What Need to Know About DTS Sound

By | June 16, 2022

The evolution of audio and visual technologies has resulted in a plethora of different types of surround sound. There are numerous new formats that can be employed to make things appear more realistic and detailed.

DTS surround sound is currently widely used in homes, and it is gradually becoming one of the most essential and powerful technologies in home theater. If this is your first time working with spatial audio codecs and applications like DTS:X and DTS Sound Unbound, it can be difficult to understand.

But, what exactly is DTS? And what exactly do you need to get started? Allow us to demonstrate.

What Need to Know About DTS Sound

Surround Sound in the Home: A Brief History

People used to have to make do with VHS as their only option. Cassettes have been replaced as the principal means of storing audio and visual data by discs, digital TV broadcasts, and streaming data. To improve the quality of surround sound in the home, a new generation of audio engineers has developed.

In the early days of surround sound, there was no independent audio information for different channels. Instead, they deduced surround sound information from two-channel (stereo) data. The “matrixed” channels were first played back through four speakers, but five speakers and a subwoofer were eventually added.

In increasingly complicated surround sound codecs, different channels encode different sounds. As a result, the text is more understandable, the graphics are larger, and the overall realism is improved.

What is the definition of a spatial sound?

To further grasp what DTS:X is and how it works, let’s first define spatial sound.

Spherical sound is a technique for creating sounds that surround the listener from all sides. It means that you can hear noises from your electronics coming from all angles. In movies, planes fly overhead, and the sound of their engines may be heard over your head. Gunshots may be heard coming from the left side of the room.

Object-based spatial sound is used by speakers and televisions, whereas binaural spatial sound is used by headphones. We’ll go over the most essential DTS spatial sound technology here because the titles of the numerous DTS spatial sound technologies can be confusing.

A few words regarding DTS

DTS is a collection of digital audio encoding techniques used in movie theaters, home theaters, and video games. The following is a quick review of DTS’s importance in the development of home theater systems:

DTS was founded in 1993 as an audio encoder, decoder, and processor technology supplier for the home theater and movie theater industries, in order to compete with Dolby Laboratories.

Jurassic Park was the first film to employ DTS audio surround sound technology when it was released in theaters in 1997. The first time DTS audio was used in a home theater was in the 1997 LaserDisc edition of Jurassic Park. In 1998, The Legend of Mulan was the first DVD to include a DTS audio track (made for video, not the Disney version).

An Overview of DTS Digital Surround

DTS (also known as DTS Digital Surround or DTS Core) and Dolby Digital 5.1 both have their roots in the LaserDisc format, which DTS shares with the other home theater audio standard. Both audio and video files were moved to the DVD format when it was first launched.
DTS Digital Surround requires an audio receiver with five channels of amplification, as well as a subwoofer (.1) at the listening end of the system, just like Dolby Digital.

DTS Digital Surround is encoded at a sampling rate of 48 kHz and a bit depth of 24 bits. It has a maximum data transmission rate of 1.5 megabits per second. Dolby Digital’s sampling rate is limited to 20 bits, while DVD and Blu-ray discs’ maximum data transmission rates are 448 Kbps and 640 Kbps, respectively.

DTS Digital Surround, like Dolby Digital, is used to mix and reproduce musical performances, and DTS-encoded CDs were available for a limited time.

DTS-encoded CDs can be played on compatible CD players. The player must have either a digital optical or digital coaxial audio output as well as the necessary internal technology to decode a DTS-encoded bitstream. As a result, DTS-CDs cannot be played on CD players, but they may be played on DVD or Blu-ray Disc players that have the necessary DTS compatibility.

DTS is available as an audio option on several DVD-Audio discs. Only DVD/Blu-ray players that are compatible with the discs they contain can play these discs.

If you wish to play DTS-encoded CD, DVD, DVD-Audio Disc, or Blu-ray discs, you’ll need home theater receivers and AV preamplifier/processors with built-in DTS decoders. A CD, DVD, or Blu-ray Disc player must also support DTS pass-through (Bitstream output over a digital optical/digital coaxial audio connection or via HDMI).

Variations in DTS Surround Sound Format

DTS Digital Surround is simply the top of the iceberg, despite its widespread use. Surround sound formats DTS 96/24, DTS-ES, and DTS Neo:6 are also available for DVD.

DTS HD Master Audio, DTS Neo:6, and the newer DTS:X are all options for Blu-ray Discs.

DTS Virtual:X, another DTS variation, is also available. The DTS:X format has some of the same benefits as this format, but it doesn’t require specially encoded content or a large number of speakers, making it a viable option for soundbars.

DTS also provides surround sound for headphone listening with its DTS Headphone:X codec.

What is DTS and how does it work?

To put it simply, most DTS audio compression systems deal with spatial sound. These headphones can be used with computers, game consoles, and even regular headphones. DTS files require more disk space than Dolby Digital files due to their lower compression ratio.

The three most popular for frequent users are DTS:X, DTS Sound Unbound, and DTS Headphones X.

Let’s see how they do on their own.

What Is DTS Neo:6 All About?

In contrast to DTS Digital Surround and Dolby Digital, which must be encoded and present in the source material, DTS Neo:6 is a post-processing format. It doesn’t need to be encoded because it doesn’t need to be in a specific format to extract the necessary channel assignments for the sound mix.

Instead, it examines all of the audio cues in a two-channel soundtrack mix that haven’t been encoded using a DTS chip present in most 5.1 or 7.1 channel home theater receivers (usually from an analog source). The sound components are then dispersed as accurately and regularly as possible using a 6-channel home theater speaker system.

A conventional DTS Neo:6 speaker configuration includes six speaker channels (left front, center, right front, left surround, center-back, and right surround) as well as a subwoofer.
If you have a 5.1 speaker system, the processor will automatically fold in the sixth channel, so you won’t miss any noises (the center-back).

The left-back and right-back channels are treated as one in a DTS Neo:6 system, thus both speakers receive the same sound information.

Regarding DTS: X

According to the official description, DTS:X is an audio codec that “moves around you as it would in real life.” This “object-based” encoding allows for the use of height speakers, but they are not required. Both theatres and home theaters can use the DTS:X sound track. For additional information, go to Dolby Atmos.

In general, since its debut in 2015, it’s been a versatile codec that can work with most speaker configurations from the previous five to six years. It has a maximum of 32 speaker locations and is equipped with an 11.2-channel system.

You don’t need any additional equipment to use this service, such as surround speakers for your television or computer, or a Blu-ray player.

Is there a distinguishing feature? In busy movie sequences, increasing the loudness of just one sound object, such as a voice, can make dialogue much easier to hear.

Although it may sound like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X does not require any additional overhead channels. You’ll need to add additional overhead channels to your present 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system if you want the same sound quality and experience as Dolby Atmos.

Many high-end and mid-range AV receiver manufacturers provide DTS:X capability, including Denon, Pioneer, Marantz, and Onkyo. Because these editions contain an exclusive DTS:X codec that simulates theater sound, when you rent an IMAX Enhanced movie, you’ll also get the DTS:X sound experience.

What makes DTS: X Pro stand out?

DTS: X Pro, which will be released in early 2020, will increase the number of DTS: X playback channels from 11.1 to 30.2 channels, including the highest-level height, highest-level surround, and center-front height.

There’s no need to buy all those speakers; DTS:X Pro is compatible with a variety of settings, including more traditional Dolby Atmos setups like 7.1.4.

Non-object based formats can be upmixed to DTS and non-object based formats, from both DTS and non-DTS, utilizing Neural:X, the spatial remapping engine that works in conjunction with the DTS renderer, with no additional media formats required.

What exactly is DTS Virtual:X and how does it function?

DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization are two approaches for generating three-dimensional surround sound without using additional speakers.

Virtual:X is a post-processing technology that uses a soundbar or a standard 5.1 speaker system to simulate a 7.1.4 surround setup (that’s 11.1 channels, including four height channels). Virtual:X does not require any special upward-firing speakers to work.

Virtual:X, according to DTS, can be used to boost older DTS content regardless of the audio source’s standard.

You’ll need new hardware with the Virtual:X engine to achieve the effect. The Yamaha YAS-207 was the first product to use Virtual:X technology. LG’s SL5Y and SL6 soundbars include Virtual:X technology.

DTS-HD Master Audio: What You Should Know

DTS has designed the DTS-HD Master Audio high-definition digital surround sound format for home theater use. This DTS surround format’s dynamic range, frequency response, and sample rate are all higher than earlier DTS surround formats, allowing it to handle up to eight channels of surround sound. The most direct competitor is Dolby TrueHD.

Like Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio is most commonly found on Blu-ray Discs and Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs. It was also used by the HD-DVD format, which was eventually abandoned.
Thanks to DTS-HD Master audio encoding, the soundtrack is virtually identical to the original uncompressed recording. DTS-HD Master Audio must meet the following requirements to be considered a lossless audio format: (Dolby Labs claims the same thing for Dolby TrueHD).

DTS-HD Master Audio features a 24-bit depth and a sample rate of 96 kHz. The format supports up to 24.5 Mbps on Blu-ray and 18 Mbps on HD-DVD (for those that still have HD-DVD discs and players).

With DTS-HD Master Audio, you can have up to eight audio channels (seven full channels and one subwoofer channel), but it also has 5.1-channel and even two-channel alternatives (although the 2-channel option is rarely used).

Backwards compatibility is provided via DTS HD Master Audio. You can still listen to the conventional DTS Digital Surround soundtrack if your Blu-ray player or home theater receiver isn’t DTS-HD Master Audio compatible, but you have a Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. If your home theater receiver does not support HDMI, you can use the digital optical or coaxial ports to access traditional DTS digital surround sound.

High-Resolution Audio DTS-HD

The DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio is occasionally used as an alternative for the more often utilized DTS HD Master Audio (DTS-HD HR). The bit depth and sample rate are the same as DTS-HD Master Audio, but the bit rate is 3 to 6 Mbps. When there isn’t enough room for lossless DTS-HD Master Audio, it can be used to provide extra video or soundtrack options on a Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc. DTS-HD codecs support 7.1 channels at 96/24 or stereo at 192/24 resolutions, and they can also be played on older DTS Digital Surround gear. Both DTS-HD High Resolution Audio (DRA) and DTS-HD Master Audio (DMA) enable bit rates between 1.5 and 6 Mbps in order to authentically duplicate the original studio master.

You can still benefit from DTS-HD HR even if you don’t have a home theater receiver capable of decoding the high-resolution DTS-HD HD Master Audio format.

What is DTS Headphone:X, exactly?

DTS Headphone:X aims to emulate the directional and spatial audio effects of DTS:X on headphones using multichannel speaker systems. This program, which uses Microsoft Spatial Sound, enables precise sound localization and may be used with any set of headphones. DTS provides a library of over 500 custom-tuned headphone profiles to help you get the most out of your headphones.

The current version of DTS Headphone:X 2.0 includes better bass rendering and audio clarity, as well as improved proximity cues and hi-res audio compatibility. It is currently most commonly used in the gaming business, where immersion and precision can be advantageous.

The DTS Headphone:X 7.1 technology uses a dongle or transmitter as the hardware processor for realistic surround sound.

DTS Headphone:X requires a one-time £19.99 ($19.99) purchase, although a 14-day free trial is available via the DTS Sound Unbound app (Windows 10 and Xbox One and Xbox SeriesX/S).

DTS Play-Fi is a sound system developed by DTS.

In addition to its surround sound formats, Play-Fi is another DTS-branded entertainment technology.

DTS Play-Fi is a wireless multi-room audio platform by DTS. An iOS or Android smartphone app can access music streaming services, music stored on PCs, and media services.

Wireless speakers, home theater receivers, and soundbars that support DTS Play-Fi can play music wirelessly from those sources.

Only select Play-Fi-compatible home theater receivers and soundbars that can also play music through the speakers could employ a few DTS Play-Fi speakers as wireless surround speakers.

DTS or Dolby, which is better?

“Which is better, DTS or Dolby?” is a difficult question to answer because it varies on personal preference and cost.

Dolby is the better value for money, but audio experts claim DTS offers a little higher audio bitrate, so audiophiles should keep that in mind.

If you’re a casual user on a tight budget, however, there’s no contest. The DTS Sound Unbound licensing price is $20, which may seem high at first, but keep in mind that it covers a wide range of devices and includes DTS:X right out of the box.

Sound quality, regardless of how many devices you wish to use it on or how important your audio experience is, is always a worthy investment in our opinion.

Final Thoughts

It can be intimidating to try to find out which home theater surround sound format to use. This makes choose which one to utilize for each listening experience difficult.

Are you able to identify the difference between the various DTS sound formats? To be able to tell, I believe you’d need excellent hearing. It also has to do with the quality of the home theater receiver, speakers, and acoustics in the room.

FAQ

What Need to Know About DTS Sound

Is DTS sound worth it?

DTS for headphones is regarded to be the finest way to move sound around in games. Most gamers claim that it provides them with an audio experience unlike any other. Because just because the majority of players think DTS is the best doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Is DTS better than Dolby?

DTS is regarded to be the greatest way to transfer sound around in games while using headphones. The majority of gamers claim that it provides them with a unique auditory experience. Because just because the majority of players consider DTS to be the greatest doesn’t imply it’s right for you.

How do I set DTS sound?

Before you do anything else, make sure your Xbox is connected to a DTS:X sound bar or a multi-channel home theater receiver. Then, on your Xbox, go to the Microsoft Store and download the DTS Sound Unbound app. After that, select DTS:X for Home Theater as your bitstream format when configuring the audio on your Xbox console. You’re all set to go.

Do all headphones support DTS?

Another advantage of this program is that it is compatible with all types of headphones. You won’t need to acquire a new pair of headphones to hear it if this is the case. This technology, according to DTS, also includes a database of over 500 custom-tuned headphones profiles.

Does Netflix use Dolby or DTS?

Netflix allows you to stream movies in high-definition audio so you can watch them at home. Most movies and TV series include high-quality audio that can be streamed, such as Dolby Atmos or 5.1 surround sound.

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