequency reproduced, and provided effective dither is in place, it should be no harder to replicate (in this case) a 48kHz waveform as it is a 20kHz waveform.


    Stuart M. Robinson
    SMR Group – http://www.smr-group.co.uk/
     
  19. Guest

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    I must say that IMHO ,the odd U.S site aside (that i can find) this is a great B.B. Brit run too! For us "ordinary" people if you want to know about it, Read here (first-ish)

    Godd work fella's
     
  20. Matty N

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    Stuart,

    as a side thought, the sample rate increase may not necessarily be used to increase the ceiling on the reproduced frequencies. As you say, movie soundtracks will seldom need the HF that DTS state will be supported.

    Perhaps it will be more important in reproducing the audible spectrum. For example, dithering and prediction aside, a sample rate double the maximum reproducible frequency relies on two samples per complete wave cycle. This is fine if they occur at the peak and the trough of the waveform, interpolation thus allowing the creation of an output waveform with very good approximation to the input. But if the samples occur, for example, somewhere else on the waveform, perhaps at the cross over point, no waveform is recorded at all.

    So surely a higher sample rate will allow more samples of a waveform at a particular frequency, allowing a greater accuracy in determining the true characteristic of the input waveform which results in a much better quality output signal.

    Just a thought (or am I way off the mark??)

    Regards,

    Matt
     
  21. MarkB

    MarkB
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    As another side thought it is interesting how many audio formats quickly became "CD quality" after CD was commonplace, as the "standard" for audio systems to follow. Perhaps the same will be true of SACD and DVD-A; movie producers such as Lucas and Spielberg will demand the added quality, and they normally get what they want. If this is the case, dts are ahead of the game – if they can roll out 24/96 decoders to consumers, they will have scored a coup over Dolby.
    I can see the strategy: DVD-Audio/SACD amplification is normally located in the same place as a dts decoder, i.e. multichannel receiver or processor/power amp(s), so the 24/96 hardware is in place.
    All that is required now is for me to replace my 7 speakers with ones that reproduce sounds >50kHz! Oh, and a visit to my dealer to get my AVC-A1SE decoder updated.

    Mark
     

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