Bug with Mclass players - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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To all M-class Kscape owners. There is a bug with the Mclass player software that causes intermittent audio dropouts on playback of many BluRay discs. The issue is as follows:

If you do not use your M300 or M500 players to decode (which I do not) and you pass bitstream data to your preamp (which I do) you will get audio dropouts when watching many blurays. The droupouts are always in the exact same place and they happen alot (a dozen or more times) on many popular titles (eg. Iron Man2, Apocalypse Now, Robin Hood etc...) The issue is with how the M-class players handle Branch Streaming/Seamless Branching.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seamless_branching).
I have contacted Kscape and this is a known issue and they are working on a software fix. Timeframe unknown (apparently less than 6 months). I was told that most people do not have this problem since most people let the M class players decode. I found this information surprising and thought that more people would have noticed the problem.
The audio pause or dropout is 100% repeatable. I can tell you exact passages in movies where you will have an audio dropout when watching a Bluray over HDMI. The audio dropout happens for different languages as well (it is not just DTS-MA or DD-True HD formats).
For a long time I thought it was our companies Integra pre-amp, cables, general HDMI mailaise etc... I am posting this in the hopes that I save others the headache I went through trying to figure it out. Once brought to Kaleidescapes attention they acknowledged it to be a problem within a couple of hours (very responsive engineering and customer service departments). There is no ETA for a software fix but the good news is that a software fix will apparently remedy this problem. I was also told that when a software fix is made there will be no announcement, it will just start working properly. For any of you suffering from this it is a major nuissance since it is very disruptive to have momentary silence 5-10 times in a film. The workaround is to have the M-class players perfom the decoding. I do not think the M-class players perform 7.1 decoding so this is one of the tradeoffs of the workaround (not too big of a deal for some people but a bit of a pain since we demo 7.1 in our shop). If your preamp performs advanced processing (like Audyssey) I think this will still work but perhaps other things may not work.
I am simply curious why this has not been more widely reported. Is it true that few people use thier preamps for decoding? I was told by Kscape tech support that this will affect any hardware that receives bitsream from M-class players.

If anyone wants to test this out for themselves here are two sample passages (I have some others for Robin Hood and Transformers2):

Iron Man 2 on BluRay
15:42 - 15:45 as the camera angle changes from Robert Downey Jr to Gary Shandling (Senator Stern) and immediately after Downey says "...time for a little transparency" and before Shandling says "what is he doing?" there is an audio drop.
There is a second audio drop right around 16:18 - 16:19 when the camera angle changes from Downey to Don Cheadle.

Apocalypse Now (newest release--beautiful transfer)
On the Redux version (not the theatrical release)
Apocalypse Now
2:46.57-2:46.59
When the camera angle changes from Martin Sheen to Marlin Brando there is an audio skip.
The theatrical release does it as well but at a different point in time (movie is shorter).
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 09:44 AM
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I have not seen a mention of a user owning this system here so perhaps that is the reason for lack of reporting.

That said, I did read Jim's note on this yesterday and it doesn't jive with what you said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JlgLaw View Post

BTW, BR playback is as good as the original. The only hiccup at the moment is their current BR players will only bitstream, not decode. Not a deal breaker, but problematic for some owners.


Jim

Hope Jim can chime in and clarify as he is also a dealer for this product.

Amir
Founder, Madrona Digital
"Insist on Quality Engineering"

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post #3 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I am sorry if I posted this in the wrong section.
Jim's statement does not make sense to me. The M class players can decode or send out bitstream data. These settings are available for both the M300 and M500. I am certain of this.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 10:45 AM
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Okay, chiming in....


First, the OP is correct that there is apparently some sort of bug that has hit a couple of Players (I say "a couple," because that is how many reported this problem, so far). K engineering is indeed investigating the cause. It "may" be a problem for all M-Class players, it may not (not saying it isn't, just saying that engineering has not yet reached a conclusion as to the reason for the glitches). As the OP mentioned, if it does affect all players, firmware will likely fix the problem and this can be done remotely by K without owner interaction.

I have not personally checked this issue in my own system, and presently cannot. I'm temporarily without a processor that decodes the HD codecs so I'm unable to send bitstream. I can tell you that this issue did NOT show up in beta testing of the players, but then again I do not know what movies others used in testing and I did not use any of those titles mentioned by the OP.

I have no reason to doubt anything the OP has stated, but I am awaiting more details from K and will post when I hear back.


Jim
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enodog View Post

I am sorry if I posted this in the wrong section.
Jim's statement does not make sense to me. The M class players can decode or send out bitstream data. These settings are available for both the M300 and M500. I am certain of this.


I was referring to the players not being able to decode 7.1 Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA, they bitstream only and rely on the owner's processor/receiver to decode. I wasn't clear (which is happening a lot since I brought the twins home).

This has some owner's upset. They own ML, Meridian, Halcro (me as well), etc. (all units that require LPCM, not bitstream) and were not happy that the players do not internally decode these formats in 7.1. This is why I said the only "hiccup"....

What you posted regarding decoding is correct.


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post #6 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 11:15 AM
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Enodog, I sent you a PM, this issue may now be fixed. Please call me (see PM).

Jim
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Congrats on the twins!

FWIW I think that this is likely an issue affecting all players. We have two in our demo (M300 and M500) and the behave identically. Furthermore, if you play direct from the M500 disc tray or from the hard drives the result is exactly the same. They are a similar vintage so it is possible it is a revision issue but I think it is likley a software issue. I guess what surprises me is that there are not more people experiencing this. It is a highly noticeable and annoying issue that REALLY disrupts the movie experience. Again, the workaround is decent, so it is not a critical issue, just a surprising issue.

On a seperate matter I think KScape should implement a policy whereby dealers (and possibly even users) should get emails when thier systems are updated. The email should provide the release notes of the changes made. Afterall, these systems belong to the customers and some customers like to know what is being done to their equipment. Of course many do not. Seems like it would be easy to add a checkbox and an email address field on the installer pages so that Kscape would know which users wish to be notified of SW changes and which do not. Heh, I think I will suggest it!
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 12:39 PM
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Apparently is a software issue, and looks like this may already be fixed. OP will update later (he has graciously agreed to test those discs again).


Jim
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Great news. Working in cooperation with a very attentive engineering staff at Kscape I am happy to report preliminary tests on a fix on the audio dropout issue seem to be working. I will continue to test the fix for the next several days. My gut tells me that this issue is solved and I am extremely impressed with the level of support and the attentiveness of the company.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-17-2010, 10:04 PM
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Thanks for the update!

Jim
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-19-2010, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Just an update. After 6 hours of further testing, still no audio dropouts. I am very happy!
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