Official Blu-Ray Player Audio Setup Thread - All Audio Questions Go Here - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 1693 Old 06-16-2008, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Official Blu-Ray Player Audio Setup Thread - All Audio Questions Go Here

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Mod edit: Merged thread problem. Official Blu-Ray Player Audio Setup Thread - All Audio Questions Go Here next post V
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post #2 of 1693 Old 12-13-2008, 11:50 AM
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Due to the overwhelming number of repeated questions being asked about setup of BD players and Audio Video Receivers it would be extremely useful to have a sticky FAQ thread for these questions.

1. How do I get uncompressed audio between my Blu-Ray Player and my Audio Video Receiver?

A. A more detailed description of audio formats appear below. This is the brief answer for most folks. You need either a Blu-Ray player that decodes the audio formats on-board and outputs them as analog 5.1 or 7.1 outputs for connection to your older non HDMI Audio Video Receiver, or you need to connect the player via HDMI to your AVR and set the player to send "PCM" as the audio output format. This assumes that you have a player capable of internally decoding both DTS-MA and/or Dolby True-HD. If you connect in one of these methods it does not matter if your AVR is capable of decoding these sound formats since the decoding is done in the Blu-Ray Player.

2. I don't understand these uncompressed audio formats, please explain it to me.

A. This is actually a slightly complicated question so we will break it up into pieces. First of all there are two types of lossless audio tracks on Blu-Ray discs. Uncompressed PCM, in which the uncompressed audio is stored as raw information as a soundtrack on the disc, or "lossless" audio which is encoded in DTS-MA or Dolby TrueHD format. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA are very similar formats, with technical differences beyond the scope of this FAQ (see the Wikipedia links below if you really want to delve into the differences). Different studios might choose DTS-MA or Dolby TrueHD based on their licenses, authoring software, bandwidth consideration for the disc, etc. It is extremely uncommon to see both a DTS-MA or Dolby TrueHD track on the same Blu-Ray disc.

For these lossless formats to work, the Blu-Ray Player (or AVR) must uncompress the compressed audio file and then output it as PCM which can then be converted from digital to analog. This can be done either in the Blu-Ray Player (if it supports decoding the format) or it can be done in the AVR (if it supports decoding the format). From an engineering perspective there should be no difference in where this decoding is done. If the player decodes the audio and sends it as digital PCM information to the AVR, the data should be identical to what you would get if the player sent bitstream (raw DTS-MA or Dolby True-HD data) to the AVR for decoding.

3. So what's "bitstreaming"?

A. Bitstreaming is sending out Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA from your Blu-Ray player to your Audio Video Receiver as a raw stream of bits which your Audio Video Receiver must then decode. You can only do this over an HDMI connection. Many early Blu-Ray players could not decode the audio formats and had to send them out as "bit stream" to the AVR which could then decode the advanced audio. Most newer Blu-Ray players are capable of doing on-board decoding of both DTS-MA and Dolby-TrueHD and sending them as PCM audio to the Audio Video Receiver.

4. Can I get these advanced/lossless formats over toslink optical or coaxial?

A. No. For a variety of reasons including bandwidth limitations and copy protection, advanced audio (DTS-MA, Dolby TrueHD and lossless PCM) can only be passed over an HDMI connection (or as direct analog output from 5.1 or 7.1 jacks on the player).

5. I still don't understand. What if I have an older receiver and only have toslink and/or coax inputs, what is going to happen when I watch a Blu-Ray disc?

A. If you have an older AVR with only toslink or coaxial audio inputs then you would connect the Blu-Ray player to your display via HDMI and simultaneously connect your Blu-Ray player's toslink/optical or coaxial digital output to your Audio Video Receiver. You will get either Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 or 7.1 depending on the disk in question. These are not the uncompressed audio tracks, but are encoded at higher bitrate than is typical for DVD.

6. What is the best Blu-Ray player for me to get for uncompressed audio with my particular receiver??

A. This question assumes that everyone here knows everything about your particular AVR, which is often not the case. If your AVR has HDMI input then the best and simplest option for you is to simply get a Blu-Ray player that decodes the lossless formats and connect it to your AVR via HDMI and then set the audio output on the player to PCM output. If you have a legacy AVR (or separate sound processor, etc) with 5.1 or 7.1 analog inputs and you don't plan on upgrading it any time soon then choose a Blu-Ray player with on-board decoding AND analog audio outputs which you can then connect to your AVR. If you do plan on upgrading your AVR soon then you can probably get a less expensive Blu-Ray player without the onboard analog outputs, and simply connect it to your AVR via optical or coax for the time being, and then change to HDMI for lossless audio at some time in the future.

More information to be added to this FAQ in the near future.

Wikipedia links below;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DTS_(so...D_Master_Audio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_TrueHD
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCM
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post #3 of 1693 Old 12-13-2008, 11:51 AM
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post #5 of 1693 Old 12-13-2008, 01:50 PM
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I have hooked up the Samsung Blu-Ray player through two audio inputs on my Outlaw 990 processor -- using video 2 with optical input, and through 7.1 direct. I have set my Harmony to switch to 7.1 direct which was the reason for choosing this player -- only one with 7.1 analog and netflix connectivity.

The player hooks up well and sounds great. I have an Aquos 52" 1080p display and I hooked up my Pioneer Elite DVD and the Blu-Ray through a HDMI switcher so I could connect multiple devices.

Now, the questions:

When I play the Blu-Ray through 7.1, there is no apparent place on the blu-ray to select a sound mode so I have no idea if it is using any of the built-in Blue-ray modes or something else. Anyone have a clue on this one?

When I hook-up through the optical it does not want to use any of the built in modes (including lesser but proven digital modes such as DD EX, DTS EX) except perhaps DD PLIIX or DTS Neo.

I would love to hear how others are hooking up this machine.

Bruce
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post #6 of 1693 Old 12-13-2008, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce61 View Post

I have hooked up the Samsung Blu-Ray player through two audio inputs on my Outlaw 990 processor -- using video 2 with optical input, and through 7.1 direct. I have set my Harmony to switch to 7.1 direct which was the reason for choosing this player -- only one with 7.1 analog and netflix connectivity.

The player hooks up well and sounds great. I have an Aquos 52" 1080p display and I hooked up my Pioneer Elite DVD and the Blu-Ray through a HDMI switcher so I could connect multiple devices.

Now, the questions:

When I play the Blu-Ray through 7.1, there is no apparent place on the blu-ray to select a sound mode so I have no idea if it is using any of the built-in Blue-ray modes or something else. Anyone have a clue on this one?

When I hook-up through the optical it does not want to use any of the built in modes (including lesser but proven digital modes such as DD EX, DTS EX) except perhaps DD PLIIX or DTS Neo.

I would love to hear how others are hooking up this machine.

In many blu-ray discs you will need to go to the setup menu and select which audio track you want, since it might default to regular Digital Dolby 5.1 unless you select otherwise.

You shouldn't need to select anything in the Samsung for using the 7.1 analog outputs, it should automatically output whichever audio track you selected for that Blu-Ray disc as above.

You shouldn't need to even connect your optical hookup from the Samsung to your processor. It is doing nothing for you.
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post #7 of 1693 Old 12-13-2008, 09:24 PM
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It must be the day for audio write-ups.

I posted BD35/BD55 audio settings for HDMI, Optical/Coax, and Analog in post 6017 of the Official Panasonic DMP-BD35/55 Owners Thread.

Along with the specific settings, there's some basic information about how lossless tracks are treated when using optical and coax connections and about how to set up for analog, including the need to boost the sub.
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post #8 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 06:34 AM
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I think I have most of the settings figured out. I do have a couple questions...

Audio Settings

1) Audio (HDMI) Auto or 2 ch pcm (I am using multichannel outputs for sound)

2) Audio ATT Off or On?

3) 48khz/96 khz PCM 48khz/16bit or 96 khz/24bit? (Doesn't matter since I am set to multichannel but what should it be if I hook up optical?)

4) No idea what the speaker setting level should be. Default is zero. Do I need to tweak this?

5) BD Audio Setting Direct or Mix currently set to direct
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post #9 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johns560 View Post

1) Audio (HDMI) Auto or 2 ch pcm (I am using multichannel outputs for sound)

Are you using HDMI to the TV and, if so, will you listen to the TV sound at times? If so, use 2 ch PCM

Quote:


2) Audio ATT Off or On?

Off

Quote:


3) 48khz/96 khz PCM 48khz/16bit or 96 khz/24bit? (Doesn't matter since I am set to multichannel but what should it be if I hook up optical?)

That depends on your receiver. If it can process 96kHz sampling rates, then set it there. Otherwise, use 48kHz.

Quote:


4) No idea what the speaker setting level should be. Default is zero. Do I need to tweak this?

This is used to calibrate your system so that all speakers are at the same volume.

Quote:


5) BD Audio Setting Direct or Mix currently set to direct

Use direct for lossless audio. Change it to Mix when listening to PIP commentaries. You won't hear menu clicking sounds either when set to Direct.
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post #10 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 10:02 AM
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Good thread, I have a few key questions.

1. If you own a BD player like the S550 or 55K with on-board decoding and also own a new receiver with on-board decoding, does decoding actually take place twice, thus making sound even better? Or is there no such thing as double decoding?... i.e. Would your receiver recognize that the codecs which arrived from your S550 or 55K were already decoded and then simply pass them through to the speakers, or would it try decoding them again if the idea of 'double decoding' is possible? If the idea of 'double decoding' isn't possible, is there any point in owning BOTH a BD player and a receiver with on-board decoding?

2. If you own a BD player like the S350 or 35K, which are not capable of on-board decoding, and therefore must bitstream the codecs to a new reciever which can decode them, will you then achieve true 7.1 sound?

3. Is there a preferred on-board decoding source, either BD player or receiver? Does one decode better than the other producing a more true sound? If so, which is it?

Thanks!

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post #11 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paranoyd androyd View Post

1. If you own a BD player like the S550 or 55K with on-board decoding and also own a new receiver with on-board decoding, does decoding actually take place twice, thus making sound even better? Or is there no such thing as double decoding?... i.e. Would your receiver recognize that the codecs which arrived from your S550 or 55K were already decoded and then simply pass them through to the speakers, or would it try decoding them again if the idea of 'double decoding' is possible? If the idea of 'double decoding' isn't possible, is there any point in owning BOTH a BD player and a receiver with on-board decoding?

No such thing.

A movie sound track is recorded as multi-channel PCM. That's basic digital audio that all home theater equipment recognizes. A "codec" is a zip file that compresses the original PCM into a smaller package. Decoding simply unzips the file file back into PCM.

If the player bitstreams to a receiver, then the receiver does the decoding.

If the player does the decoding, one of two things happens.
1. It sends PCM over HDMI to the receiver. The AVR doesn't get involved in decoding, because that's already happened. There's nothing to decode any more.
2. It converts the PCM to analog and sends the converted audio to the receiver over 6 to 8 analog cables. Again, the audio has already been decoded and, in this case, it already been converted to analog.

Having decoding in both places gives you options. But, it's not ever used at the same time. You can save a bit on the player or the receiver if you just getting decoding in one device. But, it's not a lot of money either way.

Quote:


2. If you own a BD player like the S350 or 35K, which are not capable of on-board decoding, and therefore must bitstream the codecs to a new reciever which can decode them, will you then achieve true 7.1 sound?

Yes. The decoding process is the same either place. The compressed file gets unzipped into the same number of PCM channels. btw, the BD35 can decode all formats. The S350 can do all except for dts-MA.

Quote:


3. Is there a preferred on-board decoding source, either BD player or receiver? Does one decode better than the other producing a more true sound? If so, which is it?

There should be no difference. Decoding is just unzipping and the resulting PCM will be identical. It is possible that a receiver may handle the PCM decoded by a player differently than the PCM it produces itself. But, that would be a specific receiver issue.
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post #12 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

No such thing.

A movie sound track is recorded as multi-channel PCM. That's basic digital audio that all home theater equipment recognizes. A "codec" is a zip file that compresses the original PCM into a smaller package. Decoding simply unzips the file file back into PCM.

If the player bitstreams to a receiver, then the receiver does the decoding.

If the player does the decoding, one of two things happens.
1. It sends PCM over HDMI to the receiver. The AVR doesn't get involved in decoding, because that's already happened. There's nothing to decode any more.
2. It converts the PCM to analog and sends the converted audio to the receiver over 6 to 8 analog cables. Again, the audio has already been decoded and, in this case, it already been converted to analog.

Having decoding in both places gives you options. But, it's not ever used at the same time. You can save a bit on the player or the receiver if you just getting decoding in one device. But, it's not a lot of money either way.

Yes. The decoding process is the same either place. The compressed file gets unzipped into the same number of PCM channels. btw, the BD35 can decode all formats. The S350 can do all except for dts-MA.

There should be no difference. Decoding is just unzipping and the resulting PCM will be identical. It is possible that a receiver may handle the PCM decoded by a player differently than the PCM it produces itself. But, that would be a specific receiver issue.

THANK YOU!

Two more questions:

1. If your BD player can't decode on-board and thus has to bitstream to your AVR to decode, are you losing any sound quality in the bitstreaming process from BD player to AVR? Or can codecs pass through via bitstreaming in 100% original quality?

2. Do you need to use analog cables from your AVR to speakers in order to get 7.1 analog sound? Or is 7.1 sound possible digitally? i.e... Can you use HDMI output from AVR to speakers to get 7.1 digital sound? Basically, I'm confused if 7.1 sound is just an analog feature or if it applies to digitial output (HDMI) as well.


Thanks!

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post #13 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paranoyd androyd View Post

1. If your BD player can't decode on-board and thus has to bitstream to your AVR to decode, are you losing any sound quality in the bitstreaming process from BD player to AVR? Or can codecs pass through via bitstreaming in 100% original quality?

These are digital data files. Just a bunch of 1s and 0s. They get zipped to save space and unzipped back to their original form, exactly the same bit-for-bit. That's true no matter where the decoding happens.

Quote:


2. Do you need to use analog cables from your AVR to speakers in order to get 7.1 analog sound? Or is 7.1 sound possible digitally? i.e... Can you use HDMI output from AVR to speakers to get 7.1 digital sound? Basically, I'm confused if 7.1 sound is just an analog feature or if it applies to digitial output (HDMI) as well.

All audio ends up analog in the end. That's the only thing we can hear. The digital file contains information about what goes into each channel, up to eight channels for the HD formats. If you decode in the player and convert to analog there, the audio gets sent over eight cables to your receiver and then out to your speakers. If you send the digital data to your receiver, it does the decoding and analog conversion, producing eight channels of analog audio. The only thing that has changed is where the decoding and analog conversion takes place. The process is the same either way.

People use analog because their receivers don't have HDMI and it's the only way to get lossless without buying a new AVR. If you have HDMI, use it instead. It's a whole lot easier.
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post #14 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

All audio ends up analog in the end. That's the only thing we can hear. The digital file contains information about what goes into each channel, up to eight channels for the HD formats. If you decode in the player and convert to analog there, the audio gets sent over eight cables to your receiver and then out to your speakers. If you send the digital data to your receiver, it does the decoding and analog conversion, producing eight channels of analog audio. The only thing that has changed is where the decoding and analog conversion takes place. The process is the same either way.

People use analog because their receivers don't have HDMI and it's the only way to get lossless without buying a new AVR. If you have HDMI, use it instead. It's a whole lot easier.

OK, so if my receiver has HDMI inputs and outputs, I should connect from BD player to AVR via HDMI and from AVR to speakers via HDMI in order to get the best 7.1 sound possible?

Or should I connect via analog cables (instead of HDMI) from AVR to speakers in order to get 7.1?

Thanks.

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post #15 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paranoyd androyd View Post

OK, so if my receiver has HDMI inputs and outputs, I should connect from BD player to AVR via HDMI and from AVR to speakers via HDMI in order to get the best 7.1 sound possible?

Or should I connect via analog cables (instead of HDMI) from AVR to speakers in order to get 7.1?

You always connect your speakers to your AVR with speaker wire from the terminals on the back of the receiver to the terminals on the speakers. The receiver and/or the player does the conversion of digital to analog. The receiver does the amplification needed to power the speakers.
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post #16 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

You always connect your speakers to your AVR with speaker wire from the terminals on the back of the receiver to the terminals on the speakers. The receiver and/or the player does the conversion of digital to analog. The receiver does the amplification needed to power the speakers.

Man do I probably sound confused. This whole time I thought speakers now have HDMI and analog cable inputs, but alas, it sounds like they're still only capable of being fed via speaker wire(?). Yes, I'm clearly no audiophile.

So what would I use the HDMI output from my AVR to connect to... the TV?

Like this...

BD player > HDMI > AVR

AVR > HDMI > TV

AVR > speaker wire > Speakers

?


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post #17 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paranoyd androyd View Post

Man do I probably sound confused. This whole time I thought speakers now have HDMI and analog cable inputs, but alas, it sounds like they're still only capable of being fed via speaker wire(?). Yes, I'm clearly no audiophile.

So what would I use the HDMI output from my AVR to connect to... the TV?

Like this...

BD player > HDMI > AVR

AVR > HDMI > TV

AVR > speaker wire > Speakers

?


Yep. That's it. You'd do the same for a cable or satellite box and any other equipment you have. Attach them to the AVR using HDMI or whatever cables are appropriate. The AVR handles sound and routes all video out to the TV over HDMI.
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post #18 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paranoyd androyd View Post

Man do I probably sound confused. This whole time I thought speakers now have HDMI and analog cable inputs, but alas, it sounds like they're still only capable of being fed via speaker wire(?). Yes, I'm clearly no audiophile.

So what would I use the HDMI output from my AVR to connect to... the TV?

Like this...

BD player > HDMI > AVR

AVR > HDMI > TV

AVR > speaker wire > Speakers

?


Some speakers can be fed in the manner you describe, but they are self-powered jobs usually being fed from the sound card on a PC, etc.

Due to the power levels involved being delivered to passive (regular) speakers they just get connected via two conductors, similar to the two wire cord that you use to power a lamp.
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post #19 of 1693 Old 12-14-2008, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

Yep. That's it. You'd do the same for a cable or satellite box and any other equipment you have. Attach them to the AVR using HDMI or whatever cables are appropriate. The AVR handles sound and routes all video out to the TV over HDMI.

Thank you so much for all your patience and help here, everything is so much clearer now.

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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

Some speakers can be fed in the manner you describe, but they are self-powered jobs usually being fed from the sound card on a PC, etc.

Due to the power levels involved being delivered to passive (regular) speakers they just get connected via two conductors, similar to the two wire cord that you use to power a lamp.

I take it those self-powered speakers you're referring to probably don't deliver near the quality as those powered by conductors? Then again there's nothing people hate more than having to run speaker wire.

I see those "mini-theater in a box" sound systems all the time advertising a wireless speaker connection to the mini-receiver provided, but have always wondered whether their sound quality must really suffer. Surely such systems can't deliver authentic 7.1 sound with these new formats, right?

Great idea with this thread btw.

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post #20 of 1693 Old 12-15-2008, 10:50 AM
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What settings do I use if connecting by HDMI sraight to the HDTV using the tv's speakers? Thanks
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post #21 of 1693 Old 12-15-2008, 02:33 PM
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What settings do I use if connecting by HDMI sraight to the HDTV using the tv's speakers? Thanks

What Blu-Ray player do you have? What TV? Generally you should be able to simply set your Blu-Ray player to 2-channel output and PCM and it should be fine going to a TV over HDMI.
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post #22 of 1693 Old 12-15-2008, 03:48 PM
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[quote=BIslander;15294208]Are you using HDMI to the TV and, if so, will you listen to the TV sound at times? If so, use 2 ch PCM

I am using HDMI for video to the TV. Never TV sound for a Blu ray movie.
What does 2 ch PCM do?
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post #23 of 1693 Old 12-15-2008, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by johns560 View Post

Never TV sound for a Blu ray movie.
What does 2 ch PCM do?

It does nothing for you then. 2 channel PCM forces down 5.1 or 7.1 content to 2 channel for playback on non surround sound stereo systems, such as stereo TV speakers.

Not all players have this feature and it does not apply to you since, as you say, you don't listen through your TV speakers.
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post #24 of 1693 Old 12-15-2008, 07:01 PM
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ok....I have the panny 55, outlaw 990 preamp processor and the 5080 kuro. I currently have an hdmi cable from the panny to the kuro and 7.1 analog from the panny to the outlaw.

I have read conflicting "facts" about my panny to outlaw connection. Some say I need to set the size of the speakers and the distance in the panny. Others say I leave the speakers at large and do not touch the distance settings because the Outlaw will use the settings from my other sources. Who is right?

Also, I have wireless headphones hooked up to the kuro. How should I send the audio thru the hdmi plug in order to use these headphones (normal 2 channel sennheiser)?

Thanks in advance
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post #25 of 1693 Old 12-15-2008, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildWolf View Post

I have read conflicting "facts" about my panny to outlaw connection. Some say I need to set the size of the speakers and the distance in the panny. Others say I leave the speakers at large and do not touch the distance settings because the Outlaw will use the settings from my other sources. Who is right?

Adjustments based on size and distance can only happen when the audio is digital.
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post #26 of 1693 Old 12-15-2008, 07:15 PM
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could I use the same settings that I use for my outlaw or do I need to go thru it again with my SPL tool from radio shack?
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post #27 of 1693 Old 12-16-2008, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by WildWolf View Post

could I use the same settings that I use for my outlaw or do I need to go thru it again with my SPL tool from radio shack?

You should always re-balance your gain levels when going to a new input source.
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post #28 of 1693 Old 12-16-2008, 09:35 AM
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EndgadgetHD posted a link today to an interesting How-to for setting up 7.1 analog output on the Panny BD55 and Sony S550. Some nice info in the article.

http://www.bigpicturebigsound.com/Ho..._And_Why.shtml
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post #29 of 1693 Old 12-16-2008, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

Adjustments based on size and distance can only happen when the audio is digital.

This does not make sense to me.....what happens with an analog signal for dolby pro logic? The processor still adjusts for size and distance, no?
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post #30 of 1693 Old 12-16-2008, 06:25 PM
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This does not make sense to me.....what happens with an analog signal for dolby pro logic? The processor still adjusts for size and distance, no?

That's a good question, although I don't think it is relevant to the issue of setting up multichannel speaker systems. Bass and time management happen in the digital domain.

I'm not an audio engineer and I don't know how receivers apply surround processing such as ProLogic to analog sources. Dolby Surround and ProLogic were created for use with analog, a way to fold four discrete channels into a stereo signal. But, I have no idea how that is done, actually.
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