Help understanding PCM audio input on HTIB Panasonic SC-BT230 please. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-12-2012, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, here's my problem. I don't know a lot about audio. In my setup menu in my home theater in a box, which is a blu-ray player with 5 speakers and sub, I have something in the audio menu where I can choose the "digital audio input". I can choose between PCM and original sound. I don't even know when to choose one over the other. I only know that PCM in the uncompressed audio. What does mean the "digital audio input"? If I play a blu-ray or DVD and choose PCM, will the DVD or blu-ray have a better sound? I've never seen on a DVD or a blu-ray a language selection with PCM english or PCM french, only True HD, Dolby digital, Dolby Surround, etc. Let's say I choose the language english Dolby Digital and on my HTIB, I choose PCM, will the player play the soundtrack in PCM so I will have a better sound?? Like you can see, I don't really understand what's all this. When do I have to choose in my HTIB menu "PCM" instead of "original sound" when playing a blu-ray or DVD to get the best sound?

Thank you very much for your answers...
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-12-2012, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chem-guy View Post

Ok, here's my problem. I don't know a lot about audio. In my setup menu in my home theater in a box, which is a blu-ray player with 5 speakers and sub, I have something in the audio menu where I can choose the "digital audio input". I can choose between PCM and original sound. I don't even know when to choose one over the other. I only know that PCM in the uncompressed audio. What does mean the "digital audio input"? If I play a blu-ray or DVD and choose PCM, will the DVD or blu-ray have a better sound? I've never seen on a DVD or a blu-ray a language selection with PCM english or PCM french, only True HD, Dolby digital, Dolby Surround, etc. Let's say I choose the language english Dolby Digital and on my HTIB, I choose PCM, will the player play the soundtrack in PCM so I will have a better sound?? Like you can see, I don't really understand what's all this. When do I have to choose in my HTIB menu "PCM" instead of "original sound" when playing a blu-ray or DVD to get the best sound?
Thank you very much for your answers...

Not 100% sure but I think if you set it to PCM than it expects the DVD/BD player to decode the TrueHD/DTSMA track. If you set it to Original than it probably expects to receive TrueHD/DTSMA and do the decoding at the receiver instead of the player. Both should sound exactly the same.

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-12-2012, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have a receiver AND a player, it's a HTIB. I have a home theater with the blu-ray player in one.
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-12-2012, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by chem-guy View Post

I don't have a receiver AND a player, it's a HTIB. I have a home theater with the blu-ray player in one.

hmmm that changes things. Try Original and see what audio you get

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-12-2012, 01:42 PM
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Audio playback on the HTiBs that have built-in BD/DVD players is confusing. My initial thinking, like Pokekevin's, is to set it to Original and just leave it. It sounds like you can't choose bitstream (unless Original is Panasonic's term for bitstream on their all-in-ones) so Original should send the audio "as is" to the receiver for processing.

PCM (pulse code modulation) just converts digital to analog and vice versa. The more elaborate audio formats (TrueHD, dta-MS) are like audio zip files contained within the PCM signal. If you set the player (BD-DVD) to PCM, it will "unzip" and send the resulting PCM signal to the receiver. If bitstream is an option, then the player will send the zipped files (TrueHD, dts-MA) to the receiver which in turn will unzip them and turn them back into PCM. The advantage on separate systems (very simply put) is that one of the devices (player or AVR) may do a better job of handling the files ( and performing other tasks like bass management, etc). You may have to experiment a bit. Just play your favorite BD movie, pick a section with the most diverse audio being presented, and switch between the various settings and see how it sounds.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-12-2012, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chem-guy View Post

I have something in the audio menu where I can choose the "digital audio input". I can choose between PCM and original sound. I don't even know when to choose one over the other.
...
When do I have to choose in my HTIB menu "PCM" instead of "original sound" when playing a blu-ray or DVD to get the best sound?
Thank you very much for your answers...

Hi chem-guy, the "Digital Audio Input" menu option is only if you're using the "Optical Digital Audio In 1 or 2" jacks.

For bluray and dvd playback, set the BD/Digital Audio Output to "Bitstream" with Secondary Audio to "Off".
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-12-2012, 09:08 PM
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Yes. The Digital Audio Input refers to sound arriving over one of the digital jacks from an external source such as a TV or a cable/satellite set top box. It has nothing to do with the audio on the HTIB's built in disc player. The manual says the digital audio input setting may be helpful if sound from an external device is intermittent.
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-13-2012, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow thank you very much for the info. I have indeed an optical digital audio in (D-In 1) from the TV to the home theater system. I'll try few things and let you know how it went.

Thank you very much.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-18-2012, 07:04 PM
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Digital Input is the optical digital input: it's the digital equivalent of the analogue AUX (stereo) input.

Theoretically this input can carry up to LPCM 2.0, DD5.1 and DTS5.1, however Panasonic tend to cripple their optical digital inputs and only support LPCM 2.0 and DD5.1, which is a travesty IMO.

If possible, only purchase Panasonic HTiB with HDMI inputs if you want flexibility in attaching other players.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-20-2012, 11:28 AM
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PCM is uncompressed digital sound It's the most compatible format, but over an optical or coaxial connection, only carries two channels of audio (left and right). If your source is music, that is fine cause most music is recorded in two channels. When your HTIB gets PCM, it will likely use Dolby Pro Logic to 'matrix' it into pseudo-5.1

Alternatively, there is a number of codecs (Dolby, DTS) which allow more than two discrete channels carried over optical or coax. Upon getting audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 format, your HTIB will decode it into six discrete channels (front left & right, center, surround left & right, sub) and send each channel to its proper speaker. If you have a movie with a 5.1 soundtrack, this will be the most accurate playback option.

Gotta say, this 'digital input' setting is weird. Most devices are quite capable of recognizing what type of signal they are getting, and handle it accordingly. Definitely the case with my AVR. The 'PCM vs original' setting is usually found on 'digital output', in case you are sending your audio to a device that can't handle encoded formats.
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