This post will provide the information needed to truly understand Dolby Pro-Logic. Once you have this down you will have a much greater appreciation for the other surround sounds offered today.
This post will be one of many in a series covering the various main stream surround sounds offered. In future posts we will cover Dolby Digital, Dolby Atmos as well as DTS. For now though lets go over Dolby Pro-Logic. Although by today’s standards this surround sound doesn’t sound like much to really appreciate it you have to know it’s history.
Prior to Dolby Pro-Logic we did not have surround sound. I know that seems odd so let me repeat to make sure you caught what I said. Prior to Dolby Pro-Logic we did not have surround sound. How can this be you may be wondering. Let me explain….
It used to be that we only went to the movie theater to see a movie and enjoy it. There we had a big screen and an almost completely black room to watch it in. The sound was loud and was much better than the alternative which was to watch some other film on tv. You see we couldn’t even watch this new film at home because it just came out in theatres. Back then our at home surround sound was the tv speaker or perhaps speakers if the tv was in stereo. The only movies we could watch we either bought or rented on VHS tape or we watched when the tv network chose to broadcast it.
If we planned ahead we could record it onto our VCR with a VHS tape giving it an even lesser quality image to watch and we would have to manually fast forward thru the commercials. No, this is not a scene from a made up movie idea of mine or something that would have taken place on some other planet. This was prior to the early 1990’s. This was our way of life when it came to movies. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, On Demand – none of them had been invented yet! If you rented a film you actually went to a video store and stood in line waiting to get the movie you wanted to watch at home. So much has changed and for the better!
Eventually movie theaters switched from one speaker to two and then to Dolby Pro-Logic which was worlds better than anything before it. Thanks to Dolby Pro-Logic catching on, Dolby continued to improve upon it to make it what it is today. Dolby Pro-Logic added a second pair of speakers (this pair was for behind where you were sitting to finally capture sound from somewhere other than just in front of you. They also included something completely new … a center channel. This introduced a way to finally steer the sound and created much better clarity when it came to dialogue. So to recap with Dolby Pro-Logic you went from one pair of stereo speakers to five speakers (left front, center, right front, left rear and right rear). Now you could attempt to recreate the movie experience at home! Luckily for us this has been replaced with something even better!