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#262102 - 06/01/09 01:35 PM Listening Modes for Movies/Music
g_texas Offline
regular

Registered: 02/08/09
Posts: 5
Have everything set-up (M60s, Qs4, Energy Center, and EP350) and have calibrated everything, now have a question regarding the listening modes on receiver. I have Onkyo mid-range (can't remember model off the top of my head), and since getting the new Axioms have been using different sound fields with different sources/formats. But am not sure what is "right". My question is mostly around sources that are 5.1 or higher. I understand that from a 2.0 signal using sound fields create a fictitious 5.1 sound.

If the source is Dolby Digital 5.1, should I set source as "Direct" or "Dolby Digital"? When I set to "Direct" there I can tell there is surround sound (all 5 speakers plus some sub), but when I set to DD there is a lot more bass. The voice is less clear, so depending on the show I move to "Direct". If I set to “Direct”, am I really getting DD 5.1 because that is source? Basically would have same question about a DTS source. Right now I am only using DVD player and FIOS HD. I notice that “Direct” is only way I can watch channels like Golf Channel and CNN where there isn’t much to it. If I watch on DD, there is a hiss from rear speakers which I have thought was a receiver problem trying to create surrounds sound from nothing.

I will be getting a PS3 and will have same question about the sound fields. I understand that I should decode on the PS3 and have it send PCM, but will I just set my receiver to Direct and it will send to “right” speakers?

Sorry, I know this is probably a very basic question that I have complicated…

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#262106 - 06/01/09 01:49 PM Re: Listening Modes for Movies/Music [Re: g_texas]
SirQuack Offline
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For movies you should be using either Dolby Digital (in most cases) or DTS for the few movies that have the DTS track. Most AVR's have PLIIx mode which is what you would use for a 7.1 system, then the display will show Dolby Digital + PLIIx Cinema.

The only Direct mode I use is for music listening, even then, I usually use Stereo mode, as with Direct mode bass managment is bypassed.
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#262108 - 06/01/09 02:08 PM Re: Listening Modes for Movies/Music [Re: SirQuack]
Ya_basta Offline
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One more post Randy!
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#262158 - 06/01/09 10:50 PM Re: Listening Modes for Movies/Music [Re: g_texas]
JohnK Offline
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Geoff, first lets discuss two channel source material, since your understanding may not be entirely correct. Depending on what you mean by "sound fields", the result may or may not be "fictitious". If the reference is to fields such as Jazz Club, Orchestra, Beer Garden, Sportin' House, etc., these add artificial echo and other effects to the content and the result may fairly be termed fictitious. If, however, surround processing such as DPLII or Neo:6 is the subject, this takes surround material which is naturally present and was mixed into the front channels(there was no place else to put it), extracts it, and sends it to the surrounds where it belongs, making the result a little more realistic. I always use a surround processing mode, usually DPLII, with two channel music material.

With 5.1 channel material(DVD, Blu-ray, or whatever)you shouldn't set "Direct" since that plays the material exactly as it comes, and although you'd be getting 5.1, it would be without bass management that would send bass from the five speaker channels(set "Small") to the sub. The only bass the sub would receive would be the low frequency effects in the .1 channel that are occasionally present during movies. One of the DD or DTS modes should be selected. If your speaker setup is 7.1(you didn't mention it), you can use DPLIIx to expand the surround content in the DD or DTS side channels so that the material which should be imaged in the rear is sent to the back surround speakers.
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#262168 - 06/01/09 11:51 PM Re: Listening Modes for Movies/Music [Re: g_texas]
grunt Offline
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Registered: 12/04/06
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 Originally Posted By: g_texas

But am not sure what is "right".

In the end what is “right” is up to you. Conventional wisdom however may differ.

To expand on what Randy said as a general rule you want to use Dolby Digital or DTS if that’s what the source is. How “Direct” mode effects these on the Onkyo may differ but on my Denon “Direct mode + DD or DTS leaves everything in 5.1 and doesn’t pull out the rear channels for 7.1. But from what you described it sounds like the Onkyo leaves out the subwoofer which is consistent with what it does in 2ch.

Not using “direct” mode will cause your receiver to use matrixed surround modes like DD PLIIx or DTS NEO-6 IMO not as clear cut as using DD and DTS.

For mutli- channel audio of any kind Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital, DTS…I always use the matrixed modes with one exception. I’ve found that with certain games 5.1 direct sounds better. Choosing “direct” or “matrixed” modes for 2ch is where I think conventional wizdom falls apart and you just need to go with your ears.

I find that some 2ch recording sound best in “direct” and others in “matrixed” modes. As a general rule I think recordings with lots of ambience like live concerts sound best “matrixed” whereas most studio recording sound best in “direct” mode. Only way to tell what’s best for you is to try them.

For 2ch as Randy said the Onkyo‘s “Direct” mode bypasses bass management, surround matrixing, and also Audyssey. Others reading this should note that not all receivers bypass bass management in “Direct” mode. My Denon doesn’t because you choose to use bass management in 2ch from an advanced menu setting separate form normal multi-channel settings.

Finally, there are likely other modes like “Multi-Ch stereo,” “Concert Hall”…which you can try. I use “Multi-Ch Stereo” for some TV shows on which DPLIIx and NEO-6 are having little effect. For headphones the Denon has a “Virtual” setting that helped movies/TV sound more 3d but you’ll just have to give the ones on your Onkyo a try to see if you like them for anything.

Cheers,
Dean
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#262213 - 06/02/09 10:36 AM Re: Listening Modes for Movies/Music [Re: grunt]
Murph Offline
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Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
Excellent answers above.

To oversimplify, there are two (somewhat opposing) philosophies that people will hit you with.

1. If you prefer something then there is no reason not to use it. If we are not happy, then what's the point.

2. Axiom speakers are designed to re-create sound as close to "exactly as it was recorded" as they can. Using the artificial sound modes like "Concert Hall, Jazz Club, etc." does introduce artificial 'extras' and the purists tend not to use them. Your choice of stereo or PLII to get surround sound extracted from a stereo source like a CD is entirely up to you. Use what you like and don't feel guilty for either as your still listening to the real thing.
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#262217 - 06/02/09 11:36 AM Re: Listening Modes for Movies/Music [Re: Murph]
Micah Offline
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The true old-schoolers just flip it to 'mono' and relive the 50's
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#262218 - 06/02/09 11:39 AM Re: Listening Modes for Movies/Music [Re: Micah]
Ken.C Offline
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That's really the only proper way to listen to music. Stereo is a lie.
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#262224 - 06/02/09 12:13 PM Re: Listening Modes for Movies/Music [Re: Ken.C]
Murph Offline
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Registered: 10/05/06
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Loc: PEI, Canada
No, Disco was a lie!!! ;\)
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