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DTS:X Common Questions and Conclusion

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DTS:X Demo Blu-ray DiscQ: Where is the Content?  Will it be available in both Physical and Streaming formats?

A: DTS was not ready to announce any other content, with the exception of Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The DTS:X mix can also be compressed into lower bitrates and lossy formats, so streaming titles can take advantage of object-oriented mixes without maxing out your internet provider's bandwidth cap, which I would know nothing about because I live in a small town with municipal, uncapped fiber internet #humblebrag.

Q: Will I need a new blu-ray player?

A: When the initial DTS:X content does arrive, it will likely be delivered via blu-ray to begin with, and no, you won't need a new blu-ray player.

Q: Will I need to buy special DTS:X versions of a movie?

A: Probably not, as a single DTS:X soundtrack will play on older hardware and non-surround systems.

With some encoding formats, there might be the need for one mix for stereo 2.0 systems, one for lossy 5.1, one for lossless 7.1, and one for 7.1.4 and beyond systems.  With DTS:X, the producer creates a single mix.  Instead of 4 mixes, this single mix can be be played back in a 32 speaker theater, a 7.1.4 home system, or in 2.0 over headphones.  A DTS:X capable AVR is also not a requirement.  A DTS:X mix will play back just fine on a 10 year old AVR with plain vanilla DTS decoding, though you'll still need to use an HDMI cable, so Toslink only AVRs need not apply.

Q: Will I need a new AVR or AV processor?

A: Probably.  The only current AVRs listed as DTS:X upgradable are the Denon AVR-X7200W and Marantz AV8802.  However, the DTS press release include 2015 release dates for hardware from other partners that represent nearly 90 percent of the home AVR and surround processor market. 

Q: Can I use my Atmos reflecting speakers with DTS:X?

A: Nobody’s going to stop you, but DTS:X won’t be officially supporting them.  So, you may need to get creative with their configuration and be prepared for less than ideal performance which is to be expected in general given the physics of Dolby Atmos-enabled reflection speakers and their limitations.

Conclusion

We've covered everything that DTS:X is capable of in this overview, but there is one very HUGE caveat: none of this will be available to the consumer unless producers mix in DTS:X using the MDA tools and unless manufacturers implement it in their hardware.  Yes, DTS touted many launch partners, but it's up to those manufacturers to determine IF and HOW they implement these features.  Yes, DTS:X can spatially remap sound to accommodate setups where speakers are not in common 7.1.x setups, but how will your AVR allow you specify the height, angle, and distance of your speakers?  Will there be an auto-setup routine with multiple microphones determining speaker position, or will this require a lot of work with a tape measure and calculator?  Will features like dialog control and DTS headphone be implemented in all DTS:X processors, or will some of these be held back to feed a future AVR replacement cycle, or reserved for only the most expensive, flagship products?  DTS is quick to point out that they've developed the tools to make all this possible, but the end user is ultimately at the whim of the hardware manufacturer to bring it to market.

None of this DTS:X stuff is a reality until we have hardware and software support.

So, at the end of the day, the potential is clear.  Producers get a tool to mix with that is free and open, and ensuring that their mixes can be exported for use in other systems.  Cinemas and Homes get an immersive object based audio format that can be scaled and configured to non-standard systems of almost any size.  Headphone users get a less in-your-head sound that can be adjusted for preference.  DTS is ready to deliver all of this...if everyone else in the chain from producers to manufacturers buy-in.

At the end of this experience, there's no doubt that a full 7.1.4 system with DTS:X provides a more enveloping experience.  I'm personally not interested in more fly-overs and other moving objects bouncing around my head while I'm watching a movie.  I'm interested in a more realistic reproduction of ambiance in spaces, the subtle echoes and cues that can take you from a parking garage, to an Olympic stadium, to a buried coffin all without leaving your living room.  If DTS:X can do that for me, and map to a non-standard speaker layout so that I don't have to build a false ceiling over my vaulted living room or construct a rear wall where I currently have none, then I'm buying.

Tell us what you think in our forum.  Are you ready for DTS:X?

 DTS:X Home Theater, Cinema, Headphone Technology Details Emerge

 

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

Whiffer posts on April 22, 2015 09:09
I am excited by the news about DTS:X. I recently purchased a house where the previous owner wired Bose speakers in four corners of a “great room” near the ceiling. I replaced the rears with the Gallo A'Diva SEs that I had used as rear speakers in my previous home After reading about Dolby Atmos, I am in the process of replacing the front with the same and getting four more to place at ear level for surround and rear, so that I will have a 7.1.4 system ready to go as soon as a reasonably-priced receiver is available, hopefully sometime this year or next.
Javan posts on April 21, 2015 00:02
I'm really excited for all of this. Once again, it looks like Dolby may have gotten there first, but DTS is gonna show em what you can really do with the technology. It was Jurassic Park that made me a sound-nut and I hope they keep on trucking.

Oh, and if you all haven't heard how amazing DTS: Headphone X is, you can experience it with one of the Z+ apps. I've shown it to at least a dozen people and pretty every single person has their mind blown. The look on their faces when the demo starts is fantastic. It's more than just psuedo-“surround” sound, it actually makes the sounds like they are coming from “over there”. It's not just left, right, above, no it's the sense of depth that is truly astounding. It doesn't take any special hardware, it's just a special mix. The Mockingjay Pt 1 blu-ray has it on there and it sounds incredible on my phone, just like the demo.

And if you don't get it's so awesome to have that technology in headphones, I guess you aren't too excited about the leaps and bounds we're also going through in the VR world.
Javan posts on April 20, 2015 23:55
MrPirate2882, post: 1080242, member: 9342
I thought Atmos allows the same “place speakers anywhere”, and movie sound sources are mixed in realtime according to their 3D space coordinates?
They do… sorta. I'm not exactly sure what's going on with that on the licensing side of things but I asked one of the Atmos engineers about the ability for AVRs and pre-pros to do that and he was pretty tight lipped about it. As far as I know Trinnov (no surprise there as they've had directional microphones in their calibration process for some time now) and Yamaha are the only two that take into account the actual location of your speakers and adjust accordingly. Yamaha only does it for a few speakers though, not the whole set-up. Trinnov, I'm not sure.

I imagine one of the big differences that's been a topic of discussion ever since the start is that DTS is keeping everything open-source and Dolby is keeping everything proprietary.
shadyJ posts on April 20, 2015 20:10
Very nice report Audioholics, it was very informative. It looks like DTS:X is doing what I had hoped Atmos would have done, that is calibrating existing speaker layouts for the surround sound field. After all, in these kind of setups, the speakers are just objects like the individual sounds, so it shouldn't be too hard to do. I wonder if the reason it wasn't implemented in Home Atmos is because of the complexity of the mic? Like the video showed, it seems like you would need a multiple mic setup to triangulate the position of the speakers.

One thing which was interesting to note was DTS's setups was much like you see in a ‘7.1.4’ Atmos layout, that is, the side channels will be at ear height and the overhead speakers positioned much like you see where the ‘top’ channels in an Atmos setup are proscribed. That tells me that Dolby and DTS have come to the same conclusions about the most optimal layout for surround speakers are. It's interesting that you do not see a diagonally placed speaker in either setup, but at least DTS:X can accommodate that if that is what you already have.

I liked seeing that DTS MDA is going to be free! I looked into Atmos mixing software, but it is a plugin for Protools HD, so that is a fairly expensive software package. Hopefully I can mess around with DTA MDA and have some fun with it. I wonder if encoding DTS X soundtracks will be free too? At the moment, if you want to encode a DTS MA sound track, it will cost you.

DTS X headphone is interesting. Honestly though, I don't see it doing much that a conventional headphone mix can't do with some clever engineering, but it looks to make those tricks easier to accomplish. Hopefully it will put to bed the idiotic gimmick of ‘5.1’ or ‘7.1’ headphones. God those things are dumb!
andyblackcat posts on April 20, 2015 18:13
Live 90 piece orchestra and your sat in lower stalls listening to it. All those instruments are spread over a wide area and depth as well. Some instruments are nearer to you some are further away and all have own different frequency tone and range.

So why not record all instruments separately then play them all back on 90 small speakers placed at different positions in front of the room with one speaker slightly higher the other. Then play it back to see if it sounds like it has any dimensional depth. In theory. We all seen concerts and lol where camera goes nearer to part of the orchestra and shouldn't there be a few db increase? If I was walking around and between them all that is what I would hear, no ifs or buts about. But wife would say “I want a divorce” to 90 speakers in the front of the room.

If there is a crowed room and your walking between lots of people you hear some part of conversation for brief seconds then it fades away then you hear the next short but brief conversation. That's 3d sound with no boundaries not speakers placed on walls and further away. But a home cluttered with 500 same size small speakers wife would get the axe out the shed.
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