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post #1 of 42 Old 01-25-2013, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I have the video part of HD down but not the audio. I have never bothered to upgrade my receiver from a onkyp tx sr 502 that has the 6.1 audio. I know DirecTV only outputs a 5.1. I am using the optical audio for that and in the past for a dvd player that we never used.
I just redid every thing and the last thing was a new blue ray player that I am using the digital coax for the audio. I read there is something called lossless or low loss audio that only comes through the hdmi cable. I am wondering what others have experienced when upgrading to hdmi receivers. I have gone 3D and wonder if the low loss/lossless worth the $$$.
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post #2 of 42 Old 01-25-2013, 10:19 AM
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To my ears, it depends on how well made the blu-ray disc is. Lossless audio (DTS-MA, Dolby TrueHD) is only available on blu-ray disks if it's encoded that way. I think a large part of being able to distinguish between lossless audio and compressed audio is how good of a speaker system you have. Our speakers are good for our listening environment but are certainly at the lower end of quality, but they serve their purposes. We watched The Avengers the other night (lossless) and while it sounded really good, I had a hard time distinguishing the quality of the soundtrack versus another blu-ray that had compressed audio. If it were me, I'd go with a receiver that can pass-through lossless audio because you never know how your situation will change and I think the tendency is to keep your receiver longer than your speakers or even your blu-ray player. Lossless audio can be passed via a High Speed HDMI cable (blu-ray player to receiver) but it can't be passed via optical. Optical cables are used to pass discrete 5.1 audio to your receiver from either the internal ATSC tuner of the tv or the cable/sat box.
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post #3 of 42 Old 01-25-2013, 10:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil17108 View Post

I have the video part of HD down but not the audio. I have never bothered to upgrade my receiver from a onkyp tx sr 502 that has the 6.1 audio. I know DirecTV only outputs a 5.1. I am using the optical audio for that and in the past for a dvd player that we never used.
I just redid every thing and the last thing was a new blue ray player that I am using the digital coax for the audio. I read there is something called lossless or low loss audio that only comes through the hdmi cable. I am wondering what others have experienced when upgrading to hdmi receivers. I have gone 3D and wonder if the low loss/lossless worth the $$$.

First - "props" to Otto - you are absolutely right. How much of a difference lossy audio versus lossless audio makes is truly dependent upon the speaker system being used. Well done.

To answer the OP's questions, lossy audio was invented because originally there wasn't enough space on the disc nor a fast enough method to send out the bits to support lossless multichannel audio. So a method was invented to reduce the number of bits and increase the number of channels to 5.1-channels (then 6.1-channel for DTS and 7.1-channels for LPCM, DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD).

Based on numerous studies, it has been shown that parts of audio are inperceptible to most humans. The obvious things are frequencies that are too high to hear or too low to hear (although those can be felt). In addition to those, we have a difficult time perceiving very soft sounds while a loud sound is also occuring. A finger cymbal being hit at the same time a cannon is fired will not be heard. The lossy algorithms take this into account when reducing the sounds to make the bits fit in the available space. Their goal with these algorithms is to 1) reduce the bit count to an acceptable level and 2) make it inperceptible to the average listener.

So, for you to notice the improvement with lossless audio, you would have to have a system that allowed you to hear the differrences. A bunch of little satellite speakers with little dynamic range will not provide an ability to hear the differences. Obviously your own hearing would have an impact as to whether or not you could hear a difference.

Finally, there is no such thing as low-loss audio. The whole idea behind the lossy audio was to save space. Low-loss would not save significant space and would make no sense. Be careful of any source that mentioned low-loss since they obviously are talking outside of their area of knowledge. By the way, Dolby Digital Plus uses more bits than Dolby Digital but is still a lossy audio scheme. It is definately not low-loss. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA are both lossless audio. The bits output from those two codecs are the exactly same bits that were originally recorded.

The bottom line to all this is the following question: What are you missing from your present system that you think lossless audio and a new receiver will solve? If you can give us an answer to that, we can probably tell you if you are on the right track.
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post #4 of 42 Old 01-25-2013, 04:13 PM
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Andy, thanks. always learning wink.gif
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post #5 of 42 Old 01-25-2013, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the education on lossless audio I think its not going to worth the effort for me. I have an expensive Polk system from 2004 and I am sure I can't hear all it has to offer, and I did not think that the move from the old pro logic system other then the powered sub was that great of a deal. I just got my first blue ray disk avatar in 3D so I'll play that and see. I also could run down a player with 5.1 analog outputs because the onkyo has the inputs but then again that adds a bunch of RCA cables and I like to keep every net and out of sight.
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post #6 of 42 Old 01-25-2013, 10:05 PM
 
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I think you're on the right track with the way you are thinking about the audio improvement.

Keep in mind, that if you ever get to the point you start to say that the cymbals should sound a little sharper or the bass drum not as boomy, it might then be time to reconsider.

Of course you are talking to someone who had the sound pressure wave from his speakers push the light switch on (and it wasn't boomy bass either). It was a Shuttle launch recording and that was enjoyable have accidentally happen.

Like I said, if your tastes change, you can always re-evaluate.
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post #7 of 42 Old 01-26-2013, 07:14 AM
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The ‘lossy’ audio you receive via the Optical cable from the BD Player to your AVR will (with a well recorded/encoded disc) offer you a bit of a lift in dynamics over the quality you receive via Optical from your Broadcast and DVD sources.

It is amazing how over sold these various badges are on kit and how they blind folk to ensuring the fundamentals are in place first.

Joe

PS If your BD Player has multi-channel analogue Outputs RCA’s and the AVR has multi-channel analogue Inputs RCA’s for 5.1 you can have the BD Player decode the HD Audio and send it to the AVR that way – you then need to set the BD Player up in terms of telling it what size speakers you have, Sub crossover point and distances to the listening position as the AVR wont ‘process’ the multi-channel analogue.

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post #8 of 42 Old 01-26-2013, 08:40 AM
 
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For those who might read this thread in the future, while the Onkyo TX SR 502 won't provide bass management on its external multichannel analog inputs, there are many other AVRs that will provide bass management with external multichannel analog inputs. These are usually the higher priced units from a brand and include higher-end Denons back to those manufactured in 2003.

So, check your owner's manual to determine whether bass management with the analog multichannel inputs can be done in the AVR. If it can't then use the BD player's (DVD player's) capabilities instead. Never use both the AVR and the BD player. Using both the AVR and the BD player for bass management is an excellent way to muddy-up the sound.

If you are playing SACDs or DVD-Audio discs (or music Blu-Rays) then the difference between lossless and lossy audio can be breathtaking. But, that requires a system that can take advantage of the extra information and someone listening who will notice the difference. It isn't just dynamic range either. It's the clearer high end and the smoother bass. When you look at a reconstructed Dolby Digital waveform (compaing against the original audio), the reconstructed Dolby Digital waveform often overshoots in at high levels as compared to the original recording. This results (usually) in the high freqencies not having as clean of a sound as they started with. Kind-of shrill instead. When you drop that many bits, something gets lost and that's the result.

Whereas with lossless audio, there is no reason you can't hear exactly what the audio mixing engineer heard (assuming the mastering engineer didn't change anything). These can be crisp and clear recordings. Where an instrument actually sounds like the live instrument.

While I don't think this matters for most people, I didn't want to "sell short" the benefits of lossless audio. When I make BD discs, I try to include a lossless track because there may be someone who watches the disc who will enjoy hearing the sound the way I did when mixing it (it's a fun hobby).

I guess one good test would be if someone thinks that MP3 sound is good enough, then there is no real need to worry about lossless audio quality.
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post #9 of 42 Old 01-28-2013, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil17108 View Post

I have the video part of HD down but not the audio. I have never bothered to upgrade my receiver from a onkyp tx sr 502 that has the 6.1 audio. I know DirecTV only outputs a 5.1. I am using the optical audio for that and in the past for a dvd player that we never used.
I just redid every thing and the last thing was a new blue ray player that I am using the digital coax for the audio. I read there is something called lossless or low loss audio that only comes through the hdmi cable. I am wondering what others have experienced when upgrading to hdmi receivers. I have gone 3D and wonder if the low loss/lossless worth the $$$.

While I agree with all of the technical aspects voiced by folks in this thread to me the issue is one of aesthetics. Lossless audio is the way the movie is intended to be heard, lossy audio is a compromise. Perhaps this is not as major of a factor for you as it is for me.

Most people who move into the 3D world of presentation will purchase a AVR that passes 3D content. Of course there are ways around this, people will route the HDMI video from their Blu-ray player to their HDTV or projector while using the optical or coaxial output (assuming their player has this option) to their AVR. I have gone through many receiver upgrades over the years and each has brought new features I have been very satisfied with. It's your money and your decision.

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post #10 of 42 Old 01-28-2013, 09:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

While I agree with all of the technical aspects voiced by folks in this thread to me the issue is one of aesthetics. Lossless audio is the way the movie is intended to be heard, lossy audio is a compromise. Perhaps this is not as major of a factor for you as it is for me.

....

That movies were intended to be heard this way is a major misconception. Movie theaters have used AC3, DTS and SDDS for many years for multichannel. It is only recently that lossless has made it to some movie theaters.

In addition, the soundtrack in theaters is mixed differently than Blu-Ray. It is very unusual for the same mix to be used for the home release as was used in the theaters. Theaters are (usually) a much bigger room, filled with people (hopefully) and with multiple side channel speakers and usually at least four back channels. In addition, the speaker layout behind the screen is usually different than a home theater. So, all of these combined make for a different environment than the home and therefore a different mix. You could, however, that despite these compromises, most (not all) producers/directors consider what appears in theater to be what they indended (audio and image - maybe not content).

Now, if you had said that the lossless mix is closer to what the mixing and mastering engineers heard, I'd agree with that. But, only if you also have the same (or similar) setup to what they used. I don't care how good the lossless mix is, nobody will notice the difference if it is played through 5 2-inch cubes and a 4-inch "sub".

This is, of course, how THX was born - an attempt to certify that reference components and material matched at home what the producer/director/mixing engineer / mastering engineer all heard and saw.
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post #11 of 42 Old 01-28-2013, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
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Now, if you had said that the lossless mix is closer to what the mixing and mastering engineers heard, I'd agree with that.

Yes, of course, that is what I meant in my original post. Sorry I wasn't concise enough for you. I am also aware of the history of sound in movies.

If people want to listen to movie sound in the lowest common denominator that is their choice. The intent of my post to the OP is if he is striking out in new direction (3D) he should at least consider purchasing a new AVR for lossless sound. My assumption was that his Polk speakers were of a high enough quality to justify this upgrade.

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post #12 of 42 Old 01-28-2013, 11:41 AM
 
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Sounds good (pun intended).
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post #13 of 42 Old 01-28-2013, 01:34 PM
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Bear in mind that one major reason for getting a mid-range (or better) modern receiver is its room equalization software. Whether Pioneer's MCACC, Yamana's YACC, or Audyssey (used by Onkyo/Integra, Denon/Marantz and NAD), it can make a noticable improvement in the accuracy of the sound provided by your speakers in your room acoustics when compared to a receiver or pre/pro without it.

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post #14 of 42 Old 01-29-2013, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow I just looked over a bunch of AVR's on the net and found that for the same money that I paid for the Onkyo TX-SR502 9 years ago I can get there TX-NR414 that can do all I want and then some. My set up as of now is using what Polk wanted to do back then, that is to run the front speaker leads in to the powered sub and then on to the fronts. I played around with them and the Onkyo years back and ended up going with there setup. Last year when I redid it all I added a LEF cable for the sub for a later date and a optical cable back from the set to the AVR for audio from the set if I am off air or getting something from netflix. I just found that what ever goes in the the set on the HDMI also comes back to the AVR as the same, or thats what the AVR tells me. I may just get a new AVR. One observation, how come most of the AVR's still have composite video jacks?
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post #15 of 42 Old 01-29-2013, 07:31 AM
 
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The correct way to wire LFE is go straight from the receiver to the subwoofer. This way the bass management is being performed by your AVR, which will know the distances and levels of your other speakers. That should be your only audio cable going to your subwoofer.

Composite video jacks - because many of us still use it with older equipment. I still have cassette tapes that haven't been converted to digital that still work. Occasionally (maybe once a year) I need to look at an old VCR tape for historical purposes and really don't have the time to convert those 100s of tapes. All of those require the legacy connections.

Also from a custom installation setup, the composite video output jacks can be used to indicate whether a component is on or off to a remote control base station.

Good luck with the new AVR. Don't forget almost every current AVR has an "owners" section in the AVRForum where you can rear other user's experiences with that receiver before purchasing.
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post #16 of 42 Old 01-29-2013, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I have an Oknyo TX NR515 on the way and some time down the road I will have to take the set of the wall and get the LEF cable out. I did use that type of set up with the old Onkyo 302 but found it seemed to have a better sounding base the Polk way of setting them up. I think now that I may have not been understanding the cross over points because the sub has a cross over setting along with a volume control on it. With some more looking at the Polk site I found a note that if you use the LEF or sub out jack on the AVR it overrides the subs crossover control, and hope that statement applies to the sub I have. I also am staying with the 6.1 and the new 7.1 ACR can accommodate the one sparker back surrender. I moved the couch out from the wall and got a lot better result for the surrender sound.
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post #17 of 42 Old 01-30-2013, 07:49 AM
 
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Let's backup a bit. Bass management is a term used to describe how bass is divided between your 5 main speakers and the subwoofer. Normally this is done in the receiver because the receiver is the only one who "knows" how big each speaker is, how far away each speaker is and (in more modern receivers) the best frequency response for each speaker. The subwoofer has none of this information.

However, there was a time when not all receivers had an LFE output (or bass management). In order to get around this limitation, subwoofer manufacturers put a band-aid into their systems allowed a speaker-level signal to be sent to a subwoofer. This speaker level signal would then be continued onto one of the main speakers. This wasn't a great idea since it meant that the frequencies produced by the subwoofer would also be produced again by the main speaker. To get around that, subwoofer manufacturers provided a rotating knob that cutoff upper level frequencies being produced by the subwoofer so as not to generate those frequencies when the main speaker was also generating those. That's the knob you saw.

Now if bass management is being done by the receiver, then there is no use for either the speaker level wire or the cutoff frequencies since that is all done in the receiver and more correcly done than any subwoofer will ever do.

For the best possible sound, remove any speaker wiring going to your subwoofer. Connect the RCA plug from the LFE output of your receiver to your subwoofer. Take the lower frequency cutoff knob and turn it to the highest frequency possible (basically no cutoff). If you have a second frenquency knob that one probably won't impact the sound (it's a lower frequency cutoff knob for the main speaker) since you are no longer using the speaker outputs. Check your owners' manual if you are unsure of which direction to put the knobs for no effect.

Finally, when you get your new Onkyo, run the automatic (I think it's Audysee) setup. Use at least three listening positions even if they are close together. That system isn't perfect but it will get you close to an optimal sound. You really want to let the receiver handle everything and only have speaker wire going to the five main speakers.
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post #18 of 42 Old 01-30-2013, 08:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thats what I am going to do. You say turn the crossover to its highest point. I will, and I think I'll contact Polk and find out if having the LEF plugged in bypasses the subs crosser.
Thanks Andy
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post #19 of 42 Old 01-30-2013, 08:47 AM
 
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Polk has excellent customer support. Also don't forget about "Club Polk" which is their online forum. I've refurbished early/mid-1990s big Polk speakers using what was available in Club Polk.

Which way to turn that knob will depend upon whether it is a high pass or a low pass filter. You want the subwoofer to get the biggest range of frequencies possible and then let your receiver limit the frequencies. I've never heard of a sub that disables the high pass or low pass if LFE is connected, but it's worth a check.
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post #20 of 42 Old 01-30-2013, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Andy I don't know if its a hi or low pass and its printed right on the lef rca input (unfiltered)? and it also has low pass on the top. I guess it low pass then.
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post #21 of 42 Old 01-30-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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What model is it and I'll see if I can look it up?
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post #22 of 42 Old 01-30-2013, 11:39 PM - Thread Starter
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It is the PSW 550 part of the RM 7200 system
from the Polk audio web site
Unfiltered LFE input for use with low pass filtered subwoofer output jacks
Adjustable lowpass crossover, phase switch and volume control allows perfect blending with any main speaker.
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post #23 of 42 Old 01-31-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil17108 View Post

It is the PSW 550 part of the RM 7200 system
from the Polk audio web site
Unfiltered LFE input for use with low pass filtered subwoofer output jacks
Adjustable lowpass crossover, phase switch and volume control allows perfect blending with any main speaker.

I have to admit I hadn't see a sub with a dedicated filter bypass input. From your new Onkyo, use that bypass input for the LFE. If you want to be extra-sure turn the filter clockwise to the highest number (120Hz) as well, but that shouldn't be necessary.

Finally set the phase to 0 degrees. If after you have everything setup and tested, that would be a good time to try phase at 180 degrees, Compare the bass response at 0 and 180 and choose whichever one sounds the smoothest with a low male singing voice. Normally 0 degrees will be better but your room and the subwoofer placement may cause that to change.

Also when setting up your Onkyo's Audyssey system, set the subwoofer volume to its middle volume level. Then let the Onkyo do the rest.

Good luck - I think you'll really like your new system once it is setup.
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post #24 of 42 Old 02-01-2013, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Andy, after its set up I'll get back and let you know.
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post #25 of 42 Old 02-06-2013, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Andy
I set up the Onkyo nr515 with the sub setting at 50% volume and crossover to full hi (160 Hz) at 0 degrees phase, ran the Audyssey 2EQ. Watched a little blue ray, my first one, Avatar and it sounded really good to me. Switched over to direct with the lossy? if thats what it's called and that was a lot better the before. I think the Audyssey hit right on, before I was for ever changing setting on the sub and the old Onkyo to try to get the booming bass out of it and still have bass. this work out very well
Thanks Andy
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post #26 of 42 Old 02-06-2013, 10:47 AM
 
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That's great to hear! Enjoy your new system.

I'll bet that when you play "older" things, you'll start to notice sounds that you hadn't heard before.
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post #27 of 42 Old 12-28-2013, 08:16 PM
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Into this mix I will throw my problem.  I was searching for a thread that touched on my issue and this one seems pretty close.

 

As with many folks posting here, I have an older receiver with AC-3 (now called Dolby Digital) 5.1 support, via optical or coax.  No DTS.  No HDMI.

 

I have a bluray player with an optical output.  Great.  I send that to my receiver, while HDMI goes to the HDTV.

 

Lord of the Rings, bluray extended edition.  Opening menus pops up with wonderful full 5.1 surround sound.  Movie starts, and the sound track is two channel PCM stereo.  What gives?!?

 

LoTR bluray, has as it's main sound track DTS-HD MA.  My receiver doesn't support that (only optical), so it drops to the default of PCM 2 channel stereo over optical.  There is no option on the bluray movie to choose a different soundtrack for English.  I could watch it in spanish with 5.1 Dolby... not going there.

 

So while I can agree with all the previous posters about lossless audio and lossy audio and it might not be worth the money to go with lossless...  The honest truth is that watching this movie sucks because my receiver doesn't support the format it wants to send.  I was able to tweak my blueray player settings, to send more than just 2 channel via PCM but now it won't send dolby digital signals anymore.  Everything it sends is PCM, which is underwhelming.  Honestly, it's a PITA to have to navigate to the player's menu to adjust the sound before each movie, and that's assuming I even know what the movie will default to for a sound track.  If I could tell it to convert everything to AC-3 that would solve all my issues, but that is not an option it provides.

 

I was hoping a product like this would solve my problem:

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=5557&ref=cj

 

But I can't get a straight answer out of monoprice about what is sent down the optical line when you have DTS-HD MA coming through the HDMI cable.  Any thoughts?

 

Brokk...

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post #28 of 42 Old 12-28-2013, 09:03 PM
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Brokk1,

I suspect it only supports 2-channel PCM over S/PDIF, although I don't have one, so I can't be absolutely certain.

Sorry, but it's time to upgrade your receiver, at least to one which supports DTS. Pre-owned non-HDMI equipment can be found for very low prices. You might ask at one of your local A/V stores. They might have some in storage that they took as tradeins.

Entry-level HDMI receivers which can decode the modern lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-MA soundtracks are available new for under $250 U.S.

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post #29 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 07:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Brokk1 View Post

Into this mix I will throw my problem.  I was searching for a thread that touched on my issue and this one seems pretty close.

As with many folks posting here, I have an older receiver with AC-3 (now called Dolby Digital) 5.1 support, via optical or coax.  No DTS.  No HDMI.

I have a bluray player with an optical output.  Great.  I send that to my receiver, while HDMI goes to the HDTV.

Lord of the Rings, bluray extended edition.  Opening menus pops up with wonderful full 5.1 surround sound.  Movie starts, and the sound track is two channel PCM stereo.  What gives?!?

LoTR bluray, has as it's main sound track DTS-HD MA.  My receiver doesn't support that (only optical), so it drops to the default of PCM 2 channel stereo over optical.  There is no option on the bluray movie to choose a different soundtrack for English.  I could watch it in spanish with 5.1 Dolby... not going there.

So while I can agree with all the previous posters about lossless audio and lossy audio and it might not be worth the money to go with lossless...  The honest truth is that watching this movie sucks because my receiver doesn't support the format it wants to send.  I was able to tweak my blueray player settings, to send more than just 2 channel via PCM but now it won't send dolby digital signals anymore.  Everything it sends is PCM, which is underwhelming.  Honestly, it's a PITA to have to navigate to the player's menu to adjust the sound before each movie, and that's assuming I even know what the movie will default to for a sound track.  If I could tell it to convert everything to AC-3 that would solve all my issues, but that is not an option it provides.

I was hoping a product like this would solve my problem:
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=5557&ref=cj

But I can't get a straight answer out of monoprice about what is sent down the optical line when you have DTS-HD MA coming through the HDMI cable.  Any thoughts?

Brokk...

To answer your question you have to understand how multichannel audio was used on DVD versus Blu-Ray. Remember your receiver was likely (you didn't post the model number) built at a time either when LaserDisc AC3 was in use or DVD Dolby Digital first came out. AC3 is just the non-marketing term for Dolby Digital, so you can use those interchangeably.

When a DVD is mastered, it is required that the first audio in the soundtrack be either 2.0 channel PCM or Dolby Digital. It may not be DTS despite DTS's efforts, at that time, to include them and exclude Dolby. DTS may only be used as a secondary audio track, which is why you have to select the DTS track on a properly authored DVD.

Advancing 10 years or so to Blu-Ray, both Dolby and DTS proposed new lossless audio codecs for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD (remember that format?). Both codecs had the ability to send out an "original" version of Dolby or DTS for less capable systems. So, Dolby TrueHD would send out Dolby Digital for S/PDIF output and DTS-HD MA would send out the DTS core for S/PDIF output. The way Dolby and DTS handle the S/PDIF output is actually different in that DTS includes the "core" as part of the build-up for DTS-HD MA, while TrueHD includes a separate Dolby Digital encoding with the TrueHD packet, but that isn't relevant here.

What is relevant is that DTS can't drop down to Dolby Digital and TrueHD can't drop down to DTS. There was, at one time, a Toshiba Blu-Ray (may have been HD-DVD) player that would output everything in DTS. That was because the player had a DTS encoder built-in. So, it would take the Dolby Digital signal, decode it and then re-encode it into DTS (actually making the audio worse since it was now double lossy encoded). I know of no player that would output everything in Dolby Digital, since that was the lower bitrate/worse sounding alternative of the two.

DTS and Dolby are separate companies that often don't play well together, so you cannot expect one's decoder to output its rival's format. The only thing that saved you previously was that DVD required Dolby Digital in the first audio track (or 2.0 PCM). This is not true with Blu-Ray.

There are simple ways to solve your problem if you have multichannel inputs on the back of your receiver. That you haven't mentioned this makes me think your receiver doesn't have those. I had a mid-1990s Yamaha receiver that could only process Dolby Digital (from a LaserDisc) and didn't have multichannel inputs. I liked it but had to sell it when DTS came about. After that I always purchased AVRs that had 6 (or 8) multichannel analog inputs so that, when a new audio format came out, I could process that outboard and send to the receiver.

But, given your receiver must be 15 or so years old, it probably is time to get a replacement or realize that you can only hear multichannel audio if the soundtrack is encoded in Dolby TrueHD. Unfortunately for you, while DTS is no longer being used in the theater prints, the home market has been saturated with DTS-HD MA titles since DTS provided better authoring tools than Dolby (TrueHD seems to only be encodable if you use a Mac). So, in the future I see the gap between DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD to be growing in DTS's favor.

Unfortunately, the box you linked from Monoprice does not have a Dolby Digital encoder in it. And, since you can't get water from a stone or, in this case, Dolby Digital from DTS it will not work for you (again, unless you have multichannel inputs on your receiver). What you really need is a box that would decode DTS into its multichannel PCM channels (stems) and then re-encode that into Dolby Digital and then send that out without any sync issues. While I know how to build that, it would be much more expensive than a new receiver.

Only other things I could suggest would degrade your picture quality (DVD or online streaming), so I would not suggest them. You've invested in a Blu-Ray player to improve your picture quality. Now that the audio is a problem makes it a good time to upgrade the rest of the A/V eco-system. On the plus side, the Blu-Ray high resolution audio codecs are much, much better sounding than Dolby Digital/AC3 (although the better mastering techniques have a large part to do with that, but that is another story).
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post #30 of 42 Old 12-29-2013, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

Unfortunately, the box you linked from Monoprice does not have a Dolby Digital encoder in it. And, since you can't get water from a stone or, in this case, Dolby Digital from DTS it will not work for you (again, unless you have multichannel inputs on your receiver). What you really need is a box that would decode DTS into its multichannel PCM channels (stems) and then re-encode that into Dolby Digital and then send that out without any sync issues. While I know how to build that, it would be much more expensive than a new receiver.

 

So essentially, this box takes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA and breaks out the lower level format either within them (as DTS) or as a separate entity (Dolby Digital) and sends those along to the receiver via the optical cable.  Thus this box does not need an encoder, since the information in the compressed format is already available.  Is that correct?

 

So no easy solution for me.

 

I will continue to keep my eyes open for a good receiver with 7.1 channels, networking, and HDMI that handles both DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD.  So far this holiday season I have not been able to find one anywhere near the $200 range.  As the new year starts, there will be new models coming out, so the old models will start getting marked down.  Maybe I can pick one up then.

 

Why 7.1?  Because if I am going to spend the money, I want to improve my sound, not just make my Bluray sound as good as a DVD used to.

 

Why Networking?  Because I come from an IT background and I am a firm believer in being able to upgrade your firmware.  If networking is supported, then there is the hope that the firmware can be updated to handle newer formats or changes.  I see that HDMI keeps coming up with new standards, so a receiver that can be updated, hopefully it would have a longer usable lifespan.

 

I'm surprised this issue didn't pop up in the discussion with the original poster.  I assume anyone with an older receiver like mine would have a similar issue to me.  Most older receivers didn't have DTS, as it wasn't very popular.  So any Bluray coded like LoTR would give limited sound quality.

 

BTW my current receiver is a Marrantz SR880U, purchased around 1998.

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