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Audio Quality

One of the big guns in the CineMaster climb to power was it's audio. It was only 2 channel stereo, but man what stereo! Booming crystal clarity, with Low Frequency Effects decoding (LFE) as a hidden option for those with speakers powerful enough to handle it. CineMaster 2000 supports SPDIF output to a digital amp if you want the true Digital experience. What most users wanted from CineMaster though, was 4 speaker downmix support! Bring that great CineMaster audio into the 3rd dimension! Allow 4 speaker subwoofer system owners to hear our DVD's in 3D! (Downmixed from Dolby 5.1).

It ALMOST arrived! Though 4 speaker mode is an option in setup, the Ravisent info on the PDF sheet says specifically it is a 2 channel stereo downmix? At that point, why claim to have 4 channel output? Just in case, I tried the surround/spatialization tests. One of the favorites is the LOBBY SHOOTING SPREE scene from THE MATRIX. Bullets whizzing by in every direction, shell cases hitting the floor in the rear, while guns blaze in the front. The sound was crisp and clear. Very nice actually. LFE really was heard and appreciated! Man ya gotta love that Klipsch subwoofer for it's explosion sounds! I couldn't detect quite the spatialization that PowerDVD offered. At times it seemed OK, but often it seemed the rears were merely echoing the front channels, with no differences in the sounds sent to them.

A good example test is the WOMAN IN THE RED DRESS scene, also from THE MATRIX. Played back in stereo, you will hear Morpheus' voice talking to Neo mostly on the left channel as Neo turns to find out the woman in red has become an agent. Try it in Dolby 5.1 and you will hear the left front channel loses much of Morpheus' voice, but you DO hear the crowd and the flapping birds there! Morpheus' voice moves to the REAR CHANNELS! He is behind the camera in that scene, so that's exactly where his voice SHOULD BE! The birds that his voice covered up in stereo are now audible in surround mode! THAT is why 3D and Surround sound are desired! The fewer speakers the playback is mixed for, the more sounds get lost. I could hear the birds flapping on CineMaster 2000, but it was muted. As if the tracks were on top of each other. Still though, even if they have to tweak the downmix yet, CineMaster still makes sweet sounds! If they do get that soon, PowerDVD and WinDVD beware!

Can't argue with CineMaster sound. Still clear and booming in LFE mode, now on 4 speakers. The downmix/surround needs some fine-tuning, but it is fully able to relay the DVD experience. Id still have to take WinDVD for sound, but its getting closer! Good job.

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