Realtek ALC889a Full loss-less audio - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 07-03-2009, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Realtek says that their ALC889a sound solution supports:

Quote:


Content Protection for Full Rate loss-less DVD Audio, Blue-Ray DVD and HD-DVD audio content playback (with selected versions of windvd/powerdvd)

I presume this means that given the appropriate software solution, multi-channel analog output will NOT be downsampled from HD audio formats.

My question is: What are the selected versions of windvd/powerdvd that provide full rate loss-less audio?

Anyone know? I have Powerdvd 7.3 ultra (latest patch) and it certainly sounds very nice through my z-5500 speakers.

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post #2 of 44 Old 07-03-2009, 05:14 PM
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As for PowerDVD, perhaps 9 Ultra only.
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post #3 of 44 Old 07-03-2009, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

As for PowerDVD, perhaps 9 Ultra only.

It is that "perhaps" that worries me

To be honest pdvd 7.3 blu-ray playback sounds great, but could it sound better?

My research seems to show that this is quite a confused issue, but the ALC889 solution seems to provide the necessary protected path for loss-less digital conversion.

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post #4 of 44 Old 07-03-2009, 05:46 PM
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I researched this a while ago and if I remember its not supported yet in PwrDVD or WinDVD.. but I could be wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dale7344 View Post

It is that "perhaps" that worries me

To be honest pdvd 7.3 blu-ray playback sounds great, but could it sound better?

My research seems to show that this is quite a confused issue, but the ALC889 solution seems to provide the necessary protected path for loss-less digital conversion.

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post #5 of 44 Old 07-03-2009, 06:12 PM
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You shouldn't worry about downsampling. 24 bit vs. 16 bit is perhaps too subtle for ALC889A+Z-5500.
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post #6 of 44 Old 07-04-2009, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

You shouldn't worry about downsampling. 24 bit vs. 16 bit is perhaps too subtle for ALC889A+Z-5500.

Maybe so, but I'd still like to use software which is not purposely nobbled to give the ALC889A+Z-5500 solution its best chance to "sing".

What are the selected versions of windvd/powerdvd that provide full rate loss-less audio with the ALC889? I have asked this question of Cyberlink, and I'll report back what they say.

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post #7 of 44 Old 07-04-2009, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dale7344 View Post

Maybe so, but I'd still like to use software which is not purposely nobbled to give the ALC889A+Z-5500 solution its best chance to "sing".

What are the selected versions of windvd/powerdvd that provide full rate loss-less audio with the ALC889? I have asked this question of Cyberlink, and I'll report back what they say.

I thought the only PC lossless audio solution was the Xonar 1.3 and Total Media Theater?

Blu-ray: 50+
HD-DVD: 23
DVD: 600+ and lost count
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post #8 of 44 Old 07-05-2009, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdunnill View Post

I thought the only PC lossless audio solution was the Xonar 1.3 and Total Media Theater?

Yes, right now. ALC885/889 (analog) and X-Fi HomeTheater HD (analog and HDMI) with PowerDVD 9 Ultra will support undownsampled lossless HD audio soon, as well as VIA VT1828S/VT1818S (analog) with TMT.
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post #9 of 44 Old 07-05-2009, 02:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Yes, right now. ALC885/889 (analog) and X-Fi HomeTheater HD (analog and HDMI) with PowerDVD 9 Ultra will support undownsampled lossless HD audio soon, as well as VIA VT1828S/VT1818S (analog) with TMT.

HD audio analog support is still "soon"? bit-tech.net was reporting the problem solved for the ALC889a back in 2008.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardwar...udio-problem/1

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post #10 of 44 Old 07-05-2009, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dale7344 View Post

HD audio analog support is still "soon"? bit-tech.net was reporting the problem solved for the ALC889a back in 2008.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardwar...udio-problem/1

Unfortunately such an update has never been released .

Quote:
According to Cyberlink, the update is due in Q3 or Q4 of this year

...

The good news is that the update will be completely free for all PowerDVD Ultra users. There's no specific information with regards to whether it's via HDMI or LCPM, but the press release does state that it works with Nvidia PureVideo, ATI Avivo, and Intel Clear Video technologies to provide "uncompressed content-protect[ed] audio."

The latter part indicates even that Richard Swinburne has no clue what he is talking about. "via HDMI or LCPM"??? (Isn't he talking about ALC889A? It's an analog audio codec.) Why "or"??? (Multichannel LPCM is only supported by HDMI). None of NVIDIA, ATI, and Intel GPUs supports "content protected audio". "PureVideo", "Avivo", "ClearVideo" have nothing to do with audio (they are video playback technologies).
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post #11 of 44 Old 07-05-2009, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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From Cyberlink support.

Quote:


In response to your concern, we rgeret to inform you that the PowerDVD 7.3 OEM (which you currently own) and PowerDVD 7 Ultra softwares do not support Dolby True HD audio output.

Only PowerDVD 9 Ultra full retail version (with some specific sound cards) has the capability of providing the Dolby True HD audio output.

It is funny with this as I have the strange feeling that I have been misled somewhere along the line. "7.3 does not support True HD output"? So why does Powerdvd display the Dolby True HD logo prominently on the main screen? So why does powerdvd display "Dolby True HD" in the information screen while playing such a blu-ray?

I guess the Gigabyte motherboard spec is similarly vague:

Quote:


Blu-ray playback supported by high quality 106dB SNR ALC889A HD audio

And I suppose the ALC889a sound hardware documentation is (or at least was) just plain wrong:

Quote:


Content Protection for Full Rate loss-less DVD Audio, Blue-Ray DVD and HD-DVD audio content playback (with selected versions of windvd/powerdvd)

I suppose at some point one just has to sit back and enjoy the audio experience your software allows, but this does rankle that such misleading advertising can continue to persist.

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post #12 of 44 Old 07-05-2009, 05:02 PM
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Lossless full bit-rate audio from BD requires PAP (Protected Audio Path) and perhaps only 9 Ultra with a future update will support it.

Obviously the Cyberlink support has no clue what they are talking about (as usual). PowerDVD 7.3 OEM supports TrueHD 2.0, and TrueHD 5.1 with the patch 4407 (although limited to 16 bit 48 kHz).
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post #13 of 44 Old 07-05-2009, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, perhaps PowerDVD 9 supports 96kHz/24bit now for the Realtek hardware, the following comes from the current hardware support list:

Quote:


HD Audio Compatible Sound Card List

* Realtek ALC885 (support up to 192kHz/24bit 2-channels or 96kHz/24bit 4-8 channels)
* Realtek ALC889 (support up to 192kHz/24bit 2-channels or 96kHz/24bit 4-8 channels)
* Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD (supports HDMI 1.3a bit-stream lossless pass-throughavailable soon from partner Auzentech)

http://www.cyberlink.com/products/po...ort_en_US.html

I wonder whether the 96/24 rate applies to Dolby True HD, DTS Master etc. LOL. Irritating that it seems you have to ask.

Possibly Cyberlink Support were referring to non-downsampled lossless audio from a Dolby True HD source, when they replied "not supported on PowerDVD 7.3 OEM".

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post #14 of 44 Old 07-05-2009, 06:16 PM
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Perhaps 96/24 applies to LPCM decoded from any compression scheme.

Then you can see yourself immediately if undownsampled audio matters or not: PowerDVD 9 Ultra Try Now (it's fully functional). Check also Unofficial Blu-ray Audio and Video Specifications Thread.
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post #15 of 44 Old 07-06-2009, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for those links.

I scanned the list and the best I have are 48kHz/24bit titles. During playback of a 48/24 title, powerdvd 7.3 info dialog reports sampling 48kHz, the bit rate is variable up to around 3100kbps, with no indicator of 24 or 16 bit processing.

Perhaps the bit-rate itself mathematically indicates 24 or 16 bitness? This 3100kbps value, if being actually converted to analog by the ALC889, would indicate sound of a higher quality than is possible thru SPDIF, for example.

I'm a bit wary of installing the pdvd9 trial as, a) I will have to uninstall pdvd 7 and b) I'm not sure whether the trial's advertised limitations around "dvd-audio" *might* nobble any experiment anyway. I know from experience that the Total Media Theater trial does not support 5.1 sound for instance...

Quote:


PDVD9 Trial Limitations
* 30 day working trial.
* No DVD-Audio available during the playback of CPPM protected content.
* Does not support the playback of CPRM protected content.

I've downloaded 10 minutes of FLAC music at 96/24 and 48/24. It'll be interesting to see if I can hear any difference. Unfortunately I couldn't find a 48/24 vs 48/16 track to test. What matters most - sampling rate or word length?

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post #16 of 44 Old 07-06-2009, 06:34 PM
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Ah... the bit rate cannot be 3100kps. 16 or 24 for these porposes.

"The purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis." Spock, Mark of Gideon, TOS
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post #17 of 44 Old 07-06-2009, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davinleeds View Post

Ah... the bit rate cannot be 3100kps. 16 or 24 for these porposes.

Here's how Powerdvd explains the information screen:

Quote:


Audio Attributes
The Audio Coding mode is the decoding mode, for example,
Dolby Digital (AC-3). Dolby TrueHD in my case
The Sampling Rate determines the sound frequency range; the
higher, the better the quality. 48kHz in my case

Bitrate is naturally a lot smaller in size as compared to video here
and is measured in kilobits per second as opposed to megabits
per second for video. Variable to 3110kbps in my case

Darn porpoises, they show up everywhere

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post #18 of 44 Old 07-06-2009, 07:17 PM
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You don't have to uninstall PDVD 7.3. All three 7.3, 8 and 9 can coexist in the same system perfectly fine.
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post #19 of 44 Old 07-06-2009, 07:22 PM
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3100 Kbps is the bitrate of the compressed audio streams. Even the bitrate of uncompressed 6 ch 16 bit 48 kHz audio streams is higher than that:

6 x 16 x 48 = 4608 Kbps

So there is no way to tell the bit depth from the bit rate (it's variable). ReClock shows the bit depth with PowerDVD 7.3 and 8. But PowerDVD 9 moved to Media Foundation for BD (and audio path is supposed to be protected), so there is no way to tell it either.
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post #20 of 44 Old 07-06-2009, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Dolby TrueHD Example Data Rates

Example Data Rates Source Data Rate Peak Rate Average Rate Compression Ratio
Movie sound, six-channel 16-bit/48 kHz 4.61 Mbps 3 Mbps 1.4 Mbps 3:4
Movie sound, six-channel 24-bit/48 kHz 6.9 Mbps 5 Mbps 3.4 Mbps 2:0
Movie sound, eight-channel 16-bit/48 kHz 6.14 Mbps 3.8 Mbps 1.9 Mbps 3:1
Movie sound, eight-channel 24-bit/48 kHz 9.2 Mbps 6.6 Mbps 4.7 Mbps 2:0

Quote:
Originally Posted by DolbyTrueHD FAQ View Post

The bit rate needed to deliver a Dolby TrueHD lossless track depends on the characteristics of the source material, bit depth, and sampling frequency. Some example data rates from realworld content are provided in the table above.


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post #21 of 44 Old 07-07-2009, 12:34 AM
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BTW PowerDVD Information is that of the audio source, not that of the audio streams output from PowerDVD. You can tell output audio streams by ReClock, but it works only with 7.3 and 8. So you have to trust CyberLink.
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post #22 of 44 Old 07-07-2009, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

You can tell output audio streams by ReClock, but it works only with 7.3 and 8

Unfortunately reclock seems to not work so well for me. I installed it on my Vista laptop, but can't get it to engage. It never shows up, even though I have it set to "force reclock to be loaded in place of default renderers"

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post #23 of 44 Old 07-07-2009, 04:51 PM
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Anyway, audio output streams from PowerDVD 7.3/8 are always 16 bit 48 KHz.
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post #24 of 44 Old 07-07-2009, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Certainly looks that way, darn it.

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post #25 of 44 Old 07-07-2009, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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So with a couple of titles PowerDVD7.3 displays a peak audio bit rate of 5500kbps.

This display is clearly in the realm of expectation for 48/24, and beyond that for 48/16. If pdvd7.3 actually is dropping off 8 bits before passing it to the renderer, it seems impossible to tell, unless I can get reclock to work.

Hmmm. All I need is some visibility as to what that ALC889a is actually processing.

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post #26 of 44 Old 07-07-2009, 09:11 PM
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Here is a screenshot of ReClock Properties when playing back:

- Resident Evil: Extinction, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 ch, 24 bit, 48 kHz
- PowerDVD 7.3.5113 (the latest patch)
- Windows 7
- GA-MA78G-S2H with ALC889A


LL
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post #27 of 44 Old 07-08-2009, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh well, that powerdvd bit rate is kind of like the speedometer that shows 60 when you are actually going 40.

Here's hoping they fix the downsampling with a free upgrade as they promised back in 2008.

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post #28 of 44 Old 07-09-2009, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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The most complete word from Cyberlink

Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDVD > 9 > Compatibility View Post


Which sound chips (cards) support high-definition audio output?

Anlaog Output:

Realtek ALC885 (support up to 192kHz/24bit 2-channels or 96kHz/24bit 4-8 channels)
Realtek ALC889 (support up to 192kHz/24bit 2-channels or 96kHz/24bit 4-8 channels)

Analog and Digital Output:
Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD.
(supports HDMI 1.3a bit-stream lossless pass-throughavailable soon from partner Auzentech)

CyberLink will keep updating the compatible sound card list.

http://docs.cyberlink.com/multi/supp...nProdVerId=236

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post #29 of 44 Old 07-09-2009, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dale7344 View Post

The most complete word from Cyberlink



http://docs.cyberlink.com/multi/supp...nProdVerId=236

That is for PowerDVD 9 only, not 7.3 or 8. I'm not sure if anyone has actually confirmed that it works in version 9 or not though.
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post #30 of 44 Old 07-10-2009, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
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PDVD9 has a new option to the onscreen display underneath the input codec and bit-rate, showing Audio Output.

Playing Wall-E blu-ray shows:

Output: LPCM 48Khz, 24-bit 6 channel

This is on my ALC889a hardware.

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