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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
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Using the optical line is all you need. It sends digital audio data to the receiver. The receiver will decode and amplify the signal. Your DVD player is perfectly capable of passing 6.1 channel sound to your receiver as 6.1 is simply an extension of 5.1 formats - see below.
Don't connect the analog RCA jack outputs to your receiver. This would be for people who are using TV speakers to play back the sound.
I'm not sure of any sites that explain Dolby Digital and DTS, but it's not really all that complicated. Currently, you can have the following sound formats, all of which can be passed through the optical connection:
1. Mono.:rolleyes: Some receivers have a "mono" setting which plays the sound over all the speakers with a slight delay to add a bit of presence to the sound.
2. Stereo. You can play this as-is, or use analog surround-sound settings on your receiever such as Dolby Pro-Logic, Pro-Logic II or DTS Neo:6 to make a 4-channel (PL), 5-channel (PLII) or 6-channel (Neo 6) mix.
3. Dolby Surround. Similar to stereo, but contains specifically-encoded steering cues to fully control the surround-sound decoding in PL, PLII or Neo:6 playback.
4. Dolby Digital. This can be encoded in mono, stereo, Dolby Surround, or 5.1 (its most typical use).
5. DTS, a 5.1 format. This often sounds better than Dolby Digital, but it depends on how it's mixed.
6. Dolby Digital EX. 6.1 format. The 6th channel is encoded into the surround left/surround right channels, so it must be mixed out.
7. DTS-ES. 6.1 format. The 6th channel can be mixed in with the surround left/surround right channels (this is a "matrix" mix) or completely separate (a "discrete" mix).
There are now 7-channel formats as well, Dolby Pro-Logic IIx and Logic7. Logic7 has been around for a while in harmon/kardon receivers, PLIIx is brand-new. These take a stereo sound signal and decode it into 7-channel sound, using steering queues in the sound.
On my receiver (Denon 1803), I can use mono, stereo, PL, PLII and Neo:6 on analog signals (i.e. on regular TV broadcasts or VCR tapes). It forces me to use PL or PLII on Dolby Surround encoded signals coming over a digital medium (certain digital satellite TV channels or a few older DVDs like Blade Runner: Director's Cut). DD or DTS signals will force the receiver into DD or DTS mode, although I can choose EX or ES format simply by turning the rear channel on and off, even if the material is not encoded in EX or ES. Note that in order to use DD or DTS, the source must be digital, i.e. digital cable, digital satellite or DVD, and the source must be specifically encoded in DD or DTS.
I'm still learning about PLIIx but from what I understand it could be used with DD or DTS signals to extract 7 channels from 5.1 or 6.1-encoded material.