DTS vs DD 5.1 differences? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure if this is the best area of the forum to post this question... but anyway: I keep reading on here people saying that DTS is so much better than DD 5.1. In lots of those threads where people are talking about great home theater DVDs I often hear things like "Jurassic Park is good, but you've GOT TO hear it in DTS!" Can someone tell me exactly what the difference is in terms of what you hear?

I own a demo DVD that has the Episode I pod race scene in both DD 5.1 and DTS and I've watched both back to back at a very high volume and honestly cannot detect any difference between the two. Maybe my ears just aren't trained to detect these differences that so many on these forums make out to be night and day.

Can anyone offer me some insight as to what differences actually exist?
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 09:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrutalBodyShots View Post

I'm not sure if this is the best area of the forum to post this question... but anyway: I keep reading on here people saying that DTS is so much better than DD 5.1. In lots of those threads where people are talking about great home theater DVDs I often hear things like "Jurassic Park is good, but you've GOT TO hear it in DTS!" Can someone tell me exactly what the difference is in terms of what you hear?

I own a demo DVD that has the Episode I pod race scene in both DD 5.1 and DTS and I've watched both back to back at a very high volume and honestly cannot detect any difference between the two. Maybe my ears just aren't trained to detect these differences that so many on these forums make out to be night and day.

Can anyone offer me some insight as to what differences actually exist?

Do a search there are many threads on this.......bottom line is it's all in the mix and how aggressive that mix is......some dts titles have a better mix...some are practically the same as the dolby track ( Blade 2 as an example )
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 09:38 AM
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Sometimes the DTS is a separate mix, or a re-mix, so it will be different. Ie., in JP's case the bass in the DTS version is much louder.

Other times it will be the same sound mix, just encoded differently.

But overall the main difference is that Dolby Digital uses something called "Dialnorm," which is a parameter that tells the receiver to reduce the volume by several decibles, usually 3. So when you compare DTS and DD, turn it down 3 notches/dB when you switch to DTS, and up 3 when you go back to DD. Otherwise DTS will seem better just because it's louder.

Also, DTS is capable of a higher bit-rate, meaning often times it's less compressed than DD. Whether or not it's noticeable depends on how high the volume is, your equipment, and your ears.
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 10:38 AM
 
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BBS,
Don't concern yourself too much over it. The differences are typically so minimal that only serious audiophiles with ultra-advanced setups can notice. I'd lay money that at least 90% of AVS members couldn't tell the difference in a blind test of random samples, and 99.9% of regular folks couldn't even tell you the difference, let alone hear it. (Other than the "loudness factor".)
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 10:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cyberbri View Post

Sometimes the DTS is a separate mix, or a re-mix, so it will be different. Ie., in JP's case the bass in the DTS version is much louder.

Other times it will be the same sound mix, just encoded differently.

But overall the main difference is that Dolby Digital uses something called "Dialnorm," which is a parameter that tells the receiver to reduce the volume by several decibles, usually 3. So when you compare DTS and DD, turn it down 3 notches/dB when you switch to DTS, and up 3 when you go back to DD. Otherwise DTS will seem better just because it's louder.

Also, DTS is capable of a higher bit-rate, meaning often times it's less compressed than DD. Whether or not it's noticeable depends on how high the volume is, your equipment, and your ears.

I believe dialnorm is actually 4 db usually, difference for DVD between DD and DTS tracks.

"Also, DTS is capable of a higher bit-rate, meaning often times it's less compressed than DD."

But they are different codecs, so that does not have a bearing on which is better.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies everyone. So I take it that the guys in the other areas of the forum that are saying that Jurassic Park DTS or Flight of the Phoenix DTS etc being light years better than DD 5.1 must have incredible home theater systems?
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 11:34 AM
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No, those are just different mixes between DD and DTS. I know the JP I DTS has bass much hotter than the DD version. In some cases like this, where the actual content or mix is different, one version can easily be better or preferred to the other.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 03:14 PM
 
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BBS,
Please note I did say typically. There will be exceptions, and keep in mind that those exceptions go both ways. A poor DTS track can definitely sound worse than DD.

Light years should only be used in terms of astronomical equations and expressions, not for AV equipment.
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 05:05 PM
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BBS : I do have the same Demo DVD and believe me I can hear difference between the two tracks , DTS is "louder"

The problem with this particular Demo DVD is that DTS mix was originally taken from the DD mix and it was "tampered" with

To really compare DTS vs DD tracks , you should get two different mixes and see for yourself . 99% of the time I think DTS is cheating because they take the DD mix and "play" with it
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I Just read the Saving Private Ryan DTS thread, and again you have a half dozen people saying that the DTS version blows away the DD version...
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 09:03 PM
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my take...

1) there can be substantial differences between the DTS and DD sound, but it if volume is equalized, they are often not that noticeable, if noticeable at all.

2) when there are substantial differences, they are often really substantial. This is often due to a completely different mix.

examples:

The Haunting... the DTS 6.1ES mixes absolutely crushes the DD5.1 version. It is a completely different mix. Bass is staggering and the house literally sounds like it "breathes"... far more atmospheric and active.

Gladiator... again, the DTS6.1ES mix is far more active and involving.

War of the Worlds... the DTS 5.1 mix is incredibly overamped as compared to the DD5.1 version. The DD mix sounds flat and wimpy, even when volume equalized.

on the other hand:

The Rock (criterion)... the DD5.1 mix is better IMHO. Better bass and more explosive.

overall:

There are DVDs where the DTS mix is far superior to the DD one, and those DVDs have been often used as demo material, hence where DTS gets much press and a "media-preference" perhaps. On the other hand, there are some amazing DD5.1 mixes... note that the Incredibles DD5.1EX is simply amazing.

Perhaps most telling for me... I've only listened to a few concerts on DVD, and I'd MUCH rather listen in DTS than DD.

somehow, a musical concert in DD sounds harsher and more shrill, at least enough that if I can swap audio on the fly (assuming the DVD allows it), I can really hear it, and consistently. DTS sounds smoother, more liquid, and simply more musical.

I think that is why I subjectively prefer DTS tracks in movies as well.

Not sure, but that's my guess.

FWIW, here's a well-written article on the techical differences between DD and DTS encoding schemes, and some history. Might help you understand what you're hearing, or not hearing, as the case may be

http://www.spannerworks.net/reference/10_1a.asp

Gb
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-04-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BrutalBodyShots View Post

I Just read the Saving Private Ryan DTS thread, and again you have a half dozen people saying that the DTS version blows away the DD version...

Because it's a completely different mix.

If you have the identical mix encoded both ways one in DD and one in DTS, that's different. Here with SPR you have two completely different mixes, so it's not really possible to compare which codec you feel is superior, because you're comparing apples and oranges.
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post #13 of 13 Old 01-05-2007, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I guess what we need is a master list of DTS movies that have a different (and superior) mix to the DD version. Has anyone made such a list yet?
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