The DTS Neo:6 Surround Sound Processing Format

DTS Neo:6: What It Is and How to Use It

DTS Neo:6 is a surround sound processing format designed to enhance the listening experience in a home theater environment. When playing a CD, vinyl record, or a DVD with a soundtrack that only provides two channels of information, DTS Neo:6 can expand the sound field to 6.1 channels.

What Is DTS Neo:6?

Unlike DTS Digital Surround and Dolby Digital, which need to be encoded and present in the source material, DTS Neo:6 is a post-processing format. Therefore, it doesn't need to be encoded in a specific manner so that it can be decoded in order to extract the correct channel assignments for the sound mix.

Instead, DTS Neo:6 uses a special chip that's built into most 5.1 or 7. 1 channel home theater receivers to analyze all of the sonic cues of a non-encoded two-channel soundtrack mix (usually from an analog source). It then distributes the sound elements into a 6-channel home theater speaker setup as accurately as possible.

DTS Neo:6 Logo
Xperi Corporation

How Does DTS Neo:6 Work?

Normally, a DTS Neo:6 speaker setup includes six channels (left-front, center, right-front, left-surround, center-back, right-surround) and a subwoofer. If you have a 5.1 channel speaker setup, the processor will automatically fold the sixth channel (center-back) into the left and right surround speakers so you that you are not missing any sounds. If you have 7.1 channel speaker setup, DTS Neo:6 will treat the left-back and right-back channels as one, so the same sound information will come from both speakers.

DTS Neo Cinema and Music Modes

In addition to its channel distribution capabilities, DTS Neo:6 provides two sound listening modes: Music and Cinema. The Music mode provides a subdued surround effect that's more suitable for music. Cinema mode facilitates a more pronounced surround effect that is more suitable for movies.

DTS Neo:6 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Players

DTS Neo:6 surround sound processing is also available on some DVD and Blu-ray Disc players. If this option is selected, a compatible DVD/Blu-ray player can post-process an audio signal from a DVD/CD internally into the DTS Neo:6 format. It can then send that signal to a home theater receiver without the receiver having to do any additional processing.

In order to provide this option, the Blu-ray Disc player must have a set of multichannel analog audio outputs. This also means that the home theater receiver must have the corresponding set of multichannel analog inputs. To activate DTS Neo:6, look for that option in your home theater receiver, Blu-ray, or DVD player, and select either the Movie or Music mode.

For more details on the DTS Neo:6 options for a specific DVD, Blu-ray, or Ultra HD disc player, consult the user manual.

DTS Neo:6 vs Dolby Prologic II and IIx

DTS Neo:6 isn't the only audio processing format that can be used to extract a surround sound field from a two-channel source. Dolby Prologic II can expand a two-channel source into a 5.1 channel sound-field, and Dolby Prologic IIx can expand a two or 5.1 channel source to 7.1 channels. If your home theater receiver or Blu-ray Disc player includes a DTS Neo:6 and/or Dolby Prologic II/IIx sound processing options, check out all of them and see what you think.

Although DTS Neo:6 and Dolby Prologic II/IIx can create an effective surround sound experience, they are not as accurate as a 5.1/7.1 channel Dolby Digital/DTS Digital Surround source that is designed to be decoded. Nonetheless, these formats allow you to listen to your old vinyl records or CDs in an expanded surround sound field. If you're an audio purist, you may prefer listening to music in its native two-channel form, but you can still enjoy your old VHS, TV, and DVD movies in surround sound.