Panasonic DMP-BDT500 Analog Output Setup Problems
I could not resist purchasing the DMP-BDT500 on Amazon in Jan, 2014 for $160 in order to stretch the use of my 10 year old Yamaha RX-V1400 that has no Blu Ray audio capability or even HDMI inputs! That player is probably the last one of any brand to have analog out, except for possibly Oppo, which I had but sold while it still had value without 3D capability. I had a very difficult time setting up the Panasonic and only succeeded using a work-around, i.e. changing the SW volume by 12 dB at the SW when switching Multi-Channel Input "on" and "off" on the AVR. I use "on" when I use the DBT500 to play Blu Ray's and "off" for everything else.
I have a 5.1 system so I went to that part of the settings on the BDT500 Setup Menu > Audio > Analog Audio Out > 2ch (Downmix) + 5.1ch. Clicking that page reveals a graphical speaker setup to modify speaker size, delay and balance (0 to -6 dB ugh!). Setting all speakers small, input delays relative to the front LR speakers and then clicking on test with the AVR set to Multi-Channel Input yielded sounds on all five speakers but it just skipped over the SW! So I was not able to adjust its level. I chose to set all five speakers to -6 dB and left the SW on 0 dB (one could change its level and even take it out or put it in the system, but it never made a sound using the Test feature, which just "jumped" over the icon for the SW clearly proving something is amiss in the player. It was also a mystery of what Xover frequency the BDT500 uses when the speakers are set to small! That clearly is a screw-up on Pana's watch. But the SW silence as to be an error somewhere (I have the latest firmware installed).
Having adjusted all channel volumes already using the AVR internal test tones, I used Avia II to see what the result was with the AVR still on Multi-Channel Input. With the two sets of gains applied, all speakers were equally loud (using a sound meter), but the SW output was very low. so the solution I chose to use is just turning up the SW vol at the SW by 12 dB which balanced the SW with the other channels. Given that I chose small speakers, the analog out from the DBT500 should be the LFE (+10 dB?) + low frequency audio. But there is so much written about problems in players and receivers in handling LFE correctly, I am not sure I have the correct signal coming out of the SW channel of the BDT500. My work around solution requires me to change the volume at the SW by 12 DB each time I want to use the Multi-Channel Analog out (i.e. for Blu-Ray disks). That requires a mirror as the SW controls are on its backside and the SW is very near a wall. That is a bloody pain. Fortunately my SVS sub is almost indestructible in case I end up with an extra 12 dB if I switch while playing loud! If it were not for the puny 0 to -6 dB level range that Pana provided, I would still have had to do a work around even if the SW adjustment did work. All it would have taken would be a range of -6dB to +6 dB. Who are these people that designed this unit?
Does anyone know if others have problems with the SW on the analog out? I could not find anything after much hunting.
What I learned from trying to use the DBT500, a top of the line unit, for analog out is that its sound management is incredibly rudimentary, so much so that even though I found a work-around, I have already scooped out my next AVR. Since my Yamaha has worked flawlessly for a decade, I am going to go with them again and get the RX-A1040, their top of the line 7.2 unit. IMHO digging through the specs and comparing with Marantz, Pioneer and Onkyo of similar price, the Yamaha got my highest score. Even so, it is sad to seen even now USB's are still 2.0, Ethernet is still 100 Mbps and USB media need to be formatted FAT!