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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to see others' definitions of the different DVD-V surround formats (maybe I should have titled this The Multichannel Wars! or something similar).


Take, for instance, the current standard -- the 5.1 format: it means 5 discrete channels and an LFE channel. I don't think there's any argument on that one. But what happens when you go beyond 5.1? If we accept the definition of the 5.1 format in the literal sense, that leaves only one codec for the 6.1 format -- DTS ES 6.1 Discrete. However, that's where the logic ends and the disfunctional part of the interpretations begin.


What happens when you add that non-discrete (aka matrixed) channel to a 5.1 format? I've seen the Dolby Digital and DTS matrixed extra track, in numerical representation, listed as 6.1 and 6.1 Matrix formats. But that can't be correct, given our definition of a 5.1 system, now can it. Elsewhere, I've seen this type of format listed differently (ie, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, DTS-ES 5.1 Matrix).


If I were to define the representations for the additional matrixed channel, it would look something like this:

DTS ES 5.1
Dolby Digital EX 5.1


where letters (ES and EX) would represent the matrixed channel. This would reserve the use of numbers to represent truly discrete channels, such as in the DTS ES 6.1 format. There'd be no reason to say discrete, as it would already be by definition.


Comments?
 

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It is a good question. Let's first say the x.y means there are x full bandwidth channels and y bass-only channels.


Delivery formats may be described as 1.0, 2.0, 5.1, and so on. This explicitly shows the channels in the delivery medium. (Dolby has avoided calling Surround EX encoded content "6.1" for the reasons you cite--there aren't 6.1 separate channels.) So we still say EX soundtracks are 5.1. Some DVDs are also marked with the little sound format icon that shows 5.1 black channels and a hollow channel for EX to imply it is matrix encoded. The limitation of using a term like "EX" is that it doesn't explicitly state how many independant outputs are provided. One must dig further for that.


Then there are the AV receivers, and people want to know how many amplifiers are included and how many speakers they can connect. So the x.y terminology has migrated here as well. It should not be confusing to speak of a 7.1 system, however.


Where it gets fuzzy is the electronics interposed between the source and the amps/speakers. One wants to discuss how many output signals the process can provide, as it directly relates with how many amps/speakers it can drive. But it is also important to know how many signals are coming in to the precessor. And if the number of outputs is greater than the number of inputs, how did that happen? It is often by means of logic decoding, but sometimes it is passive matrix decoding or even something simpler: a "Y" splitter. The difference can be rather important!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I know Dolby has not listed the EX format as 6.1, but that hasn't stopped others (via their marketing departments, I'm sure) from doing it. As if there weren't enough confused consumers out there!


I think Dolby's new Pro-Logic II.x is going to be a real hit with those of us that have extensive laserdisc collections. While it may not be discrete, it's sure to breathe new life into those old Dolby Surround LPCM digital soundtracks. Before my next processor upgrade, I'll be certain that it includes this new decoding capability.
 

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I hope PLIIx meets your high expections.
 

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I personally think it Dolby Digital should be labeled as 5.1, Dolby EX as 5.1+1, DTS ES as either 5.1+1 or 6.1, Dolby PLIIx as 5.1+2. Hence, there's no such thing as a 7.1 receiver. There are 7 channel receiver, but most are really 5.1+1 at best.
 

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From Joel:"Hence, there's no such thing as a 7.1 receiver." Got Lexicon?
 

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Nope. Even a Lexicon isn't true 7.1 since there's no format. It may be 7 channel out but there are no 7.1 formats available from anyone.
 

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True, only SDDS has discrete 7.1 decoding. The Logic 7 processing is powerful and creates a spooky 8-channel realsim, but it will be even better with discrete encoding from software.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Roger, I have no doubt that it will. I hope it makes its way down to inexpensive receivers and processors so that everyone can take advantage of it.


A Bit Off-Topic

One problem that I have with today's manufacturers are that they include a multitude of decoding capabilities on their mid-line and up receivers, but there are no offerings of inexpensive processors with all of the goods. And when I say all, I mean all of the goods.


Let's take, for example, the Denon AVR2803. This receiver offers: DTS 5.1, DTS ES 5.1, DTS ES 6.1, Dolby Pro-Logic II, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital EX 5.1. All that for a list price of $799. But it's packed in a receiver! I don't need a receiver -- I just need the preamp section. Why can't I have this receiver, only in a preamp version? I have well over 5,000 watts of amplifier power at my disposal. Why would I want with a receiver?


Where's the Denon AVP2804 and others like it?
 

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Joe, I suggest you check out the Sunfire Cinema Grand . I quote in part:

features: 7.1 Channel Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS Neo:6, and Dolby Pro-Logic II decoding, plus Sunfire's exclusive Side-Axis outputs for 9.1 channels total playback!


I checked; there are both discrete and matrix DTS decoding; download the manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Check out the price!


I just want the dreamed up Denon AVP2804 for the HT part of my system. It should go for $599 retail (Hear that Denon?!). And by the way, I use two Sunfire Stereo Amps to drive a pair of Legacy Focus speakers.
 

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The reason you don't see a preamp version of a receiver is that few will buy it. The overwhelming reason to buy a nice preamp is better sound. But if it's low fidelity, or even "average", people won't buy it. That's just the way it is. NAD is kind of doing this, but with some sonic upgrades in their T163. It's a $1500 preamp that was co-developed with their $2000 flagship receiver. And it is cleaner sounding, or at least measuring than the $2000 receiver and a lot cleaner than the more affordable receivers. But you could always use a receiver as a preamp. But I'd rather have a really good receiver than bad separates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
>>>The reason you don't see a preamp version of a receiver is that few will buy it.The overwhelming reason to buy a nice preamp is better sound.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Murphy Jr

>>>The reason you don't see a preamp version of a receiver is that few will buy it.
 

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I have a Marantz SR7000 receiver which I really like. Why can't Marantz or any other manufactuer build a decoder for the new format ie: DD EX, DTS-ES and maybe a 7.1 with a two channel amp built in to power the two extra speakers that are required? What do you think about that? It should still be less expensive than me having to buy a receiver to replace the one I already have and I wouldn't have to buy a two channel amp it would be built in to the processor for the new formats


Wade
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by WCunha
I have a Marantz SR7000 receiver which I really like. Why can't Marantz or any other manufactuer build a decoder for the new format ie: DD EX, DTS-ES and maybe a 7.1 with a two channel amp built in to power the two extra speakers that are required? What do you think about that? It should still be less expensive than me having to buy a receiver to replace the one I already have and I wouldn't have to buy a two channel amp it would be built in to the processor for the new formats


Wade
That's one of those theoretically not bad ideas. However, most receivers don't have the preamp-out/main-ins required to use such a product. In fact, almost none. And, it's been done before with other formats and the result was always disasterously low sales. The best thing you can do in such a case is sell your receiver to someone for whom it works well enough and buy a new one. Adding technology via boxes is always difficult because companies don't generally think that far ahead. Now, NAD did their T752 receiver which has the 6.1/7.1 modes built in, but only 5 amps. So, you buy an amp to use the extra speakers. But they thought that out in advance. Most companies don't. Unfortunate, but true. Besides, true expandibility keeps people from coming back to buy more stuff.


As an addendum to Joe's predicament, I feel the same way. I think that receivers shouldn't really exist. Companies should make three or four preamps with more or less features/quality and three or four amplifiers of varying channels/power output. Then you could choose your amp to need and preamps to need and keep the amps forever. But people want receivers. Some people would rather have a $4000 receiver than $4000 separates EVEN IF the separates are better, more flexible and retain their value. More people are going to vote for Arnold than for Tom McClintock even though McClintock is more substance and Arnold is more show. Companies can only respond to what sells. Denon has tried and tried to sell separates in the past and failed miserably. That's why they won't make an $800 preamp. People won't buy it. History has shown that. Maybe it will change in the future, but if Denon replaced their $4300 receiver with $4300 separates, they'd flop. Because "Denon doesn't make good separates, they make good receivers". Perception is the final arbiter of sales.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Maybe I need to explain my comments above. I am music first and HT second. I know what happens to movie soundtracks from start to finish. Going from a decent processor to a full-blown audiophile monster processor doesn't get you what to think it should because of the moviemaking process.


Now, that's one reason why I don't want to dump $$$$ into a HT processor or a high-end receiver. The step up in quality parts and execution doesn't compensate for the source. It's that simple.


The next problem has to do with what I, and I'm sure many others, already own -- amplification. I don't need any more watts than I have. The amp section in a receiver would be a waste, in my opinion. I just need a processor.


Let me say, for the record, that I support what Denon has been doing the last few years. They've been listening to audiophiles and videophiles and have made numerous improvements, changes and advancements, solely based on customer feedback, in the HT market. My hat's off to them to be sure. That said, I'll use them as an example to illustrate reality.


Denon used to make seperates and it is true that they weren't a great success. However, that was years ago -- this is now. However, let's not forget Denon's true High-End components -- the S Series. I am not talking about these components when I mention Denon's lack of success.


It's only been the last 5 or so years that HT has emerged as a growing trend amoung average consumers. What companies like Denon have done is tried to do their best to get as much of this market as possible. You can't reach all of these people with seperates. You have to give them value added products that, in their minds, are giving them the most bang for their buck. Need proof? Can you say HT in a Box? But this isn't the only market that manufacturers have to cater to. What about the rest of the HT population?


Building receivers is a business decision. The financial aspect of this choice cannot be overlooked. Denon makes more money in the long run by offering 8 different receivers to address a wider variety of needs than they would if they offered 3 different processors and 5 different multichannel amps. They're in business to make money first, not take care of your HT needs.


Another sly move is to include preamp outputs on the majority of their receivers (call it the hook). Here's the idea: if the customer likes our product and he can afford it, he'll move up to one of our higher powered receivers. If the customer wants more power or better amplification, we've still got him for a certain amount of money. Why? Because he has to buy one of our receivers to get the compliment of surround/etc options that he wants. In other words, the catch is that you buy one of our products even if you are going to use someone else's amplification. They're not giving you anything for free, but they are getting something they want -- your money -- with no drawbacks and very little risk.


Another thing to look at is what you get as you move up the line. Extra outputs/inputs, multi-zone capability, switching options, etc etc blah blah blah. The quality of the processing and the decoding of the AVR5803 is not miles above the AVR2803, regardless of what Denon or anyone else tells you. It's only if you want or need all of the other extras and more amplifier power that it makes any sense to buy the models further up the line.


After you realize this, the rest should fall into place. Look at how many multichannel amps are out there (around 100 or so?). That's a lot of choice in various pricepoints (couple of hundred to many thousands) to boot. Now, marry these choices to a $599 or less -- and it's very doable -- preamp processor (with, of course, the processing options and quality found in a receiver such as the Denon AVR2803). They'd go like pancakes and waffles at an IHOP. But what do you think would happen to the receiver market if this product would emerge? I'd say a sizeable dent would be placed in the sales of these products, because we're talking about now -- not years ago -- and we're looking at the steadily growing HT market and the fact that consumers are becoming more informed.


Do you think Denon or any other manufacturer, for that matter, is going to make a preamp processor that will decrease its receivers' market share and, in the long run, make them less profit? Hell no! And that is why we don't have do-it-all $599 and under preamp processors -- not because they wouldn't sell enough of them. Selling enough has nothing to do with it -- other than an occassional statement product, manufacturers are looking out for their bottom line. And what I and many others like me want, would not add as much to that bottom line.


>>>Denon has tried and tried to sell separates in the past and failed miserably. That's why they won't make an $800 preamp.
 
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