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Which Components Actually Sounds Better

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Since the implementation of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD™ Master Audio in new receivers and surround processors, I have read numerous post about how much better the sound is using these new components compared to basic Dolby Digital and DTS receivers and processers of the past.

Although I do not own a receiver or processor capable of decoding Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD™ Master Audio, I am sure the sound is better as a result of result of them being able to decode these lossless formats, but is the sound of the new receivers and processors better when listening to basic Dolby digital, DTS, two channel stereo, or basic analog audio?
post #2 of 14
IMO the best gains in the past 5-8 years in AV electronics has been in the area of room correction. There is very little to be heard between 'plain' old Dolby Digital and the new lossless audio formats unless you have very good speakers.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

IMO the best gains in the past 5-8 years in AV electronics has been in the area of room correction. There is very little to be heard between 'plain' old Dolby Digital and the new lossless audio formats unless you have very good speakers.

What receiver or processor are you currently running & how does it compare to previously used av components?
post #4 of 14
Quote:
but is the sound of the new receivers and processors better when listening to basic Dolby digital, DTS, two channel stereo, or basic analog audio?

No, not always. If you have very good older receiver, it still may sound better in stereo than a new one. Mfrs have started to lighten up the newer receivers with less robust power supplies and components in order to squeeze in more features such as networking, streaming, ipod and iPad connectivity, etc. So while it may have newer and better features, the amps may be weaker and not produce as high quality sound.

What is better in the new receivers are the advances in room calibration software which really can make a difference.

Even if you have an older receiver which is not capable of decoding TrueHD and DTS-HD, if you connect your blu ray player for audio via optical or digital coax the bitstreamed audio will be better than standard dvd because its at a higher bitrate which is 1.5mbps for DTS audio. So it may not be lossless HD quality but it'll be high quality lossy audio.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by k elone View Post

What receiver or processor are you currently running & how does it compare to previously used av components?

I have separates - an Integra DHC 40.1 and a pair of amps - Acurus A200x2 two channel and an Acurus A200x3 three channel. They pump out 300 watts per channel. The Integra decodes lossless audio from my Oppo BDP 80 bluray player via hdmi. Before that I had a Harman Kardon AVR 254 with a 7 channel Emotiva UPA-7.

Having said all that - I'm mainly a 2 channel guy.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

I have separates - an Integra DHC 40.1 and a pair of amps - Acurus A200x2 two channel and an Acurus A200x3 three channel. They pump out 300 watts per channel. The Integra decodes lossless audio from my Oppo BDP 80 bluray player via hdmi. Before that I had a Harman Kardon AVR 254 with a 7 channel Emotiva UPA-7.
Having said all that - I'm mainly a 2 channel guy.

Which sounded better when listening to basic Dolby digital, DTS, two channel stereo, or basic analog audio? Do you have a seperate two channel sytem? If so, how does it compare to your other set-ups?
post #7 of 14
I"ll have to say ... its not just about the new components sounding better than the older one's...the older components did the job that they were made to do.. with the limited features.and bandwidth ..
of dvd's ...they made the best of what was then possible at the time...now blu ray disc can use much more data than dvd's ...there is no more compression of the codec's so there is no loss of picture or sound quality....( so new media .. needs new decoders) ...not taking anything away from the old format..it still sounds good .. i'll have to say that the new media ..and likewise the new components sound better...much better ..i was very reluctant to get into the newer components..but when i first ..heard and saw blu ray ..i could not go back....i still do sometimes put on the Eagles farewell tour..on dvd and enjoy every track.... but then you put on the Diana Krall live in rio blu ray ..and boy 'o' boy what a difference..in picture and sound quality ...biggrin.gif
post #8 of 14
Bear in mind there is lots of hype and marketing in the "HD" wording. Nearly ALL Blu-ray movie audio tracks are ONLY 48kHz sample rate which isn't really high resolution "HD" audio (commonly reserved for 88.2kHz and above).

BD movie audio is usually ONLY 48kHz (DVD can do that).
There have been discussions mainly in the BR Software forum about the difference between the new and old formats.

Apart from room correction,
BDs and newer AVRs are capable of MORE channels than 5.1.
Newer AVRs have more DSP power, processing modes and possibly better bass management options and more capable of handling more subs.
DACs have improved their specs.

But as mentioned many mass market AVRs have gone down in weight with entry-level ones down to 15lb.

The basic sound from the final analogue amplification itself is NOT better, some say even worse, just more and maybe better ways to handle or manipulate the audio in the digital domain. Some argue that's not necessarily always for the better.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

Bear in mind there is lots of hype and marketing in the "HD" wording. Nearly ALL Blu-ray movie audio tracks are ONLY 48kHz sample rate which isn't really high resolution "HD" audio (commonly reserved for 88.2kHz and above).
BD movie audio is usually ONLY 48kHz (DVD can do that).
There have been discussions mainly in the BR Software forum about the difference between the new and old formats.
Apart from room correction,
BDs and newer AVRs are capable of MORE channels than 5.1.
Newer AVRs have more DSP power, processing modes and possibly better bass management options and more capable of handling more subs.
DACs have improved their specs.
But as mentioned many mass market AVRs have gone down in weight with entry-level ones down to 15lb.
The basic sound from the final analogue amplification itself is NOT better, some say even worse, just more and maybe better ways to handle or manipulate the audio in the digital domain. Some argue that's not necessarily always for the better.
........question which ....do you think sound better .. ARCAM AVR600 or.. the ARCAM AVR-100 ?
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by k elone View Post

Since the implementation of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD™ Master Audio in new receivers and surround processors, I have read numerous post about how much better the sound is using these new components compared to basic Dolby Digital and DTS receivers and processers of the past.
Although I do not own a receiver or processor capable of decoding Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD™ Master Audio, I am sure the sound is better as a result of result of them being able to decode these lossless formats, but is the sound of the new receivers and processors better when listening to basic Dolby digital, DTS, two channel stereo, or basic analog audio?

Assuming both old and new devices operate linearly without undue distortion at the levels a person listens, there should be no real difference except whatever the new codecs bring. While I'm a fan of the lossless codecs, my understanding is that even the lossy audio tracks on BD use higher bitrates than were common on DVD and are, in blind tests, at least often indistinguishable from the lossless versions. While as I understand it the video encoding still is lossy there's an obvious difference to my eyes in the relatively few movies I have on both BD and DVD that makes the BD worthwhile. BTW, my spouse, who is a visual artist, doesn't particularly prefer BD as far as I can tell. Go figure. So simply by using a BD player (assuming yu can connect it to your monitor with HDMI to avoid data loss) should yield at least the lion's share of benefits available from BD.

But for peace of mind, I'll always make sure a BD plays its lossless track (a few default to the lossy version).
post #11 of 14
A general question to anybody, how much is sound quality crippled if streaming Comcast, DVR, HD provided content (DD 5.1, DTS or ProLogic IIz), via optical, to the AVR?

How much of an improvement in sound quality (DTS HD, Dolby TrueHD) can one reasonably expect if using a Blu-ray player, hooked up to their AVR via a HDMI (1.4a compliant) cable?

-
Edited by BeeMan458 - 9/25/12 at 1:44pm
post #12 of 14
Quote:
A general question to anybody, how much is sound quality crippled if streaming Comcast, DVR, HD provided content (DD 5.1, DTS or ProLogic IIz), via optical, to the AVR?

Not at all. the best you can get from a Comcast box is dolby digital 5.1 which is the same whether you are using HDMI, optical or digital coax.
Quote:
How much of an improvement in sound quality (DTS HD, Dolby TrueHD) can one reasonably expect if using a Blu-ray player, hooked up to their AVR via a HDMI (1.4a compliant) cable?

I think there is a noticeable improvement in blu ray audio over standard dvd because HD audio is lossless.

Also depends on the quality of your speakers too.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by pioneertop View Post

which ....do you think sound better .. ARCAM AVR600 or.. the ARCAM AVR-100 ?

Can't really answer that since I only have the 600 and never had the 100. But I'd expect for 2ch analogue sources without processing/room correction they sound very close if not the same at normal volumes. I dunno off hand how many watts the AVR-100 outputs so it is another variable. For MCH 5.1 sources via SPDIF without further processing probably very close again. A more even comparison would be the AVR-350 vs. AVR-400. Note you're asking about non-mass market brands and my previous post referred to mass market brands mostly.
post #14 of 14
Comcast, satellite will not sound as good as the BD of the same movies. The FTC limits the dynamic range of all television shows. Increasing the volume on the amp/avr will make it louder but, some audio is still missing.
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