Dolby Surround Upmixer (DSU)

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J. PUPSTER

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Just checking out some gear (Emotiva BasX MC1) and noticed it had DSU, but wasn’t sure what it’s all about. Found this article which has some head scratching statements in it about surround and using DSU. As a big fan of the Involve Surround Master, I’m curious what member’s feelings are about DSU and also the “Center Spread” issue.

 

humprof

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Just checking out some gear (Emotiva BasX MC1) and noticed it had DSU, but wasn’t sure what it’s all about. Found this article which has some head scratching statements in it about surround and using DSU. As a big fan of the Involve Surround Master, I’m curious what member’s feelings are about DSU and also the “Center Spread” issue.

I never really understood the "center spread" issue, Pup, but in any case I believe that Dolby later walked back the change, so the controversy is moot. (Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.)

As for DSU: I didn't like it at first, since it replaced PLII (meaning it doesn't properly decode the handful of Dolby Surround discs I have). But I've found that it can do great things with classical, ambient, and electronic music, in particular--and other genres, too, though less predictably. Whenever my kid is playing Spotify through my Marantz AVR, he has DSU turned on by default (incidentally, not intentionally), and what comes out of the speakers often sounds better than intentional Atmos mixes.
 

J. PUPSTER

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I never really understood the "center spread" issue, Pup, but in any case I believe that Dolby later walked back the change, so the controversy is moot. (Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.)

As for DSU: I didn't like it at first, since it replaced PLII (meaning it doesn't properly decode the handful of Dolby Surround discs I have). But I've found that it can do great things with classical, ambient, and electronic music, in particular--and other genres, too, though less predictably. Whenever my kid is playing Spotify through my Marantz AVR, he has DSU turned on by default (incidentally, not intentionally), and what comes out of the speakers often sounds better than intentional Atmos mixes.
I did a cursory search for a thread here about this, but didn't find one. Maybe it's just spread out into other similar threads IDK? But, if someone here knows of a thread that goes into more detail on this subject, I'd appreciate a link?

Since I have an older Marantz AVR, it only has the various DPLII(X) types; but I do find them valuable because they seem to really focus everything towards the Center, which is great for TV /Movies with a lot of conversation/dialog etc and those pesky Brit. shows. ;) But also feel they're pretty crappy for 2 channel Music up-mixing.

So apparently I've missed this whole DSU controversy. Amazing to me that Dolby would put out a version to remove "Center Spread" and later walk it back and probably had to send updates to correct it back (you'd think they would have been savvy to that in the first place!)

Per the article above:
""Center spread" allowed the listener to preserve stereo imaging from the front channels for 2CH sources. Without it being engaged, too much common sound from the FL/FR speakers is sent to the center channel making the end result too narrowly focused sounding and artificial to most listeners."

So the "Center Spread" option sounds essential to me to get the best up-mixing for stereo sources for music.

So what I want to know is, on these newer AVR's, can you set up specific personal "trim" adjustments that might actually replicate more of the DPLIIx, and save it as a pre-set for instances where it might actually be an improvement (i.e. enhance the center for speech etc?) I also realize that the DSU update is primarily focused on up-mixing to more of an Atmos speaker array.
 
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I did a cursory search for a thread here about this, but didn't find one. Maybe it's just spread out into other similar threads IDK? But, if someone here knows of a thread that goes into more detail on this subject, I'd appreciate a link?

Since I have an older Marantz AVR, it only has the various DPLII(X) types; but I do find them valuable because they seem to really focus everything towards the Center, which is great for TV /Movies with a lot of conversation/dialog etc and those pesky Brit. shows. ;) But also feel they're pretty crappy for 2 channel Music up-mixing.

So apparently I've missed this whole DSU controversy. Amazing to me that Dolby would put out a version to remove "Center Spread" and later walk it back and probably had to send updates to correct it back (you'd think they would have been savvy to that in the first place!)

Per the article above:
""Center spread" allowed the listener to preserve stereo imaging from the front channels for 2CH sources. Without it being engaged, too much common sound from the FL/FR speakers is sent to the center channel making the end result too narrowly focused sounding and artificial to most listeners."

So the "Center Spread" option sounds essential to me to get the best up-mixing for stereo sources for music.

So what I want to know is, on these newer AVR's, can you set up specific personal "trim" adjustments that might actually replicate more of the DPLIIx, and save it as a pre-set for instances where it might actually be an improvement (i.e. enhance the center for speech etc?) I also realize that the DSU update is primarily focused on up-mixing to more of an Atmos speaker array.
Pupster, Sound United has put the center spread feature back through firmware and the article below gives an update on that.

 

humprof

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I did a cursory search for a thread here about this, but didn't find one. Maybe it's just spread out into other similar threads IDK? But, if someone here knows of a thread that goes into more detail on this subject, I'd appreciate a link?

Since I have an older Marantz AVR, it only has the various DPLII(X) types; but I do find them valuable because they seem to really focus everything towards the Center, which is great for TV /Movies with a lot of conversation/dialog etc and those pesky Brit. shows. ;) But also feel they're pretty crappy for 2 channel Music up-mixing.

So apparently I've missed this whole DSU controversy. Amazing to me that Dolby would put out a version to remove "Center Spread" and later walk it back and probably had to send updates to correct it back (you'd think they would have been savvy to that in the first place!)

Per the article above:
""Center spread" allowed the listener to preserve stereo imaging from the front channels for 2CH sources. Without it being engaged, too much common sound from the FL/FR speakers is sent to the center channel making the end result too narrowly focused sounding and artificial to most listeners."

So the "Center Spread" option sounds essential to me to get the best up-mixing for stereo sources for music.

So what I want to know is, on these newer AVR's, can you set up specific personal "trim" adjustments that might actually replicate more of the DPLIIx, and save it as a pre-set for instances where it might actually be an improvement (i.e. enhance the center for speech etc?) I also realize that the DSU update is primarily focused on up-mixing to more of an Atmos speaker array.
I'll have to look into this, Pup. I've certainly noticed some cases where "too much common sound from the FL/FR speakers is sent to the center channel," so maybe "Center Spread" was removed and not restored on my Marantz SR6014. Or maybe I just need to dig deep in the settings and/or update the firmware.
 

AYanguas

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My experience with DSU, on a Denon 8500 from 2018, was that I preferred Auro-Matic (Auro-3D upmixer) for stereo sources.
The DSU was somehow 'light' and I didn't take care much. Much reading about people missing PLII perhaps discourage me to try it more.
But it was valuable that the 'Center spread' was restoring some 'stereo' feeling instead of concentrating and isolating too much sound in the Center Channel.

But then it came the firmware upgrade with DTS:X PRO and new DSU that now is able to use the Wides in a 9.1.4 config.

I tested the wides with old speakers and finally bought new good speakers for the Wides, as I was pleased.

The new DSU version seems to me much better and I really enjoy the separation and the sounds that for some Stereo mixes send to the rears and the rest of speakers. Much more better than Neural:X that send 'everything' to the heights like a expanded stereo. It was not only becase of the Wides, but I did notice an improvement in the DSU upmix making some stereo really be like native surround mix, with more separation than before, but without beeing agressive.

I always had the 'Center Spread' option in my unit, before and after the upgrade. I need it, to avoid too much isolated sound (mainly vocals) in the Center.
Without 'Center Spread' It is like when we don't like the Surround mixing style of having main vocals only in the Center and prefer a more expanded sound stage for the voice.
 
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humprof

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Just a quick follow-up: JP's query prompted me to do a little digging and pay a little closer attention to my AVR settings, and it turns out that in my case (Marantz SR6014), it's not just a matter of doing a one-time, universal "set it and forget it" to turn on Center Spread. Instead, you have to turn it on separately for each audio source (Blu-Ray Player, Media Player, Turntable, Apple Music, etc.)--and you have to make sure you first select Dolby Surround as the current Music>Audio playback mode for that source, or else the option to turn on Center Spread won't even appear when you go into the audio settings.

Anyway: since I did that, Apple Music (for instance) now reverts automatically to DSU with Center Spread for anything that's not already in Dolby Atmos or Dolby Audio. And so far, it's doing a truly excellent job--with everything from Elvis Costello's rockin' new throwback to the JACK Quartet's album of Catherine Lamb's hyper-minimalist string quartets. I'm really impressed. No more "All Channel Stereo" for me!
 
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J. PUPSTER

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Just a quick follow-up: JP's query prompted me to do a little digging and pay a little closer attention to my AVR settings, and it turns out that in my case (Marantz SR6014), it's not just a matter of doing a one-time, universal "set it and forget it" to turn on Center Spread. Instead, you have to turn it on separately for each audio source (Blu-Ray Player, Media Player, Turntable, Apple Music, etc.)--and you have to make sure you first select Dolby Surround as the current Music>Audio playback mode for that source, or else the option to turn on Center Spread won't even appear when you go into the audio settings.

Anyway: since I did that, Apple Music (for instance) now reverts automatically to DSU with Center Spread for anything that's not already in Dolby Atmos or Dolby Audio. And so far, it's doing a truly excellent job--with everything from Elvis Costello's new one to the JACK Quartet's album of Sabrina Schroeder's string quartets. I'm really impressed. No more "All Channel Stereo" for me!
Great info, thanks humprof!

Still would like to know if customized pre-set trim adjustments are possible for certain situations? Most AVRs will have speaker distance adjustments, but that's a totally different thing, and it's on globally as a standard for room acoustics.
 

humprof

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Great info, thanks humprof!

Still would like to know if customized pre-set trim adjustments are possible for certain situations? Most AVRs will have speaker distance adjustments, but that's a totally different thing, and it's on globally as a standard for room acoustics.
If so, then I haven't discovered that capability. I usually end up adjusting levels on the fly when necessary, awkward as that is. I will defer to more knowledgeable types . . .
 

JediJoker

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...so maybe "Center Spread" was removed and not restored on my Marantz SR6014.
🙋‍♂️ Fellow SR6014 owner, here! Just learned about center spread today. With DSU engaged, it's found in the Setup > Audio > Surround Parameters menu. It's a simple on/off toggle. Annoyingly, this menu item is not replicated in the iOS app. You have to use the IR remote to get to it.
 

humprof

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🙋‍♂️ Fellow SR6014 owner, here! Just learned about center spread today. With DSU engaged, it's found in the Setup > Audio > Surround Parameters menu. It's a simple on/off toggle. Annoyingly, this menu item is not replicated in the iOS app. You have to use the IR remote to get to it.
Yeah--thanks. I found it and have been using DSU with Center Spread happily for a month or so. (I think it does a brilliant job with classical & indie classical chamber music, small-group acoustic jazz, minimalist & electronic music...all kinds of stuff.)
 
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