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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a blu-ray player and have a 10 year old onkyo 787. Of course the 787 will not decode dts ma or or TrueHD but DD and DTS is good enough for me or I thought. The issue is that I live in an apartment building and watch a lot of movies past midnight. So compression or midnight/late night is kinda important.
I don't want to wear headphones (although I've read they have improved), I can run the audio thorough the TV but would really like to be able to run it through 6 speakers and have done so in the past without complaints. It seems like I can no longer access the these special audio tracks as it defaults to DTS MA. As far as I can tell most of these disc have DD but there is no way of choosing this.
I realize this is also a function of the BDplayer and have fiddled with the settings but to no avail. Is this something that a new AVR would solve and give me the choice of what audio track I wish to listen to. I have a LG550c BD player and DRC is not the solution. I would love to go out and buy a new receiver but currently I have other places for the money or would at least not spend it in this direction.
 

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Most BDs have an audio menu option (at the main menu for the BD itself at the "start" of the movie) where you should be able to select DD or DTS (non-HD audio). Sometimes this can also be done by repeated presses of an "audio" button on the BD player remote - cycling you through the various audio tracks on the BD. Make sure the BD you're trying has various tracks on it. I've seen several BDs with as many as 6 different audio options.

True-HD
DD5.1
DD2.0 Comentary
DD2.0 French
DD2.0 Spanish
Etc.

I have no idea why it would default to DTS-MA if the AVR doesn't even support it. Try different discs.
 

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Isn't night mode a function of the AVR?

The default to DTS-MA is likely because that's where the English track is, and if you have a DTS-capable AVR it's not a problem as it'll just play the 'core' DTS tracks and leave the extensions out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have only had the opportunity to watch a few BD discs and I think I am just dealing with an
increasing popularity of DTS-HD and they leave DD for just other languages. I can't access it
because it's not there and it was actually the LG manual lead me to believe otherwise.

I did a little more research on midnight mode and found out we are both kinda right csks. The
receiver actually does the work of compression but the amount of compression "is decided in
advance by the soundtrack's producers and coded right onto the soundtrack." It kinda of
ironic that when the decision was made to make AC-3 the default surround I really had issues
with it. Dts could be read off any laserdisc player just a receiver that could decode it was
required. AC-3 required both the player and the receiver to be ac-3 capable which upped the
cost dramatically. Now I want more DD.

I will have to do some more research in to the advantages DTS MA and RealHD have over
plain dts and DD. I am currently thinking it's really not worth investing in a new receiver.
 

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I thought the compression within DD and DTS are just part of the algorithm and have nothing to do with night modes.

You likely know this already but DTS MA and TrueHD are lossless while plain DD and DTS are lossy formats and to me there is a tangible difference.
 

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I think Midnight mode might be a Dolby feature (Dynamic Range Control) that might not be available when using non-Dolby sound modes.
EDIT: I just tested a DTS 96/24 DVD with my PS3 and Pioneer receiver. With DTS, I do have a midnight mode, but if I switch the PS3 to PCM output I do not have access to that option.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I thought the compression within DD and DTS are just part of the algorithm and have nothing to do with night modes.

You likely know this already but DTS MA and TrueHD are lossless while plain DD and DTS are lossy formats and to me there is a tangible difference.
Your first reply was the exact answer to my question. I thought my lack of
access to ac-3/DD was a technical issue. It's is not. The DD tracks are
for French and Spanish only. The only English track is DTS MA. No DD,
no "late night mode" as this was feature of DD only.


As to whether their is an audible difference from the old dts/dd and the new
ones I think it would definitely a lot of fun to prove or disprove this. I
understand that this is a much discussed topic.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think Midnight mode might be a Dolby feature (Dynamic Range Control) that might not be available when using non-Dolby sound modes.
Your are correct and that is the problem. No english DD soundtrack, no late night mode.
My neighbours would definitely hear or feel the effects of the movie I was
watching.
 

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I'm confused. Most AVRs have a "midnight mode" (although I don't know what it's called in this particular AVR). Since you can't receive HD audio anyway, you should be able to invoke the midnight mode (or whatever) on the AVR. I believe the following statement you made is false, it's the AVR as far as I can tell, unless you're talking about some special track on the BD, or the BD player itself doing the compression, which is an option on some players:

The receiver actually does the work of compression but the amount of compression "is decided in
advance by the soundtrack's producers and coded right onto the soundtrack."
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I want to say firstly I love researching this kind of stuff in these exchanges but my
ability to express it in print is not my strong suite.
The short answer is late night/midnight mode accesses a feature of Dolby called DRC (dynamic
range compression) to "narrow" the volumes of the sound produced by the AVR. (really short
answer) It's encoded into the media so that the dolby decoder can control the dynamic
range of the soundtrack and what reaches mine and my neighbours ears.
So if the player has a decoder I guess it can play a part. My BD player has an on/off selection
for it and it's turned on. But how it plays a part I do not know as this mode existed well
before BD players and I have never been able to turn it off or on.
When you turn down the volume late at night it really affects what you hear
by eliminating a lot of the features of surround format. This Late night mode compresses it
so to speak so you can once again enjoy the benefits of the surround format. Look to the
bottom of the post for more detail info/resources. Getting back to the simple disc stuff.

The movie I was referring to was Blu-ray of Sherlock Holmes.
I looked on the back of the pkg and it had the Dolby Digital symbol
on the back, so bob's your uncle. Well no. Looking at Blu-ray.com
spec for this disc gives me these choices
Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1

So the late night feature will work if I listen to the French or Spanish or Portuguese audio
tracks. I know how to swear in French but thats about it. To say again to quote csks
"The default to DTS-MA is likely because that's where the English track is" I thought it was
a function of the lack of control not found in my old equpment and a new AVR would fix this.
No, It was the only english track.
In order to save my neighbours from the high and lows of a movie sound track I guess I will either
An English dolby track on the BD for late night to work.
A Pioneer receiver and hoping this feature really works as they say
or the best option a 5.1-9.1 surround system can have......a house.
I would prefer the last one if anyone is in a generous mood.
My AVR just sees the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 as DTS so I guess it backward compatible?
And maybe this is the situation with RealHD also.

Some stuff I found out about all this surround stuff.

This is a description from the onkyo manual of what late night function.
"Late Night Function
With the Late Night function, you can reduce the dynamic range of Dolby Digital material so that you can still hear
quiet parts even when listening at low volume levels—ideal for watching movies late at night when you don’t want
to disturb anyone."
And more importantly for ONKYO
"The Late Night function can be used only when the input source is Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, or Dolby TrueHD."
• The effect of the Late Night function depends on the material that you are playing and the intention of the
original sound designer, and with some material there will be little or no effect when you select the different
options.
Pioneer website refers it as this.
"Midnight Listening Mode is the solution. It adjusts subwoofer, rear and centre speaker levels, while enhancing delay and compressing dynamic range, for greater enjoyment of cinema-like sound at low volume."
Apparently Pioneer is one of the few receivers that can apply this Midnight mode
to any surround format but they are one of a few.
It's not a separate audio track that the producers added but data that controls the
AVR/Dolby decoder. Or what the Dolby Digital guideline says.
Dolby Digital encoders generate control words, dynrng and compr, which can be used in the decoder to
compress and limit the dynamic range of a program.
found here
www.minnetonkaaudio.com/info/PDFs/DolbyDigital_Guidelines.pdf
A better explaination of why midnight mode is needed and what it does from
the Electronic Warehouse.

So what happens when you have to turn the volume down during that exciting movie?

* High and low frequencies are decreased.
* Surround effects are diminished.
* Smooth panning from channel to channel is lost.
* Center channel is too high relative to the other channels.
* Subwoofer level is too low.

Technical Stuff – How Does It Do What It Does? Midnight Mode addresses these low listening volume problems by making several adjustments to the signal to enhance the realism in the "Ambiance Channels" without affecting the overall Sound Pressure Level. Depending on the master volume setting, the following adjustments are applied:

* Dynamic Range Compression is applied for Dolby Digital Soundtracks
* Applies Loudness Curve (High & Low Frequencies) to the Front & Surround Channels
* Adds Delay to the Center (1 ms) & Rear Channels (5 ms)
http://www.4electronicwarehouse.com/learn/technology/midnightmode.html
 

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All of what you say in your latest post may be true, however, in your 10-year old AVR, I'm guessing that the midnight mode (or whatever) is a pretty basic dynamic range compression - say taking a dynamic range of 80dB and making it say 40dB?

Newer equipment may have significantly more complexity as you point out - and you often have a choice of where you do the compression - BD player or AVR. As well, there are limits on what can sometimes be done in the BD player or the AVR depending on the tracks available on the BD, or the connections used. For example, sometimes if the decoding is done in the BD player and you use multi-channel analogue audio connections, an AVR may not be able to do any processing whatsoever.
 
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