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THX - Should I be listening through this?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Scotty Boy, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. Scotty Boy

    Scotty Boy
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    Hey up folks.

    Just a little niggle for you sound people out there.

    When watching a DVD, should I be listening to it through THX on my Amp? I've got a THX setup, but i've heard that I shouldn't as it doesn't sound very good.

    I've just bought finding nemo, it has 5.1 ES and THX, so, my question to you, is, with THX films (are there many?) Should I be listening through THX, or 5.1 ES Enhanced?

    Cheers.

    Scott
     
  2. karkus30

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    Good question, must be an answer. I listened to Titan AE in THX mode the other night and it sounded clearer than standard DD.
     
  3. nikyzf

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    You've "heard" that it doesn't sound very good? What matters is: which sounds best to you? IIRC you will not get THX performance unless all your gear is THX-certified, but the short answer is to compare and choose which is best for you.
     
  4. Scotty Boy

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    I've got the Yamaha 1400RVX which is THX certified, and i've got 7 speakers for THX. But, some people have told me that THX films sounds far better in 5.1 ES Enhanced.

    I haven't tried it out yet, but will do with Finding Nemo. :)
     
  5. aliflack

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    I thought THX only applied to your gear, not the films themselves? Never heard of there being a THX soundtrack on a DVD... which discs have you guys got that do?
     
  6. karkus30

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    As you say, it applies to the gear, this includes the amplifier which does all the clever stuff. I have two settings on my amp; standard DD 5.1 and THX 5.1 it definitely sounds different in the THX setting (sounds better to my ears).
     
  7. Ian J

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    There are quite a few THX certified soundtracks on DVDs and I seem to have quite a few of them.
     
  8. sapper44

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  9. jrpavel

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    It doesn't really clea anything up.

    THX is the set of standards described (leading to THX-certified products).

    It is also a processing mode that can be applied to DTS and DD. THX say:

     
  10. Scotty Boy

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    Hey guys. I tried out Finding Nemo on DVD through 5.1 Dolby Digital ES Enhanced and then THX. And I couldn't really work out which sounded better. Though the THX sound option did sound awesome/

    Didn't watch all of it, though I did find it hard to fid a difference between the two sound modes/
     
  11. Ian J

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    On my amp there is a fixed crossover at 90Hz but if THX mode is engaged the crossover is lowered to 80Hz which suits my system much better. I also find that having fairly bright sounding speakers it sounds better with THX mode permanently engaged.
     
  12. karkus30

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    That explanation is 'spot on'. Thats exactly what Im hearing, the shrill sound that permeates most DVDs has gone, leaving a smoother, clearer sound.

    So its not necessary to have a certified speaker system for home THX, all these THX approved speaker systems are really just tonally matched and have a flat frequency response. Most of us know this already, so our systems would probably be THX approved anyway. Its just stopping you putting a pair of electrostatics as main speakers, then sticking a lowther horn speaker as a centre, whilst your surrounds are from a seventies music centre.

    Thats made my mind up, if it wasnt made up already. Wire THX switch 'always on' of course some of us might have a Lowther horn as a centre channel speaker !
     
  13. dishdoc

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    Just to add my two penneths worth, When watching DVD's I always have THX on, just think it sounds much better - nothing technical, just sounds better :smashin:
     
  14. Family Guy

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    I leave THX engaged all the time...my speakers don't reproduce anything below 80hz...engaging THX ensures that nothing below that figure goes to them...it all goes to the sub. I don't agree with some of the statements on scottyboy's other thread in the DVD talk section...I think THX is necessary these days. DVD's aren't mixed to divert all sub 80hz freq's to the sub...that's done at the amp. I visist a THX approved cinema on a regular basis, and, when I engage THX on my amp, it gives me the closest possible sound that I hear in that cinema.
    Scottyboy, you can be rest assured that you have a very good system my friend. Engage THX and enjoy...
    As already pointed out here though, you won't find THX on a DVD...even a certified DVD. Have a look at www.thx.com to find out how different things are given their THX certification and what it actually means to you, the end user...
     
  15. Scotty Boy

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    I *think* I'm almost there. I'm well sorry for sounding to lame with my lack of knowledge. :)

    What i've found, is some THX certified DVDs, like Finding Nemo. Sound better through THX, then Dolby Digital ES 5.1.

    But, non THX Certified DVDs, don't sound as impressive through THX.

    I hope i've kind of got it now.. :laugh:
     
  16. jrpavel

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    Good question.

    Let's take it that THX is both a set of standards, and a processing mode in the receiver designed to make DVD produced with a "cinema sound" (eg, treble emphasis) sound more natural in the home.

    If a DVD is produced to THX standards (eg, Star Wars, Terminator), does it have cinema sound, or has is already been processed to remove the excess treble?

    Clearly if it has already had the treble toned down, applying THX processing in the receiver will result in a dull sound.

    So the right answer may well be that it is better to apply THX on the receiver only to non-THX DVDs that have not been remixed/processed for home use. Problem is that you will probably not be able to tell from the packaging whether the sound track has been toned down or not.
     
  17. Family Guy

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    Not really mate - no. THX ISN'T a sound format in the same way that Dolby Digital and DTS are. What THX does is ALTERthe Dolby or DTS sound format to sound more like what the THX engineers think is cinema sound.
    If you look at Finding Nemo for example, go into spoken languages...you'll see Dolby Digital EX or DTS ES, yes? NO THX...THX post processing is then added to the Dolby or DTS track that you have selected. What you are then hearing is what used to be called THX 5.1 but I haven't heard that term used for a long time.
    In the long run, your amp will apply the same processing to a disc soundtrack, regardless of whether that disc is THX certified or not. Try X Men 2 for example...one of the best engineered soundtracks in the last year...but not THX certified disc. look at The Lord Of The Rings discs...again, not THX certified.
    You'll find more and more that only certain studios use THX certification on their discs...20th Century Fox being one (but not that many...) and Disney and their counterparts being the other...
    Also Surround EX is another thing. Many discs that carry EX tracks are neither marked nor flagged EX. However, again I find that certain directors and sound mixers will favour EX...Peter Jackson, Chris Columbus and george Lucas being 3 directors that spring to mind who like making their films in the EX mode. Gary Rydstrom, who many believe invented EX, is one of the best sound mixers in the business. Until recently, he worked solely for THX, but now works for Pixar animation, hence the reasom that the majority of Pixar movies since Toy Story 2, have been released with an EX track...
    You can find out more about how EX works at www.dolby.com
     
  18. Scotty Boy

    Scotty Boy
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    Right, I do now understand. Thanks for that ace post, clearing everything up.

    My knowledge grows, and grows. :cool:

    Thanks again to everyone who's helped out. :thumbsup:
     
  19. Ian J

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    There is more to THX processing than toning down the brightness as I have already mentioned that the THX crossover in my amp is fixed at 80Hz whereas the non THX crossover is 10Hz higher
     
  20. recruit

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    Hi,
    So does that mean when you engage THX it automatically switches to 80Hz crossover?
     
  21. Ian J

    Ian J
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    On a Denon AVC 10SE it does but I can't speak for other amps. That alone is enough for me to keep the THX button engaged but you can switch the "cinema equalization" off in the On Screen Menu if you wish
     
  22. recruit

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    When i engage THX it feels or should i say sound's like it's got more oomph, i think it certainly makes it a more cinematic experience. :)
     
  23. Craig Sowerby

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    Hi

    The bottom line is if you are using THX post processing then you are getting a more accurate representation of "cinema" sound, not everyone wants this but a THX system in part or in whole will get you closer to " home cinema".

    Also a point on THX speakers, there dispersion is controlled vertically to reduce reflections from the floor and ceiling, also most have a wide horizontal dispersion, placement is more critical than conventional speakers.

    Please feel free to PM me with any questions or post them here, i will try to answer them as fully as possible.

    Enjoy!!
     
  24. jrpavel

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    I am still unclear.

    Assuming that you can set your cross-overs frequency to 80Hz without applying THX processing, why would you apply THX processing to a THX DVD (which presumably has had cinema brightness removed as part of the THX-approved mastering process)?


    There is a further dimension to all this. THX processing seems to use ASA to derive 7.1 signals from 5.1 tracks. But the same can be achieved with DPL IIx.

    For example, my receiver says:

    THX Ultra2 Cinema: THX processing for non EX/ES encoded 5.1 channel sources. This program outputs sound from the surround back L/R speakers using ASA (advanced speaker array) processing. This mode is only available when you have set up a 7.1 speaker system (i.e. two surround back speakers), and the input signal has surround left and surround right contents.

    THX Ultra2 Cinema mode plays 5.1 movies using all 8 speakers giving you the best possible movie watching experience. In this mode, ASA processing blends the side surround speakers and back surround speakers providing
    the optimal mix of ambient and directional surround sounds. This mode permits the playback of a non Surround EX/ES encoded 5.1 movie to be played back over a 7.1 system. DTS-ES (Matrix and 6.1 Discrete) and
    Dolby Digital Surround EX encoded soundtracks will be automatically detected, if the appropriate flag has been encoded. Some Dolby Digital Surround EX soundtracks are missing the digital flag that allows automatic
    switching. If you know that the movie that you are watching is encoded in Surround EX, you can manually select the THX Surround EX playback mode (see below), otherwise THX Ultra2 Cinema mode will apply ASA processing to
    provide optimum replay.


    But there is also

    THX Cinema: THX processing for any multi-channel source. 2-channel sources are decoded by the PRO LOGIC, PRO LOGIC II, PRO LOGIC IIx or DTS Neo:6 decoder before THX processing.

    which may be preferable if you prefer DPL or DTS Neo over ASA?

    For 6.1 sources, there is:


    THX Surround EX: THX processing for Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital EX sources. This program is available only when surround back L/R speakers are connected to this unit and when the input source contains surround back channel signals.

    THX Surround EX - Dolby Digital Surround EX is a joint development of Dolby Laboratories and the THX Ltd.

    In a movie theater, film soundtracks that have been encoded with Dolby Digital Surround EX technology are able to reproduce an extra channel which has been added during the mixing of the program. This channel, called
    Surround Back, places sounds behind the listener in addition to the currently available front left, front center, front right, surround right, surround left and subwoofer channels. This additional channel provides the opportunity for more detailed imaging behind the listener and brings more depth, spacious ambience and sound localization than ever before.

    Movies that were created using the Dolby Digital Surround EX technology, when released into the home consumer market may exhibit wording to that effect on the packaging. A list of movies created using this technology
    can be found on the Dolby web site at www.dolby.com. A list of available DVD software titles encoded with this technology can be found at www.thx.com.

    Only receiver and controller products bearing the THX Surround EX logo, when in the THX Surround EX mode, faithfully reproduce this new technology in the home.

    This product may also engage the THX Surround EX mode during the playback of 5.1 channel material that is not Dolby Digital Surround EX encoded. In such case the information delivered to the Surround Back channel is program dependent and may or may not be very pleasing depending on the particular soundtrack and the tastes of the individual listener.


    and a similar mode for DTS ES sources.


    I can just about follow this, but then there is also

    THX DD+PLIIx Movie: THX and Dolby Pro Logic IIx Movie processing for Dolby Digital sources. (and similarly for DTS 5.1 and for DTS ES Matrix 6.1)

    How does this differ from THX Cinema?

    Can anyone make sense of all this?
     
  25. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    It should do that (as well as switch your speakers to small) when you select THX on a THX certified amp- at least my Pioneer does.
     

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