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DTS 6.1 with 5 speakers?

Old 11-29-02, 05:04 AM
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DTS 6.1 with 5 speakers?

Hi!

On the Lord of the Rings extended edition DVD, there is a DTS 6.1 soundtrack. Now, DTS is supposed to be superior to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, but how will the DTS 6.1 sound in my 5.1 speakers? That is, what happens with the sound that is supposed to go into the middle rear speaker, which I don't have? Will DTS 6.1 still sound better in a 5.1 environment than Dolby Digital 5.1?
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Old 11-29-02, 05:53 AM
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To sort it out: DTS is not always better than Dolby Digital; sometimes they are equal or only slightly different. There's even been one instance where I found the Dolby slightly preferable ("Daylight"). On the other hand, there's quite a few soundtracks("U-571", "Fast and the Furious"), where I felt the DTS had a clear edge over the Dolby track. Will DTS sound better? It's really a matter of your option and what you feel sounds better to you.

Both DTS and Dolby Digital are traditionally/generally 5.1 channels. However, a number of 5.1-EX or 6.1 soundtracks now exist. A DTS_ES track, whether discrete 6.1 - "LOTR" and a few other New Line titles, for example - or DTS-ES Matrix - "Cast Away", for example - will simply play in 5.1 on a 5.1 set-up. I've seen some Yamaha recievers that claim to present "Phantom-ES/EX" (simulated back surround without the back speaker), but I've never heard how this sounds.

Actual DTS-ES/DD-EX sounds wonderful, though. It's usually very effective in presenting an enveloping listening experience.

Last edited by dvdmovie1; 11-29-02 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 11-29-02, 05:54 AM
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You have to have (6) speakers in order to hear the 6.1
With 5 speakers you will only hear 5.1

5.1 setup
left front, center, right front, left rear, right rear and subwoofer.

6.1 setup
left front, center, right front, left rear, rear center, right rear and subwoofer.

At least this is the way I understand it.
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Old 11-29-02, 06:01 AM
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Originally posted by pcdoctor
You have to have (6) speakers in order to hear the 6.1
With 5 speakers you will only hear 5.1
But the rear speaker sound will be channeled equally to the 2 rear side speakers if the middle rear speaker is missing, no?
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Old 11-29-02, 06:11 AM
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I only have a 5.1 setup. (so I'm going on assumption)
Maybe someday I'll get the 6.1 or update to something better.
I used to have a Denon 3802 (7 channels) but returned it .


Last edited by pcdoctor; 11-30-02 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 11-29-02, 07:32 PM
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Originally posted by JAB
But the rear speaker sound will be channeled equally to the 2 rear side speakers if the middle rear speaker is missing, no?
Correct. You will not lose audio information. The signal for the rear center channel is redirected to the other surround speakers if you only have a 5.1 system.
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Old 11-30-02, 05:27 AM
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So is it really worth upgrading from 5.1 to 6.1?
Why not wait for something better?
7.1, etc.
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Old 11-30-02, 11:20 AM
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Originally posted by pcdoctor
So is it really worth upgrading from 5.1 to 6.1?
Why not wait for something better?
7.1, etc.
Do you own a computer? Why did you buy it when you could have waited for something better? There is always something better coming along eventually. The question is how long do you want to wait before using/enjoying the technology.

7.1 may be possible but is not really practical for home theater uses. How many speakers do you really need in your home? I doubt we'll see true 7.1 home theater equipment anytime soon.
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Old 11-30-02, 02:16 PM
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Josh,

My question was this, do you think 6.1 sounds that much better than 5.1?
Do you have 6.1 right now?
If so, what brand speakers and receiver do you have?
I'm a female who would like to learn more about your setup!
My room is 37 feet long so I probably need at least 7 speakers excluding the subwoofer.
If I weren't frugal (Ms. Clark Howard) I would probably upgrade before Xmas.
For those of you who don't know who Clark Howard is go to www.clarkhoward.com
(He is the king of cheap but a very smart man).
As stated before, I used to have the Denon 3802 (7 channel) but took it back.
I'm glad I did because you can't go from cd or dvd when using the remote.
You have to manually change this with the knob on the receiver.
Since I took the Denon back, I still have my Yamaha 5.1.
This is my first receiver and probably not my last.
Being female, I don't think I did too bad since the men folk are (I guess) the audio/video holics/experts.

I have also looked at other Yamaha receivers but it seems like
instead of supporting side surrounds in addition to the standard 5.1 setup, Yamaha has what's called front effects speakers on some of it's receivers.

Anyone on the forum that has a home theater and his or her room is over 25 feet long?
If so, what format are you using, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 etc?

Anyone who upgraded from 5.1 to 6.1 care to tell me if they think it was worth the money upgrading or wish to wait for something better?

Thanks!

Last edited by pcdoctor; 11-30-02 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 11-30-02, 05:25 PM
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Originally posted by pcdoctor
My question was this, do you think 6.1 sounds that much better than 5.1?
Do you have 6.1 right now?
My Denon 3803 arrived today. I'll be hooking it up this weekend and I'll let you know!

As stated before, I used to have the Denon 3802 (7 channel) but took it back.
I'm glad I did because you can't go from cd or dvd when using the remote. You have to manually change this with the knob on the receiver.
??? What does this mean? If you can explain, I'll check out the 3803 to see if it has the same problem.
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Old 11-30-02, 05:41 PM
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Ex. let's say you have a laserdisc and dvd player hooked up to the Denon 3083.
The dvd player is hooked to ld/dvd input source and the laserdisc player is hooked to the satellite input source.
Let's pretend that I just turned my Denon receiver on and I want to play the dvd player but the receiver is set for the laserdisc player (satellite input source)
Ex. I want to tell my receiver to use the dvd player instead of the laserdisc player.
I was unable to change from dvd to laserdisc on the Denon 3802 that I took back.
With my Yamaha I can change modes using the remote.
With the Denon I was only able to change modes using the knob on the front of the receiver.
Basically, I had to get up each time I wanted to switch between the two modes.
I don't know if I am being picky but since I was used to using the remote via the Yamaha I had gotten used to this.
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Old 12-01-02, 12:03 PM
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Originally posted by pcdoctor
I was unable to change from dvd to laserdisc on the Denon 3802 that I took back.
Are you sure about that? Maybe you just hadn't found the right commands on the remote?

The 3803 certainly does not have this problem. You can switch between input sources easily by the remote. Even my old Denon 1801 allowed this. In fact, I really can't imagine any manufacturer designing a receiver that doesn't allow you to do this. It sounds to me like a profound design flaw if true.

I haven't used the 3802, but I've never heard any other 3802 owners complain about this.

I'm perplexed...
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Old 12-01-02, 12:17 PM
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I was unable to find how to do this in their manual when I had the 3802.
I'll see if I can locate a pdf file for the manual on Denon's website.
Maybe I'll purchase a Denon again if it can switch sources with
the remote.
I'm going to Denon's website now to see if I can find this info on their website.

Is page 48 the instructions you used to change input sources?
What commands did you use to change input sources and what sources are you switching from?
Ex. dvd, laserdisc, etc.
I had my 3802 using the dvd player for the dvd/ld input source and the laserdisc player for the satellite input source.
I assume this combination wouldn't make a difference.

If memory serves me right, I was so used to the Yamaha that the Denon really frustrated me.
I had to use a monitor to modify some of the settings onscreen.
Ex. 7.1 widescreen, etc.
This drove me crazy.
I guess all that counts is you are happy with your Denon.
What brand speakers are you using?

Last edited by pcdoctor; 12-01-02 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 12-01-02, 02:11 PM
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Our setup is 7.1 I found it much easier to calibrate 2 satellite speakers than it was to exactly center 1 speaker. The room is 28 feet long, which works well, since the 52 inch screen makes us place the TV couch more than 15 feet back, so the sound is more or less centered front -to -back, though the left and right satellites are a bit close. Speakers are NHT and reciver is Onkyo. I just spent $700 on "good" cables, which is the disadvantage of haveing a big room setup. The 2 rear cables each required more than 60 feet of cable.
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Old 12-01-02, 07:45 PM
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Originally posted by pcdoctor
I was unable to find how to do this in their manual when I had the 3802.
The Denon instruction manuals leave much to be desired, admittedly.

Is page 48 the instructions you used to change input sources?
Page 48 of the 3803's manual, yes. I assume this is what you're looking at since I was unable to find the 3802's manual on their site anymore.

Each of their steps has a left side and a right side to the instructions. On the left are the instructions for changing input source on the receiver's front panel. To the right are those for the remote control.

On the 3803's remote, each of the numerical keys is listed for a particular input:

1 = Phono
2 = CD
3 = Tuner
4 = DVD
5 = VDP (video disc player)
6 = V. Aux
7 = VCR-1
8 = VCR-2

I have my DVD player connected to the "DVD" input and my laserdisc player connected to the "VDP" input. To switch between them I just hit the 4 or the 5 button on the remote, depending on which I want. That's all there is to it.

What is confusing is that above this on the remote are a series of other keys labelled Amp, Tape, CDR, CD, TV, DBS, VCR-1, VCR-2, and DVD. Those buttons are not to switch between inputs, as I thought at first. Those buttons are to use this remote as a universal controller if you've programmed in the signals for your other appliances. Since I don't use this remote for that purpose, I never hit those buttons.

I'm still getting the hang of some of these controls, but so far the only function I've found that you have to do from the front panel is if you want to switch video signals while keeping the audio from something different. That isn't something I do very often, so it doesn't bother me.

If memory serves me right, I was so used to the Yamaha that the Denon really frustrated me.
I can understand that. You get used to doing things a certain way and it's hard to change.

I had to use a monitor to modify some of the settings onscreen.


Yes, there is still an on-screen display that you must go through for the initial set-up and some other functions.

I guess all that counts is you are happy with your Denon.
So far, so good.

What brand speakers are you using?
I have a set of Cambridge Soundworks 'Newton' speakers that I'm pretty happy with.
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Old 12-02-02, 06:09 AM
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Darn.
I don't remember what the 3802's remote looks like but oh well.
I'm tempted to get the get the 3802 again but I better wait.
Thanks for the info.
I'll print this out for future use.
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Old 12-02-02, 11:50 AM
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Glad I could help!

I'm not sure how much the 3802 differs from the 3803, but hopefully not too much.
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Old 12-03-02, 12:25 PM
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DTS 6.1 with 5 speakers

Here is the quick explanation of how the extended surround channels are encoded for 6.1 & 7.1 systems.

In both DD and DTS the rear surround information is encoded on the disc as a file extension on the left and right surround channels of the original 5.1 soundtrack so the original 5.1 information is always presented as it was originally encoded. The back surround information is a matrix of the left and right surround channels except in the case of DTS 6.1 Discrete which is a discrete back channel but it is also encoded as a file extension on the left and right surround channels.

Another common misconception is that a 7.1 channel system has both left and right back surround information. In a 7.1 setup, both back surround speakers receive the same signal but there are two channels of amplification. This is why a 6.1 channel EX or ES encoded DVD works with a 7.1 setup. This may change in the future but this is the standard right now.
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Old 12-03-02, 03:58 PM
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JAB: Do you have a 6.1 receiver? If so, I think you are correct.

Originally posted by Josh Z
Correct. You will not lose audio information. The signal for the rear center channel is redirected to the other surround speakers if you only have a 5.1 system.
Won't a 5.1 receiver ignore or not even see the extra channels? The 5.1 generation of decoding hardware doesn't even know to look for more channels.

Don't the 6.1/7.1 receivers have newer and different hardware decoders to recognize/decode/play the extra channels. I have no rear center speaker and my Onkyo SR600 6.1 receiver is configured as such in its setup. In this case I would expect the 6.1 capable receiver to split the rear center channel between the rear surrounds, in-phase possibly to appear centered between the surround speakers. (Out-of-phase sounds dispersed, right?)

I'm no expert at this yet. I just spent the last 2 months researching and purchased my HT equipment 2 weeks ago. Wow, what a difference!

Last edited by digitalmanAZ; 12-03-02 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 12-03-02, 04:58 PM
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Originally posted by digitalmanAZ
Won't a 5.1 receiver ignore or not even see the extra channels? The 5.1 generation of decoding hardware doesn't even know to look for more channels.

Don't the 6.1/7.1 receivers have newer and different hardware decoders to recognize/decode/play the extra channels
See speakerman's post just before yours. The rear center channel is encoded as an extention of the files for the other surrounds. If you have older 5.1 hardware, or have a 6.1 receiver set-up for only 5 speakers, the receiver ignores this 'branching' of the signal and instead sends it directly to the other surrounds.

You will still get the same audio information regardless of whether you have a 5.1 or 6.1 receiver, but it comes from the sides rather than the center. You don't lose anything.

If the center channel were encoded as a separate file, that would be a different story.
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