I'm thinking about setting up a home theater system and need some help. All of this surround sound stuff is really confusing me! So I know I need a set of speakers of 5.1-7.1 and a surround sound receiver. I know that 7.1 means that there are seven speakers instead of five. But can someone explain what Dobly and DTS and all of that stuff means. For example, I was looking at the Star Wars blu-rays and saw that the other languages used Dobly sounrround sound and the english version used DTS. What does all of this mean? And what if I have a 5.1 set up and a have a movie that uses 7.1? Does the movie just not work or do I loose two channels?
Thanks a ton!
asked Sep 18 '11 at 18:03
I'm pretty sure that Dolby and DTS stuff are audio quality certificates. I may be wrong. And most movies I've seen use 5.1 audio. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't matter if you have 5.1 system on 7.1 movie. You'd just lose those two channels.
Just to clarify, the 1 after the period specifies the number of sub woofer channels. In the case of 5.1, you have 5 regular speakers, and a sub woofer, 7.1, 7 regular speakers and a sub woofer.
If you have a single amplifier unit for all your speakers, it will usually have multiple different sound options. For example, I can take a stereo input, and simulate 7.1, so that I have noise coming from every direction in the room. I can even take 7.1 and pan the noises into different speakers, but if audio is being recorded at 7.1, it's probably professorially done, and shouldn't be messed with.
As the decision between 5.1 and 7.1 I would probably say 5.1 is going to be better for your money. Most HD TV is in 5.1 (or stereo). Some movies will have 7.1, but a lot of the older ones that I watch only have 5.1 If you always play the direct audio source, your rear 2 speakers won't get used much at all.
answered Sep 18 '11 at 23:42
DTS and Dolby Digital are two different ways of compressing and dealing with the sound of a movie. The specs are that Dolby has a lower bit rate range, but many more technical tricks up its sleeve to compress the sound. DTS on the other hand was designed and tends to have a much higher bit rate range, but is very straight forward. This is an old fight similar to VHS vs. Betamax. Everyone has their opinions on which is better. I would get a receiver that can handle both and try them out for yourself. The other reason to get them both is that different DVD's might have dolby vs. DTS and some have both available on the same disc. As far as 5.1 vs. 7.1. A good 5.1 system will cost you less than a good 7.1. You can buy a 7.1 for the price of a good 5.1, but the 7.1 will probably sound worse. Just about every DVD on the market is 5.1 and we are seeing some Blueray discs with 7.1. Personally, a good 5.1 system will beat a same prices 7.1 every day.
As far as the receiver goes, any decent receiver will down sample a 7.1, 9.1, 11.1, 11.2 sound source to 5.1. The higher end receivers will up sample or use surround sound algorithms to take a lower 2, 2.1, 5.1, and so on and make it work at higher channel specs. In other words, the high end receiver will attempt to extrapolate information from the sound source to wrap the sound around however many speakers you have. Personally, I think this costs too much and can distort the intended sound. Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing solutions out there, but they'll cost you an arm and a leg.
I think for the average home system, a 5.1 system over $1500 is a waste of money. My advice is buy to what your budget allows for. If it is over $1500 then get what you want. If it is up to $1500 then get a receiver that can handle DTS and Dolby and a 5.1 system.
answered Sep 19 '11 at 00:20