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post #1 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Atmos and HTPCs

So stupid qustion, please forgive my ignorance on this, but I'm thinking about Atmos and the HTPC's processor capability of pre/pro. When object based audio gets distributed on blu-ray, what will it take for an HTPC to decode this? Is it just the frontend software (JRiver, MB3, etc.) that will read and distribute the channels accordingly?
It seems like and HTPC along with something like a SSL Alpha-Link would make an excelent Atmos processor at a fraction of the cost of a Datasat.

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post #2 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 05:03 PM
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7.1 soundtracks are barely on even 10% of all released media and you're worried about 40.1 soundtracks? I have no clue what the answer to your question is, i just wanted to be a jerk
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post #3 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BllDo View Post
So stupid qustion, please forgive my ignorance on this, but I'm thinking about Atmos and the HTPC's processor capability of pre/pro. When object based audio gets distributed on blu-ray, what will it take for an HTPC to decode this? Is it just the frontend software (JRiver, MB3, etc.) that will read and distribute the channels accordingly?
It seems like and HTPC along with something like a SSL Alpha-Link would make an excelent Atmos processor at a fraction of the cost of a Datasat.
If you have a HTPC with HDMI 2.0; you should be good to go when it comes to processing power. Then you need hdmi 2.0 at the other end for the decoded channels. Not sure this will be much cheaper than Datasat or similar though. Trinnov Altitude 32 seems to be much more user friendly compared to Datasat; more expensive too (depends on add-on atmos price on datasat).

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post #4 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post
7.1 soundtracks are barely on even 10% of all released media and you're worried about 40.1 soundtracks? I have no clue what the answer to your question is, i just wanted to be a jerk
15-20% 7.1 material is more accurate I think. Keep in mind that dts/dts-hd.ma 5.1 is automatically encoded to 7.1 if you got the additional back speakers. This is part of the DTS-standard (this does not mean you have 7.1 channels stored in the 5.1 track; they are embedded in the 5.1 track; matrix);. All DTS-processors support this feature automatically.

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Last edited by Berland; 08-04-2014 at 05:24 PM.
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post #5 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berland View Post
15-20% 7.1 material is more accurate I think. Keep in mind that dts/dts-hd.ma 5.1 is automatically encoded to 7.1 if you got the additional back speakers. This is part of the DTS-standard (this does not mean you have 7.1 channels stored in the 5.1 track; they are embedded in the 5.1 track; matrix);. All DTS-processors support this feature automatically.
I know, I hate that it automatically creates matrix channels. i wish my pioneer avr didnt do that.
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post #6 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post
7.1 soundtracks are barely on even 10% of all released media and you're worried about 40.1 soundtracks? I have no clue what the answer to your question is, i just wanted to be a jerk
Oh yeah, well...



No, I know that it's a little premature, but I want to start planning now so that I can implement when I have the opportunity. (Also, it might mean that I have to buy some additional equipment, shoot.)

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post #7 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Berland View Post
If you have a HTPC with HDMI 2.0; you should be good to go when it comes to processing power. Then you need hdmi 2.0 at the other end for the decoded channels. Not sure this will be much cheaper than Datasat or similar though. Trinnov Altitude 32 seems to be much more user friendly compared to Datasat; more expensive too (depends on add-on atmos price on datasat).
That's the thing, I want the HTPC to do the decoding like the Datasat or Trinnov would because as much as I've tried, I've yet to convince my better half that leasing our children to the Chinese garment industry wouldn't be a bad thing. Really I would consider it a win-win. They learn a skill, and get to come back home to really nice home theater.

A Datasat or Trinnov unit would definitely be my first choice, but I think the same could be accomplished with a computer and the right software. @desertdome set up a really impressive JRiver setup for @dlbeck at his Savoy theater. It seems like the same could be accomplished for Atmos with the ability to properly decode the channels.
I don't think (but could definitely be wrong) that HDMI 2.0 would have anything to do with this either because the audio would be handled via the Alpha-Link.

So I guess what I'm asking is, what software would I need to decode Atmos/Aura content on an HTPC?
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post #8 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 08:48 PM
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PowerDVD 20 Ultra Atmos Edition or TotalMedia Theatre 14
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post #9 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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PowerDVD 20 Ultra Atmos Edition or TotalMedia Theatre 14

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post #10 of 101 Old 08-04-2014, 09:33 PM
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I would wait until there is a Atmos encoded Bluray to watch. You really can't decode it if there is nothing to decode.
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post #11 of 101 Old 08-05-2014, 02:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BllDo View Post
That's the thing, I want the HTPC to do the decoding like the Datasat or Trinnov would because as much as I've tried, I've yet to convince my better half that leasing our children to the Chinese garment industry wouldn't be a bad thing. Really I would consider it a win-win. They learn a skill, and get to come back home to really nice home theater.

A Datasat or Trinnov unit would definitely be my first choice, but I think the same could be accomplished with a computer and the right software. @desertdome set up a really impressive JRiver setup for @dlbeck at his Savoy theater. It seems like the same could be accomplished for Atmos with the ability to properly decode the channels.
I don't think (but could definitely be wrong) that HDMI 2.0 would have anything to do with this either because the audio would be handled via the Alpha-Link.

So I guess what I'm asking is, what software would I need to decode Atmos/Aura content on an HTPC?
To get out enough decoded channels from your HTPC; you would need HDMI 2.0; HDMI 1.4 supports only up to 8 channels (7.1) of decoded material. I would avoid this approach; since you would probably end up spending just as much (or more) money on a not optimal solution. There is a reason Datasat and Trinnov costs money (they are in fact fairly cheap compared to what you get).

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post #12 of 101 Old 08-05-2014, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulls View Post
PowerDVD 20 Ultra Atmos Edition or TotalMedia Theatre 14
Yup, it's quite likely that you'll need a commercial BD software with an Atmos decoder to decode Atmos tracks.

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Originally Posted by Berland View Post
To get out enough decoded channels from your HTPC; you would need HDMI 2.0; HDMI 1.4 supports only up to 8 channels (7.1) of decoded material.
The OP is talking about using Analog outputs from the PC direct to AMPS (HTPC as a Pre-Pro has it's own set of issues, I suggest the OP read up on), not passing it down an HDMI chain.

Also FWIW, Atmos for home is (as I understand it) "only" 7.1.4 or 7.1.2, in other words it only adds 2 or 4 ceiling channels.

As to the OP, you don't need a Datasat or Trinnov for home. Atmos on Blu-ray isn't going to be the same 40 channel system as in theaters, as noted above it's only adding a few speakers and will be supported in "mass market" hardware:
http://www.soundandvision.com/conten...s-and-speakers
http://dolbyatmos.onkyousa.com/
http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/23/d...mos-receivers/

I'd recommend waiting and going with a new AVR rather than trying to kludge something together in the PC.


Oh, here's Dolby's explanation of Atmos for home theater:
http://blog.dolby.com/2014/06/dolby-...ions-answered/

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post #13 of 101 Old 08-05-2014, 06:04 AM
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Also FWIW, Atmos for home is (as I understand it) "only" 7.1.4 or 7.1.2, in other words it only adds 2 or 4 ceiling channels.
Atmos for home is up to 34 output channels; and speakers does not have to be in a fixed position. The main problem that the first AVR with support for Atmos got; is that they have a very limited support that requires fixed position of all speakers.

The reason for this is both limitation in processing power; and to simplify the setup process for the end-user.

I don't see any reason why atmos for home should be any different from a commerical theater; except for limitation in output channels (up to 34). There will be noe good reason to have more than 34 channels at home anyway. The mix should be the same; due to bandwidth limitations in HDMI 1.4a; we will probably not have 128 objects in 24bit/192KHz. But with HDMI 2.0; there should be no reason for not supporting the high resolution mix we can enjoy at the atmos theater.
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post #14 of 101 Old 08-05-2014, 07:28 AM
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Thanks for the info, I'm not actually that interested in Atmos yet so all I'd read about is the initial implementation.

But I guess the point remains, based on the history of audio processing/decoding on PCs, you're probably better off just going with an Atmos AVR than trying to decode it on the PC. History shows quite clearly that there isn't a big enough market for HTPCs for anyone to develop a really robust audio processing system. Atmos support, if PCs get it at all, will almost surely only be available from the commercial BD softwares (PowerDVD/TMT/etc). And I think anyone who thinks we'll get anything more flexible than 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 from them is, well, "optimistic" to say the least.

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post #15 of 101 Old 08-06-2014, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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The OP is talking about using Analog outputs from the PC direct to AMPS (HTPC as a Pre-Pro has it's own set of issues, I suggest the OP read up on), not passing it down an HDMI chain.
Correct, not planning to HDMI, (though not planning to use analog either.) I currently use a JRiver HTPC as a pre-pro, so I guess I am pretty familiar with it.

Quote:
Also FWIW, Atmos for home is (as I understand it) "only" 7.1.4 or 7.1.2, in other words it only adds 2 or 4 ceiling channels.
This is incorrect. Yes, Atmos is adding ceiling speakers in sets of 2, 4, or 6, but it can add them to already existing setups of 9.x or 11.x. I would looking for a 9.4.4 or 9.4.6. This level of processing is currently only available in the very high-end market, much more than I would care to spend.

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post #16 of 101 Old 08-07-2014, 05:32 AM
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This is incorrect. Yes, Atmos is adding ceiling speakers in sets of 2, 4, or 6, but it can add them to already existing setups of 9.x or 11.x. I would looking for a 9.4.4 or 9.4.6. This level of processing is currently only available in the very high-end market, much more than I would care to spend.
And I think it's incredibly unlikely you'll find PC software that can do that level of processing either. If it's advanced and requires a license, or lots of development effort, you just don't see it for HTPCs. For example there's no room correction for HTPCs that's as good or streamlined (setup) as you can get with a good SSP.

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post #17 of 101 Old 08-08-2014, 01:35 PM
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Atmos will be contained inside the HD format container. ALL players that can bitstream TrueHD out can send out Atmos information. The AVR will decode it and do something with Atmos if it is an Atmos aware AVR. If the AVR is not Atmos aware, it does not matter if you decode it in the player, you will never hear it from your AVR.
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post #18 of 101 Old 08-08-2014, 02:19 PM
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Dolby decoders have always assumed specific, fixed speaker positions, even in their commercial theatrical versions. Commercial theaters just have many more speakers than home theaters have. If your speakers aren't in the required positions, then what you hear isn't going to be exactly what was intended by whoever did the mixing of the movie soundtracks.

Trinnov's previous units have measured the positions of your existing speakers and then redirected audio among those speakers to simulate the required speaker positions. Presumably that's what the Altitude will do. More details are supposed to be available at CEDIA, where Trinnov will be demonstrating an Altitude with Atmos.

Apparently Dolby makes its money from decoder licensing. It'll probably be a while before anyone's willing to spend the money in order to produce Atmos decoder software for generic PCs. Somehow I doubt that Trinnov will make their PC software available to the public; unless you buy their computer (the Altitude), of course!

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post #19 of 101 Old 08-08-2014, 06:04 PM
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So, lemme get this straight.

- We have a brand spankin new format on the horizon.
- There's limited to none source material that uses this format.
- The OEM hardware that can actually process this, is expensive (as usual).


and....

We're trying to plan an HTPC to do the same for far less cost.

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post #20 of 101 Old 08-08-2014, 08:55 PM
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It's early. Let the dust settle. That's my strategy. My 11.2 AVR isn't ready to be replaced yet anyways.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #21 of 101 Old 08-08-2014, 10:08 PM
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I don't think 40 speakers or even 34 is going to pass the WAF test. IJS... Friggin' cool though.

 

 

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post #22 of 101 Old 09-11-2014, 10:37 AM
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Why is it unreasonable to expect our HTPCs to be upgradeable the same time the AVR upgrades come along? It's not like the only criteria for wanting to put together an HTPC is to do the same thing as something else yet cheaper.

OP, I'm also really interested in a solution for this. I've long been wondering how I can get an array of three side speakers calibrated using one channel's information or how I can add more channels than my AVR puts out. That Savoy theater of the month thread answered that question for me. Now I want to know is, can that set-up do Atmos (it did say it could do "any format")... you'd think the answer to that question would be "here" but I guess not... and where do I go to figure out my options for a similar set up? And... why isn't this more popular???

With a computer, we should have pretty much unlimited options when it comes to upgradeability. A PC is capable of having far more processing power and flexibility than a device that is designed to do one thing and one thing only, like an A/V receiver. If PCs aren't actually capable of besting their AVR brothers then something is really amiss in this industry. That, to me is like saying, "You want the best graphics for games, you gotta get the new Playstation!! A home-built PC can't touch it!!" Sure you have to upgrade a part here and there to be up-to-date but with a PC that's spending $50-200 every once in a while instead of buying a whole new $1000 AVR or pre-pro.

Fortunately, if that is actually the case, that PCs can't actually compete with AVRs, I see a change coming. Now that everyone wants their content in digitial, ready to access anywhere, form, HTPCs are becoming much more common place.
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Why is it unreasonable to expect our HTPCs to be upgradeable the same time the AVR upgrades come along? It's not like the only criteria for wanting to put together an HTPC is to do the same thing as something else yet cheaper.
Because tens or hundreds of thousands of people buy AVRs, where as tens or hundreds of people buy HTPCs. I exaggerate (only a bit though), but the point remains, the market to sell premium audio/video processing to people with HTPCs is miniscule. That and then there's all the copy protection issues with all premium content requiring protected paths making it difficult if not impossible to create commercial post-processing "plugins".
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post #24 of 101 Old 09-11-2014, 05:16 PM
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Because tens or hundreds of thousands of people buy AVRs, where as tens or hundreds of people buy HTPCs. I exaggerate (only a bit though), but the point remains, the market to sell premium audio/video processing to people with HTPCs is miniscule. That and then there's all the copy protection issues with all premium content requiring protected paths making it difficult if not impossible to create commercial post-processing "plugins".
Yes, it does seem like copyright protection is main limiting factor.

Anyhoo, even if the idea of getting Atmos on a PC here in the near future is just some craaaaazy idea!!!...it'll happen sooner-or-later ("you can't stop the signal, Mal") and I'm trying to start developing an idea of what I need, and I would like some help. Most of what I've seen so far includes an HTPC with pretty extremely high-end hardware, ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Or, on the flip-side, something on the low end end, with like a $400 soundcard with internal DACs. Furthermore, the guide that keeps popping up is the one "how to turn your HTPC into a pre/pro!" from Acoustic Frontiers. Which is pretty light in the details I care about (he doesn't even bother to mention why there are two sets of DACs, one after the other.) This and every other set of documentation I've seen seems to be aimed at the people who already know exactly what types of equipment they need. I want to know what I need, how it works (more importantly, is it the soundcards that are doing the format processing or does that take place in the CPU?), and what actual products are out there that fit the bill.

I want to know what the different TYPES of set-ups we can use (e.g. completely internal soundcard that outputs straight to the amp or one that outputs to an outboard DAC). And then from there, options of equipment/brands in each one. Personally, I'd like a soundcard and external DAC in the mid-range area of $1,500, starting out at about 16 channels. So far, the biggest cost of all the set-ups I've seen has been the DACs. The Acoustic Frontiers one has $8,000 in DACs (although, and now, this is another reason I'm confused--the first DAC they list is the DEQX HDP-4, which, according to its documentation... is a PRE-AMPLIFIER!!--isn't that what our HTPC is supposed to be? I don't get it ) Anyhoo, I'm thinking if you rrrreally shop around you could get a set of DACs for 16 channels for less than $2,000.

So if any of you all can point in me in a direction of some literature that's more informative than the Acoustics Frontiers write-ups yet still concise, or if you just want to throw out some answer to my questions, it'd be greatly appreciated. My plan is to work towards a goal of an HTPC as a pre-pro over the next year and, if there's no good write-up on it already (sorry, Frontiers), then I'm going to put one together.
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post #25 of 101 Old 09-11-2014, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
the point remains, based on the history of audio processing/decoding on PCs, you're probably better off just going with an Atmos AVR than trying to decode it on the PC. History shows quite clearly that there isn't a big enough market for HTPCs for anyone to develop a really robust audio processing system. Atmos support, if PCs get it at all, will almost surely only be available from the commercial BD softwares (PowerDVD/TMT/etc). And I think anyone who thinks we'll get anything more flexible than 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 from them is, well, "optimistic" to say the least.
That is absolutely ludicrous. Object based sound formats are going to change everything about how we can and do set up our home theaters. The number of channels in our systems is no longer going to be dependent on the number of channels in the encode, because there are none. The idea of having to set a speaker at a certain angle away from center is going to disappear. You are going to be able to choose in the software where your speaker is located (or have your system measure the speaker's location via a directional microphone) and the DSPs are going to send the sound to the appropriate speakers based on where those speakers are.

No, all these options don't exist yet... at least I don't think they do... but they will. That's the beauty of object based sound. Man, the potential for this blows my mind.
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post #26 of 101 Old 09-11-2014, 06:14 PM
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The licencing for all the various, ever-evolving codecs is problematic for turning a PC into an AVR replacement. On top of that, the user still has to have something driving enough power to each of the speakers. I can't even imagine all the hoops that would have to be jumped through in order to get approval for a unit to put into a PC that supports all the codecs and also passes muster in terms of keeping everything proprietary and adhering to all the industry standards for copy protection and other issues.

Bottom line, HTPCs are pretty much the very last place these companies want to see their technology wind up. Once it is there, it's only a matter of time before the bottom falls out in terms of profit margins. Jailbreaking will be inevitable.
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post #27 of 101 Old 09-11-2014, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post
I want to know what the different TYPES of set-ups we can use (e.g. completely internal soundcard that outputs straight to the amp or one that outputs to an outboard DAC). And then from there, options of equipment/brands in each one. Personally, I'd like a soundcard and external DAC in the mid-range area of $1,500, starting out at about 16 channels. So far, the biggest cost of all the set-ups I've seen has been the DACs. The Acoustic Frontiers one has $8,000 in DACs (although, and now, this is another reason I'm confused--the first DAC they list is the DEQX HDP-4, which, according to its documentation... is a PRE-AMPLIFIER!!--isn't that what our HTPC is supposed to be? I don't get it ) Anyhoo, I'm thinking if you rrrreally shop around you could get a set of DACs for 16 channels for less than $2,000.
It's really not that hard, "audiophiles" tend to make things way too complicated. A "preamp" is basically something that controls volume, well you can do that with just about any soundcard. All you really need is many channels of audio output. M-Audio, Lynx and RME all make professional audio interfaces that offer many channels of output. RME has a 30 channel Fireface 802.

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So if any of you all can point in me in a direction of some literature that's more informative than the Acoustics Frontiers write-ups yet still concise, or if you just want to throw out some answer to my questions, it'd be greatly appreciated. My plan is to work towards a goal of an HTPC as a pre-pro over the next year and, if there's no good write-up on it already (sorry, Frontiers), then I'm going to put one together.
The problem is really not the hardware, at least not on the output side. The problem is the software and the input side, and unfortunately there's been no movement on that front in, well, probably at least 10 years.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #28 of 101 Old 09-11-2014, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post
7.1 soundtracks are barely on even 10% of all released media and you're worried about 40.1 soundtracks? I have no clue what the answer to your question is, i just wanted to be a jerk
The home version of ATMOS will be 5.1.2 up to 7.1.4 not the commercial 40.1 wise guy.
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post #29 of 101 Old 09-11-2014, 09:08 PM
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After checking out a bunch of Atmos demos tiday at cedia I'd say it's actually pretty cool.
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post #30 of 101 Old 09-17-2014, 07:14 PM
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Ok... so can anyone confirm that if you rip the DOLBY TRUE HD track into MKV and leave it then bitstream it will playback and decode the atmos signals?

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