A multichannel coding system developed by Dolby where up to eight channels of high-quality audio plus Dolby Digital metadata can be distributed via an AES3 pair, or recorded onto two audio tracks of a digital VTR (Video Tape Recorder). Dolby E is primarily for use within the broadcast and post-production infrastructure. Audio never reaches the consumer in Dolby E form; it is encoded with Dolby Digital just prior to final transmission. To help differentiate their functions, Dolby E is referred to as a distribution coding system, and Dolby Digital as an emission coding system.
Dolby E encodes up to eight audio channels plus metadata into a two-channel bitstream with a standard data rate of 1.92 Mbits/sec (20-bit audio at 48 kHz). With multichannel programming, a “5.1+2” configuration is typically used, with six of the eight channels carrying a 5.1 mix and the other two an Lt/Rt (matrix surround-encoded) or stereo two-channel mix. The system can also be used to carry a 5.1 mix plus two mono tracks (5.1+1+1), three stereo mixes (3×2), six mono channels (6×1), and so on.