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Pioneer AX5i - Can it be upgraded to PLIIx?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Steve Zodiac, Dec 7, 2004.

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  1. Steve Zodiac

    Steve Zodiac
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    I was wondering if anyone knows if this receiver is upgradeable from Pro Logic II to Pro Logic IIx decoding?

    Probably more to the point, is PLIIx a worthwhile and "not to be missed" addition to a receiver?!

    Thanks,

    Steve.
     
  2. ADC

    ADC
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    I'm assuming that you have either a 6.1 or 7.1 set up.If you do and you think that DD EX or DTS ES is a worthwhile improvent over plain DD or DTS 5.1 then it may be worth it. If you dont think it is then maybe the upgrade would not make much sense. This is merely an opinion of some one who has lived with DD EX & DTS ES but has never heard PLIIX
     
  3. Steve Zodiac

    Steve Zodiac
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    Thanks ADC for the reply.

    I have recently purchased an additional pair of speakers for this purpose, but I haven't run the cables and connected them yet.

    I managed to get them for a good price without giving it much thought to how much they would improve the system, so I can't comment yet on what DD EX or DTS ES is like.

    Someone did suggest to me that without the addition of DPL IIx, the additional speakers may not actually do very much.

    Perhaps I should of also added to my original question, " DD EX, DTS EX etc - worth bothering!".

    Steve.
     
  4. reservoir51

    reservoir51
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    Steve,

    The additional pair of speakers (I'm assuming from a 5.1 setup to 7.1) would be justified if your amp can decode Dolby Digital EX or DTS-ES. If your amp can only decode Dolby Digital 5.1 or standard DTS, then no sound will be output from your additional speakers unless you've got Prologic IIx.

    Dolby Prologic IIx matrixes two-channel sources (eg. CDs, TV or satellite broadcasts, VCR, etc.) to 6.1 or 7.1 channels, and can also downmix 5.1 sources (eg. standard 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS) to 6.1/7.1. So, if your amp can't handle DTS-ES nor DD-EX, then at least you can still get 6.1/7.1 channel sound from your amp if you use a separate Prologic IIx decoder. However, the sound will not be discrete (ie. not full channel) as they are derived from matrixing techniques, which means it will be inferior to DD-EX or DTS-ES.

    Personally, I think Prologic II (for 5.1 matrixed sound) and Prologic IIx (for 6.1/7.1 matrixed sound) represent a major improvement over the original Prologic standard for enhancing stereo sources, but they still can't compare to DD/DTS nor DD-EX/DTS-ES respectively. So, in answer to your query, I think DD-EX/DTS-ES is certainly worth the effort, but Prologic IIx on its own perhaps not, especially if you've already got Prologic II - I think the difference is minimal. However, if you like your CDs or TV/satellite broadcasts in 6.1/7.1 format, then perhaps you should consider it (Prologic IIx), although don't expect to be blown away by the sound quality.

    Regards,
    reservoir51
     
  5. Steve Zodiac

    Steve Zodiac
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    Thanks reservoir51 for the reply.

    From what you have said, I think I have been given some misleading info in the past. I was told that there wasn't any DVD produced with 6.1 or 7.1 encoding and DPLIIX was the only way to use the additional speakers, hence my original question.

    My receiver (Pioneer AX5i) does have DD-EX/DTS-ES so I will get my additional speakers connected soon. Whether or not my receiver can be upgraded to PLIIx nows seems irrelevant!

    Thanks again,

    Steve.
     
  6. deckard

    deckard
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    I have an AX5i, and whilst I don't like the sound of the effect personally, you can specify the surround backs to always be on with multichannel sound effects, ie DD, DTS, DPLII, even if there is no surround rear channel in the recording the decoder will extract one. Not for me, but I know others leave their surround back always on.
     
  7. wookie

    wookie
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    Why worry about DPLIIX when your amp already has DTS's answer to it?

    I use DTS NEO 6 Cinema and it does the same thing as DPLIIX.
     
  8. deckard

    deckard
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    No it doesn't mate, DTS neo 6 derives a mono surround back channel. DPLIIx derives a stereo pair.
     
  9. wookie

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    Well it does if you run a 6.1 setup :laugh:
     
  10. reservoir51

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    Steve,

    At present there are only a handful of DVDs encoded in 6.1 format.

    For 6.1 Discrete (i.e. with 6 full channels of sound), here's a list of DVD titles : Blade 2, Rush Hour 2, Fellowship of the Ring : Extended Cut, Two Towers : Extended Cut, Evil Dead and Seven. Only DTS does 6.1 discrete sound; Dolby Digital's 6.1 format is DD-EX, which is a matrixed format and not discrete.

    For 6.1 Matrix (ie. only 5 full channels, with the sixth [if you've got 6 speakers connected] and seventh [if you've got 7 speakers connected] channels having 'matrixed' sound derived from the two surround channels), here's a list of DVDs on DTS : Finding Nemo, Die Another Day, Monsters, Inc.:Collectors' Edition, The Stunt Man, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. As for DD-EX titles, I haven't got a list, but just look out for the 'DD-EX' logo on DVDs. I know for a fact that my Fellowship of the Ring trilogy DVDs (Fellowship, Two Towers and Return of the King) all have DD-EX.

    Deckard, when the surround back speakers are permanently switched on, am I right in assuming that the relevant decoder is be a Pioneer-engineered one (eg. similar to a 7-channel stereo DSP)? If so, I would have thought that the sound from the surround back channels should be inferior to Prologic IIx (which isn't great to begin with).

    Regards,
    reservoir51
     
  11. Steve Zodiac

    Steve Zodiac
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    Thanks for the replies and for reservoir51's comprehensive explanation and the rundown on the DVD's available.

    So, to sum up, DTS has "Discrete" and "Matrix" available and DD has only "Matrix".

    Any idea if these formats are available on the Superbit DVD's?
     
  12. reservoir51

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    I think both Wookie and Deckard are correct. DTS-Neo 6 was developed to compete with Dolby Prologic 2. Both were intended to be used in conjunction with 2-channel (i.e. stereo) sources only, with the former matrixing 6 channels and the latter 5 channels. Prologic IIx was developed specifically to matrix any source (eg. stereo or 5.1) into 7 channels, but note that the pair of rear surround channels are not full stereo as they are virtually identical channels, with one mirroring the other. The same applies to DTS Discrete 6.1 - the 6th and 7th channels, although full-channel, emanate the same sounds.

    reservoir51
     
  13. ozdick

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    Now that the AX5Ai is about to hit the shelves here in Australia, the local dealers have been offloading their AX5i stock at great prices.
    RRP is AU$2999, but I picked mine up for $1900
    Considering that the Pioneer DSP modes already give you 7 channel sound, and you can using NEO:6 as well, you have to ask if spending the extra $1100 is worth the addition of PLIIx. I decided it wasn't ;)
     
  14. Zacabeb

    Zacabeb
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    On some processors/receivers, you can use Dolby Pro Logic IIx in place of EX or DTS ES Matrix decoding, thereby producing separate channels for the left and right rear speakers. So, Dolby Pro Logic IIx can be useful for both matrix encoded and discrete soundtracks.

    When decoding matrix-encoded 2-channel stereo, Dolby Pro Logic IIx also decodes two separate rear channels, but they may not differ much in practice.
     

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