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Newbie question - why do DVD players have Dolby/DTS decoders?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Andrathion, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. Andrathion

    Andrathion
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    This is no doubt extremely stupid, but:

    I've been thinking about buying a Denon 3805 amp. It features 7.1 Dolby decoding, which is great, since I'd be wanting to play, say, my Lord of the Rings DVD's (which are 6.1) through it, so 5.1 wouldn't be enough.

    But then I'm also thinking of buying a new DVD player and that lead me to the Denon 3910. Which features built in 5.1 decoding - but no more.

    Surely if I bought the two together, I'd get glorious 6.1 sound with the LotR DVD's? But that would mean the 5.1 decoder in the 3910 can and will effectively be ignored. If so, why is it there in the first place?


    Sorry if this is extremely newbie, but, well, I'd like to know :)
     
  2. cmcg55

    cmcg55
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    The decoder on the amp is the one that matters, not the DVD player, you're correct. In the situation you're proposing, it'll be the 3805 receiver that will be doing the decoding - the onboard (5.1) decoder on the DVD player is the one that'll be ignored.

    So why does the DVD player have a decoder at all? Actually, it's a hangover from another age really. The DVD player has a decoder that will kick in in the event that your receiver doesn't have its own decoder. These days - you'd be extremely hard pushed to find a receiver that doesn't have its own circuitry - they're something from another era. Most DVD players still feature the onboard decoder as a courtesy though, I suppose in case you're running analog outputs rather than digital ones from your DVD player to the receiver. As long as your DVD player as a digital out (and again, 99.9% of them do nowadays) - that's all you really need.

    Just one FYI for ya though: you mention "7.1". There's really no such thing as 7.1 (at least, not today). It's really 6.1, the two rear speakers carry the same signal. LOTR, the example you mention, comes with two options: Dolby Digital EX (which is a 5.1 signal which can produce a 6th "phantom channel", and DTS-ES Discrete, which is the only "true" 6.1 standard (some would argue even it doesn't qualify, but let's not get spurious). Don't worry about it though - availability of DD-EX and DTS-ES Discrete is absolutely the best you can do with any movie right now in any case (i.e. until DD+ and DTS-HD arrive).
     
  3. Cable Monkey

    Cable Monkey
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    Sound comments above, with some minor reservations. Until a couple of months ago, the decoder was essential on your proposed player if you wanted to listen to SACD. Since Denon Link 3 got licenced for SACD, the 5.1 out has become largely redundant (some stick with it out of preference). In short, onboard decoders are a legacy of early Dolby Digital decoding but in some cases are still required for multichannel music (as in my Denon 2910 that does not have firewire or DL3.)
     
  4. Andrathion

    Andrathion
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    Sound, indeed - thanks, cmcg55 :) ! Nice and clear commentary on the 7.1 aspect, as well - think I actually undersood that!

    I didn't know Denon had finally managed to get the SACD license, Cable Monkey. Are you sure? If so, that's good news for anyone who, like me, is considering getting a Denon AV amp and would like both the SACD and DVD Audio capabiltities to be as simple as they can get... However, would the Denon Link work for SACD's on an "older" player like the 3805?
     
  5. Cable Monkey

    Cable Monkey
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    The 3805 has Denon Link 3 enabled. It was the 3910 that needed licencing and that has now been done to good effect as testified to by a number of people here.
     

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