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Dolby Digital

Hardware entity

Supports Dolby Digital audio hardware.

25
games
6
platforms

Alternate names: DD, Dolby Digital Sound System

The first video game about Dolby Digital was released on December 3, 2002.

Ubisoft, Sega and LucasArts has published most of these games

Dolby Digital, like the name suggests, is digital instead of analog like the earlier Stereo, Dolby Surround and dolbyprologic2 Pro Logic II offerings from Dolby Labs. It can produce sound for a variety of speaker arrangements. Mono (Center), Stereo, dolbysurround Dolby Surround (Left, Center, Right, Limited Rear), 3 channels (Left, Center, Right), 3 channels (Left, Right, Rear), 4 channels (Left, Center, Right, Rear), quadrophonic (Left, Right, Rear Left, Rear Right)(perfect for emulation of quadrophonic arcade games), 5 channel (Left, Center, Right, Rear Left, Rear Right). The LFE (bass) channel is optional for all of these modes as a matrixed 0.1 channel, a full discreet channel, or not at all. Any of the rear channels have the option of being matrixed or discrete. The Dolby Digital system knows how to downmix any of these modes into a setup that does not have 6 speakers in the proper locations (only 1 rear speaker in the center, for instance, will mostly receive both rear channels while the front left and right channels will receive a bit of the signal to suggest the proper Left/Right mix). Whether or not your decoder knows how to tell the DD system which speakers are missing is a separate matter.

DD has a variety of synonyms, some of them are routinely used inaccurately.
DD, DD 5.1, Dolby Surround AC-3 Digital, Dolby Stereo Digital, Dolby SR-Digital, SR-D, Adaptive Transform Coder 3, AC-3, Audio Codec 3, Advanced Codec 3, Acoustic Coder 3, ATSC A/52 Rev B.

  • 'SR' is an encoding process and has no effect on the decoder
  • AC-3 is a specific bitstream format with a greater range than 'ordinary' DD. It is part of the DD specification. It allows for lower frequency sounds from all 6 channels, not just the subwolfer. The lower ranges are well below human hearing range and will be 'felt but not heard' on systems of sufficient quality. If your decoder only receives "Dolby Digital" and does not specifically receive full range AC-3, it will be downgraded to 'ordinary' DD. Decoders that accept full AC-3 often have separate connectors for "AC-3" and "Dolby Digital". Others allow the users to select the format manually. A few will 'figure it out' when the signal is received.

The audio undergoes digital lossy compressed before becoming a DD or AC-3 signal. It is decompressed for playback by the receiver.

The PS3, Xbox, X360 and some versions of the PS2 are all designed to be capable of outputting an AC-3 signal

On computer systems without special "Dolby Digital" hardware. The DD signal may by translated into PCM and output through a SPIDIF or TOSLINK jack. 'Digital Speakers' understand this PCM signal. Many home theater receivers do not.

Any videogame system with high quality sound output could theoretically output a prerecorded SPIDIF signal through one of it's normal audio channels. A Super NES, GP2X, N64, 3D0, Sega CD, Dreamcast, Saturn, Apple ][GS, Amiga, CD-i, Neo-Geo CD, GameCube, Jaguar, Nintendo DS, Pippin, Playdia, PS1, PSP, or Wii should be able to handle it.

There are some other names that are not synonymous with Dolby Digital:

  • AC-3 is sometimes mistaken for Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding 3, or ATRAC3. Or ATRAC3 is mistakenly thought to be AC-3. ATRAC3 is actually an competing system developed by Sony with a coincidental name.
  • Dolby Digital Live refers to 6 channels of audio converted in real-time to an AC-3 signal for transmitting through an optical TOSLINK or wired S/PDIF cable to an external receiver. It requires a soundcard with DDL hardware. SoundStorm was an early type of DDL hardware. An AC-3 signal can be produced by software alone for any card with S/PDIF or optical output. But this of course, uses more CPU bandwidth. The DDL hardware can downmix to analog for systems with 2-6 analog outputs. It can also simultaneously send a Pro Logic II signal over the left and right channels to be decoded by an external receiver. These last options depend of the developer's whim to do so.
  • Dolby Pro Logic IIx
    And extension of the Pro Logic
  • Dolby Digital EX.
    Adds a single matrixed center rear channel. Or matrixed rear center left and rear center right channels.
  • Dolby Digital Plus
    Allows for an increased bitrate AC-3 signal, called E-AC-3. It also achieves both a better compression rate and a higher quality decompression. It uses up to 14 channels.
  • Dolby TrueHD

lossless compression and up to 14 channels

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Dolby Digital Sound System
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