Sony STRDB930: Do you use the Virtual Cinema modes for 5.1?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Jon Weaver, Feb 21, 2001.

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  1. Jon Weaver

    Jon Weaver
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    I have have my Sony STRDB930 for a year now and am very happy.

    I played with all the DSP effects and saw them as a novelty, so stopped using them.

    When I listen to any 5.1 source, I just leave it in 'normal'

    But in this months HCC Magazine, there is an interview with Sony which talks about THX compaired to their Virtual Cinema modes.

    When it comes to 5.1 surround, should I be using 'normal' mode, or will these Virtual modes offer any improvement?
     
  2. calibos

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    I too have a DB930 and also read the article in question. I think what the guy was referring to was the Cinema A,B & C DSP modes(the ones right after AFD & Normal Surround on the remote) which are supposed to recreate the acoustics of various Film mixing Studios as opposed to the 'Virtual' modes including Virtual/Semi A,B & C etc. These virtual modes are used if you don't have a full complement of speakers(I think, I'll have to check the manual).

    You say you have the amp set to Normal surround. This mode is for Pro logic and is the mode that I have my video and TV inputs permanently set to. I didn't know if this had any effect on the DD 5.1 soundtrack and so I put on a DVD(my dvd input on the amp is normally set to AFD). The blue light came on and then I switched over to normal surround-The light stayed on and I couldn't really hear a difference(though I only listened for a few seconds) Thats not to say there isn't one . Therefor You should set your DVD input to AFD (Auto Format Decode) which is the correct sound mode to use for Dolby Digital or DTS if you don't want any DSP effects applied. This will give you the sound as it is recorded on the DVD.

    Hope this helps.



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  3. calibos

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    I should have pointed out the following in my previous post.

    What I mean by 'there might be a differance although I couldn't hear any' between using 'Normal Surround' and 'AFD' is that the Normal surround mode may be applying Prologic decoding/steering to the DD 5.1 soundtrack (some of the more technically minded contributors to this forum may be able to back me up or correct me on this). You would be correct in using 'Normal Surround' when watching a DVD with only a Prologic soundtrack (DD 2.0) such as Falling Down or the first issue of Shawshank Redemption for example but then again AFD would play the ProLogic soundtrack anyway without you having to touch a thing.

    So just to recap...Set your DVD input to AFD and your Video, TV, Games console etc inputs to Normal Surround and the radio, cd player, minidisc etc inputs to 2CH or the DSP mode of your choice(Hall, Church, Arena etc.) Oh yeah I forgot you don't like DSP...and quite right too!

    So I'd say use AFD for 5.1 DVD's

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  4. Jon Weaver

    Jon Weaver
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    I too did the test with 'Normal' and 'AFD'.

    The way I saw it was the 'Normal' was 2 channel and 'AFD' was Pro Logic.

    HOwever, in 5.1, they didn't make any difference....

    But I always overlooked the 'cinema' modes... I wonder if they are worth trying out?
     
  5. asimm

    asimm
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    I think from a previous thread (and my experiences with my 940 back this up) that the AFD will not detect pro logic, only digital signals.
    I have experimented a lot with the DSPs and find I use Cinema A and B more than AFD as they give me more of a surround sound experience. Not experimented much with the virtual or semi stuff.
     
  6. Guest

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    Hmm, very much personal taste I suspect. I prefer Cinema B rather than standard AFD. After using Cinema A or B for a while, plain 5.1 seems a little thin, and a much smaller soundfield.
     
  7. calibos

    calibos
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    I have to correct asimm.
    AFD does not automatically select ProLogic Decoding from an analogue source such as your video but it does from a DVD. I have checked and confirmed this. The soundtrack on the 'Falling Down' DVD is in Prologic. There is no 5.1 track on this disk. When you put the DVD into the player, AFD(if you have AFD set as the mode for your dvd input) detects that it is a Dolby Digital 2.0(this usually means a prologic soundtrack, occasionally plain old stereo-depending on age of movie) disk. (this will be displayed on the amp display). The 930 then automatically goes into prologic mode. If however, you had your video input set to AFD and you put on your prologic video of Phantom Menace lets say, AFD would not select any surround mode and would leave it in stereo.

    The amp remembers what sound mode you use for each input and uses that sound mode each time you use that input. It also remembers what sound mode you use for each radio station aswell. So if you select AFD for your dvd input and normal surround for your video input it will always use these. If you select your dvd input and changed the sound mode to cinema C for example, the amp would then use Cinema C on that input from then on until you changed it the next time. Its the same idea with the radio. You could have Radio 1 set to Disco/Club and R3 set to large hall or opera etc etc.

    I would use the following modes on the following inputs:

    (Analogue)Video1-Normal Surround or Cineam a,b or c.
    (Analogue)Video2(PS2)-Normal Surround, Game or Cineam a,b or c.
    (Analogue)Video3(Analogue Satellite)-Normal Surround or Cineam a,b or c.
    (Digital)DVD-AFD or Cineam a,b or c.
    (Analogue)TV-Normal Surround or Cineam a,b or c.
    (Analogue)Tape-2CH or DSP(hall,disco etc.)
    (Digital)MD-AFD or DSP(hall,disco etc.)
    (Digital)CD-AFD or DSP(hall,disco etc.)
    (Analogue)Tuner-2CH or DSP(hall,disco etc.)
    (Analogue)Phono-2CH or DSP(hall,disco etc.)

    AFD does not work on the analogue sources and will always select plain stereo so select your prefered mode for these yourself.
    AFD will work on digital sources and will select stereo for music sources ie cd and minidisc and will select stereo,prologic or Dolby Digital for dvds.
    I'm not great at explaining things but I hope you get the general drift of what I'm saying!!


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  8. Mikael

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    I have a Sony STR-DB925, I guess it is similar to the 930.
    I pretty much agree with calibos, but have to add that I set my analogue sources to AFD as well, this is because this setting engages the sub without altering the sound in any other way, so if I want two-channel music with sub, AFD is the way to go...
    Also, AFD only decodes Prologic from a digital source if it was flagged as such, which not all DVDs are (R1 versions of The Last Emepror, Priscilla, Queen of the desert to name a few...)
    I have not used any of the DSP settings since I played with them when the amp was new, but I also read the article on Sony in HCC, so I may have to do some more testing on this...

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  9. asimm

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    I am getting more and more confused, there are soo many options. Some people (especially when comparing the Sony with a Yamaha amp) argue that the Sony is too complicated and they may have a point.
    Looks like I'm back to the drawing board (with a few handy hints - thanks Calibos). I wonder if I will ever get to the right that's it, my amp is set up a ok for everything and performing at its best?
     
  10. Koen

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    I use a da50-es myself , but it has the same dsp modes as the qs-range. I have solved the problem real simply. For film, I turn on the soundfield, set to AFD, with the eq set to tame it down a bit. For music : try this.
    If you really want the best stereo you can get from this thing, turn off the soundfield-thing, and tell your amp you don't have any rears or a centre. You will hear a click inside the amp, which turns of the current going to these circuits. I even take away my center speaker away when I listen to music, because it 'sings along', and muddles up the soundstaging. I know it sounds crazy,but give it a try. It gave new life to my music experience, try it , and see if it works for you.
    Cheers,
    Koen

    "I'll be right here"
     

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