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Differences in audio quality / format

Discussion in 'Audio' started by BlkPnthr, Dec 13, 2003.

  1. BlkPnthr

    BlkPnthr Guest

    Could someone please explain the difference to me between Dolby Digital 5.1 and something I've been seeing called "DTS"? Which is the higher quality of the two?

    Thank you
     
  2. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    This has been a bone of contention for some time now. DTS is percieved by many to be "better", as it only throws away 3/4 of your audio, whereas Dolby Digital throws away around 9/10.
    The truth is they are both lossy "perceptual encoding" alogrithms , and there really isn't much to choose between them as long as you reaklly know what you are doing in Dolby Digital.
    DTS is also surround only, whereas Dolby Digital covers a much wider range of options, from stereo through to 5.1 .
    In my experience, some stuff sounds better in DTS, and other sounds better in DD.
    Also, every DVD player is required to support DD, and DTS is optional.
    Most, if not all the entry level authoring programs do NOT support DTS, or even surround DD yet, so be careful there too.
    Every authoring app MUST support at least stereo (2.0) Dolby Digital.
    Finally, DTS is brutally expensive. A good encoder (SurCode) will set you back around $2500-3000 a go. The only app I know of that supports it for importing is Sonic Scenarist, which is another $25-30,000 a throw.
    In the short term, therefore, I'd advise you to stick with DD and take the time to learn it properly. It is quite complex, as the metadata setting must be right, or you will end up with material that is too quiet, not balanced, out of phase and all sorts.
    Go to www.dolby.com, and they have loads of downloadable production guides, mixing guides, metadata guides etc ad nauseam.
    Hope this has helped.
     
  3. BlkPnthr

    BlkPnthr Guest

    Yes, this input has helped me greatly. I was curios because I am trying to set the defaults for a program and I have the choice between DTS or DD. I am interested in doing the DVD-A later on but, like you mentioned, pretty costly at this time. I had no idea Sonic Scenarist was worth so much. Damn.

    Thanks for your help.

    Koaster
     
  4. Praetor

    Praetor Moderator Staff Member

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    Does this definition apply to movie theaters also? Or is that a different 'grade' of the spec?
     
  5. markusk

    markusk Regular member

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    What do you mean by this ? DD can go up to 6 discrete channels (5.1, 6.1 can be achieved via matrixing surround left & right channels but it's not a discrete channel) where DTS can go up to 7 (6.1) discrete channels the difference being the surround back channel. Also when talking about lossy audio bitrate has a very high impact on quality so DTS with it's higher bitrate is definitely the way to go if you care about quality. On the other hand poor mixing can make anything sound horrible.
     
  6. wilkes

    wilkes Regular member

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    I meant exactly what I said.
    DTS is for Surround only - ie no stereo option
    Dolby Digital, on the other hand, goes from mono (rare) stereo to surround 3/2 with LFE if required. 3/2 is dolby speak for Left, Centre, Right and 2 surround channels.
    What's not understood here?
     

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