Today, I watched the result which I had synchronized and the following may be noted:
The 5.1 DTS audio is a big upgrade from the 2.0 DTS one provided by the offical Blu-ray-release, including the end title score “Grand Central Station” (one of my favorites) which heavily makes use of the surround channels as well.
The Stereo-Mix (or maybe ProLogic at best) naturally not just lacks that, but also the dynamic range which is considerably higher on the Cinema DTS. Hence shame on Shout!Factory that they let themselves be fobbed off with some lame downmix for this movie.
However, despite all the praise of the Cinema DTS, Hackers acoustically despite the fun it makes in general, is far from being perfect:
The dialog suffers from some kind of slight distortion throughout the entire movie (on all versions so I assume it’s in the mix), which for me is quite typical for undubbed US-movies. I don’t know why, but no matter what efforts they take nowadays to create some super-duper 7.1 and DTS-HD MA and Atmos and what not, the dialogs often enough still sound like they had been recorded with mikes from the 50s.
Besides that, unfortunately, the Cinema DTS isn’t totally flawless itself either. At 01:33:54 realtime (24fps, original 44.1 kHz of the source), there are two slight crackling sounds on both surround channels (SL, SR). Easy to fix with any audio editor (the sequence is essentially containing nothing but almost silence so it can be easily replaced with about 800ms which came before) but a bit disappointing nonetheless.
I also took the chance to compare the 5.1 AC3 mix, I already had from some obscure WEB-DL version, and as far as I can tell on a quick check, the mix is essential the same except for the stronger bass from the AC3 version (minus the crackling error). I was already tempting to use the famous term “ironically” here but I don’t know which version is the correct one. The AC3 one might be “cooked” or maybe the foobar APT-X 100 plugin is not the best decoder to use, I’m not sure.
I doubt it but I can’t rule out that the crackling is caused by the decoder either though it would be weird because the rest is flawless, but one never knows until we checked either an official APT-X 100 hardware decoder or the Winamp plugin at least.
I’m aware that some suggest the former 5.1 versions to be nothing but weird upmixes from the stereo source but at least the AC3 file I have sounds too good for me to be just that. Rather that someone already took the cinema source and put it into an AC3 encoder.
Anyway, good news is that the synchronization part is rather easy. The AC3 file, which might have been officially released through a DVD version already, only requires a simple offset. Same is true for the Cinema DTS although here one has to fiddle with the overlapping parts of course.
For the latter, I decided to take the BD video, treat it as 24fps instead of 24/1.001fps and let it run with the Cinema DTS at the unaltered sample rate of 44.1 kHz. This might not be BD-video compatible, but should work flawlessly on most network players or HTPCs.