TVs & Home Theaters forum


Can I use Dolby Pro Logic IIz with DTS HD Master Audio

by erniecolorado1 / October 4, 2012 9:52 AM PDT

I am buying a new HD surround sound receiver. After extensive testing and listening, I have found, as well as many others, proven rewards and comparisons that there is no doubt DTS HD Master Audio beats Dolby Tru HD hands down. Even when I was using a television with just 2 speakers, the voices sounded much more clear on DTS sound than with Dolby, which proves DTS is more refined with voice, midrange and sound effects including bass. And DTS HD Master Audio, as well as DTS overall, has beaten Dolby in every category, no offense to Dolby who has innovated so much. But sorry Dolby, you got beat, and this is why many Blu Ray discs only include DTS HD Master Audio for good reason. However, I have seen the innovation by Dolby Pro Logic IIz that uses surround front height speakers that are placed up high on the front wall in promixity to the front speakers aimed down towards the listener, and are supposed to add realism over the general 5.1 or 7.1 surround setup to make it sound like it really is raining in your room right above you and all around you, for example. I do not know much about IIz, but I do remember Pro Logic, not a truly digital format, so I am wondering how IIz is in relation to the HD digital formats, and if it will work with DTS HD Master Audio, and if it messes with the sound, being that it is not from Dolby, and if it is even worth using and buying the extra 2 speakers? Many viewers said the latest Star Trek movie only included Dolby Tru HD, and they said it did not sound that great in comparison to when it is displayed in DTS HD Master Audion. I need an experienced and qualified person to answer this please. Thank you.

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All Answers

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Are you certain about those comparisons?
by Pepe7 / October 4, 2012 12:05 PM PDT

Understand, such comparisons between surround audio tracks are rarely w/o the element of subjectivity. Your assertion that .."DTS overall, has beaten Dolby in every category.." would probably make some hardcore HT enthusiasts/audiophiles chuckle. FWIW, I've heard great and poor examples of both ;).

Let's get back to something which is not at all subjective. Keep in mind that Pro Logic is not a HD (wideband) codec itself, but a type of enhancement. Pro Logic IIz is still a type of matrixed sound. I would probably stick with standard HD processing on its own since it's normally quite impressive, although the extra two speakers you add w/ IIz are supposed to be non-directional. To be honest proper speaker placement goes a long way to enhance what most folks already have, but haven't yet put much time into tweaking ;). IME even doing simple things like relocating a sub or adding a 8x10' area rug can really improve the sound of a HT space.

Then there's remembering that for extra speakers to work, the AV receiver has to have proper amplification for the extra speakers. Some good stuff @ about dot com on this here:

Some addtl. reading for you on the various formats:

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Response to message
by erniecolorado1 / October 4, 2012 1:58 PM PDT

Every Blu Ray movie I have watched in DTS HD Master Audio has been better than Dolby. If you understand the differences, they both claim to be lossless audio, and in retrospect, this is correct since they are high definition and little or no compression is invovled. If you study the correct facts on DTS, it uses LESS compression than Dolby, and this is the main, among other reasons it is better and can do more often than Dolby can, even before HD surround sound was released. EVERY movie I played in DTS, whether HD or not, was better in voice, midrange and bass clearly. And over 350 people I had in my home agree, even blindly, not knowing which format I selected, but ALWAYS picked the movies in DTS as their choice. Subjectivity can be related to opinion often times, not fact. This is why the movie makers of the Blu Ray PREFER DTS over Dolby. I have 1200 plus movies in my Blu Ray collection. I would say a vast majority ONLY have DTS HD Master Audio on them. I am not saying Dolby is not good to, but overall DTS HD Master Audio is just better, hands down. And, WHY DO YOU NEED MORE THAN ONE SURROUND SOUND FORMAT CHOICE WHEN WATCHING A MOVIE WHEN DTS JUST GETS IT RIGHT, AND OVERALL IS BETTER? It is like why have more than one operating system when Microsoft Windows does it all and then some? There is NO point to choice at all in most cases if it is done right and covers pretty much all the bases, which in either case it does. Often times more choices creates more problems and headaches, and when it comes to electronics and watching movies, surround is surround, and when I watch a new movie, I do not want to have to be concerned with, "gee what should I select, DTS or Dolby?" Do you get my drift? This is what is great about technology with the microphone auto setup. In general, I put the microphone at ear level were I sit, and have it run through the acoustic automatic setup for all channels and speakers, and that is it. I love that and the sound is perfect all the time, every time. No more wasting time with "Did my ears hear it exactly right, or did I set it right, or did I put it at the levels expected by the makers of the movies or THX processing?" That is why I pay for that feature. It is included, so use it. I don't want to second guess anything. So why bother with it.

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I see you've already made up your mind...
by Pepe7 / October 5, 2012 12:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Response to message

...and in more than one avenue (OS choice, etc.).

You seem to be nickel and diming the argument quite well (and probably exaggerating as well, since I know it when I see it). Back to the facts though- most people aren't trained enough to know the very subtle differences between such lossless audio tracks. Start getting into nuances like 'midrange' with the vast majority of listeners are they start looking at you like you are an alien w/ five heads ;).

Truth be told though, most HT spaces aren't set up properly, so that plays a role as well. More often than not the speakers are placed out of convenience or for aesthetic reasons, which can impact how audio tracks are heard by the listeners. Dolby TrueHD is more than a capable format, and it's certainly a very similar situation as is AC-3 vs DTS in a typical consumer HT space. Both can be quite good. What's best is still relative. Choice is always good, and that certainly goes for other avenues like operating systems as well. Some of us are quite comfortable having multiple options ;).

OTOH, burying your head in the sand is an option (LOL).

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by erniecolorado1 / October 6, 2012 3:50 AM PDT

Thank you for your time and input. Choice is irrelevant when it comes to reality. I do not need to have more than one type of fork to eat a meal. One will work just fine. That is the same with Microsoft Windows. NO one ever truly beat them and no one ever will. Steve Jobs did not truly innovate anything no matter how many products they sell or what proprietary products they force as the so-called "norm" on surround sound receivers like Ipod and Ipad hookups, poor products from the get go. Windows 8 and the upcoming WIndows 8 tablets, and even the Zune portable music player (120 GB-biggest hard drive to date on a music player) which is not made anymore, were always better anyways hands down. There is no point to change and no logic to it either. Getting bacl to the surround sound, I never said that Dolby Tru HD was not a good format or that some of the movies cannot or are not good with them. That does NOT change the fact that overall DTS and DTS HD Master Audio are not better and more preferred. And then of course, having the THX Select2 or THX Ultra2 processing is the best you can buy along with that. I do not care about opinions. I want what works universally all the time. And I have that, and everyone who has been in my home says they love my sound coming from my home theater. And you know what? I spent only 3 thousand dollars on everything, and they said it sounds BETTER than the theaters they have gone to where you pay 10 to 12 dollars a ticket. I do smart shopping through ebay and I am savvy that way. You would be proud of that. I got a Pioneer Elite 2,200 dollar (only 2 yr old model) receiver with THX Ultra2 processing and DTS HD Master Audio and Dolby Tru HD for 800 bucks (mint condition). There is no better receiver out there as the Pioneer Elite, especially the flagships, and trust me, I have heard and tried them ALL. Have a good weekend!

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Agree to disagree, I suppose
by Pepe7 / October 7, 2012 2:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Saturday

Working with a wide range of hardware/software/electronics every day as I do, I'm always amazed at how many folks continue to be zealots. <shrug> For me at least, if you are using food as a weak analogy (LOL), being able to choose between an Apple product (or OS) and Windows (or Linux) means I can choose the restaurant I like where I am somewhat familiar with a particular chef ;).

Keep in mind others may have different takes on what constitutes 'best'. Personally, I could care less, I just hate anyone to imply that such subjective issues get sorted out as such. You are still making odd statements comparing audio tracks as though it were some sort of established fact.

You definitely missed the memo on the MP3 player scene, amigo. Apple classic is world renowned, and has a 160GB capacity. See how fast they move on ebay. Faster than your Elites even(!) Wink FWIW, Cowon & Archos both had larger capacity players than a Zune (Are you *really* praising a Zune??) I probably can only put a Zune as far as the 'dud product' camp.

IMNSHO though, Pioneer Elite is overpriced. More importantly- which model in particular are you working with and in combination with what speakers? That's where the rubber hits the road ;). And when you tested in your HT space- did you use the same speakers when you compared different receivers?

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I think I know the reason why.
by ahtoi / October 5, 2012 5:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Response to message

They are being nice to guy like me that doesn't have the dough to buy the latest AV equipments so I am still using my dolby system only. Don't compare...just use what works the best for you.

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by Pepe7 / October 6, 2012 12:36 AM PDT

I (probably) won't be upgrading much of anything until I can pay for my kids' college (LOL).


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Good man:)
by erniecolorado1 / October 6, 2012 3:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Exactly

I respect you for being a good father! I honor you for that

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Dolby IIz
by erniecolorado1 / October 4, 2012 2:06 PM PDT

And you are right, Dolby IIz really is not necessary, and as I said, I already made it clear it is NOT a digital scheme. When Jurassic Park was first released and heard in theaters with DTS, EVERY PERSON I TALKED TO SAID THEY PREFERRED THE DTS REPRODUCTION. Even George Lucas and Steven Spielberg agreed. Also every receiver or pre-amp me and many others have heard with THX processing blows away every other product without it, and this was so easy to hear and feel. But generally you do pay more for receivers or pre-amps with THX processing, and you get what you pay for. It is not necessary to get great surround sound, but the difference added is tremendous and incredible. Even when I had an older dolby pro logic with THX, the sound was amazing in the room. It made the room seem much larger as well, and the processing and equalization that is implemented is part of that. I have studied and listened to ALL the formats, and I have seen all those links before. They do not even go into that much. They are just general. I will not be returning to these posts. Thank you for your time!

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Do you actually...
by Pepe7 / October 5, 2012 12:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Dolby IIz what you write? I have my doubts.

Again, think about it a little harder. I could properly place speakers in a HT space w/o having THX equipment and still blow the doors off such an 'untweaked' HT space with the latest gear/processing.

By all means keep on thinking it's your way or the highway though. No worries. But if you want to come back with an open mind, that would be great too since we are both enthusiasts.

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by erniecolorado1 / October 6, 2012 3:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Do you actually...

I have an open mind. Thats how I know. Experience and studying and listening. Yes you can get great sound without THX processing, BUT THX certification is the highest standards of processing and the best selection for surround preamps and receivers no matter whicj way you look at it.

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The pressing issue is...
by Pepe7 / October 7, 2012 11:15 AM PDT
In reply to: good

...I see expensive gear w/THX all the time. And the folks who own it rarely if ever properly locate their speakers. Epic fail.

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for them yes
by erniecolorado1 / October 7, 2012 4:02 PM PDT

Epic fail for them. It is common sense to know you put your speakers at ear level for the front and the main rear and toe them in so they are pointing right at you. the center is obvious. and the subwoofer is best front, and even in between the main speakers if you can do that. The auto setup will do the rest for you. I never ever had any issues and I own a 2,200 pioneer elite THX Ultra 2 receiver. I have found in less than a 1000 square foot room (many have less than that), you do not need more than a 5.1 speaker setup. And not only that, few recordings are recorded using a discrete 7.1 setup. Most of the other matrix or DTS Neo or Dolby IIz setups are not necessary at all

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Yes, but don't forget...
by Pepe7 / October 8, 2012 1:12 AM PDT
In reply to: for them yes

...that a 'textbook' sub location between the front (or front speakers) doesn't always provide the optimal sound. Remember, most consumer HT spaces are less than ideal in one way (usually several). More often than not I've discovered that moving the sub around and playing with other locations can help find the sweetest spot for a particular room filled with furniture/shaped somewhat oddly. Also, if you can try it some day, play with a system that incorporates a second subwoofer. Night and day difference with the right type of material.

Obviously the matrix settings are mostly used for boosting stereo audio tracks, which are more common than not from standard broadcast/cable/sat fare, etc. In this regard they are necessary if one wishes to fill a room with a little bit of surround-like sound from otherwise somewhat flat audio from your cable/sat provider.

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by erniecolorado1 / October 8, 2012 3:14 AM PDT

Two subs can be good, but I have a 25 x 15 basement, so two subs is overkill in the first place. even bigger than an 8 or 10 inch powered sub wold be too much, especially with HD digital audio/THX. trust me it gets loud. And the auto mic setup compensates for everything. I get great sound no matter where I sit. Also moving the sub around in this smaller room really does not do much.

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Re-read what I wrote
by Pepe7 / October 8, 2012 3:36 AM PDT
In reply to: response

Time to put your thinking cap back on. My comments were clearly not directed toward *your* particular setup <roll eyes>, but to be used as a guidepost. Clearly, everyone has different rooms/equipment, hence the need to tweak each HT/AV space a little differently.

The point of two subs isn't necessarily to be louder, but to present a more accurate representation of those sounds provided by two subwoofers in stereo vs the typical single sub arrangement. That room size in no way would prevent you from using two subs, btw. Since you clearly appreciate maximizing your audio/HT experience, definitely check it out sometime.

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thank you
by erniecolorado1 / October 8, 2012 5:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Re-read what I wrote

of course it would be nice to have two subs, but this also creates the need for an extra plug-in, a set space for more room, and that is just not ideal for my situation right now. My receiver also has the outputs for two subs. some don't. THX ultra2 certified receivers generally always do

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You keep referring to *your* HT space
by Pepe7 / October 8, 2012 6:19 AM PDT
In reply to: thank you

Odd. And you seem to keep insinuating that a 25 x 15 foot HT space is too small for two subs.
Not sure you are completely comprehending what the specifics might be w/ two subs. <please don't make another reference to your particular space in this discussion. Think more broadly.>

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