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The Expendables 2 with dts Neo:X11.1! - Page 3

post #61 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

I don't think 11 discrete channels are possible since the Blu-ray Disc (and HD DVD) spec top out at 8 discrete audio channels max. Anything beyond 7.1 is matrixed in, not discrete, which is why you might hear leakage into adjacent channels.
Neo:X encodes Wide channel content by splitting it into the Front and Side channels. Upon playback, those sounds are extracted and sent to the Wide speakers. If you don't have Wide speakers, then those sounds will phantom image between the Fronts and Sides (where the Wides would have been). Why would room correction and matrix decoding not "combine well"? They're totally different technologies; one shouldn't interfere with the other.

So check it out for yourself. It's a DISCRETE Sound check. Not the movie.
Cheers.
post #62 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by petetherock View Post

So check it out for yourself. It's a DISCRETE Sound check. Not the movie.
Cheers.

Guaranteed NOT discrete. Just because you hear each speaker at a time does not make it discrete. The extra channels are being extracted via the DTS Neo:X algorithm as Sanjay mentioned.
post #63 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu-rayFanBoy View Post

Home Cinema Choice has weighed in with its verdict on the Neo:X 11.1 mix from the UK disc over on its website - with an explanation of the kit used to listen to it as well.
Quote:
The Expendables 2 Blu-ray is a world's first. Lionsgate has proudly boasted of its DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix being 'optimised' for 11.1-channel playback via DTS Neo:X. Of course, while the majority of AV fans are using a regular 5.1 speaker array, or perhaps a traditional 7.1 array with rear back speakers, the chance to see/hear for ourselves what all the fuss is about was too good to miss.

As sound tests go, this wasn’t the easiest to setup. Having got in Pioneer's flagship SC-LX86 AVR with Neo:X processing and outputs for 11 channels (pictured below), it should have been simple. But no. Outside of commercial surround sound processors there are still no true 11.1-channel AVRs on the market. Like many top-spec amps, the Pioneer is only a nine-channel model and even using its 11.1-channel analogue outputs, it won’t generate 11.1 sound. For reasons we haven’t got to the bottom of, the SC-LX86 happily sets up and EQs an 11-channel speaker system (with two subwoofers if you want), yet there is no way to output both Front Height and Front Wide simultaneously. It’s one or the other.

So, by our reckoning, the SC-LX86's refusal to play 11-channel ball (despite costing the best part of £2,000) leaves only Onkyo's TX-NR5010 and Denon's AVR-4520 as receivers that can drive such a setup. And with either of those, you'll need a stereo amp on-hand for the extra channels. As such, 11.1 audio is still not what you can call a mass-market proposition.





Anyway, we are not that easily beaten at HCC. Using the new Oppo BDP-105EU’s twin HDMI outputs with duplicated bitstream audio, we fed the SC-LX86 with one HDMI output and a Denon AVP-A1HDA processor with the other. We set up the SC-LX86 running 9.1 channels with height speakers and did the full-auto MCCAC EQ system. The Denon was set up running 9.1 with width channels, but all of its power amp channels were disconnected, save those driving the left and right width speakers. The helpful Neo X 11.1 optimizer lurking in the extras on The Expendables 2 Blu-ray, which sends signals to each channel in sequence, allowed level balancing between the Denon and Pioneer using the main volume controls. By setting both into DTS-HD MA with Neo:X Cinema mode, we managed to achieve full-fat 11.1-channel Neo:X sound. It’s not an elegant way of cracking the nut but it worked.

The Expendables 2's DTS-HD sound is actually a discrete 7.1-channel mix. Information for height and width channels is ‘matrix’ embedded into the main seven channels. This is similar to how rear and centre-channel information was matrix-encoded into Dolby Stereo back in the good old days of analogue cinema. With standard 5.1/7.1 movies, the Neo:X processor has a stab at pulling out ambient information for height and width channels even if there are no specific flags in the mix for them. In discs like The Expendables 2 the sound has been optimised for Neo:X (although studio Lionsgate hasn't yet managed to reveal to us exactly what that entails), with flags that allow the processor to pull out information that is almost discrete. Set up right and listening to the disc’s 11.1 optimiser playing sounds from each speaker in-sequence, it is very difficult to believe it’s not a properly discrete 11.1 format. It really is that remarkable.



The opening scenes of The Expendables 2 offer perhaps the most outrageously OTT action sequences yet to grace a silver screen and the sound is just as awesome. Every single channel gets a thorough workout from about half a nano-second into the movie, and the effect is utterly immersive. The height channels immediately pull the action up into the middle of the screen and create a much more three-dimensional soundstage. This is used to superb effect as Barney Ross's knackered sea-plane takes off and the camera angle is suddenly very low on the other side of the dam wall. The sound pans from high-front to rear-back, only losing height coming down towards the surround-back speakers, which are placed only just higher than the seating in our setup.

The extra width information is no less jaw-dropping, as it serves to de-locate the front speakers completely. Rather than the sound panning across three obvious hot-spots at the front of the room, it comes at you as a more cohesive and solid whole. Cross-camera bullets have a greater sense of distance and the sound is wider, but the real advantage comes with the additional ambience. The incidental sounds seem more present but less obtrusive, becoming more like realistic background sounds. Muting the Pioneer in our configuration revealed just how much information was being sent to the wide speakers, including forest sounds, explosions, background music and the plane’s engines. With main characters front of screen, the wide speakers have absolutely zero dialogue output and their relative volume in the mix has a wide dynamic range.



From end to end The Expendables 2 is an absolute poster-child for 11.1-channel surround sound, but it’s not without some flaws. The most noticeable is some fairly obvious compression. To make the sound ever ‘louder’, much of the action has been run through a compressor to bring up quieter elements. The effect is not overtly noticeable through much of the film, but when you want a real huge, extremely loud sequence to drive home the bacon, it just doesn’t happen. The epic opening sequence is a constant barrage of noise that in our cinema room tipped the digital scales at around 95-100dB, almost constantly from beginning to end. However, when the team put three tank shells into the floating bridge on the lake, the resulting explosion was also 100dB. The scene simply didn’t have the standout final punch it should have, as the rest of the mix is pushed to the limits anyway.

To a lesser extent this tends to make dialogue rather obvious in the mix, too. While I, like many, have sat through dozens of Sly Stallone films not hearing a single word he mumbled, in The Expendables 2 his voice, and those of all characters, is really thrust at you from the dialogue speaker. This doesn’t help the films’ suspension of disbelief (and let’s face it, that is a challenge with this film), as voices seem to cut through even the most epic background battle. In the end I knocked 1.5dB off of the measured centre-channel level to tame the effect and make things a little more natural overall.



So, the sound design on The Expendables 2 is not perfect, but it remains an absolute showcase for DTS-HD MA Neo:X in 11.1-channel surround sound. The additional dimension and ambience generated by using height and width channels simultaneously massively outweighs the rather compressed mix on this Blu-ray disc, resulting in a very big thumbs up overall. The sooner AVR makers incorporate the format properly (by chucking in two more amplifier channels) and more movie studios put in the extra time and effort to optimise their Blu-ray mixes, the better home cinema sound will be.
post #64 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu-rayFanBoy View Post

Home Cinema Choice has weighed in with its verdict on the Neo:X 11.1 mix from the UK disc over on its website - with an explanation of the kit used to listen to it as well.

No images of actual 11.1 speaker setup used for review means article is a FAIL...
post #65 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

Guaranteed NOT discrete. Just because you hear each speaker at a time does not make it discrete. The extra channels are being extracted via the DTS Neo:X algorithm as Sanjay mentioned.
No idea why you insist that the Sound Check isn't 11 channel discrete mate, and how you are so sure. But it's your opinion or do you have some link to a site on this matter?
post #66 of 75
It's not an opinion of mine. There is no 11.1 discrete support on ANY consumer HT AV device. You can't set your BD player to output in MCPCM audio and get a 11.1 PCM signal to your AVR. That would discrete. The 11.1 "test" is just a 7.1 signal with matrixed wide and height signals mixed with actual discrete channels such as your front and surround speakers.

There is no consumer level content with actual discrete wide or height support. They are channels that derived using post processing.
post #67 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by petetherock View Post

No idea why you insist that the Sound Check isn't 11 channel discrete mate, and how you are so sure.
1) DTS Neo:X is matrix encoding/decodiing technology. If the Sound Check was 11.1 discrete, there would be no need for the studio to use a matrix encoder (Neo:X) for this soundtrack. From the DTS' own website: "DTS Neo:X is the world’s first 2.0/5.1/6.1/7.1 to 9.1/11.1 conversion technology within a single algorithm". Pretty straightforward, it takes sources with 2.0 to 7.1 channels and converts them to 9.1 to 11.1 outputs.

2) Even the latest (2010) Blu-ray Disc spec maxes out at 8 audio channels. See for yourself on page 18:
http://www.blu-raydisc.com/assets/Downloadablefile/BD-ROM-AV-WhitePaper_100423-17830.pdf

3) You wouldn't have heard leakage. Discrete channels don't leak to adjacent channels.
post #68 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by petetherock View Post

The Wides leak into my side surrounds. The rest of the channels are discrete and easy to find where they are.

i found that too, (onkyo 5010) thought it was me or my setup! heights are perfect but the wides seem quieter in general is that the same on your denon?
post #69 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjvader View Post

i found that too, (onkyo 5010) thought it was me or my setup! heights are perfect but the wides seem quieter in general is that the same on your denon?
Yep, I have seen some remarks that DTS Neo-X was more front heavy...
But I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that my side surrounds are dipoles..
post #70 of 75
Anyone tried it out yet?

Review here:http://www.homecinemachoice.com/news/article/exclusive-the-expendables-2--111-neo-x-audio-review/13896
Edited by dvdmike007 - 12/7/12 at 7:26am
post #71 of 75
Tested it today with my Denon AVP-A1HDA 3D and works. Shows Neo:X and works fine.

Because I got my Denon just back from the shop after the upgrade, I haven't done the Audyssey Pro measurement yet. I use a 9.2 setup with heights and the sound is really remarkably different.
I have never liked Neo:X too much, when it was artificially generating the height channels for 5.1 or 7.1. But with Expendables 2 and the muxed channels it sounds very nice.

This is a very good thing, because I thought my heights will be only good for catching dust cool.gif

In my opinion, this really adds something to the sound in a positive way and confirms for me that artificially generated channels are not improving the sound.

PS: I can also confirm the mediocre picture quality shown two pages before. These are actual screen shots from the BD. It is sometimes - with a data rate of over 30 Mbit/s - hard to believe, that this is the best you can do today in HD.
Edited by Ganymed4 - 1/10/13 at 5:53pm
post #72 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganymed4 View Post

In my opinion, this really adds something to the sound in a positive way and confirms for me that artificially generated channels are not improving the sound.

Except that with Expendables 2 these are still artificially generated, just at a professional level.
post #73 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterTHX View Post

Except that with Expendables 2 these are still artificially generated, just at a professional level.

As are all surround channels. wink.gif

The PQ in this film is crap. It was crap in the theater, but the Blu-ray only makes it more apparent. It's a horrid DI.

EDIT: To clarify - it's horrid when there are any CG effects in frame.

Love the movie, though, lots of fun. Not as fun as the first, but still fun.
Edited by nathanddrews - 2/6/13 at 1:41pm
post #74 of 75
And it's fully accurate to the source, sadly.

Looked awful in theaters.
post #75 of 75
They need to add object oriented soundtracks to UHD media. Dolby Atmos or possibly DTS/SRS's open-source MDA version (whichever is the superior technology... or if they operate basically the same way). Those actually are "discrete" sound elements rather than matrix-derived audio like the Expendables 2 track, and the "channels" are scalable to the level of your speaker system. The object-oriented processor in the surround decoder reads the meta data on the panned sound effect "objects" and steers them to the appropriate speakers. The more speakers you have, the more pin-point accurate the positioning of the effect is. The decoder knows how many speakers you have hooked up and where they are, and then plots how to best pan that sound effect.

For example: a missile fired in the front left speaker is supposed to fly pass your seat. With today's 7.1 sound technology, the sound would seem to jump from the front left to the left side to the left back speaker since they are spaced fairly far apart to allow for good sound imaging. Using object-oriented mixing, if you had three side surround speakers on each side of the room, the decoder would pan the missile effect through all three side speakers to create a much more seamless experience. If you had five each, it would pan through those five, etc. etc.

There is also the added benefit of over-head height channels, so that same missile would seem like it flew over your head, and not just in a linear plane.
Edited by Dan Hitchman - 2/6/13 at 8:23pm
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