As has been promised, the version 1.11 software update for the DC-1 Dolby Digital" is now available. Note that this software is only available for the DC-1 Dolby Digital".
The upgrade is available at no charge to you. Although it will be a running production change this summer, we are not selling or promoting this. All these changes (and more) will be included in the DTS® release and we don't want people to feel they need to keep yanking the unit out of their system, taking it down to their dealers, getting the EP-ROM inserted, re-installing the unit and then re-programming.
Enthusiasts like yourself will find the enhancements worthwhile. We have made some dramatic improvements in the Logic 7 code, the results of continual research and development of a sophisticated encoder. We have included the new code in this release.
We've done extensive listening tests as have several independent organizations and in blind tests Logic 7 has been perceived as much more similar to 6 or 8 channel discrete then it is to the matrix tracks. Several engineers have preferred the results of the Logic 7 decode over the discrete mix, noting a much smoother, more coherent soundfield. It also gives excellent performance on non-encoded two channel stereo. You'll be hearing a lot more about this technology over the next year or two. It's yours now for free&
DC-1 / AC-3" (Dolby Digital") Version 1.11 Software
Version 1.11 of the DC-1 includes several improvements to the operation of the Logic 7, TV Matrix, Music Logic, and Music Surround effects. The improvements are in three areas:
· Overall smoothness
These effects have now a more smooth and coherent presentation through all channels. The improved smoothness is particularly noticeable when two channel music recordings are played through these effects. In fact, TV Matrix is particularly impressive for playback of popular music and jazz.
Spaciousness & Localization
All four of these effects have also been improved in the spaciousness and localization of sound sources in the front three channels. It has been recognized that standard two channel stereo material is not always satisfactory when played through a film decoder such as Pro-Logic". Standard two channel recordings are mixed for playback through two speakers. When a center speaker is added, the balance shifts toward the center, and spaciousness is reduced. In V1.11 the center channel level is actively monitored and controlled by the logic circuit (it is of course actually microcode). When the recording does not have a strong center signal the level of the center loudspeaker is reduced. When a center signal is present it is directed to the center speaker, and removed from the left and right front speakers. This redirection of the center energy is done smoothly, not upsetting the balance of the recording.
The effective listening area is greatly increased with these improved effects, and the stereo compatibility is increased. Standard two channel recordings sound better through TV Matrix or Logic 7 than they do in two channel stereo. This is particularly true when a listener is not sitting in the "sweet spot" between the two front speakers.
Balance of Front & Rear
The third area of improvement is in the balance between the front and the rear channels. Since this balance is partly a matter of taste, we have applied it to only two of the effects in the DC-1. Logic 7 and Music Surround maintain the same balance as previous versions of the DC-1. TV Matrix and Music Logic have been adjusted to reduce the overall level of the surround channels by three decibels whenever the energy in the recording is either neutral in direction, or directed toward the front. However, any time there is activity in the rear channels the balance is restored, so action in the rear of a film will be identically loud throughout the different effects.
The new balance is closer to the preferred mix of music and film when sound engineers produce discrete multi-channel mixes. When these mixes are encoded to two channels using the 5.1 Two Channel effect and played back through the Logic 7 or TV Matrix effects, the accuracy of the reproduction can be quite startling. Music Logic is similar to TV Matrix except the speed of the logic circuits has been optimized for music. A very pure and reverberant recording can sound smoother in Music Logic than Logic 7 or TV Matrix, but for most material Logic 7 or TV Matrix is preferable.
Other V1.11 Enhancements
We have expanded the palette of 48-kHz compatible effects to include two additional effects - TV Matrix and Music Logic. Now seven different effects can be used with any digital source which utilizes a 48 kHz sampling rate(DVD, DBS, DAT).
In a continuing effort to make set-up and adjustment of the DC-1 as simple and intuitive as possible, A/V Sync Delay now overlays a menu onto the incoming video signal for easier adjustment. Both customers' feedback as well as our ongoing experimentation with an ever-widening selection of Dolby Digital" material has prompted us to extend the range of the Sub Peak Limiter from 24 to 40 dB. This change will further refine subwoofer performance in virtually any system.
Surround Delay has been removed as a selection in the listener position menu. Set all the appropriate delay times in the Time Alignment menu.
The Zone 2 output is only active when a specific input is assigned to it. If no hard assignment is made, the record output is always active and follows the main input selection. This will prevent amplifiers with automatic turn-on sensors from playing in second zone areas unless desired.
Dolby Digital" Two-Channel downmix options:
1. Logic 7 encoding of AC-3" soundtracks has been upgraded to work with any speaker configuration. Selecting 5.1 Two Channel activates Logic 7 encoding creating a two-channel downmix that is compatible with Logic 7 decoding. 5.1 soundtracks encoded this way and played back through the Logic 7 effect sound nearly identical to the discrete original.
2. Pressing "Effect Bypass" with an AC-3" source creates an encoded Lt/Rt downmix that is compatible with Pro-Logic" decoding. The Lt/Rt output is present at the Main Front and Record outputs. In the version 1.00 software, Effect Bypass creates a Left output/Right output downmix.
3. The LFE meter has been added to the AC-3 Status Menu for 5.1 2 channel.
4. Surround Mix has been added to the 5.1 Two Channel effect. When using the Logic 7 encoder, the balance between the front channels and the surround channels can be fine-tuned.
5. Compression in the AC-3" effect adjust menus now has an On setting, which provides full compression regardless of volume setting. Compression settings now consist of Off, Auto, and On.
Audio Bit has been added to the Lock Settings Menu for custom listening situations. This control has been added for use by digital sound engineers, as the DC-1 is often utilized in the professional environment for AC-3" development.
Input Level Meters have improved dynamic performance and update more quickly.
Per customer feedback, we changed how the Mute function works. When Full Mute is selected for the mute level, selecting Mute with volume at xx dB, then adjusting the volume level to yy dB, will set the DC-1 volume to yy dB when unmuting.(example: volume is set at -20. Mute is engaged and volume drops to Full Mute. Volume is adjusted to -10. When unmuted, volume returns to -10 dB.)
Although we enjoyed the worldwide chaos, we have opted to have the display read "ERROR" instead of "PANIC" to alert users of a condition under which the DC-1 will not operate.
We have found that the digital output clock on some models of laser disc, CD and DVD players may occasionally drift from the reference clock speeds(44.1 kHz, 48 kHz). This can cause the DC-1 to lose digital lock while a digital source is being played. To accommodate these varying clock speeds, the range of sampling speeds the DC-1 is capable of processing has been expanded.
Input Level meters now display the Dolby reference level at -21 dB. Previously, this setting had been incorrectly set .
Under certain conditions, selecting a digital source with "Use Last Effect" assigned in the Input Configuration caused the DC-1 to lock up. This has been rectified. If "Use Last Effect" is selected in the input configuration of a digital source, the last effect used for that source will be loaded when returning to that source.
Many thanks to SMR Forum members for all the feedback and support you have provided. We very much appreciate your enthusiasm for our products.