Just because your home theater can handle lossless audio doesn't mean the sound is as good as it could be. Dolby is now giving Blu-ray producers using Dolby Media Producer Encoder v2 the choice of premastering TrueHD surround sound at an upsampled 96k. Along with just squeezing the most possible clarity and depth out of 48kHz audio, the encoding purportedly eliminates some of the harshness of digital sound through an apodizing (signal altering) filter. At least three projects have already been given the 96k treatment, and authoring firms like Technicolor have upgrades in place to give that noticeable boost to your next Blu-ray movie.
Dolby Elevates the Quality of Lossless Audio on Blu-ray
Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling integrated into Dolby Media Producer delivers enhanced studio-quality surround sound
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) today announced the ability for studios, authoring houses, and mastering facilities to unlock the full sonic potential of television, movie, and music content, further elevating playback performance of lossless audio on Blu-ray Disc™.
Blu-ray Discs premastered using Dolby® TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling can now deliver to consumers a full-range high-definition surround sound experience ensuring optimum performance from today's advanced A/V receivers and Blu-ray Disc players. The new Dolby TrueHD coding solution enables facilities to integrate the benefits of 96 kHz playback quality audio into the final master while simultaneously reducing the incidence of digital artifacts introduced during the content-creation process.
"Lossless audio is a key distinguishing feature of Blu-ray content. All things being equal, you cannot improve on the quality of lossless audio coding; however, you can improve on the quality of the source PCM content prior to lossless encoding, and this is precisely what we have achieved with our advanced 96k upsampling technology," said Craig Eggers, Director, Content Creation and Playback, Home Theater Ecosystem, Dolby Laboratories. "A significant amount of Hollywood content has been captured in native 48 kHz. Studios and authoring facilities that implement Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling can elevate the quality of PCM audio prior to lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding, ensuring that consumers get the very best audio performance possible from their Blu-ray playback systems."
Besides enabling optimum 96k upsampling, this technology features a unique apodizing filter that "masks" the unwanted digital artifacts known as "preringing," which is introduced during the content-capture and content-creation process. These digital artifacts can introduce an unnatural edginess or harshness to the audio. Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling restores the natural tonality of the soundtrack. The effect can be subtle or dramatic, depending on the quality of the source material. Content mastered with Dolby TrueHD with advanced upsampling is fully playback compatible with all Dolby TrueHD enabled Blu-ray™ players and A/V receivers. Listeners are assured the highest-quality playback experiences possible through their systems.
Respected authoring houses and mixing facilities worldwide have recently upgraded to Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling within the Dolby Media Producer Encoder v2 to provide customers with the highest-quality audio experience available on Blu-ray. These facilities include United States-based Deluxe Digital Studios, Giant Interactive, Mi Casa Multimedia, POP Sound, and Technicolor®; and leading Greater China-based companies Best & Original Production Limited, Hualu Publishing & Media Co., Ltd., and Media Asia Films.
"Deluxe Digital Studios recently installed Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling after we conducted a blind test, and everyone agreed the upsampled stream was better than the original," said Roger Fiets, Technical Manager, DVD and Blu-ray Audio, Deluxe Digital Studios. "With the advanced 96k upsampling treatment, the sound was clearer and is especially advantageous for titles that have levels ranging close to 0dBFS, delivering less fatigue for the listener."
"We were particularly impressed with the excellent results of Dolby's new Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling on one of our most recent projects, the San Francisco Symphony at 100 Blu-ray," said Luke Fazzary, Director of Operations, Giant Interactive. "We're very pleased to be able to share the benefits of this technology with our clients and plan to use it on future projects, whether concerts, live-action films, or episodic programming."
"One of the best features in Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling is the apodizing filter, which makes remarkable improvement in the articulation in high-frequency attacks while simultaneously cleaning up midrange mush," said Brant Biles, President and Chief Engineer, Mi Casa Multimedia. "Upsampling with the apodizing filter on any program information, whether it is music, dialogue, or effects, delicately unveils the sound and adds an extra dimension of depth and clarity. Job well done, Dolby!"
"I am very impressed with Dolby TrueHD advanced 96k upsampling as it definitely makes a difference with some of the transient elements of the audio mix," said Tim Hoogenakker, Senior Mixer, POP Sound. "For example, when I used the advanced 96k upsampling on a portion of a film that I mixed recently, I noticed the cannon shots had a sharp transient quality that blended well with the loud crack and thump of the cannon fire that provided much more depth at 96k."
"As a pioneer on the premastering of Blu-ray Disc in Greater China, Best & Original constantly seeks for innovative technologies that help us better maintain the artistic intent of the content and bring the home theater viewing experience to a higher level," said Michael Lau, Production Director, Best & Original Production Limited. "Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling definitely is one of the best from this perspective, and we are delighted to be the one of the first production houses in the region to use this solution with the latest Chinese blockbuster Blu-ray release, The Flowers of War."
"As one of the top studios in the region, Media Asia's mission is to offer the best possible entertainment experience for people in the cinema and at home. The capability of Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling delivers superior audio that fulfills our needs," said Ricky Tse, General Manager, Sales & Distribution, Media Asia Films. "We are planning to use Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling in the Blu-ray version of a series of movies set to be released in this calendar year."
Dolby plays a critical role in ensuring that the artistic intent of the audio mix is maintained through the entertainment ecosystem, from the soundstage into the home theater. Dolby TrueHD delivers powerful sound that is bit-for-bit identical to the original studio master, unlocking the full entertainment value of Blu-ray Disc and other HD media. The advanced 96k upsampling raises the bar for playback of movies, television, and concert films mastered for Blu-ray Disc. Beyond the Greater China release of The Flowers of War, Blu-ray Disc titles including the Joe Satriani concert film, Satchurated: Live in Montreal, and San Francisco Symphony at 100 have been premastered using Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling.
To learn more about the use of Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling used in the San Francisco Symphony at 100 Blu-ray Disc release, visit https://vimeo.com/42325868.
Hear director and producer François Lamoureux and drummer Jeff Campitelli give insight into the making of the Joe Satriani concert film Satchurated: Live in Montreal now available in Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling, http://vimeo.com/42316824.
Studio staff and others interested in learning more about Dolby TrueHD with advanced 96k upsampling can read the following PDF white papers: Dolby TrueHD Encoder with Advanced 96k Upsampling and Elevating the Performance of Lossless Audio in the Home Theater: Dolby TrueHD with Advanced 96k Upsampling.