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What is the difference between Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio?

You've probably seen them on a Blu-ray disc; Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. But, what are the differences between the two? 
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What is the difference between Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio?

With the advent of Blu-ray, two audio formats have been added that have to combine HD images with HD audio quality. You’ve probably seen them on a Blu-ray disc; Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. But, what are the differences between the two audio formats and which one should you choose now? In this article I will explain it briefly.

To start right away with the most logical; Dolby TrueHD is an audio format developed by Dolby and DTS-HD Master Audio was developed by DTS . Both companies have different audio formats that you will find on receivers, Blu-ray films and DVDs. The two HD audio formats have been developed especially for Blu-ray films.

Operation

Both audio formats are packaged on the Blu-ray disc in a so-called losless form, something that can be compared to a zip file on your computer. As soon as you play a Blu-ray movie, this zip file is converted by your receiver (or Blu-ray player) to PCM material that is then used to control your speakers. To be able to display the HD audio formats, your Blu-ray player must be connected to your receiver via an HDMI cable. You can also choose to have your Blu-ray player convert the audio to PCM, for example if the receiver is a bit older and does not support these formats.

If you have a receiver without DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD support and select one of these formats when watching a Blu-ray movie, audio will still be played in the form of the original DTS or Dolby Digital track. This is always sent along with the HD audio format.

Dolby TrueHD

Dolby TrueHD can reproduce audio data at a speed of 18 megabits per second and supports eight channels of 24 bit, 96 Khz audio. That may sound a bit complicated, but the bottom line is that the reproduction of details and the range of the audio is many times higher than, for example, Dolby Digital. This format provides a richer reproduction of the audio, bringing it very close to what the director of a movie has in mind.

DTS-HD Master Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio, like Dolby TrueHD, offers an audio reproduction that is almost identical to the original audio of the film, as the director intended. The audio format has a bit rate of 24.5 megabits per second and supports an almost unlimited number of surround channels of 24 bit, 96 Khz audio.

What’s the difference and what’s better?

The difference between both audio formats is almost imperceptible. Both techniques provide a true-to-life reproduction that comes close to the original and the average listener will therefore not notice the difference. It actually comes down to your own preference. If both formats are supported by your receiver, try them both and make your choice. Of course, both audio tracks must be available on a Blu-ray disc, which is not always the case.

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