DTS vs Dolby 5.1

I tried to search, but this stupid forum takes three weeks to search anything, and anyway DTS is too short a term.

So I ask this now. I put it here even though it’s really a GQ in a way because I figured it’s also a kind of opinionated subject, so there it is.

Anyways, the question is, why do people like DTS more than Dolby? I’ve listened to both, and the differences to me are so minor as to be negligible; DTS appears to be minimally sharper, but appears to cause less differentiation between decibel levels so they don’t separate very well.

That’s to my uncultured ears, anyway.

What are other people’s thoughts on it?

I prefer DTS when I can really crank the volume up. At lower volumes Dolby 5.1 sounds better to my ear. With the volume cranked up I think DTS has a crisper, sharper sound. But it may vary depending on your ear and hi-fi-setup

The difference is that DTS is technically a better audio codec. Even the engineers who developed Dolby agree. HOWEVER, it’s only good at full bitrate (1500 kbps or so). To save money, studios will often release dvd’s with half-bitrate DTS (750ish), which doesn’t sound much better, in my opinion.

On my setup a decent DTS audio track sounds an entire order of magnitude better than D5.1. There are points in the Dune miniseries soundtrack where I can literally close my eyes and point to where the wind is blowing from (and it’s not a simple directly like “to the left” or “to the right and back”).

I have a few Music DVDs, and for them I definitely prefer DTS. You can switch back and forth between the sound options and clearly tell the difference.

For movie soundtracks, I find the difference less evident.

I’m not an expert (My SO is and he’s not here now) but I can tell a difference. Sometimes when I watch DVDs, I have to get up and check becaue the noises are so realistic, I think a car has pulled up, or the dogs are into something they’re not supposed to be in, the water is running somewhere…etc. Even if I know it is the movie, it sounds so real - like I’m there.

I think it has a lot to do with your set-up, too.

I really like DTS and seek it out when I have a choice between Dolby 5.1 and DTS.