This forum is in permanent archive mode. Our new active community can be found here.

GeekNights 071112 - Surround Sound

edited November 2007 in GeekNights
Tonight on GeekNights Scott gives a lecture about how surround sound works. In the news, someone is trying to save the Internet, and someone else is trying to ruin it.

Scott's Thing - Cicada
Rym's Thing - TF2 Machinima


  • I paid a fortune for one of the early DSP amps from Yamaha. The DSP A1000 lasted me about 15 years before I replaced it. A year after I bought mine the Pro Logic 2.0 came out... Grumble, grumble, grumble...

    The best thing on the early Yamaha DSP amps though had to be the record out switch. You could record a CD to tape while using the amp to watch a movie, classic.

    One many people do not understand about using surround sound is speaker placement. I have seen people who place all of their speakers by the TV. when I strung my wires I went to Radio Shack and purchased a big roll of speaker wire, the cheap stuff that looks like lamp cord. I then ran the wires up through my attic and down through holes in the ceiling. My surround is good.
  • Stupidity filter is nice, but, how will we be able to mock people who type like 14 year olds by imitating their behavior in half a post?

    Nice informative episode :D
  • News Headline: Stupidity filter kills Internet. Users of the new stupidity filter are finding themselves only able to access ten sites, none of which end in dot com.
  • Surround sound set up properly is not a vanity thing IMHO. Surround sound is not necessary to enjoy a movie, but it does enhance the experience. Just like your chairs, cheap crappy chairs can ruin your sitting experience; cheap crappy surround sound can make a movie worse. Good speakers and a good receiver/amplifier properly calibrated just pull you into the movie. I built a home theater for my enjoyment, sure I share with my friends, but the last thing I was thinking is "ah ha my friends will be so jealous".

    Now Average Joe walks into Best Buy with no clue may not actually know what he wants other than a big screen and lots of speakers. Using that example yes it's a vanity thing. Unfortunately I'd guess that is most consumers.
  • My mother in law picked up some HDTVs and a surround system. The room she asked me to set it up in is not conducive to watching TV or playing surround sound in.

    One wall 18' is a fireplace. The second wall is a glass door and the opposite corner is only about 6' either way with the rest of the walls wide open. We put the TV in the one corner with couches in front of the glass doors and fireplace but there is no good place to mount speakers and you can't reflect sound off the walls because there are none to reflect off of! One wall is glass and the other is brick.

    I cry when I see the money she spent on the TV and audio system. In my TV ROM it would be teh awesome. In hers it is just sad...
  • One good use of surround sound is gaming. Get yourself a pair of surround headphones (I use Zalmans) and you can hear where the skulks are creeping up on you from.
    Also, I volunteer for admin as long as it's just spelling correction.
  • My mother in law picked up some HDTVs and a surround system. The room she asked me to set it up in is not conducive to watching TV or playing surround sound in.
    That's another big problem with surround. There is no way I could get decent surround in my living room either.
  • edited November 2007
    If you're interested in jurisdiction, read International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945).

    A brief, oversimplified explanation: You can get federal jurisdiction over a corporation if you (1) sue in the district where the corporation has its principal place of business, (2) plead diversity, (3) plead a federal question, or (4) remove the case from state court.

    You can get state court jurisdiction if you can show (1) the corporation had sufficient minimum contacts with your state, or (2) you can use your state's long arm statute.
    Post edited by HungryJoe on
  • Last Christmas, my wife and I got a surround sound system from her grandparents, and my father-in-law had helped them by researching the options in the $200 or less range. At first I was miffed, as it felt like a gift that was way too extravagant, and that sucker gave us both a ton of frustration in setting it up. After we had run the wires and had the speaker levels balanced, we popped in The Two Towers and skipped to the Battle of Helm's Deep. It felt like we were watching a new movie.

    It didn't change my outlook on life or anything; it didn't turn me into an audiophile; it didn't stop me from watching movies in stereo with my friends; it just added a new and welcome twist to my movie-watching experience. It was like I had been eating pork chops for years and then discovered Mrs. Dash.
  • edited November 2007
    I bought an infinity surround set with an Onkyo receiver about 9 years ago for about $1,000. I am still using it and it's great! Although, I hung them in the corners of the ceiling (knowing better at the time) in order to get them out of the way. I sacrificed the sound quality experience for the hidden comfort. It still sounds good, just not as good as they could. I think my sub woofer quality is getting worse. I don't know if it is the sub woofer itself, or the wire I have for it. It is a monster cable, but one end was getting pulled out of the socket too much, and has gotten touchy.

    I'd love to get a set of the Bose jewel case speaker system, but they're too expensive for me.

    By the way, does anyone know why it is still so hard to get a DVD with DTS?
    Post edited by bodtchboy on
  • edited November 2007
    EDIT: Ignore this post. It turns out that there are two programs with similar names. I got confused.
    Post edited by Daikun on
  • edited November 2007
    I have found that surround sound can be very cool when watching movies. Even movies that you would not think to need awesome sound are enhanced by surround sound, like if there is a scene where it is raining the rain sounds come out of the rear and front speakers. Now I also appreciate the audio that is originally for the movie I am watching. If I am watching Casablanca I will not try to force it into surround sound. I will listen to it from my front center speaker, or possibly tell it to spread it out to all 3 front speakers (but not in an attempt to make stereo, just the mono out of all 3. Also as I own many DVD's and have therefore listened to many different versions of sound (Mono, Stereo, Stereo Surround, 4.0 Surround, 5.1, 6.1, DTS, etc.) there is definitely a difference between Dolby Digital and DTS in many DVD's. Most of the time this is only for movies that had DTS tracks originally (made after 1993), as most of the re-mixed 5.1 mixes on old movies such as Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind sound the same in DTS or Dolby. Movies that are newer usually have a noticeable difference. The one I heard this the most clearly on was Air Force One. The entire movie pretty much takes place on an airplane, so the ambient engine noise is always present. On the Dolby track the engine noise in the rear speakers sounded good, but when I switched over to the DTS it sounded much more natural, more like I was really on an airplane. Compared to the DTS the Dolby sounded like there was an "ambient airplane noise" sound effect in the rear speakers.

    Also, another reason to have surround sound it that most new DVD's have only 5.1 tracks on them. When you listen to a 5.1 track downmixed into stereo sometimes the dialogue is hard to hear over the music or sound effects, whereas when it is listened to through the full 5.1 speakers the music is in the rear and side speakers, but the dialogue comes out of the center speaker and it is easier for your ears to separate the two because they are coming from different areas of the room. This is usually not a problem, but there have been a few instances where I have noticed this while listening to movies in only stereo.

    As an added note to bodtchboy many DVD's do not come with DTS because there is not room for it. When the disc already has the movie with the Dolby track and a few featurettes and maybe a commentary there is not much room left. That is why many 2-Disc DVD's have DTS, because most of the extras can be on the second disc. Also longer movies tend not to have DTS for the space reason as well. But even with this logic many of the DVD's that have or don't have DTS are a mystery. It may cost more to put DTS on the disc and the studio wants to be stingy, whereas they know Lord of the Rings is going to sell a billion copies, so they go the extra mile and include it. Hope that helps any.
    Post edited by blaman327 on
  • To be honest, I think a sound system is more important than a more visual TV. The reason is that it is so much easier to feel immersed in the movie due to the accurate and ambient sound all around you. With the visual, it take something the size of a movie screen to engross your attention enough to immerse you in the movie. I remember when I got my sound system, I took it home, hooked it up to a 27 inch tube tv and watched Saving Private Ryan. I was so astounded and immersed into the movie that about 10 minutes after the whole d-day scene ended, I kind of snapped out of it, thinking, "oh my goodness, what a movie" and realized my heart was still pumping fast.

    The sound helps paint the pictures more accurately in your mind that I feel, is more powerful than what is visually portrayed to you on the TV.
Sign In or Register to comment.