This is the new thread to replace the old sticky, because the previous author only posted twice in this forums, disappeared, and thus we could not update the list. Through the special permission of an administrator, I have made a new thread that was immediately stickied. I will update as much as possible. Please help make the list grow!
With that being said, the purpose of this thread is to provide a list of the few "future-proofed" receivers and/or HTIB's that will process PCM signal through HDMI with as many as 7.1 channels in order to be able to get the new lossless formats. For those who do not know, an explanation of why PCM is important is provided below.
As far as I know, there does not seem to be many of the latter, and thus I think a list will prove very useful for a lot of people. Many people will probably say why not simply use analog outputs. My response to those people makes me think of two things:
LINEAR PCM VS. BITSTREAM
- Some people do not want to deal with complex connections involving analog to digital, digital to analog, etc.
- A considerable amount of people are PS3 owners, and this kind of receiver/HTIB is indispensable for the release of the PS3's full audio potential (lossless formats, Dolby TrueHD, DTS MA)
It was called to my attention that some people in this forum might find this information at best, useful; at worst, informative. Linear PCM is the state an audio signal is in after it has been decoded. Bitstream is the state an audio signal is in before it is decoded. In other words, Linear PCM has already been decoded and is ready to be outputted through the speakers; whereas Bitstream is a virgin signal and must be decoded at some point, either in the receiver or the player, before being outputted through the speakers. PS3 is not capable of sending HD lossless formats in bitstream format. Instead, the PS3 is designed to decode the HD lossless signals on board and then send them as Linear PCM to a receiver that is capable of accepting at least 5.1 to 7.1 channels via HDMI cable in an LPCM. Thus the need for this thread.
However, it is important to understand that HDMI is the only cable compatible with the PS3 that has enough bandwidth to transfer HD lossless audio in Linear PCM form. Optical and RCA cables, the only other options in the PS3, only have enough bandwidth for different forms of stereo and surround audio. If you send Linear PCM through Optical or RCA, you will only get 2.0 channels of audio, because that is all the bandwidth these cables are designed to handle.
Another fact some people might find useful: there a lot more players that decode both DTS MA and True HD than there are Receivers. Therefore, it is inherently more common (and easier) to have a blu-ray player that decodes both HD formats on board and therefore sends an LPCM audio signal to a receiver, connected via HDMI, that accepts and processes at least 5.1 or 7.1 channels of LPCM (in this case, the receiver does not necessarily have to claim to be able to decode HD formats since they would be decoded on the player, not the receiver); than it is to have a blu-ray player that fails to decode at least one format (namely DTS MA) and therefore sends a bitstream audio signal to a receiver, connected via an analog, optical or HDMI cable, that would be accepting the bitstream signal to be processed on board (in this case, the receiver does have to claim to be able to decode HD formats because the audio bitstream signal would be decoded on the receiver, not the player).WHY IS PCM IMPORTANT?
If anybody is looking around these forums and they are new to certain subjects, such as me who used to be new to all AVR related stuff because I have never owned one before, I think is important that I post a fact here that I had to look for long and hard to make sure I was on the right track before buying my AVR. Here it is:
Any receiver that is capable of accepting LPCM (usually they accept anywhere from 5.1 to 8 channels) can and will be able to give you the high end formats, DTS-MA, DOLBY-TRUEHD, or Uncompressed PCM (LPCM). It does not matter if the receiver does not say or does not have stamped somewhere on the box or on the receiver the symbols for DTS-MA or DOLBY-TRUEHD (Uncompressed PCM is usually not directly referred to by manufacturers). However, it does matter whether the BLU-RAY or HD-DVD player has the DTS-MA and/or DOLBY-TRUEHD symbol stamped on the box, because if your receiver is not going to decode these formats, you player is going to have to. As long as you make sure that the receiver is able to accept LPCM/PCM (watch out how many channels it accepts) and that your player has either DTS-MA or DOLBY-TRUEHD stamped on its box you will definetely get lossless audio. All PS3 owners do not have to worry, PS3 is perfectly capable of decoding both formats on board. Although many of you already know this, there a lot of people who do not. The above is possible because every single HD-DVD or BLU-RAY player will and must be capable of
playing the Uncompressed LPCM audio track which is lossless audio of the same quality as DTS-MA or DOLBY-TRUEHD. If you have a BLU-RAY disc or HD-DVD that does not contain an Uncompressed LPCM track, it is going to have either of the other two formats. Since we have already made sure the player we have has at least one of these formats stamped on the box, the player you have will and must be capable of
decoding the HD audio formats on board, then outputting it as PCM to any receiver that accepts it. The difference would be that the ps3, for instance, can only do this through HDMI. (many people see this as a setback but personally I do not) Other dedicated players, are gonna be able to accept PCM and process it through analog outputs without necessarily using HDMI. At this point, it is a matter of preference. For further information on PCM and the new lossless formats, please refer to this very informative sticky thread
or also you can check out the official consumer white page published by Dolby Labs and by DTS Inc.
The consumer white page is lengthy, useful information for consumers who want to know how the new HD audio signals work and what you need to get them to output correctly and losslessly. Links are below:DTS-HD Consumer White PageDolby TrueHD Consumer White PageTHE BIG "BUT" TO PCM
Just because the receiver is able to accept LPCM, it does not mean it will be able to process it. The LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel which is represented by the ".1" in a 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 system, is a audio channel that exclusively carries bass-only information. More info here
and here as well
(links provided by Ecuadorian, thanks!). This channel, when received via PCM, needs to be boosted from 1db(decibel) to at least 10db or else you will hear a very low volume bass coming out of your subwoofer. The remaining channels need to be extracted from the LPCM signal, and if they are not you will get a a bassless sound, or at least the bass will be very low. Unfortunately, this details are not always told or listed by the manufacturers, therefore sometimes the only way to know whether a device is true LPCM (and by that I meant that it is able to support at least 5.1 channels and boost the bass) is to actually buy it and try it out, or, of course, search around this forums. That is after all why we are all here ^_^LIST OF HTIB'S AND AVR'S WITH HDMI AUDIO PROCESSING (LINEAR PCM)
*Underlined items on the list are AVR's, not HTIB's.
* I realize this is the HTIB forum, and adding receivers might seem out of topic, but I did not want to have to exclude a receiver if somebody made the suggestion to add it. While I will not deliberately look for receivers to be added, and while I will be focusing on adding HTIB's, I will not say "no" if somebody suggests and AVR. ( I want to thank wallst32 for pointing this out to me )
-HT-7200DH (Available May)
-HT-SS2300 (Coming this summer)
-TX-SR875 *All Onkyo receivers models SR6XX and above will be able (or already are able) to handle HDMI audio.
(coming spring/summer 2008)
This is all I got so far. I would like to point out that I am by no means an expert or a professional in all of this. I am just one more member, learning as much as I can, and helping out others as much as I can. If you know any more AVR's or HTIB's that can be added to this list, please post them here, and I will add them to the list. I will update as much as possible. If you see any of my facts are wrong please let me know, I am by no means perfect. Further info about each HTIB and receiver will be added on the list (i.e channels, average price, perhaps more) Comments are appreciated and welcome