by David DelGrosso, Director of Marketing, DTS Technology, Inc.
Sound is a 360-degree experience. And whether we are attending a concert hall or a motion picture theater, the
full emotional impact of the live presentation is the result of a wide variety of sonic vibrations that
arrive from every direction...not just the sounds that are directed as us from the front speakers.
In fact, many of today's movie theaters and concert venues utilize multiple speaker placements, not only to reinforce the spatial depth of the sound system, but to deliver specific information that is intentionally placed behind us or to the sides...to more accurately represent the total creative vision of the artists and producers. That's why most industry experts agree that the evolution of home audio reproduction, which led us from mono to stereo, is about to take a quantum leap into the spatial realism of discrete surround sound.
Digital Theater Systems...
Upon completion of a rigorous test evaluation by movie producer Steven Spielberg, an historical decision was made. For despite the enormous risk of debuting this brand-new technology on a blockbuster mega-budget film, Mr. Spielberg was determined to deliver his upcoming movie, Jurassic Park, with the added sonic realism of a DTS digital soundtrack.
Needless to say, the co-venture proved to be a tremendous success. In fact, the DTS experience was so gratifying that both Mr. Spielberg and the motion picture studio, MCA/Universal, immediately invested in Digital Theater Systems, and have since committed all of their major film productions to this state-of-the-art technology.
After only three years, the DTS digital playback system is already installed in more theaters around the world than Dolby Digital and Sony SDDS combined. And the rapidly-growing list of award winning DTS-encoded soundtracks now includes the Oscar® winner for Best Picture, Braveheart and the winner for Best Sound, Apollo 13...and virtually every recent blockbuster, including Twister, Mission Impossible, and Independence Day.
Introducing DTS Technology...
The new DTS-Digital Surround algorithm is designed to encode the 5.1 channels of 20-bit audio onto any compact disc, laserdisc or DVD...with considerably less data-compression than any other competing system. A DTS-encoded disc can then be played back on any disc player with a built-in digital output connector. The digital bitstream from this output is fed directly to any surround processor that incorporates the DTS decoding chip which then separates the digital information into 5.1 playback channels that are sonically identical to the original masters.
As the finest technology currently available for home video entertainment, the laserdisc format can now easily be adapted to include DTS audio soundtracks, by mastering the 5.1 encoded audio channels instead of the 2-channel digital tracks. At the same time, each DTS-encoded laserdisc maintains the original analog stereo tracks to allow stereo playback in the absence of a digital decoder.
For Digital Surround playback, a DTS decoder is required in order to separate the digital data from the disc player into the 5.1 individual channels encoded onto the digital tracks. This investment will vary dramatically depending upon which components are already a part of your main system. For example, if you begin with a stereo receiver with no pre-out or main in connectors, then purchasing a new discrete 6-channel receiver (or separates) is the only way to convert to Digital Surround. However, you may be able to add a separate "surround sound" decoder to your existing stereo system if you already have the proper connections. Either way, it is highly recommended to consult with an audio/video speciality retailer who can easily explain the proper system upgrades.
It's important to note that any audio component that already offers some form of discrete surround capability, such as Dolby Digital (formerly known as AC-3), can now integrate an affordable DTS chip into their circuitry design...and instantly increase the entertainment value of your home theater system.
All DTS-encoded movies and music recordings are compatible with the 5.1 speaker configurations that are currently available for home theater systems. And while it is anticipated that most multi-channel movie soundtracks will utilize all five-full range channels, plus the Low Frequency Effects (.1) sub-woofer channel, music recordings on compact disc will vary in terms of how each artist/engineer/producer chooses to mix their multi-channel master.
For optimum playback of all future recordings, it is highly recommended that full-range, equally-matched loudspeakers are utilized for all five of the main channels (including the "surrounds").
The Evolution of Audio...