Answers to HD-A1 and HD-XA1 Audio Questions - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 02:52 PM
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I just tried using the analog outputs, and frankly, it's not worth the trouble, at least in my case. Using a Denon 3805. First off, the output is too low no matter where you set the test tones. Actually the test tones themselves are too loud, but when actual audio is being played the output is too low. Plus, I get a very noticeable hum when connected through the analog outputs, never had that problem with any other player. Couldn't get an acceptable audio level without having a lot of hum introduced. I spent about a 1 1/2 hrs messing with it and finally just went back to the "DTS" optical connection.
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post #182 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by himey View Post

Can I get 5.1 uncompressed audio from the analog outs? I did not think so. Hopefully I am wrong.

Whatever formats the Toshiba can decode, will be output "full strength", so to speak, via analog and PCM/HDMI.

Right now, this is confirmed to mean DD+ (5.1) and DD TruHD (2 channel). We are waiting to hear back from DTS as to what form DTS-HD will be decoded in.

I have a suspicion here, I don't know if we can say that the "re-encoding" to DTS is at fault for the lowered DB levels. It seems that the analog users are reporting the same thing.

Could it be that the DD+ material or decoding is giving a lower signal level itself?

By the way, the HDMI/PCM option is the best, for anyone who can. But you must choose PCM from the menu (or auto). Choosing bitstream, if I read the manual correctly, will give you the DTS bitstream over HDMI - which is less optimal than PCM.

The DTS bitstream is used as the optimal method to get the 5.1 over SPDIF, as there is not enough "space" over SPDIF optical or coax to support 5.1 channels of uncompressed 96/24 audio.

So DTS compression is used as the least of all evils, just for the SPDIF connections.

Shame to hear about that analog hum - is eveyone getting that?
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post #183 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allez View Post

Please forgive the stupid questions, but why are the analog inputs better? Is the idea that the HD-A1 would convert the audio to analog and this would be passed on unchanged through the receiver? What format would the audio be in then?

In theory 5.1 channel analog should be better than SPDIF because you are avoiding having the decoded PCM re-encoded to DTS then decoded again by your receiver. If you use analog the PCM just goes through a D/A conversion. It sounds like in practice this may not be the case if people are getting hum or cannot get high enough volume. It also may not be the case if the re-encoding is done really well. We may have to wait for some experts to test that.

I'm not sure what you mean by "format of the analog". Analog is a continous electrical wave, it doesn't really have formats like digital. It will be the analog representation of whatever digital format was decoded to PCM.

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post #184 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdjam View Post

I have a suspicion here, I don't know if we can say that the "re-encoding" to DTS is at fault for the lowered DB levels. It seems that the analog users are reporting the same thing.

Could it be that the DD+ decoding is giving a lower signal level itself?

I think sspears commented that the volume on the Warner titles is lower than Universal. I noticed it using PCM over HDMI as well. I have to turn the volume up higher than I do with my old DVD player. However, it's not a problem to get the volume loud enough and the quality is good. No hum that I can hear.

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post #185 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by himey View Post

Can I get 5.1 uncompressed audio from the analog outs? I did not think so. Hopefully I am wrong.

If you mean can you get the full quality of the new sound formats via analog, in theory the answer is yes. The new formats should be decoded directly to uncompressed 5.1 channel digital PCM, then converted to analog by the internal DACs.

John S
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post #186 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschefdog View Post

I think sspears commented that the volume on the Warner titles is lower than Universal. I noticed it using PCM over HDMI as well. I have to turn the volume up higher than I do with my old DVD player. However, it's not a problem to get the volume loud enough and the quality is good. No hum that I can hear.

Starting to sound like the encoding of the audio on the Warner material was done at a lower level. If the Universal is fine, and Warner is too low on both analog and digital output - then I'd blame the encoded audio stream on the Warner titles.
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post #187 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 05:59 PM
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keenan wrote:
>>Okay, that confirms what I had suspected, there is no DD on the disc, period.<<

>>That's what I had originally thought, that a DD stream could be extracted from the DD+ signal, apparently not, or if it can, the Toshiba is not handling it right.<<

While discs with Dolby Digital Plus can offer a converted DD output, and discs with DD could output a DD stream directly, that is not possible when the discs are authored in Advanced mode. In that case, all audio goes into the player's mixer as decoded PCM, so the only outputs are PCM, analog, and possibly an encoded version for S/PDIF if the player has an encoder. The Toshiba has a DTS encoder, so it will output DTS regardless of the source format, PCM, DTS/HD, DD, DD+. Other players may choose to include a Dolby Digital encoder.

Rdjam wrote:
>>I have a suspicion here, I don't know if we can say that the "re-encoding" to DTS is at fault for the lowered DB levels. It seems that the analog users are reporting the same thing. Could it be that the DD+ material or decoding is giving a lower signal level itself?<<

I suspect that the lowered levels are not happening in the decoder, but in the mixer, in order to avoid clipping when combining several signals. These lowered levels thus will appear at all outputs. This will not necessarily be the way audio is presented from all future players, as it is a "player implementation matter."
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post #188 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 06:01 PM
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Roger,

What is the solution for us folks that will not tolerate this 'DTS' phenomena?

Can this be fixed via firmware or are there going to be an onslaught of returns?

Or is this also a software issue?

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #189 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 06:10 PM
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Hi thebland,

>>What is the solution for us folks that will not tolerate this 'DTS' phenomena?<<
I'm not sure which you object to--the S/PDIF being DTS encoded, or the output levels being low?

Did you check the disc menu for the "button sound" option someone else raised? Does it exist--and if so, does it do anything to loudness if you switch it off?
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post #190 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 06:23 PM
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I object to the low levels (at least 10 db) as well as the DTS encoding. I don't want to see DTS when I have DD selected.

I have not tried the button sound thing..... But I will.

So, you are saying that my player is NOT defective?

Thanks for helping out. This has been frustrating...

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #191 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 06:28 PM
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Were these players not Beta tested prior to release?

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #192 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

keenan wrote:
>>Okay, that confirms what I had suspected, there is no DD on the disc, period.<<

>>That's what I had originally thought, that a DD stream could be extracted from the DD+ signal, apparently not, or if it can, the Toshiba is not handling it right.<<

While discs with Dolby Digital Plus can offer a converted DD output, and discs with DD could output a DD stream directly, that is not possible when the discs are authored in Advanced mode. In that case, all audio goes into the player's mixer as decoded PCM, so the only outputs are PCM, analog, and possibly an encoded version for S/PDIF if the player has an encoder. The Toshiba has a DTS encoder, so it will output DTS regardless of the source format, PCM, DTS/HD, DD, DD+. Other players may choose to include a Dolby Digital encoder.

Thanks, Roger, I was hoping you'd weigh in on this. Curious that Toshiba went with a DTS encoder/decoder instead of Dolby, any reason that you're aware of...?

It's especially curious as there is not even a DTS track on these discs, at least the first three, very odd....
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post #193 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Roger,

What is the solution for us folks that will not tolerate this 'DTS' phenomena?

Can this be fixed via firmware or are there going to be an onslaught of returns?

Or is this also a software issue?

The way I read what Roger has said, is that the HD-A1 has only a DTS decoder, no Dolby decoder on board at all. Given that, I don't think there is any way we'll ever get a standard Dolby Digital stream out of these players.
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post #194 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 07:01 PM
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>>Curious that Toshiba went with a DTS encoder/decoder instead of Dolby, any reason that you aware of...? <<

I cannot say or know why. I can say that it does cost a little more to do DD encoding. For one thing, it needs more DSP resources. We are using the encoder first found in the Sony camcorder (but bitrate increased from 448 to 640 kbps) whereas we used a simpler version for X-box, where lower latency was important for interactive game play.
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post #195 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

>>Curious that Toshiba went with a DTS encoder/decoder instead of Dolby, any reason that you aware of...? <<

I cannot say or know why. I can say that it does cost a little more to do DD encoding. For one thing, it needs more DSP resources. We are using the encoder first found in the Sony camcorder (but bitrate increased from 448 to 640 kbps) whereas we used a simpler version for X-box, where lower latency was important for interactive game play.

Then it must be nothing more than a cost thing, which I guess would make sense as $500 for one of these players seems really low, given the technology and the fact that they are first to market.
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post #196 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 07:06 PM
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Quotereamer
SSpears

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Posts: 3,972 And here I thought people loved DTS. This is a magic box, it converts everything into DTS.

Not Funny!
Lets face it this is a major screwup or we would have heard about it long ago,
that because the A-1 uses a DTS decoder it would make your reciever think everything was DTS and the DD would be converted to DTS.
The low volume is another big screwup that I think AVSer's will not tolerate.
There are audio standards for the recorded volume and if I hooked up a denon 3910 and it was 10 db down it would go back because it is defective.
-10 db on my reciever is 10 db down from 0 reference and should not be -20.
If the recorded volume was set at a different reference point we should have been made aware of this or was it covered up because no one would have purchased the players?.
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post #197 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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The volume of the analog audio out is not lower than PCM over HDMI. I just got my Yamaha HTR-5990 receiver hooked up by both HDMI and 5.1 channel analog. I can switch back and forth as the audio is playing. It sounds slightly different but the volume is pretty close to the same. It may be a db or two different, but it is not dramatic. So the low volume is not due to the D/A conversion in the player.

I also get no hum that I can hear, even if I put my ear up close to the speaker. So if the hum is coming from the A1 it may be unit dependent. Or it may be receiver dependent. Or it may be interaction between the A1 and receiver. Or it could just be good ole ground loop hum since the A1 has a 3 prong plug.

I'm not an audiophile by any means, but once I increase the volume the audio sounds good to me. As I said, I thought the music in Phantom of the Opera sounded very good. I have a mid-range audio system (Paradigm Reference speakers), so maybe only those with more high end systems will hear the problems some are describing.

John S
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post #198 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Thanks, Roger, I was hoping you'd weigh in on this. Curious that Toshiba went with a DTS encoder/decoder instead of Dolby, any reason that you're aware of...?

It's especially curious as there is not even a DTS track on these discs, at least the first three, very odd....

Yeah, this is just damn bizarre.
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post #199 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 08:22 PM
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keenan wrote:
>>The way I read what Roger has said, is that the HD-A1 has only a DTS decoder, no Dolby decoder on board at all. Given that, I don't think there is any way we'll ever get a standard Dolby Digital stream out of these players. <<

Just to be accurate, it has a DTS ENcoder. The player indeed includes all the various Dolby and DTS DEcoders mentioned elsewhere. And it is indeed possible to get a Dolby Digital bitstream out of this player if the disc is authored as Standard, and if the soundtrack is either Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus. Lot of ifs, I agree.

>>It's especially curious as there is not even a DTS track on these discs, at least the first three, very odd.... <<

I hope the mystery has been somewhat answered. It is not dependent on the disc or the source track format, but on the player itself which supports a particular encoder for S/PDIF compatibility. Which encoder would be the obviously correct one when the source is 5.1 PCM?
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post #200 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 08:26 PM
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I've got the ground hum noise. I think I've verified this by unplugging the unit (hum stops) and then just plugging the ground back in (hum begins).

How would you correct this?
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post #201 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevenson View Post

I've got the ground hum noise. I think I've verified this by unplugging the unit (hum stops) and then just plugging the ground back in (hum begins).

How would you correct this?

Found it, it was off my cable line to my DVR. Fixed that, and my hum over 5.1 analog is gone.
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post #202 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevenson View Post

I've got the ground hum noise. I think I've verified this by unplugging the unit (hum stops) and then just plugging the ground back in (hum begins).

How would you correct this?

Ground loops are notoriously hard to fix sometimes. There are probably good threads someplace if you search. Ground loop is caused by the ground on the two sets being at different voltage levels.

Here are some quick pointers:

1. Try to move the outlet. Typically having both the source and receiver on the same outlet helps (in the same power strip for example). This is to reduce ground differential (voltage) between the two units. Sometimes the opposite helps. Don't ask me why .

2. Use an optical feed. Which of course, rules out the analog output you are trying to get working.

3. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS OPTION as it can be very dangerous should someting short out in your unit. But some people use an adapter the defeats the ground wire on the power cable. Again, you are taking chances here. But it may be worth to try just to see if it helps as a temporary test.

4. The problem may be other units that are also connected to the receiver. Unplug them and see if the problem goes away. If it does, try the above options with them.

5. Get a difference receiver! I am not kidding. Some ground loops occur with certain combination of equipment and not others.

Hope this helps.

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post #203 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 08:52 PM
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Thanks for the tip Amir, I googled and started unplugging things to figure it out. I'm sort of pissed my Belkin PF60 didn't handle this, but what can you do?

Anyways, the cable line into the DVR->Component to Component Switcher->Component back to Rec->Analog to HD-DVD->Power line.

For now I've disconnected the Component from Receiver (only used with retro game systems for up-conversion, and even then it's not a big deal just had an extra set of cables).

Glad I found it, I was going to be upset if I couldn't use Analog to get the HD tracks when the movies hit on Tuesday.
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post #204 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 08:54 PM
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Glad it worked out!

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post #205 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 09:15 PM
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Roger, thank you for clearing this up.

When I looked at the audio conversion tables in the A1 manual everything implied that DD should come out over s/pdif, EXCEPT for the tiny row with the dotted line that was labelled, confusingly to me, "Advanced con."

Now, I admit I didn't read the manual, just zipped to sections that I though might be relevant, so maybe it explains what that is, but in the future, is there a way of knowing, from the packaging whether a title is authored in this Advanced content mode?

Can someone explain or provide a link to Advanced Content authoring?

Curious if the XA1 uses the DTS encoder exclusively as well?
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post #206 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 09:32 PM
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The HD-XA1 supposedly feature the SHARC ADSP-21266, so can I presume the audio capabilities of it will be better than the HD-A1 (since SHARC ADSP is explicitly featured as a logo on the door of the player)?

So I can assume that the DTS-only bitstream over HDMI/SPDIF should not be a problem for the HD-XA1 (since it is possible to choose the output bitstream as DTS / DD)?
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post #207 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post


Just to be accurate, it has a DTS ENcoder. The player indeed includes all the various Dolby and DTS DEcoders mentioned elsewhere. And it is indeed possible to get a Dolby Digital bitstream out of this player if the disc is authored as Standard, and if the soundtrack is either Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus. Lot of ifs, I agree.

So can you explain what the difference between Standard and Advanced authoring is? Are the specs published somewhere? I tried searching for it briefly but was unable to find anything.
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post #208 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 09:44 PM
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I hope this helps, this is taken from the Toshiba press release back in Jan/Feb:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toshiba View Post

The new HD DVD players can pass digital information to a Surround Sound Processor/Receiver via S/PDIF or HDMI.

For Dolby Digital and DTS, the bitstream will be passed through both connections just as in a standard DVD player with the same interfaces.

Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD content will be converted to a standard bitstream format that is compatible with any processor equipped with decoders of the respective formats and output through S/PDIF and HDMI.

Additionally, all the audio formats for either DVD or HD DVD will be decoded to PCM and output via HDMI in either stereo or multi-channel.

So I presume that if one's Surround Sound processor/receiver supports DTS, the player will automatically choose the DTS bitstream. Does anyone who have DD only sound processor/receiver but still face the DTS bitstream problem?

Or the AVR can be set to receive/decode DD signals only (instead of automatically detecting the stream from the player) so that the player will have to output DD only signals? (I do not know very much about the AVR as I use the HTPC w/DVI for my DVD viewing).
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post #209 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 09:56 PM
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Has anyone considered that the reason the audio is quirky with DD+ is probably because most receivers simply aren't yet equipped to properly decode it, and it's getting distorted/degraded by the decoding processors? The way I see it, the player's job is to output the DD+ audio, and if it is doing that, I don't see how this can be considered a fault or bug of the player.

I suppose it could also be a software issue with these first titles. I don't know, but hopefully we'll know for sure soon.
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post #210 of 1871 Old 04-16-2006, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoked View Post

So can you explain what the difference between Standard and Advanced authoring is? Are the specs published somewhere? I tried searching for it briefly but was unable to find anything.

This reminds me of the issue with Windows where everyone got very upset when they found out that kMixer was resampling all their audio.

It seems to me that encoding the audio as DTS using the absolute maximum bandwidth that you can pass over S/PDIF is a pretty good way to do it. If you want more than that you can simply use the HDMI connection which has enough bandwidth to pass the uncompressed PCM audio without re-encoding.

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