So, is there a definit answer the 2011 MacMini could do HD audio bitstream? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-30-2011, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I've tried to search around and saw many people discussed about it. But still not seeing a definite answer as to could the 2011 MacMini could bitstream HD audio, at least under Windows/bootcamp? I'm thinking to get one as a bedroom HTPC.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-30-2011, 06:13 PM
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I'm working on this at the moment too and its still a little bit of a mystery. Best i can work out it does not output True HD or DTS MA under the Mac OS at least. I don't know if it does under windows or not.
VLC will receive and play 5.1 DTS movie streams without issue, and a DTS test file works fine in Plex or VLC. However, movies and TV Shows with DTS in Plex output in two channels for some reason. I've yet to work out the issue, but Macs Audio Midi application automatically switches from 8 channel to Encoded 2 channel audio whenever it detects a DTS movie stream (but not with a DTS test file.. )
Mystery.
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-31-2011, 09:58 AM
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...could the 2011 MacMini could bitstream HD audio, at least under Windows/bootcamp?

Most of us here don't do Windows and, as a result, this issue isn't tracked too closely. Bitstreaming HD audio requires support in three areas: hardware, the OS and the software player...to date it seems it's the software players holding this up. A few months ago I linked to a thread over at the XBMC support forum where a user stated he was getting bit-streamed HD audio in Windows on a 2011 mini. There hasn't been too much discussion of that since over there, nor additional confirmations, so that's hardly definitive.

conors is right, though, there is a definitive answer for OS X.

That said, you're interested in a bedroom HTPC, where you likely won't be rattling the walls, so you wouldn't really be missing anything: the plain old core DTS extracted with MakeMKV and played back via a front end is excellent in a large home theater, let alone a secondary bedroom location. I realize that is a different discussion, but my feeling is that single issue shouldn't be a deal-breaker for you in terms of using a mini as an HTPC because many folks can't reliably tell the difference between an HD audio track and its extracted core in a properly level-matched blind comparison anyway. In so many other ways, the 2011 mini is a quiet, powerful and wonderful little machine.

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...movies and TV Shows with DTS in Plex output in two channels for some reason. I've yet to work out the issue, but Macs Audio Midi application automatically switches from 8 channel to Encoded 2 channel audio whenever it detects a DTS movie stream...Mystery.

Not much of a mystery I'm afraid, certain versions of Plex having various DTS-related problems, including the 2 channel only behavior you're seeing, are fairly well-known:

http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/.../page__st__140

I can confirm for you that I'm getting proper multi-channel DTS passthrough to an AVR with bluray rips, movies and dvds just fine in Lion on a 2011 mini with XBMC, VLC and other apps like Apple dvd player--with no messing about within AudioMIDI required. So in your case, it's a Plex thing. Switch to XBMC or other apps in the meantime while they sort it out. (At least you're getting 2 channel DTS, other Plex users report lockups and having to reboot their machines every time after playing something with DTS.)
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post #4 of 19 Old 01-05-2012, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-05-2012, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

I can confirm for you that I'm getting proper multi-channel DTS passthrough to an AVR with bluray rips, movies and dvds just fine in Lion on a 2011 mini with XBMC, VLC and other apps like Apple dvd player--with no messing about within AudioMIDI required. So in your case, it's a Plex thing. Switch to XBMC or other apps in the meantime while they sort it out. (At least you're getting 2 channel DTS, other Plex users report lockups and having to reboot their machines every time after playing something with DTS.)

I have a brand new Mac Mini (base model with Intel video).

So far multi channel audio is very flaky.

DD 5.1 is fine
DTS is flaky.

If I set Audio Midi to 8 channel and 7.1 speakers, then VLC messes up DTS channels - center comes from left surround, left front comes from left surround back, etc etc. I get same thing if I try multi channel AAC or FLAC.

Setting speakers to 5.1 fixes DTS, FLAC and AAC when played in VLC but Mplayerx still outputs messed up channels.
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post #6 of 19 Old 01-06-2012, 05:38 AM
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durack, my quick advice to you is you have to be much more specific if you hope for some help--for instance, what are you connecting to, an AVR? how are you connecting? if only over HDMI, try optical, and compare results. Each software player has a different approach to its audio settings, and they can be tricky, so you'll need to invest some time figuring those out.

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So far multi channel audio is very flaky...DD 5.1 is fine...DTS is flaky.

with what kind of files? all files or just certain containers like mkv? are you creating these files yourself or "downloading" them? Best to test with known good files that you create yourself, like a MakeMKV rip where you've extracted the core DTS or a VIDEO_TS rip that includes DTS.

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If I set Audio Midi to...

stop right there. There's usually no need to go into AudioMIDI and start messing around--whatever you do in there to try to get multichannel out would be a hack, not a solution, best to try other software players in the hope of finding some that are functioning properly with Core Audio and Lion. You should be getting passthrough of DTS and AC3 just fine leaving AudioMIDI alone.

You mentioned problems with VLC and MPlayer, why are you using those? Test with players that are official, as in Apple DVD Player.app, or more actively used and supported, like XBMC and, to a lesser extent, Plex, in that order. (I recommend trying XBMC before Plex because that's what I've been using for a good while and of late its developers have been much more active and responsive. I'm using the last stable release with my 2011 Mini and have not tried a nightly or the Eden beta. I suspect more Mac people currently use Plex, so their support forum tends to be more active in terms of confirming problems and bugs like the DTS as 2 channel one that I linked to above, but development-wise their "team" is less active and less responsive when it comes to the Mac desktop client.)

Main thing, though, you'd benefit by being more specific, and a little more scientific in your troubleshooting, and by not messing within AudioMIDI, there are plenty of people using the exact same mini as you reporting perfectly fine DTS and AC3 audio with certain other software players. So, don't insist on using players that may be buggy--and don't mess with AudioMIDI--until you've first spent some time trying the other players.
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-06-2012, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

durack, my quick advice to you is you have to be much more specific if you hope for some help--for instance, what are you connecting to, an AVR? how are you connecting? if only over HDMI, try optical, and compare results. Each software player has a different approach to its audio settings, and they can be tricky, so you'll need to invest some time figuring those out.

Thanks for replying. Connection is via HDMI only to my AVR (Marantz SR7005)
To be honest, I was simply experimenting with various files I have on my hard drive (all actually foreign movies not released in the US). One has multi channel FLAC, another has multi channel AAC and when I tried to play them I noticed the channel strangeness). After that I googled around and found some test MKV files with DTS and DD sound and did some experimenting with them as well using various players.

I will try to post more detailed results in a day or so after ripping a couple of my DVDs and Blurays to properly encoded handbrake files.
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post #8 of 19 Old 01-07-2012, 06:34 AM
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I will try to post more detailed results in a day or so after ripping a couple of my DVDs and Blurays to properly encoded handbrake files.

Right, while you're in the learning and experimentation stage, it's best to stay away from a-typical files and downloads of unknown provenance and instead work with the typical Mac home theater file types that you've created yourself.

Rip a dvd that has both a DTS and DD 5.1 track to a VIDEO_TS folder, which is a perfect copy of that dvd including menus. Retain that so you can test it with Apple dvdplayer.app, next run it through Handbrake to create an iTunes/iOS friendly version of its main feature, I'd suggest using the aTV2 preset, first audio track as AAC, the second as AC3 passthrough.

Then rip a blu-ray with MakeMKV, do not retain the HD audio track (make sure its box is un-checked) but do retain the DTS or DD core audio (MakeMKV should do this by default.) Keep this rather large .mkv, because your 2011 mini should be able to play this back easily even without any hardware acceleration. Then run that mkv through Handbrake as well, again at the aTV2 preset, again with AAC audio first and AC3 second.

Then use those test files, and only those, as you figure out what your new system and various software players can and can't handle. Do all of this before opening AudioMIDI and messing around.
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-07-2012, 10:12 AM
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Question: what should be the default Audio MIDI settings then?
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post #10 of 19 Old 01-08-2012, 07:20 AM
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I've been using a Mini 2011 since launch - the base model with Intel GFX.

I can confirm absolutely that it WILL bitstream HD audio under bootcamp perfectly well (in fact, I watched Transformers 3 on it just last night, and nearly blew the windows out with the bass!)

It doesn't (yet, anyway) work under OS X. Hopefully it will one day, so I won't have to reboot to Windows just to watch the odd movie with HD audio.

I can also confirm that MacGo's Bluray player software for OS-X works very well too - albeit with no bitstreaming or menus - and even seems to play with no framerate stutter than I sometimes get in TMT5 say, in Windows.
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post #11 of 19 Old 01-08-2012, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synner View Post

I've been using a Mini 2011 since launch - the base model with Intel GFX.

I can confirm absolutely that it WILL bitstream HD audio under bootcamp perfectly well (in fact, I watched Transformers 3 on it just last night, and nearly blew the windows out with the bass!)

It doesn't (yet, anyway) work under OS X. Hopefully it will one day, so I won't have to reboot to Windows just to watch the odd movie with HD audio.

I can also confirm that MacGo's Bluray player software for OS-X works very well too - albeit with no bitstreaming or menus - and even seems to play with no framerate stutter than I sometimes get in TMT5 say, in Windows.

Awesome!

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post #12 of 19 Old 01-08-2012, 08:21 PM
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Ok, did a bit of experimenting.

Ripped a DVD and a BluRay with DTS soundtracks with MakeMKV.

DVD rip played fine in both VLC and MplayerX.

For the Blu-Ray rip I actually kept both HD and regular soundtracks.

MplayerX would only play regular DTS soundtrack.
VLC plays both lossless and regular - I assume it extracts the lossy core from the lossless soundtrack.

No issues whatsoever (aside from the fact that I really need to calibrate my Mac Mini and the projector properly )

So basically it appears that MacMini with Intel video has no problems with properly ripped and encoded files. With stuff from the internet it's a lottery and if you plan to use it mostly for that purpose then you probably need Bootcamp and CCCP.
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post #13 of 19 Old 01-08-2012, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by durack View Post

Ok, did a bit of experimenting.

Thanks for doing the testing and reporting back your findings.

Quote:


So basically it appears that MacMini with Intel video has no problems with properly ripped and encoded files.

Okay, so your next assignment is to buy a Mini with Radeon video and let us know if it works as well as Intel video.
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post #14 of 19 Old 01-26-2012, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conors View Post

I'm working on this at the moment too and its still a little bit of a mystery. Best i can work out it does not output True HD or DTS MA under the Mac OS at least. I don't know if it does under windows or not.
VLC will receive and play 5.1 DTS movie streams without issue, and a DTS test file works fine in Plex or VLC. However, movies and TV Shows with DTS in Plex output in two channels for some reason. I've yet to work out the issue, but Macs Audio Midi application automatically switches from 8 channel to Encoded 2 channel audio whenever it detects a DTS movie stream (but not with a DTS test file.. )
Mystery.

As my recent howto explains, "In Plex, go to Preferences>System>Audio and Select HDMI in "Audio Output", select your speaker configuration (amount of speaker channels you have) under "Speaker Configuration", select "Dolby Digital (AC3) Capable Receiver" and/or "DTS Capable Receiver", if applicable (yes for Denon AVR-2310CI) and select Default under "Audio Output Device options. Then you can resume your movie taking advantage of your sound surround system. Other video players will be similar. Some media players may require you to close the application and relaunch it for changes to take effect."

Hope that helps!
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post #15 of 19 Old 02-01-2012, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synner View Post

I've been using a Mini 2011 since launch - the base model with Intel GFX.

I can confirm absolutely that it WILL bitstream HD audio under bootcamp perfectly well (in fact, I watched Transformers 3 on it just last night, and nearly blew the windows out with the bass!)

It doesn't (yet, anyway) work under OS X. Hopefully it will one day, so I won't have to reboot to Windows just to watch the odd movie with HD audio.

I can also confirm that MacGo's Bluray player software for OS-X works very well too - albeit with no bitstreaming or menus - and even seems to play with no framerate stutter than I sometimes get in TMT5 say, in Windows.

Synner,

I also have the base Intel 2011 Mac Mini. Did you need to install any other driver besides those that bootcamp provided? I can't seem to get HD Audio formats to work or show up under supported codecs.

Thanks,
Michael
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post #16 of 19 Old 03-01-2012, 07:22 AM
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Well, gave up on this.

I can confidently state that it's NOT POSSIBLE to bitstream dolby truehd and/or dts-hd MA with the sandy bridge 2011 mac mini base intel model with hd3000 graphics using only the bootcamp drivers (can't speak for possible hacks or workarounds).

Beyond this, the base model moans and cries when playing high bitrate blu-ray backups (either win7 bootcamp or osx vlc,boxee, or xbmc).

I will be selling this expensive small computer now that it's useless to me. I have a bought a Zotac AD04 barebones, hope that goes much more smoothly.

Michael
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post #17 of 19 Old 03-13-2012, 04:17 AM
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Michael,

I am curious what is your experience with the AD04?
Was it a easy build and where you able to get dolby hd working?

thanks,
Mike
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post #18 of 19 Old 03-13-2012, 08:39 AM
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mike-1969,

I ordered the AD04 barebones. From my mac mini purchase, i had 8GB memory upgrade, so i just used that. I also bought a OCZ Vertex 3 (complete overkill, but OS installs from usb are really fast and easy). Installing these components was dead simple, just like the mac mini.

I installed Windows 7, completed a ton of updates, installed Zotac drivers from their site (I would download and put these on a usb stick). Install the latest xbmc-ae, see this thread: (i can't post urls yet, lol) google the phrase '[Windows] AudioEngine testers - Windows platform only' and you'll get there.

Simply put, it works and it works well for me. Bitstream TrueHd, Dts-Ma and LPCM. Kudos zotac and huge KUDOS for xbmc-ae devs.

Sadly, none of this was possible with the intel only mac mini that is going up on craigslist tonight
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post #19 of 19 Old 03-18-2012, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msabor View Post

Well, gave up on this.

I can confidently state that it's NOT POSSIBLE to bitstream dolby truehd and/or dts-hd MA with the sandy bridge 2011 mac mini base intel model with hd3000 graphics using only the bootcamp drivers (can't speak for possible hacks or workarounds).

Beyond this, the base model moans and cries when playing high bitrate blu-ray backups (either win7 bootcamp or osx vlc,boxee, or xbmc).

I will be selling this expensive small computer now that it's useless to me. I have a bought a Zotac AD04 barebones, hope that goes much more smoothly.

Michael

Did you try using the drivers from Intel's website?

 

Edit:  I ended up getting an Intel-only Mac Mini.  It works perfectly well bitstreaming DTS-HD MA and TrueHD.  I'm not sure msabor was doing wrong, but it definitely works.  I just used Apple's/Microsoft's drivers, and followed one of the many tutorials for getting HD Audio bitstreaming working under Windows 7.  No problems at all.  Streaming a Blu Ray image from my UnRAID server, passing 1080P and HD Audio out, resulted in CPU usage hovering around 15-20%.  The Mini is more than capable enough for this. 

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