Downmixing movies to 2.0: best receiver/processor? - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-29-2013, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
marvin4653's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Hey all,

I'm sure I'm far from the only one in this boat, but I haven't been able to find many posts on the subject. My primary focus is 2 channel audio, but I use my 2 channel setup to playback audio when I'm watching a movie. My 2 channel system is only stereo: a Rega DAC connected to an integrated amplifier.

Most blu-ray players can of course downmix all the surround formats to 2 channel stereo, but I've been getting into the HTPC scene, so I'm using my computer to play back blu-ray movies rather than a blu-ray player. The HTPC scene's preferred method of playback software doesn't offer very robust downmixing support, and offers essentially no DRC support for those late-night movie watching sessions. So it seems like a home theater receiver or processor would probably be a better tool for downmixing to stereo from a bitstream of the original multichannel soundtrack.

For those of you using a 2 channel system for movies, how do you mix the surround audio down to stereo? Your blu-ray player? A surround receiver or processor that comes before your 2 channel amplifier?

Many of the different Dolby and DTS surround formats (if not all) can carry metadata that instructs the decoder how to downmix to stereo, if the audio engineer provides that data. If the audio engineer provides that data, I'd imagine that the downmix wouldn't vary much, if at all, across different receivers and processors. But, if that metadata isn't provided, I'd imagine that different receivers and processors may use different algorithms to create a downmix.

In a perfect world I'd like the receiver or processor to have an optical or coax SPDIF output so that I could send the downmixed 2 channel PCM signal to my DAC, but I haven't been able to find a single receiver or processor that cites the ability to downmix a surround signal from the HDMI input and output that signal over SPDIF (which seems odd to me, since many blu-ray players can output a downmixed stereo signal through SPDIF).

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear about any of your playback methods!
marvin4653 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-30-2013, 03:35 AM
AVS Special Member
 
glangford's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,806
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvin4653 View Post

Hey all,

I'm sure I'm far from the only one in this boat, but I haven't been able to find many posts on the subject. My primary focus is 2 channel audio, but I use my 2 channel setup to playback audio when I'm watching a movie. My 2 channel system is only stereo: a Rega DAC connected to an integrated amplifier.

Most blu-ray players can of course downmix all the surround formats to 2 channel stereo, but I've been getting into the HTPC scene, so I'm using my computer to play back blu-ray movies rather than a blu-ray player. The HTPC scene's preferred method of playback software doesn't offer very robust downmixing support, and offers essentially no DRC support for those late-night movie watching sessions. So it seems like a home theater receiver or processor would probably be a better tool for downmixing to stereo from a bitstream of the original multichannel soundtrack.

For those of you using a 2 channel system for movies, how do you mix the surround audio down to stereo? Your blu-ray player? A surround receiver or processor that comes before your 2 channel amplifier?

Many of the different Dolby and DTS surround formats (if not all) can carry metadata that instructs the decoder how to downmix to stereo, if the audio engineer provides that data. If the audio engineer provides that data, I'd imagine that the downmix wouldn't vary much, if at all, across different receivers and processors. But, if that metadata isn't provided, I'd imagine that different receivers and processors may use different algorithms to create a downmix.

In a perfect world I'd like the receiver or processor to have an optical or coax SPDIF output so that I could send the downmixed 2 channel PCM signal to my DAC, but I haven't been able to find a single receiver or processor that cites the ability to downmix a surround signal from the HDMI input and output that signal over SPDIF (which seems odd to me, since many blu-ray players can output a downmixed stereo signal through SPDIF).

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear about any of your playback methods!

I just use an AVR with audyssey for my 2.0 system. I find dynamic volume is a good feature to have as it helps highlight the dialog frequencies and push special effects in the background. I think its a must have for running a phantom center channel.

Also for music dynamic eq is great feature as well.
glangford is offline  
Old 06-30-2013, 07:13 AM
AVS Addicted Member
 
arnyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
Posts: 14,387
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 763 Post(s)
Liked: 1178
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvin4653 View Post


Anyway, I'd be interested to hear about any of your playback methods!

I've been doing a number of upgrades of my primary A/V system and I will share a few of the results that I have obtained so far.

For a number of years I have been running a 2.1 system, partially because my wife really likes the convenience and simplicity of selecting inputs with the TV as opposed to the AVR, and that fit the system stereo receiver based system I had at the time.

On my second round of speaker upgrades I hit on the idea of building a 2.1 and then a 3.1 system (DPL) using center channel speakers (Primus PC 351) for L, C, and R. This resulted in 2 clear stages of improvement in imaging and intelligibility.

I found that DPL could have some objectionable imaging artifacts if the center channel level was too high but that over a reasonable range of adjustments it could be both highly intelligible in a pretty live room and also sound very good. The AVR in question is a 2 year old Yammy from the bottom of their line that cost me about $100 on an appliance store close out.

I have a new AVR (Denon 1913) sitting in the mud room and a couple of Integiry 15" subwoofer drivers that are looking for a home which I hope to get into play by the end of this week. I also discovered that the surround on my 12" Paradigm subwoofer was gone and replaced it with a driver I picked up a while back from Hsu which is a pretty quick and dirty solution given that the Paradigm is a bandpass design and the Hsu driver's parameters are almost certainly wrong. But with a parametric eq its good enough until I get the new ones going.
arnyk is offline  
Old 07-02-2013, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
marvin4653's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Thanks both of you for those. I'm going to cross-post over to receivers and processors just in case anyone frequenting that side has any experiences to add.
marvin4653 is offline  
Old 07-19-2013, 02:21 AM
Advanced Member
 
akhter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 563
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
There is a company that specifically makes products that you seek smile.gif

Linn Sneaky DSM and Majik DSM have integrated amps.
Linn Akurate DSM and Klimax DSM need external amps (or powered speakers).

All of them have some common features:

HDMI inputs
Optical inputs
Coax inputs
LAN input (to play music from DLNA servers)
DACs with custom filters
Phono input
Airplay support

For 2channel hifi enthusiast like me who didn't want a separate HT setup this brand has the perfect products.

I have a Linn Majik DSM in my vacation home driving a pair of Audio Physic Tempo 25 speakers, and in my main home, I have a Linn Akurate DSM connected to Mcintosh MC452 to B&W 802 Diamond speakers.

For HDMI, they support PCM (i.e. decoded) multichannel signals an you can set it up to downmix or not.

http://www.linn.co.uk/systems
akhter is offline  
Old 07-21-2013, 12:52 AM
AVS Special Member
 
MarkHotchkiss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Long Beach, California
Posts: 1,476
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 82
Hi Marvin,
Quote:
. . . But, if that metadata isn't provided, I'd imagine that different receivers and processors may use different algorithms to create a downmix.
I don't think you need to worry about that. My understanding is that both Dolby and DTS have rules that specify how the downmix should be performed in the absence of metadata.
MarkHotchkiss is offline  
Old 07-25-2013, 08:00 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sunnyvale, CA USA
Posts: 2,674
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvin4653 View Post

For those of you using a 2 channel system for movies, how do you mix the surround audio down to stereo? Your blu-ray player?

TV.

It's good enough for our bedroom system and limits the remote controls we have to deal with in the bedroom system.

I have a Lexicon DC-1 v4 DTS I'm not using and choose not to because the environment is casual enough I care more about fewer remote controls than the added performance of TV and bluray digital outputs -> Lexicon -> rest of system vs. TV analog out -> rest of system (Linkwit Pluto+ cross-over, Adcom 545ii sub-woofer amp, stereo Linkwitz Pluto+ sub-woofers, Linkwitz Plutos with active cross-over+bridged midrange amplifiers+tweeter amplifier built in)
Quote:
Many of the different Dolby and DTS surround formats (if not all) can carry metadata that instructs the decoder how to downmix to stereo, if the audio engineer provides that data. If the audio engineer provides that data, I'd imagine that the downmix wouldn't vary much, if at all, across different receivers and processors.

Usually the LFE channel is thrown out so you don't damage speakers with over excursion.
Quote:
But, if that metadata isn't provided, I'd imagine that different receivers and processors may use different algorithms to create a downmix.

Lexicon processors have historically included configurable 2-channel down-mix modes. LFE level, center level, etc. are all adjustable on an as-needed basis.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
 
Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off