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Confusion: Pro logic, pro logic II, DTS, dolby digital, etc.

Hi, I am a newbie in home theatre sys, and I just bought a entry level sony HT-DDW700 system $179 in BestBuy. My room is small, so it is sufficient. But I have some questions about the technology side:

1.) in terms of quality, would I say the scale is the following?
pro logic < pro logic II < dolby digital < DTS (of cuz there are more but just comparing what I have in the receiver now)

2.) must pro logic be pass thru analog (red/white) plug? Or optical/coaxial cable is fine too?

3.) must pro logic II be pass thru optical/coaxial cable? Or analog (red/white) cable fine too?

4.) must dolby digial & DTS be pass thru optical/coaxial cable?

5.) if the input is stereo (specifically music), which effect is better? Pro logic, pro logic II, or some field mode in SONY such as "Digital Cinema Sound", or yet those surround mode such as "Hall, Jazz, Concert"? I really am confuse about all those modes. All I know is the pro logic or pro logic II seems to centralize the signer's vocal in the center speaker, while those surround mode spread the sound to all speaker to give a "hall feel"

6.) what's the diff between pro logic II movie and pro logic II music mode?

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surround sound answers...

In reply to: Confusion: Pro logic, pro logic II, DTS, dolby digital, etc.


All good questions!

1. Yes, you are right. With regular DVD (not HD-DVD or Blu-ray) DTS is considered the best, because it's the least compressed. Dolby digital is the next best, and the standard for DVD. Dolby Digital can be 1.0 (Dolby DIgital Mono); 2.0 (Dolby Digital Stereo), 4.0 (Dolby Digital Surround), or 5.1 (Dolby Digital 5.1). Most older movies (pre-1950's) may be the mono variety, so watch out for those. Roughly 95% of newer movies will be of the Dolby Digital 5.1 variety.

2. Pro Logic is Old if you're receiver has true Pro Logic processing, it's going to be via line-level RCA cables (the red and white ones). Most newer receivers will accept digital inputs (coax or optical) and rather than pro-logic, will output the better quality pro-logic II, but you can still get pro-logic II via the RCA cables. It's still taking a stereo signal and synthesizing it into 5.1.

3. No doesn't need to be digital, can be analog too.

4. Dolby digital and DTS MUST use the digital connection. Optical or Coax - same diff.

5. This is up to you. I personally prefer the original source, so I'm mostly listening to my music in stereo. But some people (especially ones that just buy a big set of speakers!) want to hear ALL of the speakers, all the time. You're right that the pro logic modes anchor more of a center image which is truer to the original stereo soundstage. The other effects are going to be more reverb, and more surround channel info.

5. pro logic ii movie mode extracts 5 full range channels from the stereo source, with an auto-balance feature to always anchor dialogue and voice to the center channel - movie mode is not user-adjustable. The music mode is user adjustable (dimension, center width control, panorama mode). The autobalance is turned off in music mode.

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Clear up!

In reply to: surround sound answers...

Thanks Ben for the clear up! I am a lot less confused now. But for the system I bought (probably cuz it's low end), even the pro logic II music mode does not have anything you can adjust. (the dimension, center width control, panorama mode you mentioned) It would be great to have those I guess, but I can't find it in the menu, so i am assuming it doesn't have it. Is it standard? or just up to the vendor? What's the diff between those mode you mention (dimension, center width control, panorama mode)

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can be up to the vendor

In reply to: Clear up!

Most receivers that i know of allow these adjustments for pro logic ii. but i bet there's plenty of low-price units that don't have it. I don't believe Dolby has made it mandatory to have those adjustments.

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pro logic I and pro logic II

In reply to: surround sound answers...

Sorry forgot to ask this one too, if pro logic II better than pro logic I in all case, why do receivers still have the option for us to pick pro logic I? Isn't pro logic II always the choice? Or there is exception? I heard that even pro logic I games/audio can be upmix to pro logic II automatically by the processor, then there should be no need for pro logic I to be in the option, right? Or I missed something?

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should be just pro logic ii

In reply to: pro logic I and pro logic II

If the receiver has pro logic ii, it's not going to have pro logic i, to my knowledge. Pro logic i is a dinasaur at this point.

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Well mine have both options

In reply to: should be just pro logic ii

But I guess I know where this is going. So next time i choose mode, i can skip right thru pro logic I. Thanks, Ben!

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Pro Logic solution

In reply to: Well mine have both options

Well lets see if I can`t sort some of this out and understand you right. I have the Yamaha HTR-5760. It has a few more bells and whistles on it, but being from the same manufacturer they should operate under the same guidelines.
As far as Pro Logic goes, Pro Logic I like ben was saying is outdated. There is Pro Logic II/ and Pro Logic IIx. There both new technologies. It breaks 2 channel L/R into a 5.1 channel play back. The 1 standing for Bass speaker. This is how is is broke down. 3 front channels Front R/ Center/ Front L. and 2 surround stereo channels in the back L/R. Where Pro Logic I only gives you 1 surround sound channel in the back instead of L/R. Now in Pro Logic II has Music, Game, and Movie modes, and no you can`t adjust or mix the channel to your preferrence I wished you could but its just the way the software decodes it.
Pro Logic IIx is almost the same as the one I just described except, Pro Logic IIx decoding creates 6.1/7.1 channel sound from 2 channels L/R. In 6.1 the extra speaker is center rear. It also has Game, Movie, and Music.
In 7.1 hope you have your manual handy. Its not hard to set-up, but hard to describe here.
Remember, what ever your playing has to have Dolby Surr Sound programed into it whether it be a movie or music CD.

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It's probably just marketing

In reply to: should be just pro logic ii

Sure PLII includes & builds on the original spec, but I could see a marketer deciding ProLogic AND ProLogicII are more "features" to add to the list... like "plays stereo AND mono" "dispalys color AND black & white!" :?
Maybe I'm just too jaded...

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Here It Is In Simple Form

In reply to: Confusion: Pro logic, pro logic II, DTS, dolby digital, etc.


Movies with Dolby Digital Sound.....use Dolby Digital (actually the receiver should set this automatically...make sure you go into the movie setup menu and select ''dolby digital 5.1'')(forget DTS for now, it is just a different company's form of digital 5.1)

Old Movies with 2 channel stereo....use Pro-Logic II, movie setting

Music, all 2 channel stereo music.....use Pro-Logic II, music setting (or just plain old 2 channel stereo if you like).

That's It! (forget about all the other modes for now)

OK, now down the road, months later when you are comfortable, just for fun with old movies, 2 channel stereo, you can try any DSP mode that has movie or cinema in the description to see how you like the sound as an alternative to DPL-II.

Then with music you can try out the DSP modes for music like Hall, Jazz club, concert hall, etc. These are just alternative modes to DPL-II for music.

Most people find the ones I listed up above the best.


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Good guide to find out what you like

In reply to: Here It Is In Simple Form

I agree with you RR6, thx for the advice. It's a good path to find out what you like (for the stereo movies and music). Personally I don't prefer Prologic II for music now, as it centralize the vocal too much in the center and front 2 spkrs, even it said it doesn't (in the manual it says it doesn't have the "balanced" processing in prologic II Music mode as oppose to prologic II Movie), so I guess I will just go with Hall, Jazz, Concert, etc., for music.

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