Originally Posted by gamov
Yesterday, we watched a concert DVD with a 5.1 Dolby Digital track (Bruce Springsteen: Live in NYC). I'm in the camp that would like to hear/see the material as close as possible to how it has been mastered. I tend to use modes like 'Direct' / 'Pure' / 'Straight' / 'THX' or similar.
Thus, I watch movies with THX Movie and THX Music for music.
I was trying the other available formats while waiting for my wife and I was extremely surprised to hear that the setting plainly labelled 'Dolby Digital' was way better that any others (straight, direct, THX, etc...):
Staging was very much improved & the dynamic way higher!
I'm wondering why this setting sounds (much) better than the Pure, Direct or THX? Does anybody also feel that way?
"THX" and any other mode that isn't dolby digital/DTS digital, or pure/direct/stereo modes are ALL going to be matrixed modes, meaning that you're not listening to the original source material uncolored by a DSP.
THX, Neo6, PD-II, etc etc are all DSP modes that take a mono or two channel source, and make it a multi-channel output with reverb effects and what not.
Direct or Pure plays a two channel source (read: radio, music CD, most LPs, etc) directly, with no DSP involvement, through the main two front speakers, as it would if you had an old school 2-channel pre/pro setup.
Stereo mode does this with the inclusion of the ".1" or ".2" added in, so you have subwoofers as well.
Your disc of The Boss was mastered and recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1, which is 6 discrete channels of data. Of course that, with the inclusion of Audissey for room correction, is going to sound the best. You're hearing the disc exactly as it was intended to be ehard, and not filtered down to 2 channels then matrixed back to 5.1, or played how your DSP in the receiver thinks 5.1 should sound, and not as the audio engineer who remastered that DVD intended it to sound.
If you have a multi-channel source that has a discrete multi-channel output, like Dolby Digital, DTS-ES, etc.. then use it. Don't monkey with DSP modes that were intended to correct for non-HD/old tech like stereo television, or a VCR tape without multi-channel tracks.
As for music, the mode is personal taste really. I personally prefer stereo or direct modes for most music, unless I just want fill-sound for a party or working around the house etc.. then I use "all channel stereo" on occasion.
If you want the 5.1 experience with a music CD, then sure, give Studio Mix a shot, or whatever mode sounds good to you. I just don't like to color the music with DSPs if I can avoid it. I'm old fashioned like that, and I have speakers that I feel don't require such embellishments. (big floor standing mains with a flat, resistive response curve across the audible spectrum, and a lot of power behind them.)