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Audio Impressions

Because this is a DTS/AC-3 enabled system, we decided to cover the sound impressions without even attempting a PC hook-up. We used a stand-alone DVD Player for the complete testing and impressions. Our DVD player of choice was Sony’s DVP-S7700 Player, which currently stands at the very top of Sony’s DVD product line. The movie of choice was saving Private Ryan, The Haunting and the Matrix. We would like to thank videologic for providing us with the DTS DVD Sampler.

Our Entertainment Test center in the Office

The satellites sounded amazingly great at medium volumes: the highs were precise and crisp. At higher volume levels, no distortion was present. At Maximum volume levels, some minor distortion started appearing in the background. It shouldn’t affect many people because it was present in the 100dB ranges. 100 dB is a reasonably high volume level that not a lot of people will use in the average sized rooms as this system is meant for.

The decibel (abbreviated as dB, and also as dB and DB) is a common unit of measurement for the relative loudness of a sound or, in electronics, for the relative difference between two power levels. A decibel is one-tenth of a "Bell", a seldom-used unit named for Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. In sound, the difference between two sound levels is ten times the common logarithm of the ratio of their power levels. Decibels measure a scale from the threshold of human hearing, 0 dB, upward towards the threshold of pain, about 120-140 dB.

As examples: the sound level in the average residential home is about 55 dB, average conversation is about 75 dB, typical home music listening levels are about 90 dB, a loud rock band about 110 dB, and a jet engine close up is 150dB. Decibel units are commonly used in audio equalizers, both the hardware kind and the software kind, as a convenient reference point while editing. Boosting an equalizer band whose center point is 1000 Hz by 3 dB means that you have raised the volume level of that frequency band by 3 dB as it relates to the other frequencies in the sound. A typical equalizer has a range for boosting or diminishing a sound level of +/-18 dB.

Our favorite test movie was without any doubts saving Private Ryan in the DTS mode. The effects were simply outstanding. Gun shots in the front left, explosions in the rear right. As Saving Private Ryan is a movie that is DTS enhanced, we tempted to try it using the AC-3 decoding mode. The special effects we’re still rich and real, but not quite comparable to what the DTS mode was offering at high volumes.

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