Product: HDA X-Plosion 7.1 DTS Connect
Company: Auzentech
Authour: Brian "HalcYoN" Gray
Date: March 11th, 2006
Dolby Digital Live vs DTS Connect

The only thing left to do is to pit the two encoding methods head to head.  I save my file, unplugs everything and haul the PC downstairs to the living room for some HTPC testing.  I fought with the Plasma for a little bit trying to get a proper widescreen display, but I have no time for troubleshooting. (I did later figure out it was SLI causing my woes.) I grabbed the 2005FPW and resumed audio testing.

Music Test

The first DDL vs. DTS Connect test was U2’s “With or Without You”.  I was betting the building subtle harmonies and powerful vocals about two-thirds of the way through the song that DTS would show its advantage.  I listened keenly, trying to identify a difference, which may have been there, but certainly nothing had me convinced the less-compressed bit-stream of DTS had an advantage when playing back a 192kbps WMA file.  I sampled random tunes from the collection, including Death Cab for Cutie, DJ Shadow, Buena Vista Social Club, Aphex Twin, Cake, Rush and Radiohead.  I like music, and it all sounded fantastic on either setting.  I had just about convinced myself that DTS had a slight advantage by the time I completed the play list at high volume.  As I listened using DTS, I realized that DTS was more effortless to listen to with the volume up.  It was very much like the difference between 128kbps and 192kbps encoding.  With out a means to measure, you can not quantify the difference, but you notice it.

Now that I had thoroughly upset the wife, it was time to start gaming.  This should put her over the edge.

Gaming Experience

I started with the intro scene to Quake4.  Very cool in both settings, but it seems id saved the audio track in a more compressed format for the cut-scenes.  Moving on, I found a great test.  I am still finishing up Call of Duty 2, yeah I’m taking my time, and the current saved game puts me into an evening mission with rain falling, incoming tank bombardment and MP40s being unleashed from second story balconies.  DTS seemed very crisp in comparison to DDL.  Again, nothing I could quantify, it was just easier on the ears.  In heavily saturated scenes, surround sound effects with explosions front and center, the captain barking orders, half-tracks cruising by – those are the times when the advantage of DTS should go front and center and it certainly seemed that way.  Much like movie viewing where you can flip back and forth between audio tracks, the DTS audio sounded more dynamic under load.

The wife is angry so let’s try to wrap things up before bad things happen…

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