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Why is DTS better than 5.1 ?

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Koosnaff, Aug 24, 2001.

  1. Koosnaff

    Koosnaff
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    Hi all

    This question might seem a bit strange, but why is DTS considered better than DD 5.1 by the majority ?

    I have only had my system (Denon AVR1801 + Mission cinema 6 pack) for a couple of weeks to play with (week after I installed it I went to Brittany for a fortnight) and so have not really had a chance to play around with it too much. <br />Films like Gladiator and the Die Hard Trilogy sound excellent and because they have DTS, I played them in that format. I am slowly going thru my DVD collection and havent had the chance to re-watch a film in 5.1 that I previously heard in DTS, and wondered what I should be listening for to determine a favourite.

    Is it a *richer* sound, or does it allow more definition ? <br />I purposely check between R1 and R2, and if the R1 has DTS, I purchase that one, but am not satisfied that I really know why.

    Is the difference *that* discernable ?

    Would I really notice it on my budget setup ?

    I know most of you will probably answer by saying that I should compare the 2 to find out, but I don't really get a lot of time on my own to do that (wife + 2 kids - you know the story!)

    As ever, any info on the subject would be gratefully received..

    Cheers
     
  2. hobbes

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    I don't have time to write much, but as a start check out the link, it explains the differences and pros/cons.

    <a href="http://www.audioholics.com/DDvsDTS.htm" target="_blank">DTS vs DD</a>

    Basically DTS is less compressed, and therefore of higher quality (bitrate) but sometimes, because it is compressed you lose some of the extras, as it takes up more space on the disk.<br />But more often than not its worth having DTs over DD.

    [ 24-08-2001: Message edited by: hobbes_vin ]</p>
     
  3. michaelm

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    The funny thing is, I can't remember ever seeing a review of a movie available in both formats in either HCC or Total DVD where the dts version hasn't been favoured by a reviewer.

    But recently, HCC has taken a severe umbrage against dts.

    This has taken the form of one HCC contributor slagging the dts format off as inferior to dd based mostly on information supplied by Dolby Labs, dts greatest competitor. Strangely, this one-sidedness appears to have been sanctioned by the HCC Editorial team. Even dts's reply to the initial article was dismissed out of hand.

    Ask anyone on this forum what format they prefer.
     
  4. Guest

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    Micheal.M's statement is possibly a little "confused" or even unfounded. The recent article in H.C.C. by Stuart. M. Robinson was in fact totally unbiased and well founded in proven lab test result's (of which have been reported on and supported by sources other than Dolby (i.e Warner) and in fact prior to Dolby's recent paper). DTS's "reply" to this paper was "dismissed" (if you like) out of hand simply because at no time did they offer anything approaching satisfactory exacting explanations on the irregularities in the performance of their encoders. (DTS since their conception have been notoriously tight lipped when it comes to releasing anything of a technical nature and it would seem in this case they are "relying" on the punters preference to carry them through rather than "correct" the technical boffins at Dolby)<br />Without doubt the format known (though some would say incorrectly) as "half bit-rate" DTS commonplace on 99% of recent DTS encoded dvd releases IS UNEQUIVOCALLY a technically inferior product to the Dolby alternative.<br />There is however no escaping the fact that SUBJECTIVELY most people (include myself) will prefer DTS, however i personally do not find ALL cross comparison's favourable to the DTS camp but, in most cases prefer DTS on grounds of what my ears are "telling" me rather than simply assuming DTS to be superior (which it isn't) based on grounds of bit-rates/compression.

    SteveEX

    [ 24-08-2001: Message edited by: SteveEX ]

    [ 24-08-2001: Message edited by: SteveEX ]

    [ 24-08-2001: Message edited by: SteveEX ]</p>
     
  5. buns

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    I have to admit i always listen the dts sound track first. It is, as has been said before, a bit louder, the bass always seems nicer to my ears....but thats probably all in my mind, as alot of things are!

    I really consider that the 2 are fairly much interchangeble......so long as a dvd i buy has one or other i am happy. All in all it is 2 rivals fighting the bit out, one is seen as bog standard because it is everywhere (DD) whereas the other is seen as somewhat more specialised....so people assume it to be better! I reckon that on a truly high class system.....the 2 would be considered as almost equal. But the bitrate does count i guess....and i have never listened on a high end system, so what do i know!

    Ad
     
  6. Guest

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    The bit-rate should not be considered as the be all and end all of the "fidelity" of a soundtrack, i.e within the "higher" bit-rate" of the DTS half rate format there are "transient" errors and irregular frequency response across the band width that are not present on the Dolby format so you could have a bit-rate as high as you like but if the encoded data is flawed (for want of a better term) then it can hardy be considered as relevent to overall fidelity.
     
  7. museumsteve

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    well said steveEX...I usually prefer DTS..and I listen to what my ears tell me..not what a bunch of numbers are printed by some tecchie chap...
     
  8. LV426

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    Am I the only one who has trouble telling them apart? I mean, if I put you in a blind audition of, say, Gladiator, would you immediately be able to say, "oh yes, that's DTS (or DD)", in the same way that you would immediately recognise prologic if you heard it?

    Forgive me, but I think not.
     
  9. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    LV426,

    Actually, yes, I would probably be able to tell the difference! <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> I don't know much about the technology behind DTS and Dolby Digital, or Pro Logic for that matter, but a DTS soundtack is very distinctive!

    I only have a 28" Nicam Stereo Colour TV to play my DVD's through, (combined with a Pioneer 626D multi-region DVD player), but even just through them, there is a big sound difference. As others have said, it sounds bassier; has a much clearer feel to it, and sounds a lot more like the sounds would sound like to the human ear, in real life - i.e not "processed", if that makes sense.

    Admittedly, if we all sat in a cinema, and played a DTS soundtrack off of a DVD, and played it through the best cinema/home cinema equipment possible, then maybe the differences and nuances would be slightly less distinct, but there would still be a distinction.

    Comparing DTS and DD, is like comparing two bottles of reasonably-expensive champagne: a true connoiseur WOULD definitely be able to tell the difference. A layman may also be able to tell the difference, but may not be able to tell you why one is better than the other as far as the actual make-up of the sound/wine is concerned. I fall into the latter category:- I can't say why they are different, but I can tell they are different, and can also tell you which was which, more often than not.

    This is solely my opinion, however.

    Pooch
     
  10. Reiner

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    Blind test are IMHO only of any use if a) the same master has been used, b) the (volume) levels are matched during the encoding process and c) you haven't heard one of the other before.<br />There are not many discs around which allow a 1:1 comparision as the masters used were different of DTS has been recorded with other volume levels (let it be the encoder or the technician who messed with that).<br />When doing the test you should be blindfolded or not be able to see what track has been selected, and logically that should be done by someone else.<br />Until then I don't think anyone can say for sure what he concludes as a result, it would merely be a (biased) assumption.

    Someone said before that technical specs aren't everything, just ask those lovers of vinly and valve amps: technically their sources/equipment would loose out against CD and non-valve amplifiers, but yet there are many people who claim it does sound better.
     
  11. museumsteve

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    Private Ryan is one of the more distintive titles to do a comparison...
     
  12. Rob Gillespie

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  13. gbmitie

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    Its all in the ears, DTS is good in CINEMAS because of the no of speakers and the body mass or accoustics, DD at home is perfect.

    To compare like with like you would need 2 systems exactly the same, set at the same volume and then the difference would be nil(to my ears)

    SANAP

    PS apparently private ryan was deliberately recorded loud in the rear speakers to sell the system every demo I have heard is yes PR!
     
  14. Guest

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    How do you "hear" DTS through your t.v????<br />(unless of course has an internal decoder or 5.1 inputs)
     
  15. PoochJD

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    SteveEX,

    You asked me: "How do you "hear" DTS through your t.v???? (unless of course has an internal decoder or 5.1 inputs)"

    Well, normally, I turn up this little switch on the TV, called the "Volume" button, and then I place my ears near to the TV set, any my brain does the rest! <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0">

    Seriously though, there is a difference, as I own a Pioneer 626D multi-region player, and when I switch between the DD and DTS soundtracks, you can hear a large amount of difference between the two.

    Admittedly, DTS isn't always the best, but more often than not, it is.... even if it is via a Nicam Stereo TV only! <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

    Pooch
     
  16. Confucius

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  17. Guest

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    Pooch<br />FYI if your DVD is connected to your t.v via scart or stereo phono pair then you ARE NOT listening to EITHER Dolby Digital OR DTS!!!!!!!!!!!<br />You will be hearing a 2 channel (matrix encoded) soundtrack.<br />DTS does not carry any form of analogue downmix so you CANNOT hear a thing unless you are decoding the bitstream which is transfered via either a Toslink (optical) or electrical co-axial (oft refered to as S/P-Dif).<br />REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR ON?OFF KNOB!!!.<br />It is IMPOSSIBLE to hear DTS/DD via an analogue transfered signal to a 2 channel nicam set.<br />Humbly suggest that perhaps you connect your 626 to something that is DD/DTS compatible and then listen.<br />At present you are listening to the difference between Dolby surround and Dolby surround. To which i would rather expect it would be slightly tough to "spot" the difference.

    [ 26-08-2001: Message edited by: SteveEX ]

    [ 26-08-2001: Message edited by: SteveEX ]</p>
     
  18. Koosnaff

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    Well, many thanks to all who gave input.<br />I took each response onboard.

    Interestingly enough, yesterday my brother in law received the R1 DTS Titan AE (I have the R2 DD only) and so I set his system volumes same as mine (Its sad, but we have identical amps and speakers...) and played the disk in some key areas.

    The exploding earth sequence was, in my opinion, was too much bass. It drowned out the detail completely, but to be fair we had not taken into account that the manual that comes with eth Denon AVR1801 suggests that for DD tracks leave the SW level at 0 and for DTS tracks set the SW level at -10. We tried that ind it bought it all into perspective. It did sound extremely sweet, but then we also checked out the ice cristal sequence and, unless it has to do with the room dynamics, I would have to say that it sounds slightly better in DD than DTS - but only really that section of the film.

    I am left a little confused as the best course of action. I suppose all I can really do is to watch a film in DTS if it has that facility, and then at a later stage watch it in DD and see if I can remember which sounds the best for me in my room.

    Anyway, again to all, many thanks
     
  19. Reiner

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    It's not a matter of what volume you set your AV amp/receiver but what levels are recorded on the DVD.<br />Or else you would need to calibrate your setup (each channel) using the disc itself - unfortunately there is usually no such option (except a very few exemptions) - however it would be a very tedious thing to do so whenever you want to watch a movie.

    Again I "insist" that only a blind test (one system would be enough actually) can give a clear result.

    On a further note blind tests conducted for e.g. MP3 (with different sampling rates) comparing to CD have shown a very interesting result, or rather none: the results were according to the statistical expectations, i.e. those people attending the test (including musicians) could not tell MP3@128kbit/s, MP3@256kbit/s or CD apart.<br />The test was carried out by a reputable institution on a high-end system.<br />I had a link but lost it, besides it was in German so perhaps not much of a help either ...
     
  20. PoochJD

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    SteveEX,

    You said: "FYI if your DVD is connected to your t.v via scart or stereo phono pair then you ARE NOT listening to EITHER Dolby Digital OR DTS!!!!!!!!!!! You will be hearing a 2 channel (matrix encoded) soundtrack."

    That may be so, but there is still a difference that I CAN hear quite clearly, between a DTS and a DD5.1 soundtrack. Whilst you may be perfectly correct in saying that my TV isn't generating proper DTS or DD5.1 soundtracks, that would result only if played by a specialist amplifier, et al, there is still some difference between the two audio tracks.

    Regardless, this is only my opinion, and I do not want this to degenerate into a slanging match between the two of us, so.... I'm happy to agree to disagree on this one, with you. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

    Pooch
     
  21. Reiner

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    Pooch, I think what Steve is trying to say that you cannot play a DTS track on your current setup!<br />DVD players do not allow DTS downmix (IMHO) and even you select the DTS track you will hear either the DD downmix or PCM track (one of which must be on the DVD according to the standard).<br />This would explain the possible differences in the sound.

    I posted this in the early days: my R1 version of 'The Shadow' (DTS) plays (in terms of sound) through my stereo/downmix out of a player without DTS decoder, even I specifically selected the DTS 5.1 track (the only other alternative being the DD 2.0 track).<br />This can only happen if it either reads the DD or PCM track in parallel.
     
  22. bishman

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    For me I feel the whole thing is a case of the emperors new clothes. We are told DTS sounds better, therefore we think it does. We sit down with our first DTS disc and are intentionally listening to the soundtrack to hear how it sounds 'better'. I have had my DTS capable AMP for a few weeks now and for me both DD and DTS sound great, but choosing a preferance I cannot do. Maybe it is to do with the quality of gear, a Yamaha RXV1000RDS reciever with a set of B&W series 2 speakers. Maybe a high end processor and power amps would allow me to hear the superiority of DTS more clearly?

    I agree with Reiner, the only fair test is a completely blind one with tracks mixed from the same master and the listener not knowing which is bein played. This situation is IMHO an impossibility for us.

    Also PoochJD, there is no need for any slanging matches, facts are facts. I don't doubt you are hearing a difference, just not the difference in the soundtracks you thought you were listening to. SteveEX is completely correct, DTS cannot be downmixed into 2 channels, this is a FACT. It would seem you are hearing the diference between the DVD's 2 channel PCM soundtrack, when playing DTS and the downmixed DD soundtrack when playing DD.
     
  23. sweetmate

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    No one has brought EX/ES into the discussion (so I figured I might aswell thow some extra fuel on the fire <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> )

    I too have a tough time telling the difference between DD and DTS soundtracks, but if you really try, certain film sequences can expose the very very marginal differences.

    But when it comes to EX titles, DTS-ES has a distinct advantage over DD-EX in the shape of its discrete 6th channel. As good as an amplifier's matrix decoding can be, its never the same as a discretely recorded seperate channel.

    But I do agree that with standard DD 5.1 v DTS 5.1 soundtracks, it takes a very high end system and alot of aural concentration to notice the difference.
     
  24. Rob Gillespie

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    Sweetmate - the problem with DTS 6.1 ES Discrete is that it's not a theatrical format. Soundtracks have to be specificially created for it - for DVD - so the number of such titles is very small indeed.
     
  25. sweetmate

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    Rob, I think you'll find that DTS-ES is a theatrical format its just not discrete in cinemas.

    So soundtracks are not created specifically for DVD if the movie was originally mixed for DTS-ES. Films like Gladiator and Castaway were mixed for DTS-ES in the cinemas, we just get the added bonus of the sixth channel being discretely encoded at home, as opposed to matrix encoded in the cinema, but either way they still come from a discretely mixed master.

    The recent Se7en DVD was indeed mixed for DVD, but this is because the original soundtrack was mixed before the time of DTS-ES.

    As for the number of titles, it is ever increasing, as DTS-ES soundtracks in films are becoming more commonplace (as with any new sound format, time is needed for it to become a standard).

    As DTS dvds have become more common so will DTS-ES dvds.
     
  26. HeadBanger

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    Because we have been told so many times that DTS sounds better we subconciously believe it does sound better. But does it really?

    One person here (by switching the sound output to DTS through his telly) truly believed it sounded better even though (as SteveEX correctly pointed out) he was actually comparing Dolby suuround with Dolby surround!! Ooops! ).

    Now doesn't that tell you something? We can all laugh but would we drop the same clanger if we truly believed we were listening to DTS when actually we weren't (ie comparing DD to DD but thought we were comparing DTS to DD or vice versa)? <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">
     
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  28. Paden

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    Hello all!<br />Just read Stuart. M. Robinsons article (http://www.homecinemachoice.com/articles/index.html) & if I understand it correctly the level of DTS sub channel can vary from disc to disc depending on how it was encoded (Leathal Weapon v's Twister). If this is the case then surely this is a major drawback with the format, as you'll be tweaking your sub every time you play a different disc purley to your own taste & not leaving it at a set reference as with DD!?<br />Cheers, Paul.
     
  29. michaelm

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  30. Guest

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    Smokescreen????? Come on gent's you don't seriously believe that do you?<br />As far as i am aware S.M.Robinson is not a "member" of HCC staff i believe he is a "major player" in freelance A.V hardware reporting/reviewing etc. So no link's to Dolby or HCC neither is there any "links" between Warner and Dolby.<br />If you like i will search about (again) and supply you with links to other REAL third party investigations into the "alleged" (if you like) inherent problems with the DTS encode/decode process and their "views" on why DTS are a little "retiscent" in clearing up any "mis-understandings" <br />No conspiracy theories here i am afraid.
     

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