Confused about PCM, Dolby and DTS

Recently picked up a Yamaha RX-V2095. Quickly noticed it was running in PCM mode so set the source to DTS (desktop computer).
First thing I thought was, "It sounded better in PCM mode" so switched it back.
Is PCM mode better for stereo listening than DTS or Dolby?
Searched the web and found some confusing stuff so figured ask some of you true audiophiles what is what. (I am relatively new to home hi-fi...)
"They’re not after me, they’re after you… I’m just standing in the way!” -Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States


  • stangman67
    stangman67 Posts: 2,185
    For stereo listening, PCM absolutely.
    2 Channel in my home attic/bar/man cave

    2 Channel Focal Kanta 3 I Modwright SWL9.0 Anniversary Pre I Modwright PH9.0X I Modwright KWA-150SE I VPI Prime Signature w/ Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC I Lumin U2 Mini I North Star Designs Intenso DAC I Audience OHNO ICs/Audience Furutech FP-S55N and FP-S032N Power Cables/Acoustic Zen Satori I Isotek Sirius
  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 4,372
    What is the source material? That would determine the best setting on the receiver.

    DTS and Dolby Digital are two competing multichannel audio formats from the 1990s that use compression to fit a movie's audio and video on a disc and are commonly found on DVD movies. The 2095 model is from the late 1990s and included DTS and Dolby Digital decoder capability.

    PCM is uncompressed audio and usually refers to CD quality 16 bit audio. It's the choice for stereo music.
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 17,056
    Ok First and foremost learning what the terms are is good place to start.

    PCM - Puse Code Modulation. Is the conventional method for converting analog audio into digital audio.
    It's used for 2 channel.
    DOLBY DIGITAL - is a audio compression format. It is usually a 5.1 soundtrack of a movie but that doesn't mean it's always 5.1. It's descrete 6 channels of coded digital information.
    DTS - Is basically the same as Dolby Digital but another company doing the same exact thing their way. When you compare Dolby Digital to DTS, you usually get hotter subwoofer levels as well as surround speaker levels.

    Playing whatever your listening to in the correct format is what you want to do. it doesn't matter if it's PCM dolby digital or DTS, what matters is how it's encoded.

    None of these formats sound better than each other.
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • MrGeology
    MrGeology Posts: 83
    edited May 2023
    The 2095 will be running FLAC playback through a 2 speaker setup for the foreseeable future (accuraterip FLAC -> foobar (no DSP) -> optical out -> RX-V2095 (PCM).
    When my main system gets an AE-9 this system will get the AE-7 handed down (not sure if this will matter with optical out).
    "They’re not after me, they’re after you… I’m just standing in the way!” -Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States
  • Emlyn
    Emlyn Posts: 4,372
    Yep, that's the way to do it. FLAC gets converted to two channel PCM when it leaves the computer like that.

    There is no DTS or Dolby Digital in the chain so no reason to select those on the receiver. The receiver most likely has a Direct or Pure Direct mode for the best stereo listening that cuts out any processing and turns off the video processor.