DTS-HD Master Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio (DTS-HD MA) is a combined lossless/lossy audio codec created by DTS (formerly Digital Theater Systems), commonly used for surround-sound movie soundtracks on Blu-ray Disc.

DTS-HD Master Audio logo


DTS-HD Master Audio is an extension of DTS' previous DTS Coherent Acoustics codec. Prior to 2004, it had been known as DTS++.[1] Though it is an optional audio format for Blu-ray Disc format, by 2010, it had become the dominant Blu-ray lossless audio format over its competitor Dolby TrueHD.[2] DTS-HD Master Audio is also the carrier for home delivery of DTS:X. Users can create DTS-HD Master Audio content using the DTS:X encoder suite,[3] or the legacy DTS-HD Master Audio Suite.[4]


DTS-HD Master Audio is a lossless compression codec containing a lossy DTS Digital core, thus allowing for bit-to-bit representation of the original movie's master soundtrack. DTS-HD Master Audio supports variable bit rates up to 24.5 Mbit/s. The format supports a maximum of 192 kHz sampling frequency and 24-bit depth samples from 2 to 5.1 channels, and 96 kHz/24bit resolution up to 7.1 channels.[5][6] DTS-HD Master Audio is capable of virtually any number of discrete channels but is limited by storage media.[7]

As a 3D audio delivery format, a DTS:X encoded DTS-HD Master Audio stream is able to contain up to 7.1 channels as well as nine objects and its associated metadata at 96 kHz/24 bit.[8]

Combined lossless/lossy compressionEdit

When played back on devices which do not support the Master Audio or High Resolution extension, it degrades to a "core" track which is lossy.[6]

According to the DTS-HD White Paper,[9] DTS-HD Master Audio contains 2 data streams: the original DTS core stream and the additional "residual" stream which contains the "difference" between the original signal and the lossy compression DTS core stream. The audio signal is split into two paths at the input to the encoder. One path goes to the core encoder for backwards compatibility and is then decoded. The other path compares the original audio to the decoded core signal and generates residuals, which are data over and above what the core contains that is needed to restore the original audio as bit-for-bit identical to the original. The residual data is then encoded by a lossless encoder and packed together with the core. The decoding process is simply the reverse.

AV transportEdit

DTS-HD Master Audio may be transported to AV receivers in 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 channels, at lossless quality, in one of three ways depending on player and/or receiver support:[9]

  • Over 6, 7 or 8 RCA connectors as analog audio, using the player's internal decoder and digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
  • Over HDMI 1.1 (or higher) connections as 6-, 7- or 8-channel linear PCM, using the player's decoder and the AV receiver's DAC.
  • Over HDMI 1.3 (or higher) connections as the original DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream, with decoding and DAC both done by the AV receiver.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Thomson, Kristin (2004-11-01). "DTD Unveils DTS-HD Brand For High Definition Media Formats". Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  2. ^ "Dave" (January 15, 2010). "DTS-HD Master Audio Becoming the Blu-ray Standard". Blu-raystats.com. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  3. ^ "DTS:X(R) Encoder Suite". DTS.com. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  4. ^ "DTS-HD Master Audio Suite(TM)". Archived from the original on 2018-03-04. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  5. ^ "DTS-HD Master Audio Specifications (DTS-HD Master Audio™ - DTS)". January 10, 2012. Archived from the original on January 10, 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  6. ^ a b DeBoer, Clint (2007-06-04). "DTS Demos Master Audio via PC". Audioholics Online A/V Magazine. Retrieved 2019-01-01. DTS-HD Master Audio delivers sound that is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master. It can deliver audio at variable bit rates which are significantly higher than standard DVDs. DTS-HD Master Audio can provide up to 7.1 audio channels at a 96k sampling frequency / 24-bit depth or 5.1 audio channels at 192 kHz that are identical to the original master. The DTS-HD Master Audio bit stream also contains the DTS 1.5 Mbps core for backwards compatibility with existing DTS-enabled home theater systems, and delivery of 5.1 channels of sound at twice the resolution found on most standard DVDs.
  7. ^ Morrison, Geoffrey (September 23, 2009). "Dolby Pro Logic IIz vs. Audyssey DSX vs. DTS". Home Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2010-10-10. Retrieved November 15, 2010. DTS-HD can natively support over 2,000 individual channels, so according to DTS adding any number of discrete height channels would be easy.
  8. ^ Waniata, Ryan (2015-04-13). "Lookout Dolby Atmos, DTS just entered the next era of surround sound with DTS:X". Digital Trends. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
  9. ^ a b "DTS-HD Audio: Consumer White Paper for Blu-ray Disc Applications" (PDF). November 2006. Retrieved 2020-01-24.