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Various Home Cinema Audio Formats Explained!!

Discussion in 'Receivers and amplifiers' started by Oriphus, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Here are the various formats available for home cinema today.

    [bold]Dolby Pro Logic [/bold]
    This is a Matrix decoder delivering 4 output channels, Left / Center / Right / Surround. Virtually every movie since 1977 has had a two-channel soundtrack with Center and Surround folded in.
    [​IMG]

    [bold]Dolby Digital[/bold]
    Dolby Digital is a flexible discrete digital technology for carrying audio. It is most often thought of as "5.1", though it must be noted that it can have just about any combination, including 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, 4.1, and 5.1 etc. In the case of 2.0, where it is basically a two channel carrier, Dolby Pro Logic may be applied to get 4 output channels. Just about every movie since 1991 has had a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack while every DVD in the world must include either some form of Dolby Digital sound (or Linear PCM).
    [​IMG]

    [bold]DTS (Digital Theatre System)[/bold]
    This is also a discrete audio carrier technology, delivering either 5.0 (in the commercial cinema system) or 5.1 (in the consumer system). Not every Hollywood movie gets circulated with a DTS soundtrack, and DVDs including this optional format are a minority.
    [​IMG]

    [bold]THX Surround EX / Dolby Digital EX[/bold]
    Jointly developed by THX and Dolby, this playback system first appeared in the consumer market only on THX equipment as THX Surround EX but later came to be known as Dolby Digital EX on non-THX equipment. This system is a "marrying" of discrete and matrix technology. In a nutshell, a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is the source. The Pro Logic matrix decoding technology is used on the two surround channels, turning them into three: Left Surround, Center Surround, and Right Surround. While it can rightfully be said this system is intended for a 6.1 playback layout, THX and Dolby have avoided calling it a 6.1 delivery system as that would imply it is a discrete format, which it honestly is not. As of this writing there have been 34 titles made in EX, virtually all including it when released on DVD.
    [​IMG]

    [bold]DTS ES[/bold]
    This is the same principal as Dolby Digital EX, and in fact the same source track as a Dolby Digital EX soundtrack, only at decode time it uses DTS's own matrix technology to derive the trio of surround channels.
    [​IMG]

    [bold]DTS ES Discrete[/bold]
    This is the same layout as Dolby Digital EX / DTS ES, except that the sixth main channel is actually discrete with its own carrier channel at the source. This system may honestly be referred to as "6.1". There have been no Hollywood movies circulated with this type of soundtrack (it has never been used in the commercial systems), and precious few DVDs include a soundtrack remixed for DTS ES Discrete.
    [​IMG]

    [bold]Dolby Pro Logic II Movie / Pro Logic II Music[/bold]
    Despite its success, Dolby Pro Logic never really "worked" quite right on music, or more specifically, material which was not specifically "encoded" for matrix playback. Dolby Pro Logic II uses advanced Matrix technology to improve on the original in several ways. It derives 5 channels from the 2 channel carrier (Left / Center / Right / LeftSurround / RightSurround). It includes "Music" and "Movie" modes which cater to their namesake's material, Movie being more center channel concentrated versus Music which is more expansive and "works" on non-surround encoded material.
    [​IMG]

    [bold]DTS Neo:6 Cinema / DTS Neo:6 Music[/bold]
    This is DTS's effort at a Matrix system which takes two-channel source material and delivers up to six channels at playback: Left / Center / Right / LeftSurround / CenterSurround / RightSurround. The "Cinema" vs. "Music" variations cater to their namesake's material, with Cinema being more center channel concentrated versus Music which is more expansive.
    [​IMG]

    [bold]THX Ultra2 Cinema / Music / Game [/bold]
    THX felt that people wanted to make more use of the extra speakers they had purchased for EX. In response to that, they introduced these three new playback systems. Four channels are created from the two surrounds using a technology THX calls ASA (Adaptable Surround Array) to tailor the rear channels to "work" with non-EX Encoded material, with each mode tweaked to work best on its namesake's material.
    [​IMG]

    [bold]Dolby Pro Logic IIx [/bold]
    There are actually two parts to Pro Logic IIx. The first is its role as a classic Matrix decoder. It distinguishes itself by delivering up to seven channels (as compared to Pro Logic II's five, or Pro Logic's four). Like Pro Logic II, it includes Music and Movie modes. Note that both the side channels and rear channels are stereo.
    [​IMG]
    Pro Logic IIx also plays a role with Discrete 5.1 material by deriving four surround channels, as oppose to EX's three, yielding up to seven main channels. It includes Music and Movie modes. Although, like THX Ultra2, it is designed to accommodate non-EX encoded material, Dolby recommends the Movie mode for all movie material, including EX encoded soundtracks.
    [​IMG]

    Thanks to hometheatrehifi
    _X_X_X_X_X_[small]For your DVD needs http://www.dvd-and-media.com
    http://www.dvd-backup.tk
    For User Guides/Downloads: http://www.chrismccann.co.uk/user_guides.htm
    [​IMG][/small]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2004
  2. Prisoner

    Prisoner Guest

    As a note of Definition LFE is low frequency effects. This is separate non directional bass signals to the subwoofer and can also be depicted as SW. Its the .1 in 5.1

    An other format is SRS circle Surround II. This allows for "realistic" multi-channel surround sound playback from a stero source.
     
  3. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Very true on both counts ;-)
     
  4. Prisoner

    Prisoner Guest

    Although very good information.
    I didn`t realize that Neo was 2channel in to surround. little dispointig as I find it the best output method on my setup. THe odd thing with my receiver is I find that music is the best for all. movie or cinema setting is quite low on the centre but the music is better. Odd thing.
     
  5. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    It is a good way to get the 6 channels from a stereo source. I find that for music playback, Neo6 in music mode is very good. Its more orientated around the fornt left and right, though you do hear the whole sound field
     
  6. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    It is a good way to get the 6 channels from a stereo source. I find that for music playback, Neo6 in music mode is very good. Its more orientated around the fornt left and right, though you do hear the whole sound field
     
  7. Prisoner

    Prisoner Guest

    I wonder if you have five channel input and you use Neo6, will Neo6 only look at the front right and left or will it have easier time and use all five channel inputs it gets? As I found with T2 Extreme edition which has a 5.1 DTS track that using Neo6 had the best sound quality.
     
  8. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Its DTS Neo6 so i presume that the system kicks it into DTS mode? I'll check it out though
     
  9. Prisoner

    Prisoner Guest

    Thanks I was kind of currious. It is possible though as you say with my reciever, if I set it to Neo6 that it just clicks into DTS 5.1 as I don`t remember a specific setting for DTS. Dolby is PLII in the setup (prologic 2) and SRS is CSII (SRS circle suround 2). The THX is a seperate button and setup all together and claims to have the setup you listed for Ultra2 even though it says its THX surround EX.
     
  10. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    What amp is it you have again? I've forgotten! I would have liked to have had PLIIx on my amp as a future feature, since i wouldnt use it now. I usually leave my amp on auto select mode. It does a good job :)
     
  11. Prisoner

    Prisoner Guest

    Auto select mode is ok, but if I am stupid and forget to switch off speaker set B then it locks in to stereo and I need to surf though to find the best setup. This happens a lot, but when you surf though it auto clicks off Set B when you get to Neo and the like.

    I have a Kenwood 7070
    http://www.kenwoodusa.com/product/product.jsp?productTypeId=55&sortBy=price&productId=2532

    AUDIO FEATURES
    - Active EQ by DSP
    - Adjustable Analog Input Sensitivity: with Individual Source Memory
    - Analog-to-Digital Converter: 24-Bit Resolution, up to 96kHz Sampling Rate
    - Audio DSP Listening Modes: 5 (Arena, Theater, Jazz Club, Stadium, Disco)
    - Automatic Analog and Digital Signal Format Detection & Selection
    - Bass Management: Full Digital
    - Digital to Analog Converter: 24-Bit Resolution, up to 96kHz Sampling Rate
    - Dolby Digital
    - Dolby Digital EX
    - Dolby Pro Logic II: 5.1-Channel Movie and Music Modes
    - DSP Processor: 32-Bit ADI Melody
    - DTS Digital Surround
    - DTS-ES: Discrete, Matrix, Neo 6
    - Dual-Zone Operation: Audio and Video
    - Loudness Control: using Remote
    - Midnight Theater Mode
    - SRS Circle Surround II
    - THX Adaptive Decorrelation
    - THX Bass Peak Level Management
    - THX Front-Channel Re-Equalization
    - THX Loudspeaker Position Time Synchronization
    - THX Select Certification
    - THX Subwoofer Crossover
    - THX Timbre-Matching
    - Tone Controls: Bass, Treble
    - Bass Boost

    _X_X_X_X_X_[small]I am not a number
    I am a Free Man[/small]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2004
  12. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    It looks like a great amplifier, i always wonder how manufacturers put together an amplifier with a THX certificate and make it less than $450? Its an excellent price.
     
  13. Prisoner

    Prisoner Guest

    Well as long as you don`t ask where the certification came from its probally really cheap. Hee Hee.
    But It is amazing how cheap it is. I still see Canadian sites quoteing the expected retail price is $1200. Crazy since all the USA sites have it for $450 and less. I hate that. But I can`t complain, I got it 20% off at $720, but then throw 15% tax on top of that and still is pretty expensive.
     
  14. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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  15. Prisoner

    Prisoner Guest

    Very true, that thread had extensive good info and opions. I agree that THX makes it easier for a consumer to buy componets. My two cents are that if you have crapy speakers, the THX seting doesn't sound the best. I have found with the Quest Movie 2 speakers I have that Neo6 sounds much better than the THX setting. However if I had better speakers, I may say the reverse. So THX recivers are good, but with out the speakers you are not geting the full benifits.
     
  16. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Yeah, I agree on that. Also, i've been having a look a DTS Neo 6 for Stereo options. The music setting is really really good for a stereo signal. It seems to split the left-centre and centre-right channels. What i mean is that the centre channel seems to get a bit of both the left and the right sound, from what i could hear.
     

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