TiVo Forum Special Member
Registered: Oct 2000
Location: Reading, UK
Dolby ProLogic Surround (I or II) is carried by phase information in the stereo channels. Only Dolby Digital 5.1 requires co-axial or optical connections. Unless the stereo signals are processed in some way that destroys the phase information, DPL will be carried by normal twin phono leads. I use phono leads from the output of my TV into my amp, and I get perfect surround sound.
Dolby Prologic Surround is true recorded surround sound with correctly-positioned sound sources (as with Dolby Digital 5.1), but with a couple of limitations. Firstly, it has no front centre channel, and both rear channels carry the same signal. Secondly, the rear channels do not carry the full frequency range. DPL II was an enhancement that blended some of the front stereo channels into the rear channels so that there is some difference between the rear channels, and an improved frequency range. Sound positioning is too good in that, if a front door-bell sounds behind the camera, I go to answer the front-door.
Any surround sound that is generated artificially by a decoder will purely be a way of spreading the stereo channels into the rear speakers. It will not have any discrete sounds at the rear, and any sounds will certainly not be in the positions that a sound engineer placed them.
It sounds like you need to get a proper Home Cinema Amplifier with the surround sound processors built-in. Your separate decoder or the chaining through the minidisc recorder is obviously not processing the phase data correctly. Have you tried cutting the minidisc recorder out of the loop, and taking the TV stereo output directly into the decoder?
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