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Old 04-11-2019, 01:51 PM   #1
Menteith Menteith is offline
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Default How to correctly play back Dolby Stereo movies?

Ok, so let me start with the pre-amble that I was always under the (false) impression that Dolby Stereo just meant that - a 2.0 Stereo channel sound.

Now, I coincidentally found out in one of the threads on these boards that Dolby Stereo actually means 4.0 channel surround sound.

This means one thing - that I have been playing back all of my hundreds of blu-rays wrong. I always put my receiver to 'Stereo playback' for all these 80s movies, which resulted in sound coming out from L and R and the subwoofer.

What is actually the correct way to play this back? Which mode should one set up on the receiver for a dolby stereo movie (in my case a Denon AVR-X1200W)?

My assumption is that the mode should be set to "Dolby Surround", but I just wanted to make sure. There are other modes as well, which could make sense, e.g. "Direct/Pure Direct (multi-channel)" or "Matrix".

That's really a pain, why can't these systems just select the appropriate playback method by themselves?
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:06 PM   #2
davidsal davidsal is offline
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You're correct. You should use Dolby Surround or ProLogic. You want the dialog to come from the center. Actually, it will sound better than legacy dolby stereo because it will upscale the sound to stereo surrounds or even height speakers if you have them.
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Menteith (04-11-2019)
Old 04-11-2019, 02:38 PM   #3
Menteith Menteith is offline
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Thanks, this is really interesting. I wonder how many people play all these movies back wrongly - or am I the only one?

A good example is the Arrow UK blu-ray of Big Trouble in Little China. Arrow advertised that they provided the original 2.0 Stereo track on their blu-ray. I mean it literally says 2.0 in the menu and on the back cover.

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but just going from common sense I would never have geuessed to set my receiver not to "stereo", not to "DTS HD", but to "Dolby Surround"?

By the way, this example is also interesting from another perspective: The theatrical release apparently also featured a 6-track magnetic sound mix for the 70 mm prints.

What would be the "more accurate" representation of playing back this blu? Using the 2.0 channel with dolby surround, or playing back the 5.1 DTS HD mix encoded on the blu through the receiver's DTS HD mode (maybe that one is mixed based on the 70 mm track)?

Last edited by Menteith; 04-11-2019 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:00 AM   #4
slimdude slimdude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menteith View Post
Thanks, this is really interesting. I wonder how many people play all these movies back wrongly - or am I the only one?

A good example is the Arrow UK blu-ray of Big Trouble in Little China. Arrow advertised that they provided the original 2.0 Stereo track on their blu-ray. I mean it literally says 2.0 in the menu and on the back cover.

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but just going from common sense I would never have geuessed to set my receiver not to "stereo", not to "DTS HD", but to "Dolby Surround"?

By the way, this example is also interesting from another perspective: The theatrical release apparently also featured a 6-track magnetic sound mix for the 70 mm prints.
Don't feel bad. This is what these forums are for, is for people to ask questions and to learn about various issues that they do not know about.
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:11 AM   #5
JPK JPK is offline
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The problem I have with this though, is setting it to 'Dolby Surround' would enable the upmixer to all available channels.

Therefore a 2.0 Dolby Surround track ends up 7.2.4, which is a bit excessive and well outside of director intent.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:14 AM   #6
Hitman Horton Hitman Horton is online now
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Dolby Stereo and 2.0 are two completely different things.

2.0, 5.1, 7.1 and others tell you how many speakers are involved. 2.0 is left and right. The number after the decimal is your subwoofer. that's as far as my knowledge goes.

Dolby stereo is actually 4.0. Left, Center, Right, Surround.

I looked it up and the disc you mentioned said that it has two options 2.0 and 5.1. I'm guessing that these are both Dolby Digital signals so on my receiver I would set it to Dolby Digital and it would properly play the signal I pick at the menu screen.

You say that you wish that your receiver would properly pick and play the correct audio on it's own. It's possible that it will if your settings are correct. Click on the link below for more information on the different types of surround sound your receiver is capable of.

http://manuals.denon.com/AVRX1200W/N...SYwdnzswtk.php

Last edited by Hitman Horton; 11-15-2019 at 04:22 AM. Reason: Added a link
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:56 AM   #7
oddbox83 oddbox83 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitman Horton View Post
Dolby Stereo and 2.0 are two completely different things.
Not necessarily. The Dolby SVA form of Dolby Stereo was a 2 channel matrix and was by far the most common because existing theatres could be upgraded easily to use it. As still remains the case with Dolby (their new Dolby Surround for example), they have form for using the same name for different systems.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Stereo
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:37 PM   #8
Hitman Horton Hitman Horton is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddbox83 View Post
Not necessarily. The Dolby SVA form of Dolby Stereo was a 2 channel matrix and was by far the most common because existing theatres could be upgraded easily to use it. As still remains the case with Dolby (their new Dolby Surround for example), they have form for using the same name for different systems.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Stereo
If you read the second paragraph on Dolby SVA it says that it contained Left, Right, Center and Surround. That's according to the link that you provided.
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:23 PM   #9
oddbox83 oddbox83 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitman Horton View Post
If you read the second paragraph on Dolby SVA it says that it contained Left, Right, Center and Surround. That's according to the link that you provided.
May I suggest you read it properly then.

It's 4 channels post-matrix decoding.
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Old 11-16-2019, 11:12 PM   #10
Hitman Horton Hitman Horton is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddbox83 View Post
May I suggest you read it properly then.

It's 4 channels post-matrix decoding.
I'm not familiar with the technological terms. I read what you linked and made a comment based on that information. From what I looked at, it means that it's a stereo but can be further split into center and surround if the theater wishes to invest in the extra equipment necessary.

Regardless, I don't think it's information that the original poster is interested in.
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Old 11-16-2019, 11:20 PM   #11
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In reality, if the movie sounds good to you, then that should be the only thing that matters. If you're a purist who only wants to listen to the audio as it was in the original film, then you can do that. If you like to use all of your speakers, that's okay too. It's totally up to you.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:33 AM   #12
oddbox83 oddbox83 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitman Horton View Post
Regardless, I don't think it's information that the original poster is interested in.
The original 2-channel stereo encoding of 4-channel Dolby Surround is what the OP wanted information on to play back correctly. Upscaling the 2.0 to surround is the correct way to do that as it should read the matrixed information, although modern receivers will do this to higher than 4.0 channels as they don't have a legacy 4.0 option.

Last edited by oddbox83; 11-17-2019 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:56 PM   #13
nickg nickg is offline
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Using dolby surround or whatever the most recent pro logic version your equipment can do is. that'll get the most out of them since they are surround sound tracks
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Old 01-19-2020, 03:41 AM   #14
Alister_M Alister_M is online now
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I generally use the standard Pro Logic setting for stereo tracks and PLIIX for lossy 5.1. I don't like to expand stereo tracks out too much because that can often cause the sound-field to become too thin, like butter scraped over too much bread (cheers Bilbo).
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:40 AM   #15
yellowcakeuf6 yellowcakeuf6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickg View Post
Using dolby surround or whatever the most recent pro logic version your equipment can do is. that'll get the most out of them since they are surround sound tracks
If you want accuracy, as I think the OP did, you would limit it to mono surround, which all those Dolby Stereo films were. There are films released after 1992 (Dolby Digital 5.1 appeared) that were still using the Dolby Stereo 4-2-4 matrix (mono surround).
I'm not sure there are many AVRs that will still give you the L,C,R,Surround (mono) option. I still have Dolby and DTS decoders from the 1990s for this purpose, because even a now 15 year old pre/pro I have had the Dolby Pro Logic II chip, so the minimum was stereo surrounds, unless the disc mix/flags forced mono surround.
I used to be a stickler for this stuff, and even still have a Dolby CP200 in my projection setup, but I find myself more and more disinclined to unhook, and hook up the various gear sometimes needed.
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