HD Audio Question (first HTPC build) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 02-17-2014, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

I just finished my first HTPC build. So far most everything is working really well, but there are couple of annoyances that I can't figure out. One is about HD audio... and the answer could be really obvious or easy but I haven't been able to figure it out after many google and avsforum searches.

First, my system:

Lenovo ThinkServer (TS140)
Intel Haswell CPU 4130
Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics
4GB RAM
Displayport to HDMI cable to receiver
Ethernet connection to Router
Windows 8.1

65" Panasonic Plasma (connected to receiver by HDMI)
Denon 2112 receiver
5.1 speaker setup (Energy Take 5)

Synology DS 213air (to store my media)

Plex Media Server (running on the ThinkServer)

Okay, to my issue. I have a ton of high quality Blu-Ray rips (mkv / AC3 multichannel) but I can't seem to get the encoded audio over to my Denon for decoding. When I tell Windows that I have a 5.1 speaker setup and play a multi-channel movie through Plex, my Denon receiver says it's getting a PCM Digital multi-channel audio feed. I'm getting 5.1 discrete audio, but I'm not sure whether it's the best quality possible. I think this means that my HTPC is doing the decoding, but I'd really prefer that my Denon do the decoding. I want to see the encoded format show up on the receiver.

I'm not sure how to make this happen. I have the latest Intel drivers (all of the appropriate codecs show up when I look at the Denon properties). But I'm not sure where exactly I tell my HTPC to output the encoded audio.

Do I have a setting incorrect? Is the Intel HD Audio not able to send the encoded format over HDMI? Are my Blu-Ray rips the issue? Is Plex the issue? I'm really not sure where to start. As a reference, my cable box sends Dolby Digital over HDMI to the Denon, which displays the encoded format on the front LCD. I just want to see the same thing for my HTPC audio.

Help! There is probably a simple explanation but I'm new at this so thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 38 Old 02-17-2014, 10:15 AM
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Do you have any codecs installed? If not, I'd recommend installing Shark007 codecs (don't forget the x32 and x64 components). In those options, you can set it to bitstream the HD tracks to your receiver where the receiver is doing the actual decoding (and you'll see TrueHD/DTS-HD, etc). IMHO, this is the easiest way. If you do have codecs installed, uninstall them before installing Shark.

You'll obviously want to make sure your mkv's contain the HD audio - and have default tracks set. For Plex, I'm less familiar - but it should say it's direct playing (or something to that manner).
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post #3 of 38 Old 02-17-2014, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks - installing additional codecs are a new concept to me, but I'll give it a shot. The only thing I have installed are the Intel HD audio drivers (part of the HD 4400 graphic drivers). But I've been looking for some type of setting that allows me to specify what to send to the receiver over HDMI. Perhaps there is no setting without installing additional codecs.

I'm not sure what I do once I install them, but I'll give it a shot. For my Blu Ray mkv files, I've ripped them using DVDFab and preserved HD audio. Plex confirms they are 5.1 audio. I think that's all I need to do...

Thanks - I'll let you know how it goes.
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post #4 of 38 Old 02-17-2014, 10:30 AM
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This will walk you through it:

http://assassinhtpcblog.com/


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post #5 of 38 Old 02-17-2014, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Just thinking about it more... will installing these codecs work on Plex or XMBC? All the references on the Shark007 site are to stand-alone media players so I'm unsure whether Plex will recognize or use them... can someone confirm? Sorry if it's a major noob question...
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post #6 of 38 Old 02-17-2014, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post

This will walk you through it:
http://assassinhtpcblog.com/

Thanks - I got a little lost when I was looking at this earlier. I now found the section on codecs, and see that the primary recommendation is to use LAV Splitter. It looks simple enough, but I again wonder whether Plex will override these settings...? Or does LAV splitter work independently of any player software (i.e. Plex) and simply adjust how any video and audio is sent to my receiver? It seems like Plex should perhaps have this option built in to tell it not to decode the audio files before sending them to the receiver. No?

Am I thinking about this in the right way?
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post #7 of 38 Old 02-17-2014, 11:30 AM
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Did you look in the "Plex" section?

I didn't, but I used the guide for everything else in my HTPC, so I recommend it highly.

Everything has to work together, which is what makes it so complicated.

Good luck.


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post #8 of 38 Old 02-18-2014, 05:16 PM
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i have win7. But I have the same question as the original poster. I can add codecs later. How do I get Windows to natively send the data to be decoded by the receiver?

My old HTPC M-audio audio card sent dolby 2.0 natively, but would do 5.1 for DVDs via Zoomplayer. I'm thinking in Win7 I need to set the speaker setting to stereo and hopefully, the playback software will override with sending the HD DD or DTS stream undecoded (terminology?).
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post #9 of 38 Old 02-19-2014, 06:56 AM
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Forget shark, just use LAV. Go into LAV audio config and put a check mark on dts and thd files in the bitstream section. That simple.
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post #10 of 38 Old 02-19-2014, 10:11 AM
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How do you have the audio hooked into your receiver? HTPC to Reciever should be Digital Optical Audio - TOSlink 



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post #11 of 38 Old 02-20-2014, 12:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteoutreviews View Post

How do you have the audio hooked into your receiver? HTPC to Reciever should be Digital Optical Audio - TOSlink 
Why? Hdmi is simpler and allows bitstreaming.
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post #12 of 38 Old 02-20-2014, 03:42 AM
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What's so difficult about digital optical? Just wondered, I know HDMI is simple, but what makes optical not?


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post #13 of 38 Old 02-20-2014, 03:48 AM
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I prefer it just because the cables are slimmer and easier to hide and I get great sound quality from all of my devices. Of course I don't have HDMI inputs on my receiver and that's probably where we differ


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post #14 of 38 Old 02-21-2014, 11:06 AM
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I recently ripped my blu rays using makemkv and then hooked up my pc to my avr via hdmi, but i just got 2.1 output vs. 5.1 with plex. What gives? New at this.

Thanxs
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post #15 of 38 Old 02-21-2014, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawie01 View Post

I recently ripped my blu rays using makemkv and then hooked up my pc to my avr via hdmi, but i just got 2.1 output vs. 5.1 with plex. What gives? New at this.

Thanxs

What codec and/or player are you using?

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post #16 of 38 Old 02-21-2014, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawie01 View Post

I recently ripped my blu rays using makemkv and then hooked up my pc to my avr via hdmi, but i just got 2.1 output vs. 5.1 with plex. What gives? New at this.

Thanxs

When you used MakeMKV, did you select the multichannel audio option in each chapter of the BD?


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post #17 of 38 Old 02-21-2014, 12:53 PM
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I picked the largest file and I picked the HD audio only such as dts, dts-hd, etc. Please dont tell me im going to have to rip them again.
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post #18 of 38 Old 02-21-2014, 12:54 PM
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Sorry, i was using the plex home theater.
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post #19 of 38 Old 02-21-2014, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawie01 View Post

Sorry, i was using the plex home theater.

Make sure you've done this: https://plexapp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201214687

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post #20 of 38 Old 02-21-2014, 01:44 PM
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Think that i know what i did wrong. Didnt change settings from pc 2.0 to avr.

Btw, i didnt rip chspters, how do i go about keeping chapters on rip. Again i just picked the largest file.
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post #21 of 38 Old 02-22-2014, 12:29 AM
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They will be ripped automatically (if you are using MakeMKV) - no setting required.
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post #22 of 38 Old 02-23-2014, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteoutreviews View Post

What's so difficult about digital optical? Just wondered, I know HDMI is simple, but what makes optical not?
1 cable vs 2. Can bend hdmi into tighter curves. Equal sound quality.
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post #23 of 38 Old 02-23-2014, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DotJun View Post

Equal sound quality.

No. Optical cannot handle the bandwidth of the lossless audio formats. From elsewhere:

"You cannot send DTS HD or Dolby TrueHD through an optical cable. When you connect PS3 to an old receiver with an optical cable, you are getting DTS Digital and Dolby Digital. Both codecs can be encoded at different bit rates. To get DTS HD High Resolution, DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby TrueHD, you need an HDMI cable. You also have to set your PS3 to PCM. PS3 cannot send HD audio in bitstream.
 

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post #24 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post

No. Optical cannot handle the bandwidth of the lossless audio formats. From elsewhere:



"You cannot send DTS HD or Dolby TrueHD through an optical cable. When you connect PS3 to an old receiver with an optical cable, you are getting DTS Digital and Dolby Digital. Both codecs can be encoded at different bit rates. To get DTS HD High Resolution, DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby TrueHD, you need an HDMI cable. You also have to set your PS3 to PCM. PS3 cannot send HD audio in bitstream.



 




Then that just makes my vote for hdmi that much better 😊
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post #25 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladwish View Post

{snip}
Displayport to HDMI cable to receiver
 

 

That's the problem right there. No HD audio from Displayport. Has to be HDMI all the way.

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post #26 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 05:46 AM
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That's the problem right there. No HD audio from Displayport. Has to be HDMI all the way.

Good catch. I looked up the Lenovo and it only has two Displayports and no HDMI. Another reason to build your own.

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post #27 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 07:20 AM
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Tell windows that you have a 2.0 setup. That way windows will bitstream the HD Audio formats and your receiver will do the decoding.
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post #28 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 07:59 AM
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Tell windows that you have a 2.0 setup. That way windows will bitstream the HD Audio formats and your receiver will do the decoding.

This doesn't work well for LPCM tracks, BTW.

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post #29 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 02:13 PM
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Good catch. I looked up the Lenovo and it only has two Displayports and no HDMI. Another reason to build your own.

Why the hell does DisplayPort even exist? My work laptop has DisplayPort and VGA and at one point I actually tried to use the DisplayPort and found that it wasn't even HDCP compliant.... rolleyes.gif I think it may have been updated since then but seriously... thanks for pushing this crappy connector Apple....


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post #30 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 02:14 PM
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This doesn't work well for LPCM tracks, BTW.

Typically if you set the player to 5.1 (no matter how many speakers you actually have) it will push the LPCM. Doesn't work for all setups though.


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