Dolby Digital vs. THX: The Sound Challenge

Posted by David on 4/26/2014
When it comes t0 stereo systems and audio, if you are not someone who is immersed in this area and have more of a general-public knowledge of sound and audio technology in this advanced computer age, you just might find yourself confused nowadays. 

You may see on some of your DVD and/or Blu-ray video cases about the audio for the movie - sometimes you will see the familiar Dolby stereo logo, and other times you will see the THX logo, and sometimes you'll see both. You might be asking yourself as you are putting together your dream home theater system, which one is better for my system and for my ears?

Why would you ask that? Among the general public, it's not an ignorant question. Many of us have been led to believe that Dolby and THX are competing audio processing systems for music and movies, and it is generally a matter of personal preference as to which one they prefer.

If you are audio-video whiz, you already know this, but it's likely that many of you reading this are not all that versed on sound processes, so here is a little secret:

Dolby and THX are not competitors. They don't refer to the same thing. They can actually co-exist, in fact. Let us explain, without getting too technical.

Dolby Digital and its cousin, DTS, are actually processes of coding and decoding audio so a digital audio file is more compact when stored. THX is a process that "treats" the sound after it is decoded. 

To put it more simply, Dolby compresses and stores the sound file in your TV for example, sends it to the speakers, and they decode the file. From there, THX may or may not take over. If you have the option, you may choose to use THX to "treat" that audio before it goes out the speakers, or you can choose not to apply the THX process so the "untreated" or "raw" Dolby audio goes through the speakers.

It is a matter of preference whether you like the raw Dolby Digital audio or whether you like the Dolby Digital audio that has been "treated" with the THX process. If you have the option, toggle back and forth with your speakers to determine which you like better.

Don't forget that the right mounts installed at the right height and angle will also make a difference in the quality of your audio. Make sure to check out our catalog of mounts to find what you need to make the speakers work more efficiently, whether you apply THX to the Dolby or not.