What is your preferred DVD-A Format?

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What is your preferred Surround Encoding configuration?


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neil wilkes

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I thought it may be interesting to find out what format members prefer for their "home cooked" DVD-A discs, and why?
Please do not vote for more than 2 options.

What the options are is
A/. 5.1
B/. 5.0
C/. 4.1
D/. 4.0

I am particularly interested as to the use & abuse the LFE channel is being subjected to.
My personal preference lies between either 5.0 or 4.0 depending on the source material & how true to the origina I wish to stay.
If i was restoring an old Quad recording for a purist approach it would have to remain in 4.0, otherwide it becomes an interpretation rather than a restoration IMO.

For a rework, I would stay with 5.0 so as to take advantage of the main surround strength, a genuine centre channel as opposed to a phantom image as you get with both Stereo & Quad.

To my mind, the LFE just does not have any place in 99% of all music, and should only be used in the 1812 overture & movie soundtracks where it can act as it should - Low Frequency Effects channel.
LFE does not equal Subwoofer, and adding one in runs a very real risk of seriously muddying the image & soundfield due to the effects of Bass Management in consumer systems - after al, I cannot possibly know the configurations of a consumer sub/satellite system, or it's crossover point.

Leave the BM to do it's job.
There are already far too many DTS-CD out there with appallingly bad bass sections, neary all of it so avoidable.

Just my thoughts.

Anyone else?
 

winopener

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neil wilkes said:
I thought it may be interesting to find out what format members prefer for their "home cooked" DVD-A discs, and why?
Respect for the original mix, always. If i'm dealing with a 4.0 source it should remain 4.0 no matter what. If a sub is present DTS can handle it directly.
 

Cai Campbell

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I like adding a subwoofer channel. Bass management is fine for those who employ it, but my system is straight-through analog from source to speakers, with NO processing in-between. If there ain't an LFE channel then my sub sits idle. "Bass management" is handled by speaker placement and achieving smooth blending of the sub with its own crossover/volume controls.

Anyway, I hate a badly done LFE channel as much as the next guy, and I'll take no LFE over badly done LFE any day. But then, I can always just switch the sub off, and I often will.

When I create a disc, I spend a lot of time on the sub, making sure I get the level and mix just right. The sub should not call attention to itself. In my mind its sole function is to round out the low end where the main speakers can't quite reach. I use a spectrum analyzer (and not my ears) to set the sub level.

Of course, such an approach obviously optimizes the sub for my own system. Still, I've played my discs on numerous systems (including many in dealer's demo rooms) and I must say I am quite pleased with the results across the board.

I guess the moral of the story is that I feel you shouldn't toss the LFE just because it is hard to get right. I think it is worth the time to get right since I feel the end result with a well-done sub vs. one without adds a lot of value to the experience.
 

JonUrban

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Well, since almost everything I do is Quadraphonic restoration, I would have to say 4.0 (which I did). However, I like having the center speaker there in SACD and DVD-A, so it's not a matter of preference.

I just do not like to mess with something that was created in the past, by making fake center and sub channels. Somehow it doesn't seem right. I suppose making a .1 from the lows is OK, but since I am doing 24/96, there is only room for 4 channels, so the .1 is history for me!!! :D

:-jon
 

Cai Campbell

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It is interesting that the addition of a center channel would be more acceptable than adding an LFE channel, in terms of honoring the original mix. In my mind, I think adding a center channel to be more disrespectful to the original mix than the addition of an LFE channel.

An LFE channel, as long as it is not abused, will NOT alter the mix at all, and in many cases, will actually reveal much of the original mix that was not previously heard (due to performance limitations of a particular set of speakers). How many listeners have speakers that offer flat frequency response down to 20 Hz? Not many, that's for sure. Even high-dollar speakers don't always offer ideal low frequency response. A properly utilized subwoofer with a properly created LFE is going to give most listeners a truer representation of the original mix, given the performance limitations of their main speakers.

"But that's what bass management is for!" Yes, but is bass management more or less derivative of the original mix, compared to a properly created LFE channel? I would say more. Regardless, I'm just saying that a subwoofer will not compromise the integrity of the original mix (a) if it is authored correctly and (b) if it is not abused by the end-listner. Granted, those are two really big ifs, but a satisfactory end result is a window upon the original mix, not a curtain.

A derived center channel, however, offers an entirely different set of problems. Due to phase relationships, cancellation issues, and a host of psycho-acoustic phenomenon that I won't even pretend to try and understand, it is really easy to send a stereo or quad soundstage into disarray with a derived center channel. It is an intriguing idea, but in this realm I really do believe you are altering the original mix.
 

JonUrban

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Cai Campbell said:
It is interesting that the addition of a center channel would be more acceptable than adding an LFE channel, in terms of honoring the original mix. In my mind, I think adding a center channel to be more disrespectful to the original mix than the addition of an LFE channel.

An LFE channel, as long as it is not abused, will NOT alter the mix at all, and in many cases, will actually reveal much of the original mix that was not previously heard (due to performance limitations of a particular set of speakers). How many listeners have speakers that offer flat frequency response down to 20 Hz? Not many, that's for sure. Even high-dollar speakers don't always offer ideal low frequency response. A properly utilized subwoofer with a properly created LFE is going to give most listeners a truer representation of the original mix, given the performance limitations of their main speakers.

"But that's what bass management is for!" Yes, but is bass management more or less derivative of the original mix, compared to a properly created LFE channel? I would say more. Regardless, I'm just saying that a subwoofer will not compromise the integrity of the original mix (a) if it is authored correctly and (b) if it is not abused by the end-listner. Granted, those are two really big ifs, but a satisfactory end result is a window upon the original mix, not a curtain.

A derived center channel, however, offers an entirely different set of problems. Due to phase relationships, cancellation issues, and a host of psycho-acoustic phenomenon that I won't even pretend to try and understand, it is really easy to send a stereo or quad soundstage into disarray with a derived center channel. It is an intriguing idea, but in this realm I really do believe you are altering the original mix.
Cai,

I think I was not clear. I like the center channel in REAL store bought 5.1 stuff, not home made 4.0 converted, center channel created stuff!!!:eek: :eek:

Sure, it's fun to play around with, but you are correct, it does alter the whole thing. The LFE does not futz with the mix at all!

I shudda bin more clear!!! :mad:@:
 

Cai Campbell

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JonUrban said:
Cai,

I think I was not clear. I like the center channel in REAL store bought 5.1 stuff, not home made 4.0 converted, center channel created stuff!!!:eek: :eek:

Sure, it's fun to play around with, but you are correct, it does alter the whole thing. The LFE does not futz with the mix at all!

I shudda bin more clear!!! :mad:@:
I assumed we were talking about "homegrown" DVD-A discs and not the real deal. Maybe I'm the one that's not clear? :mad:@:

Whatever the case, it sounds like we are in agreement! (y)
 

neil wilkes

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I was originally talking about home cooked DVD-A, but what the heck - it is interesting to hear about what we all like & dislike.

Cai - I fully understand your thoughts on the LFE, but in 18 months now, I have rarely needed to use LFE for DVD-A, although it is kind of important to get it right for DVD-V, due to the potential side effects in Bass Management.

For my homecooked stuff, unless I have access to the multitracks, I never, ever bother with the thing, as all it does is take away bass end from the main L/R whih is where it should be. I have to assume, as most of the stuff I do is commercial, that the end system is correctly configured which means 5 full range monitors.
Then, for the DVD-V side I have to then assume that it is not being correctly used, which means letting bass management do it's job, so I have found that emulating Bass Management is a much more effective way of keeping things properly under control.

I guess that no 2 projects are alike, and the proper use of an LFE should not be mistaken for what it is used as.
According to all standard reference sources, it should most definitely not be treated as a se[arate channel in it's own right for music, mainly as you can never be sure how it is set up in consumerland - but having said that, it can be used as a way of extending system response down to around 25Hz.

The trouble is - what to pipe there?
Take a crossover point from your main full range monitors, and you get a wrong balance.
Add to it, and you could well end up with either phase cancellation or phase doubling.

I prefer to use 5.0 or 4.0 for homecooked work where I have no multitracks, and if I do have multitracks, then maybe, just maybe, a little kick drum & bass. But not much - a lot of "purists" do not even connect a Sub, as they understand that LFE doesNOT equal subwoofer, and in those circumstances, all my carefully prepared Bass through LFE is gone for good.
Leaving me with an emasculated mix.
 

timbre4

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Much of my adventures lately is composing with Acid 4.0 in a 5.1 configuration for possible inclusion in Vegas Video 5 projects.

With Acid 4.0 it's very easy to copy a drums or bass track and manipulate the copy in interesting ways. One that is consistently useful (depends on your material and taste) is to feed the 2nd track to the LFE and adjust to your liking.

This is not useful advice for 2.0 mixing as there is no LFE designation, but for the 5.1 stuff it can be subtle reinforcement or used as another instrument. Some measures the original track is muted and the LFE clone carries the ball for a measure or two.

Back on topic: I'd respect the original quad mix UNLESS I had the multitracks and carte blanche to create something new.
 

wapfu

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I prefer 5 channels with the centre being used to contribute and add to, rather than detract from the preformance. Having said that, sometimes I can't quickly tell the difference between 4 and 5 channels working and have to go and listen closer to the centre to see if it is in fact working, so honestly now 4 or 5. As I don't have a sub, my speakers are all full range tannoys ( the front three are dual concentrics) so that the timbre doesn't change as you move around. So five has become the norm with no sub.
Regards
Bill
 

Luke

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I use 5.1 on all of my home made dvd-audio / DTS i try to get the fullest sound i can get . But it depends on the original source . I did a few in 5.1 that i thought would sound great , wow i was wrong ! Luke .
 

Lucanu

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I think the more channels we have, the better surround sound we have. So I prefer 5.1, 7.1,....100.1 if it's used with tons of good taste.
But as stated by winopener, if I had to recover a quad recording I will surely do it in 4.0, trying not to extract any center channel or LFE.
 

0tto

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if we're talk about transfer of the original quad into digital form that's probably should be done 1:1 ratio. other way it wouldn't be quad.
the problem with such transfer is the quad configuration don't fit perfectly the modern 5.1.
so i believe manipulation with the levels of the channels (rear channels have slightly lower level than front) can be accepted.
usually LFE don't ruin original quad mix and if someone don't like it, can be easily turned off.
but adding of the center channel pretty much questionable.
question arise what you will add to center?
adding contents of front group killing separation between right and left and the front line become pretty much flat like mono
 

Bob Squires Jr

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It's a touchy subject with many variables but
I pretty much agree with Neil...
I say if it wasn't there to begin with... leave it out.
If it was 4.0, then it stays 4.0 etc.

Adding tracks (unless, of course, you have the original Multi-Channel masters)
is like restoring an old Chevy with Ford parts....
It just don't belong! :D

-Bob
 

Bob Romano

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I used to try to create the .1 track until I saw the light and found out that, at least on my systems, the sub works just fine with things being 4.0 or 5.0 depending on the source. Since I have been working on lots of original 4.0 quad stuff I have found no need for adding .1 on anything and IMO it sounds great. Also if the original was mixed for being 4.0 I see no reason why a center should be created just for the sake of being there. Even on the SACD's that were created from the quad masters they added a center but it's volume is so low it's almost non-existent. I have seen a few home cooked things where the converter decided to extract out the center but to what end. In most cases it's too loud for the mix now and actually ruins the front sound stage.
 

sukothai

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My home system generates the .1 if it's not there, but my car system does not. Since I do 50% of my listening in the car, I always add it to my conversions. It is easy to do - sum all 4 channels at 70% volume.
 

Key

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My home system generates the .1 if it's not there, but my car system does not. Since I do 50% of my listening in the car, I always add it to my conversions. It is easy to do - sum all 4 channels at 70% volume.
Couldn't that clip the signal? For instance I have to drop the volume 50% (-6dB) for a stereo sourced mono sub.
 

sukothai

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I'm talking about the capture volume when creating a 4.1 DVD-A conversion. I've never had a problem with 70% in this case, but maybe I don't crank my amp up as much as you do.

If I'm understanding this article

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_7_2/feature-article-misunderstood-lfe-channel-april-2000.html

correctly, the .1 channel is normally output at 10 dB higher than the Fronts; which may explain why I have to knock it down. But it looks like the standard has been different for music vs. movies and this may explain why it is hard to standardize on something that works for everybody's system. :confused:

Which means I will probably have to continue "reproducing" these disks with a .1 one customized for my system. :(
 
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