| The Brief History in Audio
The Sound of the Industry
Is the audience really listening?
The Audio industry has been changing for some time, beginning with Mono, to Stereo, to High Fidelity (HiFi). In the 70’s and 80’s we were treated to Quadraphonic sound. All the while, the movie industry has been making great strides to enhance both picture and sound. First came, "Chase Surround Sound," within the Walt Disney film “Fantasia”, to Dolby Surround Sound in the film “Midway.” Dolby Surround became Dolby Pro-Logic using an active decoder, but the surround chanel was encoded in mono, while the Lfe was added for a subwoofer, essentially 4.1. Dolby Digital, formerly known as AC-3 came to life in the early 90’s with “Clear and Present Danger.”
Dolby laboratories are the providers of all the noise reduction technologies, worldwide. Anyone who has owned a cassette -player, is familiar with Dolby A, B, and C noise reduction technology, used to reduce any excess noise from ambient sounds and machine background noise. Audiophiles are may remember Dolby S, and the best a cassette players built were of this ilk.
The motion picture industry also has noise reduction technology available to them, also from Dolby Laboratories. The first of these, which were brought to the Consumers awareness, was Dolby surround.
Dolby Surround, Dolby Prologic and ProLogic II used decoders to separate channels of sound into 3, 4 and now 5 listening areas. The Left Front channel, the Right Front channel, the Center channel, and the Surround channel with Dolby Surround omitted the Center Channel (essentially a 3 channel system). Though one used two surround speakers, the surround channel was always mono. Bass response was dealt with using passive Sub-woofers. A Dolby Surround Home Theatre system would read film of this quality using a passive decoder, unfortunately, THX had not yet become a standard in the industry, awaiting the arrival of George Lucas and his Audo Director, Thomlinson Holman and the epic struggle which began in the motion picture sequel to "Star Wars", the Empire Strikes Back."
Dolby Digital originally known as AC-3 (Audio Coding 3) and Dolby Digital Surround Ex, (Extended Surround) uses an active encoder, which in addition to the front three speakers, now divides the surround into separate channels, Left Surround channel, and Right Surround channel. In addition the encoder delivered a separate channel for Low Frequency Effects (Lfe) for a Sub-woofer. A Dolby Digital Home Theatre system would read digital software of this quality using an active decoder in separation of all five audio channels and the Lfe for the sub. That’s why it is designated 5.1. Movies bearing the Dolby Digital Surround Ex have the capability to decode digital sound matrixes at 6.1, and the truer digital sound at 7.1.
DTS (Digital Theatre Sound) and DTS Es (Es for Extended Surround) also uses an active encoder-decoder system, which was developed with Dolby and the Motion Picture Entertainment Group (MPEG) Developed to enhance the motion picture sound, 4X the digital information of Dolby Digital, established a matrix for eleven (11) audio channels, and four (4) sub-woofers, thus 11.4, which can then be reduced to 7.1, which can be further reduced to 5.1. A DTS Home Theatre system would read film of this quality using a DTS active decoder to separate all audio channels and the Lfe for the subs, also designated 5.1, but can be extended to a matrix 6.1 and 7.1. The 6.1 and 7.1 designations are reserved for those home theatre systems featuring the DTS Es designation. An Audiophile using the proper processors and amplifiers would be able to reproduce the true 11.4 audio, when properly connected and calibrated.
Today the industry includes not only Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Surround Ex, DTS (Digital Theatre Sound), and DTS Es (ES for Extended Surround), but we have SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound) developed by the Sony Corporation, used by Sony Motion Pictures. In addition, Mr. Thomlinson Holman and his audio engineers pioneered and perfected the THX (Thomlinson Holman’s Experiment)developed for Lucasfilms to a standard for all System to aspire to. The THX Standard is the pinnacle of the Digital Home Theatre Entertainment world, where only the best of the best and most expensive Digital Audio/Video electronics and components can carry the LucasFilms THX logo. Even now, that standard has expanded and has evolved to THX Ultra, an even higher pinnacle to be reached.
THX, THX Ultra and THX Ultra II quality standards, set by LucasFilms, only available on higher prices and more complicated Audio Video Receivers. Receivers of this quality are purchased by conscientious consumers and Audiophiles, wishing to access the highest quality of any of the above in all Analog and Digital sound fields and matrixes available; which again, is only available on higher quality Analog and Digital Software.
All of these changes in two complimentary industries, in a few short years; the average consumer cAn be left confused and bewildered. Which audio components to buy? What monitor, or Television is best for his/her family's needs? How to connect either for optimum performance? Does it all work properly? What if he/she has maked a mistake, can he/she damage their system? From whom can he/she seek counsel for honest answers to their honest questions? All those remotes, how does he/she learn how to use them?
Digital Home Theatre Consulting Services, stands alone as the first consulting, diagnostic/calibration, installation, sales and “How to use it” tutorial company, in the G.T.A. and surrounding area, and is here for your benefit. First Established in 1991 when Dolby Surround was still in its infancy. We were the First, we are still the Best
Consulting, wiring and installing theatre and audio systems since 1975.