To all the amateur audiophiles, wannabe’s and just any one who might be interested, I have a little lesson on Dolby Digital and DTS.
I used to think Dolby Digital and DTS only deferred in their brand name and encoding technique, and that the quality of sound is same from both types. It turns out DTS offers much more than Dolby Digital. DTS uses lesser compression than Dolby and hence has less information loss. Dolby uses the lossy AC3 encoding technique. It was last week and I was watching a Tamil Movie – Gillie ( I usually don’t watch Vijay movie, but this one was different, he really kicked some ass!), especially for the roaring sound effects and I must say I was pretty impressed. The DVD had 2 audio options – Dolby Digital (DD) and DTS and my Home theater receiver automatically detected DD. I then chose DTS to see how it sounds, only to be left with a silent living room. Huh! I thought I had to do some setting in my home theater and spent some awful lot of time going through the manual and trying different settings. Well, I gave up after an hour and just watched the movie in DD.
Few days later, I sat down and asked Google what am I missing. I also turned to Wikipedia to learn about Dolby Digital and DTS. Google told me to look closely at my DVD player first, it had a D followed by an inverted D and then the words Dolby Digital on it. I looked for DTS all over and it didn’t seem to be there. The lesson was, I needed a DVD Player which could decode DTS signals and send them as raw output data via Digital out. I bought this player last year when I really didn’t have an idea about Home theater and was not even planning to buy one, the time when I believed consumerism is luxury. So here is something to keep in mind :
1. If you have got a Home theater but don’t have a DVD player which cannot decode DTS, well you have to buy one that does. When you do so, go for the one which has an optical output, it will be much clearer than Digital output.
2. If you don’t have a home theater, but have a DVD player, check if it decodes DTS, otherwise mark it somewhere that when you plan to buy a home theater or when you buy a new DVD player, go for the one which has DTS and optical output.
3. If you have neither, well future proof it by buying the one that has all or perhaps future proof it by waiting for a few months to get that HD DVD player or the blu ray player that can play almost everything.