I keep getting asked to quantify my opinion, which is fine. Let me tell you where I get my preference for what sounds right to me, and this doesn't really have anything to do with brand name (aside from surround format at times).
My grandfather served in WWII in the Pacific and has oak clusters for his bravery in action. I'm also a guy so I like war movies.
Well when Saving Private Ryan came out, I went to see it for a few reasons. I'd heard it was the closest thing to "being in the Theater" in terms of conveying the horrific brutality of it all, and it was a thank you for Speilberg's father and all who served. I also loved war movies.
Nothing could prepare me for that movie. My brother in law and I were scheduled to tee off for 9 holes a bit after the movie ended and it was going to be the perfect day. Movies and golf with the brother in law.
The first time I saw the movie it was in Dolby Digital, trailer and all. I didn't speak for two days. I was horrified, sad, angry and out-of-sorts. The only words my brother in law said were "Do you want to cancel golf?" I just nodded. That movie crushed me. And while I relaize there is NO comparison to being there then or now, I'm a better person for having seen it.
I ended up going four times in the theater, one to take my wife so she understood why I didn't speak for two days and other friends the other times because I told him it would change his outlook on war. DTS was used the other two times and Dolby the last.
*****DISCLAIMER****** this is just MY opinion.
This is perhaps the best soundtrack I've ever heard including music and effects. Same applies tot he DTS DVD.
My experience in the theater was that Dolby put me in teh movie, but the DTS soundtrack was palpable. It was if there wasn't just sound in my ears, but sound against me. As if it was a tangible, physical presence. And while I do not wish to shortchange the movie for what it is and was for me, I did notice the surround each time as I had grown into the hobby and sound matters. Bullets left a vapor trail of sound and when they waded through the water, I felt the sound waves crash against me. It wasn't just bass. It was the complete presentation.
To say Kaminski's cinematography let me see the horrors unfold before mine own eyes, is to say the surround mix put me with them.
To this day I am hesitant to watch the movie. Sadly because it's a great movie and has one of the best surround tracks in existence. But I do watch in honor of my Grandfather and everyone else who fought, served both then and now. This is not a political statement, just one from my heart.
The DTS encode surpassed any other commercial theater experience and set the bar for me in terms of sound reproduction in my home. That experience, whether it comes from a Dolby or DTS soundtrack is what I try to replicate at home. Do I have my dream system? No. But my benchmark is the same. If the magic of sound at the movies can wrap around me and become my blanket, no matter what the genre and subject matter then that is what I will pay money for.
Some companies just happen to hit it more often than others. Pre-pros and amp combos more often than receivers.