Which surround mode is best?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Adam M, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. Adam M

    Adam M
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    sorry about this guys, but having had the merits of 7/6.1 over 5.1 explained to me, I have just read the spec of my amp to find it has the following:

    Dolby Digital Yes

    Dolby Digital EX Yes

    THX Surround EX Yes

    DTS Yes

    DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 Yes

    DTS-ES Matrix 6.1 Yes

    DTS Neo: 6 Yes

    DTS 96/24 Yes

    Dolby Pro Logic Yes

    Dolby Pro Logic II Yes

    THX Yes, THX Ultra 2

    THX modes Cinema, Ultra2 Cinema, MusicMode



    I used to understand but I didn't realise there were so many. Will the amp (pioneer ax10is) automatically switch to the best sound possible once I select DD or DTS on the dvd?

    If not which should I b trying to play?

    (I am talking about film only, don't have any dvd A's)
     
  2. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
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    Hi

    Once you have selected the Dolby or DTS track (if available) from the DVD you can then choose certain modes manually.

    For Dolby 5.1 tracks you can either have standard 5.1 decoding, Dolby EX, THX Surround EX, or THX Ultra 2 Cinema (or music, but best to stick with Cinema for films). If the track is in 5.1EX then Dolby EX will be best (obviously! LOL) or use THX Surround EX. Probably best not to use THX Ultra 2 in this case.

    For DTS 5.1 tracks you can have standard 5.1, DTS ES Matrix or apply THX Post Processing. There are also DTS ES tracks so best to stick with DTS ES decoding or add THX to it.

    DTS ES Discrete will only be available if this is the format on the DVD e.g The Haunting DTS Region 1. Some amps will also let you apply THX Post Processing to this format as well.

    DTS 96/24 is only available if the dvd has this format (don't hold your breath though as there are only about 3 discs!).

    Dolby Pro-Logic, PL2, DTS Neo can be used for 2 channel stereo sources or Dolby Surround encoded dvds/videos etc. You should also be able to apply THX Post Processing to these as well but that might be amp dependant again.

    Most of the time it's just a case of experimenting with the different formats etc to see which you prefer. Some people like THX, others don't. THX Ultra 2 Cinema works very well at converting standard 5.1 tracks into 7.1.:clap:

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Adam M

    Adam M
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    Thanks for the comprehensive reply.

    It almost makes sense apart from one thing.

    You say obviously dolby EX will be best for 5.1EX tracks (obviously) but this bit wasn't really obvious to me.

    is 5.1 EX the one which is encoded with 6.1 discrete channels? (ie surround back). I ask because I thought anything with THX trademark had been subjected to THX standards and was therefore better. I thought THX laboratories worked alongside dolby, and therefore THX EX would be their higher standard processing of DOLBY EX encoded material.

    sorry for being thick, would really appreciate some clarification on this.
     
  4. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
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    Dolby 5.1EX uses Matrix processing to extract the surround back channel information from the main left and right surrounds in the same way that THX Surround EX does but doesn't do any "extras" such as re-equalisation, adaptive de-correlation etc etc. THX Surround EX was the first format to be developed (jointly by THX and Dolby). I wouldn't like to say which is "better" as it depends on the sound you prefer.

    The only true 6.1 Discrete format is DTS ES Discrete but this is a home format and not available in the cinemas.
     
  5. Adam M

    Adam M
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    Ok, so screwing cinemas, because I don't have one, are you saying the only way of getting 6.1 distinct channels, in my home, is with DTS ES discrete encoded discs, do any of these exist? if so how many? are most DTS discs now dts es discrete?

    and in reference to your first paragraph, why did dolby develop their own dolby 5.1EX processing after they had commited time and money into THX EX? and appreciating it is personal taste, does it not suffer for not having the "extras" you mention?
     
  6. cameronl

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    hi there, I use the following on my yammy 630

    5.1 DD, 5.1 DD EX = 5.1 DD EX Matrix (to give me center back)
    5.1 DTS, 6.1 DTS ES = 6.1 DTS ES Matrix (to give me center back)
    any other format I use pro logic 2

    I hope this helps.

    CaM
     
  7. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
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    As it stands at the moment to get 6.1 Discrete channels you only have the option of DVD's encoded in DTS ES Discrete. Whilst there isn't a huge amount of them, they are about and more are becoming available. I wouldn't worry too much about this though as there really isn't that much between tracks on the majority of dvd's encoded in Dolby EX and DTS ES Discrete. It usually comes down to the argument between which is best, Dolby or DTS, some sound better in Dolby, others in DTS but that's been covered loads of times on here so I won't get into that again!! LOL. Certain DTS ES Discrete dvd's do stand out though e.g The Haunting. Best to listen and make your own mind up! Most DVD's that have DTS are still in the standard 5.1 format (which you can apply processing to and get DTS ES Matrix if you wish).

    As far as I'm aware Dolby EX is basically the same as THX Surround EX but there was mention that Dolby EX uses the PL2 matrix algorithm to get it's surround back info whereas THX Surround EX uses the earlier PL algorithm. I'm not 100% sure if that's the case though. There was also some rangle about licensing issues which was why Dolby EX appeared later. Earlier amps displayed the format as 6.1 Surround because of this.

    I don't think Dolby EX suffers in comparison to THX Surround EX it's just a case of whether you prefer what THX does to the signal and the resulting sound of it. Personally I quite like what THX does, others don't!
     
  8. Adam M

    Adam M
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    thanks very much for the info.

    very helpful indeed.
     
  9. Dr Hu

    Dr Hu
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    EDITED:

    Just read the answers to all my questions further down the forums....

    Note to self:-

    Must read all posts first ;)
     
  10. Adam M

    Adam M
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    am now getting used to the amp a bit more, but would like to know what THX Ultra 2 is for, the amp is a bit vague and mentions that it is another like thx EX or dolby dig EX, ie a way of getting 7.1 from 5.1, can anyone help with this?
     
  11. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
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    THX Ultra 2 does indeed give you 7.1 from a 5.1 source. It differs from Dolby EX and THX Surround EX in that it has stereo surround backs instead of the mono signal split between two speakers like EX.

    For more info have a read through this article:

    http://www.hometheatermag.com/allinonehometheatersystems/116/index.html

    In particular, this page:

    http://www.hometheatermag.com/allinonehometheatersystems/116/index5.html
     
  12. Adam M

    Adam M
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    Thanks Jase,

    it looks as though I should leave it in Ultra 2 mode all the time and the amp/dvd flags will do the rest.
     
  13. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
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    I wouldn't do that personally. Not all dvd's are correctly flagged so you're better off just switching manually between the various surround formats. :)
     
  14. Adam M

    Adam M
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    Understood, but then the article you just linkied me too suggests that even when unflagged the trickery the ultra 2 processing does to the signal, is the most intelligent and thought out as well as most recently developed.

    I appreciate I should just go with whatever sounds best, but with so many to choose from at any one point and all so easily accessed via a rotary switch, I don't want to end up spending so much time choosing what sounds best that I miss what it was I was trying to watch.
     
  15. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
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    I understand where you're coming from! Lots of formats to tinker with. THX Ultra 2 does work very well indeed but it's worth having a play around one day switching between them all just to hear the differences. Once you've heard them you can then pick your preferred setting and stick with that.:)
     
  16. Adam M

    Adam M
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    sounds like good advice, thanks for yout input.
     
  17. Plump

    Plump
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    something to add here

    it is common to claim dts is better than dd
    it is NONSENSE

    it is technically more advanced but it always depends on who made the mix. if it is some dumb no technology helps. and this is equally important for movies and concerts
     
  18. kron

    kron
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    True...true

    But don't start on this again..lol
     
  19. Adam M

    Adam M
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    I just bought an LX70 and am now totally lost as to what surround mode is the correct one to listen to.

    You may say choose which sounds best, but I may like the sound of stereo with increased dynamic range making explosions sound great, but then I might be missing out on a proper 7.1 facility that I didn't immediately notice.

    So, to some up, I have 7.1 speakers, all M&K, and a PS3 connected via hdmi.

    I have no idea if I should use PCM or not, is Dolby True HD lossless? If a BD includes a PCM track, does it necessarily mean it will have the latest surround format availble, or do you get "normal" 5.1 via uncompressed pcm?

    Is there a guide somewhere which explains what to do as the manual doesn't indicate what the hierarchy of available listening modes is.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  20. Adam M

    Adam M
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    Just saw this link:

    http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/s..._FAQ:_Blu-ray_and_HD_DVD_Audio_Explained/1064

    whch explains a lot, but I don't get one thing.

    so pcm is lossless and true to the studio master, as dolby true hd and dts-ma are lossless compressed versions of the studio master, but how do you know what the studio master is?

    If you select pcm on your amplifier do you necessarily get 5.1 or 6.1 or 7.1 channels? Hoe do you know how they chose to encode the master?

    Also, my amp seems to keep outputting PL2X (or at least the display says so). If I am listening over PCM, surely I must already have discrete rear channels, so what the hell is prologic 2 doing with my signal?

    I don't like seeing PL2 anywhere near anything other than a stereo signal, so do i just have the amp in the wrong setting or is there a PL2 setting for generating a surround back effect from a uncompressed 5.1 signal?
     
  21. KMO

    KMO
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    Pro Logic IIx will take a 5.1 channel signal and redistribute the 2 surround channels over 4 rear speakers. It also incorporates the steering required for Dolby Digital Surround EX, and is the recommended mode for that material, rather than the original Surround EX decode.

    It doesn't touch the front 3 channels of a 5.1 channel signal.

    PLIIx Cinema is a perfectly reasonable mode to use for 5.1 films if you have a 7.1 setup, given that a straight 2-speaker surround configuration is nothing like what's actually used in cinemas. The spread across 4 speakers could be said to be a more accurate rendition.

    For multichannel music, like SACD or DVD-Audio, it's definitely not the "right" mode to use, as that is mastered for 5 full-range monopolar speakers, rather than diffuse surrounds, so you should turn off PLIIx. Of course, it's still a matter of taste, so feel free to do what you want.
     
  22. Adam M

    Adam M
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    Thanks KMO,

    I only ever watch films, I don't listen to SACD or DVD-A.

    So what you are saying is that I can have pl2 combined wth a 5.1 source for a "better" sound than dolby surround EX,

    I presume I should turn it off (no idea how) when listening to dts - MA, dolby true hd or pcm.

    I am under the impression I should just use the "direct" setting.

    Just one quick question, how do you know if the master uses 5.1 or 7.1 discrete channels the amp only displays PCM?
     
  23. KMO

    KMO
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    You don't listen to SACD or DVD-A? :eek: Weirdo. :D

    You can use Dolby PLIIx with lossless 5.1 sources fine (SACD, DVD-Audio, PCM, TrueHD, etc). It's a separate post-processing stage that doesn't care where the audio data originally came from. It'll transform any 5.1 to 7.1.

    (Although having said that, some receivers have limitations due to processing power, and it may not work with 96kHz material, or may downsample it to 48kHz. But in theory they'll work with anything).

    Your amp really should say how many channels of PCM it's receiving. Do the program format indicators not light up? The source should tell you too.
     
  24. Mr Incredible

    Mr Incredible
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    Well, you have to be in the running for the award for the oldest dug up thread....... just over 4 years old! Nice one! :devil::smashin:
     
  25. Adam M

    Adam M
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    thanks,

    the best bit is when I searched to see if it had already been asked, the closest anyone had asked to what I wanted to know, was me!
     

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