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Why I don't think dts is better than Dolby Digital - the definitive answer...

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Family Guy, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. Family Guy

    Family Guy
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    The debate has been going on for as long as I can remember on these forums...what's the best sound format, Dolby or DTS...?
    As most people know here, I will always stand firmly in the corner of Dolby Digital and here's why. To steal a fellow forum members signature but slightly modify it...
    Three Little Letters, So Much Pleasure THX
    Yep - THX post processing. I will engage THX on everything I watch. I will not, however, engage it on music...that's best left alone in stereo.
    For some strange reason onbeknown to me, THX post processing and DTS sound don't mix. However, Dolby Digital with THX Cinema engaged sounds to me exactly like a cinema I visit on a weekly basis that is THX approved.
    The thing is, to me (and I'll keep saying that because there will be people that don't agree...), Dolby Digital with THX post processing engaged sounds so much better than any other vanilla format.
    I now have a couple of weeks off, and having just worked virtually a month without a day off, I've got a pile of discs to watch, not forgetting a certain box set that comes out on Monday...I will be doing some listening comparisons and I'll post my findings here. But there are a few resident experts on dts on the forums (Foxy...looking forward to your comments on this...) and I'd like to read all of their opinions...

    My facination with THX is brought upon by a top home theatre instalation engineer in the country BTW. He works for Sevenoaks Sound And Vision and can be seen in Novembers HCC installing the equipment for the Star Wars trilogy press release. He's a great guy and his enthusiasm for home theatre is really catching...particularly his love of all things THX.

    Please, lets try not to turn this into another thread for dts fanboys...I've put my theory forward why I prefer one over the other. Don't really wanna see any posts like "dts should be on all discs 'cos it sounds better than Dolby Digital..." If you think it does, than fine. I'm not going to tell you it dosen't. But I would like to know WHY you think it does...
     
  2. CLH

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    How many people have THX post processing?
     
  3. Family Guy

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    I don't know...have you? Since the advent of THX select, it's become a lot easier and cheaper to get. Plus, some compainies have their own brand...Onkyo and Yamaha for example. I can't remember what Onkyo's is called but I believe that if you engage "Enhanced" on a Yamaha amp, it does pretty much everything THX post processing does...
     
  4. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Are we still having this conversation ? :)

    Well I've got a Tag 32R at the mo.. and I think I've left THX processing on all digital (DD/DTS) processnig.. not really had the time or inclination to do A/B comparisons.. mabe I should??

    But imho it all sounds good baby !

    Matt
     
  5. Family Guy

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    Hi Matt,
    glad to see your happy with the Tag...yep, this is one of those conversations and debates that I love getting into...however, after a conversation a couple of days ago, the thought of THX processing over DTS not working sprang to mind thought I'd throw it open to the floor.
     
  6. CLH

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    No. I'm sure the advent of THX select will indeed make this available to the masses but (IIRC) even mid range "flagships" such as the Denon 3805 lack THX certification. Until the uptake is wider I'd imagine it will be difficult to tell. One could also argue that DD on a top end Tag may well be better than DTS on a more lowly amp anyway. There are too many variables to form an absolute view on any real basis IMO.

    (PS I've always preferred DTS but I'm aware of all the arguments)
     
  7. Mylo

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    I'm just happy to watch films with good soundtrack. They both sound great through my old school Yamaha processor :thumbsup:
     
  8. Alan Pressley

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    I agree.
     
  9. Thunder

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    I really dont like THX post processing as it shaves the top end off the frequency response :nono: which to my ear makes it sound like a vail has been laid over my speakers. Maybe it was necessary a few years ago when the audio transfer on the DVD had HF boost because it was the same as the theatrical release but nowadays nearly all DVDs are DVD specific mixes and dont need HF attenuation :lesson: THX ultra II music mode is OK because it dosnt attenuate the HF but does create quite a nice 7.1 image fom a 5.1 source, however DD5.1 + PL2X now does a better job and this is my prefered decoding mode when listening to DD5.1, DD5.1EX or THX EX soundtracks :)
     
  10. Family Guy

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    I'd like to see your source for this info mate as I believe there has only ever been one film remixed for home theatre - The Lion King.
    There are a lot of experts on this forum who are in the business of making DVD's etc and IIRC, I read that the mix on a DVD is the same as in the theatre...
     
  11. Thunder

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    Lord of the Rings series, Blade II, Seven special edition. Every title I can think of from about 2001 onwards. Any film that started life in mono, stereo or Dolby surround etc etc etc :)
     
  12. zantarous

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    It’s nice to see even though I don’t post a lot my sig is getting mentioned a bit. I am not going to wade in here and turn this into a DTS rant as Army Bloke has asked not for this to happen however I would expect the same courtesy next time a DTS thread comes up, you do generally wade in and turn most DTS threads in to a DD vs DTS war.

    As with regards to the THX processing, I remember seeing a very cheap Kenwood when I was shopping for a surround amp a few years back that supported THX. I have been looking Pioneer amps to replace the one I currently have but only the ones in the £700 upward range have THX. Is it worth the extra £££.

    One thing I would like to mention I know some people have said in the past DTS should be on all DVD’s, I have recently got into Korean cinema and DTS is offered on a lot of films, only a few of the ones I have only have a DD track.
     
  13. Azrikam

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    This post may be considered blasphemy amongst some, but I think it should be said.

    Any audio tests should be done double-blind. People often hear certain audio as better than the alternative, because that's what they want to hear. Take, for example, some very expensive audio cables. In double-blind tests, these cables sound no better (according to people taking the survey) than the cheaper alternatives. Theoretically, they should provide a better sound, but there's no discernable difference when the subjects don't know which cable is being used at the time.

    Want to see an example? Next time a friend comes around, put on your favorite system showcasing DVD. Crank up the volume, and play a scene. Then, stop the DVD, and play the scene again, telling your friend that you just enabled some new sound clarification device on your sound system (or DVD player). Ask them if they can tell the difference. You'd probably be shocked at how many will agree that the second playing sounded so much better.
     
  14. Thunder

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    I agree with Zantarous in that every DVD should have both a Dolby and DTS track so that everyone can listen to which ever one they prefer :thumbsup:
     
  15. Family Guy

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    Regardless of it being DD or dts...?
     
  16. magicmushrooms

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    Army bloke, essentially what you're saying is if you have a high end cinema system DD is better through THX processing. If you didn't have THX would you still be on the Dolby digital bandwagon? ....Before THX were you a DTS fan?

    This is just an observation but it does seem that the more money you spend on equipment the more appealing Dolby Digital is.
     
  17. magicmushrooms

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    Here, here ! give us the choice
     
  18. Gary D

    Gary D
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    :boring: give it a miss guys, cant we argue about something like religion or politics?

    we've done this to death.



    Gary
     
  19. Family Guy

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    Who's arguing? :confused: I agree that sometimes these debates get a bit "samey" for want of a better word...I've been in the DD corner since the start and am now trying to explin why...

    Funny you should say that mate...have a look at this thread...it's quite long so be patient. I think the bit about quality of kit is quite near the beggining of the thread...

    Some info here
     
  20. Azrikam

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    Yep. Two identical audio streams. If the listener thinks the second one has something special, they will often hear something special. However, if you play 2 different tracks and ask someone which one sounds better... you'll get a much better indication of the sound difference. Just don't tell them which is which. (ideally, you shouldn't know which is which until afterwards either)
     
  21. FoxyMulder

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    I think the sound mixer for the DVD usually tries to make the most of the DTS format which does allow for better sound when mixed right ( referring to Full Bitrate DTS Frequency response compared to Dolbys frequency response although Full bitrate DTS is now rare as most are now halfbitrate and its frequency response is totally different ) more often than not these days the sound isn't mixed right and is starting to sound identical on a lot of releases sometimes the sound mixer will make them stand out from the Dolby one and sometimes does a better job although not always ( If the same master is used for the Dolby and DTS soundtrack on DVD the differences are so small as to be neglible as seen with Blade 2 and a few other films )

    When you do hear differences its usually down to a different mix being used and some examples are The Haunting DTS and Saving Private Ryan DTS versions where the soundtrack you are hearing has been totally remixed for the DTS track thus comparisions saying one is better than the other is invalid as both are actually different sound mixes and so you can't really compare.

    Having said all of the above i still prefer DTS as i do think even when the sound mix used is identical the bass is still often a little deeper and the sound distribution ever so slightly better ( Blade 2 being an exception ) although not a huge difference i still think i can hear it ( perhaps i'm just wanting to hear it after spending the money on the DTS version but hey as long as i'm happy ) anyways roll on the next generation of DVD ( Blu-Ray or HD-DVD or both and give us lossless sound and the argument about which is better disappears overnight )
     
  22. BadAss

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    I have a Tag AV32R but leave THX turned off. After doing AB test with certain DVDs I found like mentioned before a reduction in dynamics with it sounding a bit flatter. (I used the Pod race in TFM for this test)

    I don't think THX was designed to improve the sound signal on it's own, just help blend in better with the acoustics of your room/theatre.

    As for DD/DTS I always listen to what the DVD player plays and watch the film in the knowledge the differences are so small as not worth thinking about.
    If I was that bothered I'd have to go through all my whole DVD collection and watch each film twice (For those DVD with both DD and DTS)and then label the cover so id know what to listen to next time round, and who does that?

    I have done DTS/DD comparisons using FOTR and found DD to be better in some areas like the music sounded better while the effects steering was better in DTS.

    A lot is down to calibration room acoustics and ear performance and as every ones is different you will never get a definitive answer.
     
  23. Family Guy

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    For the record, my amp is a Pioneer 2011. I use the MCACC switched to "front align"...but I never trust the speaker set up. If I move my kit for any reason and have to set up the speakers again, I'll the the MCACC do it's stuff, then measure the distance and speaker levels manually. The system sounds a whole lot better with the EQ left on...
     
  24. AML

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    When i first started my home theater hobby, I couldnt afford all 5 speakers because i had just bough the amp and DVD player. I had to settle for DD. Once I got 5.1, I still used DD untill I realised that i could use DTS.
    So when I engaged DTS on a film I had already watchd in DD (gladiator) It totaly blew me away!!

    The vocals came out the center speaker, All the music and sound effects out of the main and the surrounds. All the sound was louder and richer with more detail.

    After this experience I could never see DD in the same light as I see DTS now! Just about all the movies I have now have DTS and still to this day DTS always sounds better to my ears.

    Granted, not all movies use DTS to its full extent.

    When i copy a DVD on my PC (for my own personal use of course) I can choose wether to copy DD or DTS. A DTS track uses up twice as much space as a DD track.

    The numbers dont lie. DTS simply is more of everything.
     
  25. jayok

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    Totally agree with Azrikam, blind tests are the only way to go. Some people may even be pleasantly surprised or disgusted at the results from their own ears in a blind test. I very rarely thrust an AV hardware review that is not a blind test. Peoples perceptions/beliefs intermix with their experience and it makes a false review.
     
  26. Azrikam

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    And by their own admission, some AV mags refuse to do blind studies for just this reason... the people in the study don't pick the good (read: expensive) stuff.

    If you don't follow any reasonable guidelines, you get stuff like this review from Home Theatre & High Fidelity of this b:censored:t item:

    http://www.bedini.com/jsreview.htm
     
  27. Family Guy

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    So what is the full extent of dts?
     
  28. FoxyMulder

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    I guess it means Full bitrate which is 1509kb/s (1536) most movies today opt for halfbitrate which in turn sees a huge reduction in the frequency response.
     
  29. Thunder

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    Full bit rate
     
  30. Family Guy

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    But then again, you could argue that DVD dosen't use DD to it's greatest extent either, with bit rates being available as high as 640 kbps - which is actually the norm on XBox games...
     

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