Is uncompressed PCM 5.1 better in EVERY way than DD or DTS 5.1? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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First, I did do a search and didn't find any discussion on my exact question.

I finally got a Panasonic BD35 and have been able to watch a couple BD movies. The one in question is Hellboy, which has an Uncompressed 5.1 track AND a DD 5.1 track.

I have read a lot of rave reviews of the uncompressed tracks on BD. Well, I switched back and forth a bit between the two tracks, and my impression was that, yes, the uncompressed pcm track was very clean and clear sounding. But the thing I also noticed was that the "soundstage" was kind of flat. More specifically, when there was a musical score going on, there was little imaging to the soundstage, and instruments didn't seem to have their own space. Everything was just flat to the speakers. Kind of like a CD, clean and clear, but with minimal emotional effect. If you have ever heard music on a really good vinyl rig or SACD player, you will know what I mean.

Now, the DD track seemed a bit more dynamic, and the music seemed to have better soundstage and imaging. Perhaps it is just this particular disc.

BTW, the other BD I just watched was The Incredible Hulk with DTS-HD Master Audio, which sounded great.

Should I expect much greater results with other uncompressed 5.1 BD movies?

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post #2 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 04:38 PM
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It's really up to you.
The bitrates may say so but the ear doesn't lie.

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post #3 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 04:41 PM
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If you have the equipment the difference is night and day.
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post #4 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 04:49 PM
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Unless I have some major gaps in my understanding of surround audio formats, an audio track is an audio track, and given the same source, and that the reciever is decoding them properly at the correct levels, the lossless track should always sound better.
However, actual PCM tracks are a dumb waste of space when you've got lossless codecs.
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post #5 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42041 View Post

Unless I have some major gaps in my understanding of surround audio formats, an audio track is an audio track, and given the same source, and that the reciever is decoding them properly at the correct levels, the lossless track should always sound better.
However, actual PCM tracks are a dumb waste of space when you've got lossless codecs.

True. Mathematically identical. See compression utilities for software.
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post #6 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Xylon View Post

If you have the equipment the difference is night and day.


Actually if you have the equipment (high-end) the difference is tiny. On lower-end hardware the difference is greater.
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post #7 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffY View Post

Actually if you have the equipment (high-end) the difference is tiny. On lower-end hardware the difference is greater.

Tiny? Between DD and PCM or THD/DTS-MA?

Maybe my definition of "night and day" is too much. How about discernible difference.
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post #8 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post

First, I did do a search and didn't find any discussion on my exact question.

I finally got a Panasonic BD35 and have been able to watch a couple BD movies. The one in question is Hellboy, which has an Uncompressed 5.1 track AND a DD 5.1 track.

Your outputting the the audio through an HDMI cable to a receiver that isn't limited to just dolby digital and DTS right? If you are, then you might be listening to 2.0PCM with the receiver matrixing it.

And if this was the case when you watched IH you would have gotten the core DTS track. But if this doesn't describe your situation the, yes you will more than likely have the same experience with every PCM disc(glad they don't use that stuff anymore).

BTW - Hellboy PCM track is better than HB2 7.1MA track. The mix is better.

Ridiculous codec tier sig gone. Still AVC/24bit lossless fanboy.

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post #9 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 06:02 PM
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well to answer your question, yes its better in every way its not compressed

is it discernable by everyone at all times, id say no. id say on most tracks a blind a/b would fool 95% of even the members of this community

that said i wont buy a blu ray that doesnt have lossless of some kind because its the principle

you have the space and youre the aspect of movie experience at home


i would wager for 99.99999 percent of the population lossless audio and a good 1080p presentation is the best they will need in the traditional display as we know it today
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post #10 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrage View Post

Your outputting the the audio through an HDMI cable to a receiver that isn't limited to just dolby digital and DTS right? If you are, then you might be listening to 2.0PCM with the receiver matrixing it.

And if this was the case when you watched IH you would have gotten the core DTS track. But if this doesn't describe your situation the, yes you will more than likely have the same experience with every PCM disc(glad they don't use that stuff anymore).

BTW - Hellboy PCM track is better than HB2 7.1MA track. The mix is better.

Yes, HDMI is running into Yamaha RX-V1800, so I am getting everything as it should be. I compared the uncompressed pcm to the DD 5.1.

On IH, the Yamaha display indicated "DTS-HD Master Audio".

I have just never been that impressed with pcm audio quality with regard to imaging, soundstage, musical timbre, etc. Even with my DVD-Audio discs, which are very high resolution pcm, there is just something missing, compared to vinyl or SACD.

But, I am going to make some more comparisons with other movies. I can't trust my impression from just one movie.

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post #11 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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PCM Is The BEST
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post #12 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 09:24 PM
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PCM is mathematically identical to TrueHD and DTS-HDMA. The real difference is in how the soundtracks are mixed and how your equipment is set up.
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post #13 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffY View Post

Actually if you have the equipment (high-end) the difference is tiny. On lower-end hardware the difference is greater.

COMPLETELY wrong. Actually, to be honest, I read this and laughed out loud.

It's LITERALLY the opposite. Let's not spread false information, that doesn't do anybody good.
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post #14 of 68 Old 12-05-2008, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee K View Post

COMPLETELY wrong. Actually, to be honest, I read this and laughed out loud.

It's LITERALLY the opposite. Let's not spread false information, that doesn't do anybody good.

I'm not saying either of you are wrong. But where are you guys finding information that supports either idea? And by that I mean actual data or any sort of test.

Ridiculous codec tier sig gone. Still AVC/24bit lossless fanboy.

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post #15 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by shadowrage View Post

I'm not saying either of you are wrong. But where are you guys finding information that supports either idea? And by that I mean actual data or any sort of test.

Sound quality isn't always about science and numbers.
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post #16 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 05:04 AM
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Eventually the difference might be quite big but right now we have high-end products that have been developed over a number of years that play DD and DTS to perfection vs mostly mid-range high-def products that are still in their infancy and their performance is restricted by a rubbish connection interface (HDMI).
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post #17 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 05:08 AM
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Lossless audio tracks is the only reason I got back into home theater. They sound wonderful . So much better thatn DD or standard DTS in my opinion.
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post #18 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrage View Post

I'm not saying either of you are wrong. But where are you guys finding information that supports either idea? And by that I mean actual data or any sort of test.

I've been luckily to been able to listen to many very high-end setups and what they can do with basic DD and DTS is amazing. In my own setup which isn't exactly high-end but no slouch either I have a Meridian 568.2 processor with Apogee DACs for SD audio and a Onkyo 886 for HD audio. Both are connected to an Arcam C30 pre-amp so at the press of a single button I can compare DD/DTS vs PCM or lossless (levels matched). The difference is very small and in some cases I actually prefer the Merdian with the coax connection to the player vs the Onkyo with HDMI.
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post #19 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 05:57 AM
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The problem with PCM is that its very hard to judge objective how much better it sound.

Many people that compare have the knowledge what they are listening to. And then we dont know how much placebo kicks in.

The other way of judging is to let someone else switch tracks, but then we have the issue about volume kick in. The louder the better seems to fit alot of people.

So its really hard to get objective data on the detectable difference between lossy and lossless.
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post #20 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffY View Post

Eventually the difference might be quite big but right now we have high-end products that have been developed over a number of years that play DD and DTS to perfection vs mostly mid-range high-def products that are still in their infancy and their performance is restricted by a rubbish connection interface (HDMI).

Wait, so are you saying that good DACs are worlds better than HDMI?

My understanding was always that the higher end components being released now with higher end DAC support were for those with extremely high end components that do not have HDMI, and would make no sense to replace, as it would be ridiculously expensive?

Can someone enlighten me in this regard please?
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post #21 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 06:22 AM
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I wouldn't expect SD sound over HDMI to do very well. You need to at least use SPDIF.
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post #22 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 06:42 AM
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Lossless, be it TrueHD, DTS-HDMA, or PCM, can be slightly better than some DD/DTS tracks but not all. At approximately 5.5:1 compression ratio, studies have shown that lossy audio in general becomes audibly transparent to lossless audio; while there are different codecs that slightly vary in efficiency, this rule seems to hold true across most. So PCM/TrueHD/DTS-HDMA might sound better than 448kbps DD5.1, but the difference is minimal to nonexistant compared to 1.5mbps DTS. Also, in terms of bitdepth and sampling rate, generally 16bit/44.1khz is the threshold where people can tell a difference.

Now, if you think you hear a difference when you shouldn't, there could be a number of factors that come into play. First is master quality, which tends to be more important than compression rate. Check out Top Gun on Blu-ray for instance - the DTS-HDMA track sounds a lot more aggressive than the TrueHD/DD tracks. In fact, most would probably agree that the lossy DTS core of the lossless DTS-HDMA track of Top Gun sounds better than the TrueHD track. Go check it out for yourself. This holds true for music as well; often CDs will be mastered with lots of distortion (see the loudness wars) while "high resolution" discs will have masters that are not compromised. Master quality generally makes a much larger difference than lossy vs lossless or "high resolution" vs. 16bit/44.1khz.

The second thing that comes into play is placebo effect. Our brain can trick us into thinking something sounds better or worse when we think it is supposed to. Placebo effect is a VERY powerful thing, and it is amazing that the huge difference we heard can often go down the drain when we are asked to identify the huge difference we heard without knowing which track is which.

So in conclusion, if you have high bitrate lossy then no, PCM shouln't sound miles better. And yes, it is possible for PCM to sound worse than lossy DD/DTS due to different masters being used; again, use Top Gun Blu-ray DTS lossy core vs. Top Gun TrueHD lossless as an example. In the case of your movie Hellboy, it is very possible the DD track used a better master. Unbreakable is another example of this, the PCM track has lots of popping/distortion in it while the DD track does not.

Oh, and here is some science to back up my statements as another poster requested:
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195
http://www.heise.de/ct/00/06/092/
(translation of heise.de article): http://www.geocities.com/altbinaries...l/mp3test.html
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post #23 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruined View Post

Lossless, be it TrueHD, DTS-HDMA, or PCM, can be slightly better than some DD/DTS tracks but not all. At approximately 5.5:1 compression ratio, studies have shown that lossy audio in general becomes audibly transparent to lossless audio; while there are different codecs that slightly vary in efficiency, this rule seems to hold true across most. So PCM/TrueHD/DTS-HDMA might sound better than 448kbps DD5.1, but the difference is minimal to nonexistant compared to 1.5mbps DTS. Also, in terms of bitdepth and sampling rate, generally 16bit/44.1khz is the threshold where people can tell a difference.

Now, if you think you hear a difference when you shouldn't, there could be a number of factors that come into play. First is master quality, which tends to be more important than compression rate. Check out Top Gun on Blu-ray for instance - the DTS-HDMA track sounds a lot more aggressive than the TrueHD/DD tracks. In fact, most would probably agree that the lossy DTS core of the lossless DTS-HDMA track of Top Gun sounds better than the TrueHD track. Go check it out for yourself. This holds true for music as well; often CDs will be mastered with lots of distortion (see the loudness wars) while "high resolution" discs will have masters that are not compromised. Master quality generally makes a much larger difference than lossy vs lossless or "high resolution" vs. 16bit/44.1khz.

The second thing that comes into play is placebo effect. Our brain can trick us into thinking something sounds better or worse when we think it is supposed to. Placebo effect is a VERY powerful thing, and it is amazing that the huge difference we heard can often go down the drain when we are asked to identify the huge difference we heard without knowing which track is which.

So in conclusion, if you have high bitrate lossy then no, PCM shouln't sound miles better. And yes, it is possible for PCM to sound worse than lossy DD/DTS due to different masters being used; again, use Top Gun Blu-ray DTS lossy core vs. Top Gun TrueHD lossless as an example. In the case of your movie Hellboy, it is very possible the DD track used a better master. Unbreakable is another example of this, the PCM track has lots of popping/distortion in it while the DD track does not.

Oh, and here is some science to back up my statements as another poster requested:
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195
http://www.heise.de/ct/00/06/092/
(translation of heise.de article): http://www.geocities.com/altbinaries...l/mp3test.html

Hmm...thanks for this info. I guess I was assuming the same master would have been used for both the pcm and DD tracks on Hellboy. I can't explain or prove it eloquently, but while the pcm 5.1 was clean and clear, it somehow lacked a sense of depth to the musical score.

Regarding Top Gun, I only have the HDDVD version, and it has been a while since I played it, but I do remember clearly favoring the DTS-ES 6.1 track to the DD+ or even Dolby TrueHD versions.

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post #24 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post

Hmm...thanks for this info. I guess I was assuming the same master would have been used for both the pcm and DD tracks on Hellboy. I can't explain or prove it eloquently, but while the pcm 5.1 was clean and clear, it somehow lacked a sense of depth to the musical score.

With the moving being so new, I think it's very very unlikely two different mixes and or masters were used.

Not trying to start anything, but it might just be you OP. The PCM track is damn near perfect and I think most would agree that it's better to the DD track in every way. This is the first I've heard of anyone give a complaint of the Hellboy audio track.

To be fair I haven't listened to the DD track, do you have any time stamps where the differences in the score are, in particular? I'll give a listen later on.

Ridiculous codec tier sig gone. Still AVC/24bit lossless fanboy.

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post #25 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 10:31 AM
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Greeting I am just curious if pcm is always better or equal to Dolby TRUEHD or DTS-HD MA why we buy the new recievers or processors with new audiocodec,Are we fooled? To my ears I hear new audiocodec is better in almost of BDS.PCM is a raw data if decoded in hiend reciever ,the result is more distinct to your ears than cheap reciever or PS3 for shure,I think.(just my experience to my ears)PCM is far more better than plain Dolby Digital with no cotroversy.
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post #26 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 10:44 AM
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PCM is generally more prone to jitter issues.
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post #27 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffY View Post

I wouldn't expect SD sound over HDMI to do very well. You need to at least use SPDIF.

bitstreaming DD and DTS over HDMI is IDENTICAL to bitstreaming over SPDIF

digital streams are digital streams the high end equipment may have better decoders and little bits of processing to get the most out of lossy audio but it won't matter which connection is used to transport that digital stream
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post #28 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by AmishFury View Post

bitstreaming DD and DTS over HDMI is IDENTICAL to bitstreaming over SPDIF

digital streams are digital streams the high end equipment may have better decoders and little bits of processing to get the most out of lossy audio but it won't matter which connection is used to transport that digital stream

Rubbish, digital is digital until it inevitably reaches the DACs at which point the jitter in the chain will affect everything.
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post #29 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruined View Post

Lossless, be it TrueHD, DTS-HDMA, or PCM, can be slightly better than some DD/DTS tracks but not all. At approximately 5.5:1 compression ratio, studies have shown that lossy audio in general becomes audibly transparent to lossless audio; while there are different codecs that slightly vary in efficiency, this rule seems to hold true across most. So PCM/TrueHD/DTS-HDMA might sound better than 448kbps DD5.1, but the difference is minimal to nonexistant compared to 1.5mbps DTS. Also, in terms of bitdepth and sampling rate, generally 16bit/44.1khz is the threshold where people can tell a difference.

Now, if you think you hear a difference when you shouldn't, there could be a number of factors that come into play. First is master quality, which tends to be more important than compression rate. Check out Top Gun on Blu-ray for instance - the DTS-HDMA track sounds a lot more aggressive than the TrueHD/DD tracks. In fact, most would probably agree that the lossy DTS core of the lossless DTS-HDMA track of Top Gun sounds better than the TrueHD track. Go check it out for yourself. This holds true for music as well; often CDs will be mastered with lots of distortion (see the loudness wars) while "high resolution" discs will have masters that are not compromised. Master quality generally makes a much larger difference than lossy vs lossless or "high resolution" vs. 16bit/44.1khz.

The second thing that comes into play is placebo effect. Our brain can trick us into thinking something sounds better or worse when we think it is supposed to. Placebo effect is a VERY powerful thing, and it is amazing that the huge difference we heard can often go down the drain when we are asked to identify the huge difference we heard without knowing which track is which.

So in conclusion, if you have high bitrate lossy then no, PCM shouln't sound miles better. And yes, it is possible for PCM to sound worse than lossy DD/DTS due to different masters being used; again, use Top Gun Blu-ray DTS lossy core vs. Top Gun TrueHD lossless as an example. In the case of your movie Hellboy, it is very possible the DD track used a better master. Unbreakable is another example of this, the PCM track has lots of popping/distortion in it while the DD track does not.

Oh, and here is some science to back up my statements as another poster requested:
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195
http://www.heise.de/ct/00/06/092/
(translation of heise.de article): http://www.geocities.com/altbinaries...l/mp3test.html

*golf claps*

And yet, the spec-mongers will (claim to) refuse to buy anything that doesn't have a lossless audio bullet. It doesn't take a lot of thinking to realize that the source is the most important piece of the puzzle, but someone in another thread literally said they'd prefer a lossless encode of 16 bit source instead of a lossy one of a 24 bit source. That's just how bad the spec-checking has become. Granted, they wouldn't be able to tell the 16 bit vs 24 bit whether it's encoded lossy or lossless, but try telling them that. At these bitrates (DTS and DD+ at 1.5, and higher) people can't tell the difference. Lower rate MP3 tests have proven this. It's totally placebo. Marketing tells you lossless is better than lossy and 24 bit source is better than 20 bit or 16 bit (and mathematcially and bit-rate-meter-wise, they are), so therefore you "hear" it. Blind listening tests will always paint a different picture.

*************************************************

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...with a bitrate meter and screencaps.
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post #30 of 68 Old 12-06-2008, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrage View Post

With the moving being so new, I think it's very very unlikely two different mixes and or masters were used.

Not trying to start anything, but it might just be you OP. The PCM track is damn near perfect and I think most would agree that it's better to the DD track in every way. This is the first I've heard of anyone give a complaint of the Hellboy audio track.

To be fair I haven't listened to the DD track, do you have any time stamps where the differences in the score are, in particular? I'll give a listen later on.

Yes, absolutely. It might just be me. That is why I started this thread. I was expecting the uncompressed pcm track to be better in EVERY aspect than the DD 5.1 track. Then, when I didn't perceive as much realism and depth to the musical score as I would have expected, I was surprised. I really enjoy the musical score in movies, and I wanted to get opinions from some other unbiased listeners who had made comparisons listening for the same aspects that I was interested in.

I really need to compare these tracks on more BD movies before I trust my initial perceptions.

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