Is 6.1 and 7.1 worth it? Is Lossless much better than Lossy?

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bradavon
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Is 6.1 and 7.1 worth it? Is Lossless much better than Lossy?

Unread post by bradavon » 31 Mar 2010, 10:25

* For those who have 6.1 and 7.1 setups are they much better than 5.1?

I had 5.1 but now 5.0. I live in a rented flat in a shared building (in the middle) so a sub is out of the question. I don't really even miss it. I'll probably get a new small sub when I move out. The front speakers handle the bass well enough for me.

* For those who have a Lossless setup, do you find it much of an improvement over lossy audio?

To be clear I mean Lossless: PCM, DTS-HD MA, TrueHD and Lossy: DTS-HD HR, DTS, DD Plus and DD. I was going to upgrade my Amp but tbh it already sounds very good for me and I can so rarely turn it up loud anyway.

Please no "of course it sounds better, spec sheet A: says it must" or "of course it's all bollocks because I've read it is".
Last edited by bradavon on 05 Apr 2010, 19:34, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is 6.1 and 7.1 worth it? Is Lossless much better than Lossy?

Unread post by tom2681 » 05 Apr 2010, 16:40

Hey, Brad. Long time no see!
* For those who have 6.1 and 7.1 setups are they much better than 5.1?
I went from 5.1 to 6.1 and it made zero difference.
You really can't tell that there's an additional speaker.
7.1 might be a different story, though. You might be able to place your speakers further apart and get better spatialization.
* For those who have a Lossless setup, do you find it much of an improvement over lossy audio?
Yes.
Lossless sound vs Lossy sound is a bit like HD vs SD video. You don't really realize how good HD is unless you go back to lossy or SD.
It's difficult to explain, but when I go back to watching DVDs with low-bitrate soundtracks, it's like the sound is muffled.
With lossless sound, you get an additional "layer" of clarity.

But in your case, I wouldn't recommend upgrading yet. If you can't turn up the volume and enjoy that extra layer, there's no point IMO.
I used to be "the man who loves the movies you hate".
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Re: Is 6.1 and 7.1 worth it? Is Lossless much better than Lossy?

Unread post by grim_tales » 05 Apr 2010, 16:55

Long time no see Tom! Ca va? :)

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Re: Is 6.1 and 7.1 worth it? Is Lossless much better than Lossy?

Unread post by Markgway » 05 Apr 2010, 19:21

I only use headphones to listen to movies so am hardly an expert, but from my experience the HD tracks are superior (louder and crisper). I'm still not sold on all films needing remixes though. I watched Heathers the other night and the sole audio track was a Dolby True 5.1 mix. Sounded very hollow (shrill, even). Why does a film that's 98% dialogue need a 5.1 remix? Surely a loseless stereo track would've done the job.
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Re: Is 6.1 and 7.1 worth it? Is Lossless much better than Lossy?

Unread post by bradavon » 05 Apr 2010, 23:18

Markgway wrote:I only use headphones to listen to movies so am hardly an expert, but from my experience the HD tracks are superior (louder and crisper).
I'm surprised. Are they good quality headphones? Even so, 348Kbps to 1.5Mbps (which I think is the you'll be able to hear over an analogue RCA connection) would surely be lost in headphones. Are they Dolby headphones? I hear that's pretty good, a sort of 5.1 effect from headphones.
Markgway wrote:Why does a film that's 98% dialogue need a 5.1 remix? Surely a loseless stereo track would've done the job.
Of course. The odd thing is, the market who has 5.1 is the same market who is most likely to dislike this, the film fan. Most average users don't go past stereo, so it's entirely pointless for them. There are some films that really benefit from a 5.1 remix (action films etc... if treated with respect) but by far the majority work no better 5.1 remixed and are basically stereo. So why not just leave it as is or give us stereo?

Jaws and Terminator are two examples where I think it genuinely works really well (I know many disagree) but that's all I can think of. Taxi Driver SE has a much better picture but annoyingly drops the stereo remix in favour of a 5.1 remix. It's okay but like your experience with Heathers sounds hollow in places.

Oddly the original DVD they opted for a stereo remix because they said there wasn't enough source material for a 5.1 remix. They were right originally. I wish the DVD had both remixes to choose from. As the picture (and extras) is a clear improvement I live with the 5.1 remix.

All the HKL remixes thankfully to me sound like stereo, so are acceptable, whereas the Fortune Star remixes are really OTT and the Mono is the best bet. Anchor Bay are even worse, their Withnail and I 5.1 is hideous, so loud in places (you can barely hear the speech over the bumped up rain effects). Thankfully that has the original stereo too.

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Re: Is 6.1 and 7.1 worth it? Is Lossless much better than Lossy?

Unread post by bradavon » 05 Apr 2010, 23:18

tom2681 wrote:I went from 5.1 to 6.1 and it made zero difference. You really can't tell that there's an additional speaker.
7.1 might be a different story, though. You might be able to place your speakers further apart and get better spatialization.
I think 7.1 should make for more spatialization. 6.1 just adds a rear centre but 7.1 gets rids rid of this (oddly) and instead has left/right surrounds (either side). So you should be more surrounded.

The trouble with both, is the vast majority of films are in 5.1 still. Even new films, when they come to home formats are in 5.1. I personally I feel 5.1 is plenty of speakers already and unless you're in a dedicated home cinema room, it just gets silly. I have to live in my living room too. Thanks for the info btw.
tom2681 wrote:Yes. Lossless sound vs Lossy sound is a bit like HD vs SD video. You don't really realize how good HD is unless you go back to lossy or SD. It's difficult to explain, but when I go back to watching DVDs with low-bitrate soundtracks, it's like the sound is muffled. With lossless sound, you get an additional "layer" of clarity.
Interesting. I'm surprised it's that big of a jump. How about Lossless vs. 1.5Mbps Lossy (either down-mixed Lossless or DTS)? I know what you mean, 1.5Mbps sounds significantly better than even 448Kbps DD5.1.

On my "Genesis: We Can't Dance", the SACD High Resolution 5.1 mix and DTS-ES Discrete 1.5Mbps mix (both are 96Khz/24-Bit) sound almost identical and incredible but the DD5.1 mix (obviously only 48Khz/16-Bit) sounds awfully muffled and low quality. It's a 2 disc release, 1 disc Hybrid SACD (SACD + Redbook CD) and 1 disc DVD.
tom2681 wrote:But in your case, I wouldn't recommend upgrading yet. If you can't turn up the volume and enjoy that extra layer, there's no point IMO.
I'm of the same feeling, it's expensive too.

I doubt I'll upgrade until my Amp breaks. It's starting to fail, when you first turn it on it makes a "degaussing" click noise. Every now and again it does this during operation and even gets confused and switches the centre channel entirely to the left front. Thankfully not often but it's started to do it more. I leave and it sorts itself out quickly or turn it off and back on again.

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Re: Is 6.1 and 7.1 worth it? Is Lossless much better than Lossy?

Unread post by saltysam » 06 Apr 2010, 15:13

Pure HD audio is head and shoulders above anything you've ever heard.
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Re: Is 6.1 and 7.1 worth it? Is Lossless much better than Lossy?

Unread post by bradavon » 06 Apr 2010, 19:00

WOW! What Amp have you got? So so you're say it's much better than 1.5Mbps audio or just better? I'm interested to hear how Lossless specifically compares with Lossy at the high bit-rate of 1.5Mbps, instead of low bit-rates.

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