Sc-68 THX modes - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-17-2012, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I noticed on the new sc-68 that it's missing THX ULTRA 2 mode and a few others why is this. I have a complete THX set up using the sc-09tx and always listen to movies in THX. I know alot of people don't care or like the THX modes but I Do. This really sucks because if playing a movie that is 5.1 dts master you can only select THX CINEMA and u won't here anything out of the back sur speakers. With the sc-09 I could use thx ultra 2 Mode and use all 7 speakers. I think they cut alot or corners with this new so called flagship reciever.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-18-2012, 03:05 AM
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Hi TK

I did get your PM but was away on a trip all week so didn't have time or opportunity to do much AVS.

I'll check the SC-68 again but you're right the manual doesn't list "Ultra2". But IIRC, didn't THX Cinema morph into U2 on the 09? I'm one of those who don't use THX much, but I'll check both the 09 & 68 again.

But in the end, if your main goal is getting 7 channels on top of DTS-MA, you won't need it smile.gif

That limitation with the SC-09 (and some other earlier models) is gone with the 68. That was one of the 1st things I checked and I apologize that I didn't remember to post about it in the thread I started redface.gif IIRC, there were several posts in the 57 & possibly the 37 threads that said they could add processing but I couldn't check it for myself so didn't blindly accept it wink.gif If you recall, there was some confusion back in the 09/07/05 days, some said they could add matrixing some couldn't. We thought the specific player might be a factor with that duplicating rears thing.

I confirmed the SC-68 can add PLIIx & NeoX on top of 5.1 DTS-MA tracks > 7.1 sound. I did this using both the Pioneer BDP-09 player (which duplicated the rears) and the Oppo 93. It also worked with both player PCM decodes & bitstream. My guess is there's probably more processing power in the 68 than was in the 09 era.

But if you want THX for other reasons, I can understand your concern. Because you can add standard matrix processing now, it's possible they decided Ultra 2 was now redundant and that THX Cinema on top of PLIIx would take care of people who like the THX sound. I'll try to find out from Pioneer in the next few weeks, preferably from Walkamo smile.gif

Steve
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-30-2012, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-713 View Post

I noticed on the new sc-68 that it's missing THX ULTRA 2 mode and a few others why is this. I have a complete THX set up using the sc-09tx and always listen to movies in THX. I know alot of people don't care or like the THX modes but I Do. This really sucks because if playing a movie that is 5.1 dts master you can only select THX CINEMA and u won't here anything out of the back sur speakers. With the sc-09 I could use thx ultra 2 Mode and use all 7 speakers. I think they cut alot or corners with this new so called flagship reciever.

My SC57 does the same thing. I do hear activity in my SB speakers. Is it simply duplicating the sides or doing "Ultra 2 Processing"?

It's funny. If you look at the THX website, they feature the SC68 and they photoshopped "THX Ultra 2 Cin" in the display...unless it's a picture of a prototype.

http://www.thx.com/consumer/home-entertainment/partners/pioneer-partner-page/
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-30-2012, 12:54 PM
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I've done quite a bit of web searching, reading THX descriptions, talking to Pioneer's Chris Walker, and I'm coming to the conclusion that the whole issue of THX Cinema vs THX Ultra 2 Cinema is a bit of a red herring.

Even THX only refers to THX Cinema. The "Ultra 2" seems to come from being Ultra 2 certified. I've found several posts which suggest a subtle difference in what each "mode" is supposed to do but if THX themselves not only can't explain it but doesn't even refer to it, why should we owners be anal about it?

In fact, when I asked Chris Walker about it, he said it already has it!

Not trying to be derisive about this question that a very few owners seem concerned about, not at all. I just think in a practical real world sense, it doesn't seem to make any difference to the sound effects. IF the receiver has Ultra2 certification, then it has ASA processing, the one thing that several posts I've found seem to suggest makes the difference between one & the other.

The only thing that seems to be apparent is that in previous generations, you could select a THX processing mode, and the display would say "THX Cinema" or "THX Ultra 2", depending on the source. Now, in the new generation, the display will say "Dolby PLIIx + THX Cinema". In a practical sense, they are the same because NO THX mode actually decodes the surround source, which is left to Dolby & DTS. All THX Cinema is doing is adding post processing to already decoded surround or synthesized surround from 2 ch's. With 5 channel source, that post processing tends to blend some of the side surround sound into a monophonic EX rear surround, and then ASA adds some phase shifting to create 2 rear channels out of one - that is why THX wants you to put the 2 speakers close together, whereas Dolby PLIIx derives the rears by shifting some of each side to its corresponding rear side speaker, and that's the reason why Dolby & DTS want you to put more separation between them - they are more stereo in effect to begin with.

The big difference is between THX Cinema & THX Surround, which is monophonic. And the reality is there is no pure THX Surround EX, it was a combined collaborative format between THX and Dolby so THX EX & Dolby EX are the same thing, produces a mono rear channel, with the THX version adding the other THX processing other than ASA. ASA is what differentiates THX Surround from THX Cinema/Ultra 2 Cinema.

There are no clear answers that I've found what IF ANY differences exist between THX Cinema & Ultra 2 Cinema. THX basically considers them the same.

Steve
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-30-2012, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPT View Post

Is it simply duplicating the sides or doing "Ultra 2 Processing"?

well, its not duplicating the sides smile.gif
only certain Blu-ray players do that in decoding DTS-Master Audio, not any THX certified receiver.

your rear channels are matrixed not merely duplicated, derived from the sides and some sound from the fronts, in the same way as height & wide channels are derived, by taking decorrolated sounds, and applying phase shifting to separate some of the sound for the rears but not all of it. plus, the original sound still stays in the sides. Sides will remain in the sides, while the derived rear channel sound will be some of the sides & different left to right, depending on which mode you started with before adding THX. if you are decoding Dolby EX, it's monophonic until you add THX Cinema which uses ASA to widen the monophonic rear to 2 speakers by some phase shifting to make it appear to be 2 channels, similar to using SRS to create fake surround in a sound bar, the panaroma effect, if you want an analogy. if you started with Dolby PLIIx (z), or DTS NeoX then it will be a "stereo" rear surround, derived from independently from the each side and maintaining a stereo-like separation which will be solely dependent to what's on the 5.1 source material to begin with. the greater the l/r side separation, the greater will be the rear channel separation. THX tends to blend the sides with the rears while straight dolby/dts decoding tends to keep more separation between the sides & rears so it's more discrete sounding.

the choice you have to make is how close or how far apart you want those rear speakers. Follow Dolby/DTS greater angle of separation between them for Blu-ray, and if straight Dolby/DTS decoding is your preferred use. Follow THX closer & less angles if you intend to stay more with using THX even on Blu-ray.
or a compromise if you intend to experiment depending on the source. My opinion is go more separation, the most you can do with your walls & setup, since you can change the rear speaker side to side distance in the THX settings in the Pioneer setup menu and that will tell ASA how to compensate. and with true 7.1 discs and PLIIx, you can enjoy the benefits of the greater separation when not using THX. best of both worlds smile.gif

Steve
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-30-2012, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

I've done quite a bit of web searching, reading THX descriptions, talking to Pioneer's Chris Walker, and I'm coming to the conclusion that the whole issue of THX Cinema vs THX Ultra 2 Cinema is a bit of a red herring.
Even THX only refers to THX Cinema. The "Ultra 2" seems to come from being Ultra 2 certified. I've found several posts which suggest a subtle difference in what each "mode" is supposed to do but if THX themselves not only can't explain it but doesn't even refer to it, why should we owners be anal about it?
In fact, when I asked Chris Walker about it, he said it already has it!
Not trying to be derisive about this question that a very few owners seem concerned about, not at all. I just think in a practical real world sense, it doesn't seem to make any difference to the sound effects. IF the receiver has Ultra2 certification, then it has ASA processing, the one thing that several posts I've found seem to suggest makes the difference between one & the other.
The only thing that seems to be apparent is that in previous generations, you could select a THX processing mode, and the display would say "THX Cinema" or "THX Ultra 2", depending on the source. Now, in the new generation, the display will say "Dolby PLIIx + THX Cinema". In a practical sense, they are the same because NO THX mode actually decodes the surround source, which is left to Dolby & DTS. All THX Cinema is doing is adding post processing to already decoded surround or synthesized surround from 2 ch's. With 5 channel source, that post processing tends to blend some of the side surround sound into a monophonic EX rear surround, and then ASA adds some phase shifting to create 2 rear channels out of one - that is why THX wants you to put the 2 speakers close together, whereas Dolby PLIIx derives the rears by shifting some of each side to its corresponding rear side speaker, and that's the reason why Dolby & DTS want you to put more separation between them - they are more stereo in effect to begin with.
The big difference is between THX Cinema & THX Surround, which is monophonic. And the reality is there is no pure THX Surround EX, it was a combined collaborative format between THX and Dolby so THX EX & Dolby EX are the same thing, produces a mono rear channel, with the THX version adding the other THX processing other than ASA. ASA is what differentiates THX Surround from THX Cinema/Ultra 2 Cinema.
There are no clear answers that I've found what IF ANY differences exist between THX Cinema & Ultra 2 Cinema. THX basically considers them the same.

Thanks for your detail.

This is going off topic. Since you're buds with Walkamo, can ask him what is the "Monofilm" DSP suppose to do? The manual describes a surround sound experience from mono sources. What I get is sound only in the center channel. I end up using 7CH Stereo DSP to get a simulated surround experience. I need such a feature for my fifties Sci-Fi films.

Also, can you find out from your contacts what SC68 is depicted in the THX website? It has "THX Ultra 2 Cin" in the display.

http://www.thx.com/consumer/home-entertainment/partners/pioneer-partner-page/

Thanks in advance.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-30-2012, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

well, its not duplicating the sides smile.gif
only certain Blu-ray players do that in decoding DTS-Master Audio, not any THX certified receiver.
your rear channels are matrixed not merely duplicated, derived from the sides and some sound from the fronts, in the same way as height & wide channels are derived, by taking decorrolated sounds, and applying phase shifting to separate some of the sound for the rears but not all of it. plus, the original sound still stays in the sides. Sides will remain in the sides, while the derived rear channel sound will be some of the sides & different left to right, depending on which mode you started with before adding THX. if you are decoding Dolby EX, it's monophonic until you add THX Cinema which uses ASA to widen the monophonic rear to 2 speakers by some phase shifting to make it appear to be 2 channels, similar to using SRS to create fake surround in a sound bar, the panaroma effect, if you want an analogy. if you started with Dolby PLIIx (z), or DTS NeoX then it will be a "stereo" rear surround, derived from independently from the each side and maintaining a stereo-like separation which will be solely dependent to what's on the 5.1 source material to begin with. the greater the l/r side separation, the greater will be the rear channel separation. THX tends to blend the sides with the rears while straight dolby/dts decoding tends to keep more separation between the sides & rears so it's more discrete sounding.
the choice you have to make is how close or how far apart you want those rear speakers. Follow Dolby/DTS greater angle of separation between them for Blu-ray, and if straight Dolby/DTS decoding is your preferred use. Follow THX closer & less angles if you intend to stay more with using THX even on Blu-ray.
or a compromise if you intend to experiment depending on the source. My opinion is go more separation, the most you can do with your walls & setup, since you can change the rear speaker side to side distance in the THX settings in the Pioneer setup menu and that will tell ASA how to compensate. and with true 7.1 discs and PLIIx, you can enjoy the benefits of the greater separation when not using THX. best of both worlds smile.gif

I remember that my TXi 49 allowed me to select what I wanted to go to the SBs during 5.1 playback. One option was to duplicate the sides and send the exact signal to the respective SBL and SBR. I thought the late models were doing that automatically as a user friendly scheme. I wanted to simulate what theaters did with back speakers before EX came into play. I didn't know the Latest THX Cinema Mode Matrixed the two sides. I thought only THX Ultra 2 did a "soft" matrix.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-30-2012, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MrPT View Post

I remember that my TXi 49 allowed me to select what I wanted to go to the SBs during 5.1 playback. One option was to duplicate the sides and send the exact signal to the respective SBL and SBR. I thought the late models were doing that automatically as a user friendly scheme. I wanted to simulate what theaters did with back speakers before EX came into play. I didn't know the Latest THX Cinema Mode Matrixed the two sides. I thought only THX Ultra 2 did a "soft" matrix.

I think THX Cinema doesn't matrix them, it still relies on Dolby or DTS to do that. For 2 channel sources, the SC models' display actually say "Dolby PLIIx + THX" for THX Cinema mode. And for multichannel sources, the older SC models said THX Ultra 2 Cinema for adding the post processing (ASA) for what you call the "soft" matrix.

It's confusing smile.gif I spent several hrs trying to find conclusive documentation on what, if any, difference there was between the 2 and no definite proof, not even THX says. A few posts here & there with some speculation but no poster ever said the same thing & with nothing from THX to confirm, I wouldn't trust the info I found. That's why I came to my own opinion that it doesn't matter in an Ultra 2 certified receiver - ASA processing is going to get added along with Re-EQ & Timbre Matching anyway - that's one of the features of Ultra 2.

the 49txi, brings back fond memories smile.gif I also owned it and the 59txi too smile.gif great receiver!!

your memory on the 49 is better than mine on this point redface.gif I was ready to post I thought you were mistaken but I checked the manuals I still have on my hard drive & you're right - Pioneer had called it SX studio extension and it duplicated the sides. the 59txi also had SX mode but I never really used it so completely forgot redface.gif

good job on that one! I usually pride myself on my Pioneer experience but I think my yrs may be catching up with me wink.gif

Steve
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-01-2012, 10:06 AM
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I noticed that my SC 27 locked to THX Cinema mode only when playing DTS MA soundtracks. My SC 57 allows me to select other modes of codecs. Was this a Pioneer oversight? Was this quirk present in the SC 07/09 series and SC 37?
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-06-2013, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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on the sc-09tx when playing dts master 7.1 it plays back in THX CINEMA only. My understanding is it does this because its 7.1 and ASA is not required. When playing dts master 5.1 u can select THX ULTRA 2 cause this engages ASA ans ads the two back channels to use all 7 speakers.

on the new integras and onkyos THX works the same and all modes are there.

if u look on thx website there is picture of the sc-68 and on the display in shows THX ULTRA 2

I would like to know why the sc-68 does this. I think there was a screw up on Pioneers part or I guess u can say so much for the THX CERTIFICATION because THX should of picked up on this when doing the testing.
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