sony digital cinema sound - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-18-2011, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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there is a little gem hiding in some of the sony receivers and i'd like to share.

i'd prefer those of you who have (calibrated) analyzer microphones and calibrated equalizers.. because then i know you will have a higher chance of experiencing the same.

i had a calibrated microphone and used it to calibrate my front two speakers.
but the mic fell off of my lap before i could calibrate the rear speakers together with the front speakers.
it was an old dynamic microphone and i think when it hit the ground, the magnet shattered.

this left me with a solid reason to keep myself from using the rear surround speakers.
sometimes i used them to watch movies or play video games.. but i could tell that the equalizer calibration was lost.

besides, i am having trouble with my receiver setup.
if i want surround sound, i have two options.. use the digital input or the multi-channel input.

well i calibrated the equalizer using the 2 channel stereo inputs.
my soundcard doesnt encode the audio into dolby digital or DTS without a software purchase.
i would use it if i could calibrate the equalizer again.
but without the ability to encode to dobly digital or DTS .. the digital output of the soundcard doesnt output audio from the rear speakers.
and the only way to make those speakers work is to use the analog multi-channel inputs.
but if i use those inputs, the equalizer on the receiver disables.
i used the equalizer on the receiver to help flatten out my frequency response.. and thus, i really need it to be activated.

**now on to the digital cinema sound**

i decided to cut my losses and use the front speakers only since they are calibrated.
but i really missed listening to music with the rear speakers filling the room with sound.
so i decided it was time to mess around with the different surround formats on the receiver.

what i discovered really blew me away.
see, i had some peerless speakers from the NHT VT3, VR3 and VC3 loudspeakers.
the room had a 10ft ceiling and the floor was carpeted, with a cloth couch.
i tried these surround formats at the old house and didnt know what i was doing.
i thought the different modes were a gimmick and a childish attempt to make the room sound bigger.

but after gaining some knowledge.. some 9 years later.. i tried them again with my new speakers and new living room environment.
this new room has 7ft ceilings with ceramique tiles covering the floor.
there is hardly any fabric in the room whatsoever.

i tried to use the digital cinema sound modes more maturely, using the same equalizer calibration.
the first and most important thing i did was turn on the 'virtual speakers'
that turned my rear speakers on.
but then i adjusted the effect level with all of the audio experience and knowledge i had gathered.
i turned the effect all the way up and began turning it down until i couldnt hear the echoes in the voices anymore.
then i realized that the screen depth on 'deep' helps expand the sound.

what i had before me was a soundstage that is obviously wider thanks to the rear speakers playing audio with the front speakers.
i have two speakers in the front and two in the back.. no center channel.
but the digital sound processing is mind blowing.
my speakers sounded really obnoxious before the equalizer calibration.
they stood out and i could pinpoint their location.
the best i could do was use the time alignment that came with the soundcard.
this helped a little bit.. but really didnt stand a chance compared to having the rear speakers turned on.

using the soundcard to split the stereo audio into all four speakers and adjusting the distance and angles really moved me.
the sound was everywhere and i couldnt tell where any speaker was.
basically the gaps between the speakers where gone, but the best part was the feeling that the walls on the sides were removed.

i lost the use of the timing alignment with the soundcard because i am using only 2 channel output to keep my equalizer calibration.
but using the digital cinema sound brought the rear speakers back AND it sounds just as good as when i was using the soundcard to split stereo into surround with timing alignment for each speaker.

i am no longer listening to music from speakers in front and to the left and right of me.
what i hear now is sound that totally surrounds me.. which sounds spacious and makes this 12ft x 13ft room feel like i have a vast amount of elbow room.
i dont hear any of the stupid echoes because i turned the effect down just enough to make that stop.

i quickly learned the difference between mode A, B, and C.
mode A is for just about anything.
mode B is for movies with special effects.
mode C is for 'sound scoring'

i could tell that there are clear differences and i liked mode A for most things.. but mode B was good for video games.
mode C was perfect for hearing the audio mastering in a different way.

anyways..
i decided to finalize my experimentation with adding effects from the soundcard.
i have my creative xfi soundcard set to 2 channel stereo.
then i turned on the virtual 3D surround to see if it would make the spacious sound even more spacious.
as it turns out, using CMSS 3D with digital cinema mode B raised the level of detail and clarity, as well as removing all of the obnoxious optimizations put in place for special effects.

mode A without CMSS 3D was good.
but after trying mode B with CMSS 3D.. there are more details and clarity to be heard.
its as if the signal to noise ratio went up enough to allow the details to be passed along to the speakers.
the CMSS 3D slider is set at 50%

i am hearing so many fades in the audio that my energy emitted from my body is changing.
i mean.. i hear bass fades, midrange fades, and treble fades.
they are small.. but they are left to right, diagnal, and even front to back.
i do believe i have even heard some curves..!

TL : DR - digital cinema mode B with creative xfi CMSS 3D (virtual surround sound) centered between front and surround.
2 channel stereo on the soundcard, with front l/r and rear l/r speakers connected to the receiver.

the audio is SPACIOUS.

you can read a little bit about digital cinema sound here:
http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/1237476652649/2/2

if you have a sony receiver with the digital cinema sound .. and a creative xfi soundcard, i suggest you try this out and improve your listening experience by a few hundred dollars.

giving thanks to those audio engineers who have done their job and shared with me.
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-18-2011, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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and i forgot to mention..

my rear speakers dont have any vocal audio coming out of them that reminds me there are speakers in the back of me.

the vocals are almost perfectly centered.. except the fronts are a little bit louder than the rears.. i didnt raise the level of the rear speakers so that they could be known to exist.

it sounds like the front speakers are playing sound behind me.
if you can hear the vocals from the speakers behind you.. their levels are too high.
it sounds like a very smooth echo.

i know i have a rolloff.. but my system can make a loose window rattle at 23hz without any subwoofer.
i can feel the ground moving up and down at 23hz
i have two 12 inch woofers ported to 28hz in the front
and two 6.5 inch woofers ported to about 40hz in the back.
the rear speakers are sony bookshelf speakers that i got from a hifi desktop system many years ago.
the speakers are midrange and the woofer.. but they are more like decent subwoofers than hifi midranges.

i've got a lot of midranges that could use an upgrade.
but those little sony 6.5 inch woofers have been in my mothers trunk and rattling the rearview mirror.
i think i will use them as subwoofers even if i had the money to buy upgrades.
subwoofer bass in stereo is absolutely awesome.
and maybe they will work as a woofer in the future.
the audio details are nothing compared to those peerless drivers i ruined.
(played them inside the same box as the 12 inch woofers and they smacked the magnet one too many times)

those peerless drivers were fantastic.. i could listen to a male actor talking at the same time as a female actor talking, and their voices sounded totally seperate as if there was air between the two of them.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-18-2011, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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and if your system is any competition (needing the bass included)

have a listen to these songs.
you might think they are smut at first, but the words can be said to follow the audio mastering space extremely well.

the artist is S.P.M. (south park mexican)

the songs are as follows:
streets on beats
city of dank
dope game
rollin
you know my name
smoke 2 joints

(not in any particular order)

these songs have the audio fades i was talking about above.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-24-2011, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i just want to add that i contacted creative and they said the THX setup console only works with analog connections.. not digital connections.

this is acceptable for music, because you can use the virtual surround on the receiver to get audio from the rear speakers.

however, for movies or video games.. you need analog connection.
this isnt possible for me at the moment because i dont have a second equalizer when using analog multi-channel input.

i used the equalizer on the receiver in combination with the equalizer on the soundcard to calibrate my frequency response.
the equalizer on the receiver becomes disabled when using analog multi-channel inputs.
i'll have to get an equalizer and put it between the soundcard and the receiver to regain the ability to flatten my frequency response.

as of now, i will have to turn the equalizer off on the receiver and see if i can still get the amplifier to output enough power and clarity.
if i cant overdrive the amplifier with equalizers, i will be in another new situation.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-28-2011, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i've been messing around with my settings again.

i think i have come to the conclusion that the digital room correction from DRC is more harmful now than it was when i first tried it.

my treble is severely attenuated.
when i first used it, the sound was WOW better.
now its WOW duller.

ah well.. maybe its different for each situation.

but i think i have come to a realization.
mode C with cmss 3D is better.

it seems like every time i press a button on the receiver, there is something different.
as if its unique and everytime you press a button, the settings are 100% the same.
thats how i hear it.

i know i am not crazy because i was messing around with the THX setup console again and i switched from one mode to another.. then went back to the original mode and the change was slim to none.

back when i wrote this forum thread.. the changes were more drastic.
even the first time i pressed the button to change, it was different.

i am starting to think the SS in cmss stands for 'super score'


i was messing with the THX setup console again because i wanted to hear what the radio sounded like with only the equalizer adjusted.
i have since left the digital room correction off.

feels like i have had one epiphany after another the last few days.
i know that time delay is important.. and dB calibration is important.. but also digital processing.
doesnt matter if its reverb or chorus or decay.. i'm starting to break through.

i set things back decent.. but finding a solid answer has been out of the question.

i just wanted to say.. maybe the mode you like is different.
and if they ever so slightly change when you press different buttons.. dont worry about picking the one you think sounds the best.


i thought i might have had a solid answer to share.
but it appears, the only solid answer there is.. turn down the effect until the voice stops echoing.
and of course, use the thx setup console.

i'm worried that if i ever have to replace something, i might not have the same gift fall onto my lap.
so i'm staring at it.
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