Could replacing my 6 yr old Denon AVR help? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 04-04-2012, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I am considering replacing my six year old AVR 987 as I try to solve new network TV audio problems. These problems all started after the installation of a 2012 Sony KDL-46HX750 HDTV. Audio is received through Directv HR24-500 then routed via HDMI to my Denon AVR987.

Over the past 2 weeks Denon, Directv, Sony, NBC, ABC, professional broadcast engineers, cable manufacturers and numerous experienced audio video enthusiasts have examined my situation in great detail. The overwhelming opinion is that the network TV audio issues are directly related to how non-Dolby Digital programming is broadcast as simulated or converted to Dolby Digital. I have replaced all HDMI cables, reconfigured how audio is routed to the AVR, insured all speaker cables are in phase, triple checked Directv, Denon and Sony settings. All this work has been fruitless.

Since my current AVR does not contain the latest AV technology I am wondering if a 2012 Denon would, in general, better receive and pass on today's television signals.

I know I am grasping at straws yet this seems to be my final option.

Please share your opinions with me.

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Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
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post #2 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
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MY EQUIPMENT
Sony HDTV KDL-46HX750
Denon AVR 1912
DirecTV HD DVR HR24 & AM21N OTA Receiver
Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #3 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 06:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 49Merc View Post

I am considering replacing my six year old AVR 987 as I try to solve new network TV audio problems. These problems all started after the installation of a 2012 Sony KDL-46HX750 HDTV. Audio is received through Directv HR24-500 then routed via HDMI to my Denon AVR987.

Over the past 2 weeks Denon, Directv, Sony, NBC, ABC, professional broadcast engineers, cable manufacturers and numerous experienced audio video enthusiasts have examined my situation in great detail. The overwhelming opinion is that the network TV audio issues are directly related to how non-Dolby Digital programming is broadcast as simulated or converted to Dolby Digital. I have replaced all HDMI cables, reconfigured how audio is routed to the AVR, insured all speaker cables are in phase, triple checked Directv, Denon and Sony settings. All this work has been fruitless.

Since my current AVR does not contain the latest AV technology I am wondering if a 2012 Denon would, in general, better receive and pass on today's television signals.

I know I am grasping at straws yet this seems to be my final option.

Please share your opinions with me.

Could you provide more information about the problem you are hearing (or seeing)? That would help the analysis of your situation.

If the problem is something about the center channel (or dialog) not being loud enough compared to the other speaker channels, then the solution is actually network (Fox network sets levels) or station (ABC/NBC local stations set levels) dependent. However, I can't image a new receiver would help in those cases. If this were the problem, the only change a receiver could make is to enable some of the Dolby dialog compression options that should already be available on your Denon.
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post #4 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

Could you provide more information about the problem you are hearing (or seeing)? That would help the analysis of your situation.

If the problem is something about the center channel (or dialog) not being loud enough compared to the other speaker channels, then the solution is actually network (Fox network sets levels) or station (ABC/NBC local stations set levels) dependent. However, I can't image a new receiver would help in those cases. If this were the problem, the only change a receiver could make is to enable some of the Dolby dialog compression options that should already be available on your Denon.

The problem does have to do with audio but not the levels. The audio is muffled much like being from the center channel. It seems I am getting PCM on Dolby Digital labeled broadcasts. I read an extensive forum thread about the Fox audio issue. I believe my problem may be the same except I am not having any issues with Fox.

Regarding compression. I have Dolby Digital compression turned OFF on my Denon AVR 987. Should it be switched to ON? If so why?

Thank you.

MY EQUIPMENT
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Denon AVR 1912
DirecTV HD DVR HR24 & AM21N OTA Receiver
Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #5 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 08:02 AM
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I have a Denon AVR-989 and the DirecTV HR-24 DVR and don't have any of the audio problems you're having. The 989 uses HDMI 1.3 while your 987 is HDMI 1.1. So maybe that does make a difference?

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post #6 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 10:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 49Merc View Post

The problem does have to do with audio but not the levels. The audio is muffled much like being from the center channel. It seems I am getting PCM on Dolby Digital labeled broadcasts. I read an extensive forum thread about the Fox audio issue. I believe my problem may be the same except I am not having any issues with Fox.

Regarding compression. I have Dolby Digital compression turned OFF on my Denon AVR 987. Should it be switched to ON? If so why?

Thank you.

OK, that helps. First, all of the major networks broadcast in Dolby Digital, so it isn't a network issue. Really what they send to the stations is Dolby E, 5.1 PCM and Dolby Digital (AC3) depending upon the network. The station then takes that an converts it to regular Dolby Digital for transmission.

On the other end, the HR24 is capable of outputting Dolby Digital over Toslink (S/PDIF) but *only* if you select that from the HR24's audio menu. Have you selected Dolby Digital output on the HR24? Also does the Denon receiver show a 2.0 channel signal coming in or a 5.1-channel signal?

And, no, you should not have to use compression at all unless you want to bring low levels up and high levels down (such as when someone is trying to sleep nearby).
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post #7 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

OK, that helps. First, all of the major networks broadcast in Dolby Digital, so it isn't a network issue. Really what they send to the stations is Dolby E, 5.1 PCM and Dolby Digital (AC3) depending upon the network. The station then takes that an converts it to regular Dolby Digital for transmission.

On the other end, the HR24 is capable of outputting Dolby Digital over Toslink (S/PDIF) but *only* if you select that from the HR24's audio menu. Have you selected Dolby Digital output on the HR24? Also does the Denon receiver show a 2.0 channel signal coming in or a 5.1-channel signal?

And, no, you should not have to use compression at all unless you want to bring low levels up and high levels down (such as when someone is trying to sleep nearby).

On my HR24-500 the only option for Dolby Digital is ON or PCM. It is set to ON. If I set Dolby Digital to PCM the sound field changes on the Denon yet Dolby Digital programs are then received in non-DD sound fields.

For network channels my Denon shows only Dolby Digital. Note, on high channels the Denon changes to other sound fields according to the broadcast.

To give you an example of how the problem is so erratic I am watching NBC and the show has the muffled audio the a commerical comes on with no problem then the next commerical has the muffled audio.

Thanks again.

MY EQUIPMENT
Sony HDTV KDL-46HX750
Denon AVR 1912
DirecTV HD DVR HR24 & AM21N OTA Receiver
Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #8 of 26 Old 04-05-2012, 01:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 49Merc View Post

On my HR24-500 the only option for Dolby Digital is ON or PCM. It is set to ON. If I set Dolby Digital to PCM the sound field changes on the Denon yet Dolby Digital programs are then received in non-DD sound fields.

For network channels my Denon shows only Dolby Digital. Note, on high channels the Denon changes to other sound fields according to the broadcast.

To give you an example of how the problem is so erratic I am watching NBC and the show has the muffled audio the a commerical comes on with no problem then the next commerical has the muffled audio.

Thanks again.

Sorry to ask more questions, but I need more information. Does this only occur on network TV? In other words, does a channel like ESPN HD (206) have this problem? When the muffling occurs, does the Denon still say Dolby Digital in 5.1 (not 2.0) - use the "Status" button to confirm on the Denon? Do you have access to an AM21, which will provide you over-the-air channels (instead of using the satellites for locals)? Or, do you have another over the air receiver available? Do you have someone in the area with a DirecTV box that can check to see if they have the same problem? Does this happen with any other 5.1-channel source besides the HR24? (Blu-Ray?) Is it possible that your center channel is cutting out when the muffling happens and you're only hearing the side front speakers (which sometimes carry some dialog at a lower level)?

The reason I'm asking the last two questions is to see if it is something in the local satellite uplink for locals. Also seeing if someone else has the same problem would eliminate the stations as a source.

I have a theory as to what is going on, but I need to know specifically what is being watch when the muffling is occuring and not occuring. Also, along those lines, how do you set your multichannel speaker levels?

BTW, you should not have to set your Denon to anything but Dolby Digital for network channels.
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post #9 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 07:39 AM
 
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Just to fill-in what I think is going on...When in Dolby Digital 5.1-channel mode, some commercials and programs use the Front L / Front R speakers for dialog, while other commercials and programs use the Center channel for dialog. The ones that use the Center channel are usually those that provide a true 5.1-channel sound track. Just disable your center channel and you'll hear the difference between commercials.

Somehow when dialog is going to your center channel, it isn't the same as when it goes to the front channels instead. That could be the result of a balancing issue, a menu setting or an amp problem.

So, see if only having the center channel (no fronts) connected means that you never get good dialog or if only having the fronts (no center) connected doesn't change anything. That would be a sign that this has to do with which speakers have the dialog.

Of course, I'm assuming that the difference between muddy and good is always on a program or commercial "boundary". For this to be true, it could never change in the middle of a program or commercial, only change at the start of the commercial or program. The YES Network used to change from 5.1-channel mode during a game to 2.0-channel mode during commercials. That's another way this could happen, but the major networks don't do this anymore.
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post #10 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 08:02 AM
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In short, the answer is no, upgrading won't change a thing in this instance. The problem is that the networks are sending a 5.1 signal but are only recording 2channels of audio. I've noticed it a lot lately, especially with shows like the voice. They send dialog from the center until someone sings, then its sent to the left and rights, even though they're broadcasting dd 5.1
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post #11 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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alk3997,
Let's see if I can answer your questions.

- does this only occur on network TV?
Yes, network local affiliates. Primarily NBC. A little on ABC and once on a independent channel owned and operated by the local CBC affiliate.

- does a channel like ESPN HD (206) have this problem?
No

- does the Denon still say Dolby Digital in 5.1 (not 2.0)?
Yes

- Do you have access to an AM21, which will provide you over-the-air channels?
Yes, a AM21N. The audio problem exists both on sat and OTA.

- do you have another over the air receiver available?
No. Since we receive so many over the air stations I may be able to connect the OTA coxial directly to my Denon AVR.

- Do you have someone in the area with a DirecTV box that can check to see if they have the same problem?
No one I know locally has an equivalent or nearly equivalent setup.

- Does this happen with any other 5.1-channel source besides the HR24? (Blu-Ray?)
No

- Is it possible that your center channel is cutting out when the muffling happens and you're only hearing the side front speakers (which sometimes carry some dialog at a lower level)?
Yes but not due to a speaker or AVR setup mistake.

- I need to know specifically what is being watch when the muffling is occuring and not occuring.
I will audit NBC one day this week then PM you the results.

- how do you set your multichannel speaker levels?
The AVR speaker level are set per Denon per endures. Routine volume is adjusted by remote control.

- you should not have to set your Denon to anything but Dolby Digital for network channels.
I agree.


Thank you for you assistance.
1953

MY EQUIPMENT
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Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #12 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 09:30 AM
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With my Integra and DTV HDDVR I get DD audio from the front 3 and from time to time from the sub. My audio will drop out when it's a non DD comercial, etc. I was in fact losing sound on my previous Integra DTR 8.2 and upgraded to the 40.2. I only get dialog norm on the receiver when it's on a DD program with no dropouts. A new receiver will be all up to you. It might solve your issues, it might not.

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post #13 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
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By the way, tonight's NBC broadcast of Dateline from 6 to 7 pm CDT had the audio problem throughout the actual show. Some of the commericals during Dateline were good, others were bad.

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Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #14 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 06:56 PM
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Do you experience the same problem when connected with component video and optical audio cables instead of HDMI?

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post #15 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BullishDad View Post

Do you experience the same problem when connected with component video and optical audio cables instead of HDMI?

Never tried that because I thought component would degrade the video.

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Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #16 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 07:20 PM
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I asked because cable/sat boxes don't always do well with HDMI. The component/optical solution separates the video and audio. Maybe this will work better for you. I'm no expert, but from what I've read, it's hard to tell a difference in the picture quality between component and HDMI.

If this does work better, at least it narrows down where the problem is.

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post #17 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 07:52 PM
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I'd try running a separate optical connection from your box and see if that works.

You can use HDMI for video and set it to use optical for audio, even though the audio is also coming in through HDMI.

There are lots of issues with HDMI in between AVR's and various boxes. If this is the only problem you have with the 987 I'd definitely try this workaround before buying another box. 987 is a solid AVR.
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post #18 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 08:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BullishDad View Post

Do you experience the same problem when connected with component video and optical audio cables instead of HDMI?

Merc, my earlier explanation about how the dialog is sent over front l/r versus center still fits what you are hearing. Whether it's your setup at fault or a local station fault is the question. For a test try raising your center channel level about +6dB and see if that makes a difference. Then try lowering the center channel -6dB from the original level and hear what that does. NBC gets their satellite signal with the 6 channels encoded separately then the local combines them into a Dolby Digital stream, if I remember correctly.

As far as component video is concerned, on an HR24, the HDMI output audio works great as does the optical. So either should give you the exact same audio results. A 1080i component video output will also look exactly the same as a 1080i HDMI video output. It's just a matter of where the digital video gets converted to analog (in the HR24 for component, in your TV for HDMI). Both are taking the same H.264 (for satellite channel) or MPEG2 (for OTA TV) bits and converting them into the same picture. A good quality component cable will give you great results for satellite (limited to 1080i/720p signal), but really that shouldn't matter in this case.
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post #19 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slare View Post

I'd try running a separate optical connection from your box and see if that works.

You can use HDMI for video and set it to use optical for audio, even though the audio is also coming in through HDMI.

There are lots of issues with HDMI in between AVR's and various boxes. If this is the only problem you have with the 987 I'd definitely try this workaround before buying another box. 987 is a solid AVR.

Thanks for the suggestion but I have already tried and it did not help.

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Denon AVR 1912
DirecTV HD DVR HR24 & AM21N OTA Receiver
Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #20 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

Merc, my earlier explanation about how the dialog is sent over front l/r versus center still fits what you are hearing. Whether it's your setup at fault or a local station fault is the question. For a test try raising your center channel level about +6dB and see if that makes a difference. Then try lowering the center channel -6dB and hear what that does. NBC gets their satellite signal with the 6 channels encoded separately then the local combines them into a Dolby Digital stream, if I remember correctly.

As far as component video is concerned, on an HR24, the HDMI output audio works great as does the optical. So either should give you the exact same audio results. A 1080i component video output will also look exactly the same as a 1080i HDMI video output. It's just a matter of where the digital video gets converted to analog (in the HR24 for component, in your TV for HDMI). Both are taking the same H.264 (for satellite channel) or MPEG2 (for OTA TV) bits and converting them into the same picture. A good quality component cable will give you great results for satellite (limited to 1080i/720p signal), but really that shouldn't matter in this case.

I will adjust the center as you suggest. Since component cables do not handle 1080p and we enjoy Directv PPV I will stay with HDMI.

MY EQUIPMENT
Sony HDTV KDL-46HX750
Denon AVR 1912
DirecTV HD DVR HR24 & AM21N OTA Receiver
Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #21 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BullishDad View Post

I asked because cable/sat boxes don't always do well with HDMI. The component/optical solution separates the video and audio. Maybe this will work better for you. I'm no expert, but from what I've read, it's hard to tell a difference in the picture quality between component and HDMI.

If this does work better, at least it narrows down where the problem is.

Thank you for the suggestion BullishDad. Since component cables do not handle 1080p and we enjoy Directv PPV I will stay with HDMI.

MY EQUIPMENT
Sony HDTV KDL-46HX750
Denon AVR 1912
DirecTV HD DVR HR24 & AM21N OTA Receiver
Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #22 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 08:44 PM
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One last suggestion as a test. Connect the optical audio cable from the sat box to the AVR. Remove the HDMI connection. Listen to the audio. No video, obviously. Just in case the HDMI audio and Optical Audio have some kind of conflict.

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post #23 of 26 Old 04-08-2012, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BullishDad View Post

One last suggestion as a test. Connect the optical audio cable from the sat box to the AVR. Remove the HDMI connection. Listen to the audio. No video, obviously. Just in case the HDMI audio and Optical Audio have some kind of conflict.

Again a great suggestion. I've already tried this test, problem remained,

MY EQUIPMENT
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Denon AVR 1912
DirecTV HD DVR HR24 & AM21N OTA Receiver
Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
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post #24 of 26 Old 04-13-2012, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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BIG NEWS!

Recently replaced my six year old Denon AVR 987 with a new 2012 Denon AVR 1912. So far the mystery audio problems with Dallas network affiliates are gone!

I truly appreciate all the help I have received. Hopefully, this is the end. I guess time will tell.


MY EQUIPMENT
Sony HDTV KDL-46HX750
Denon AVR 1912
DirecTV HD DVR HR24 & AM21N OTA Receiver
Panasonic HD DVD DMP-BD65 & Toshiba HD DVR A20
Infinity Alpha Series Speakers - 50's (2), 20's (2), 10's (2), 37c (1) & Velodyne Subwoofer
Panamax M4300-PM Power Center
Monoprice Cables & Harmony One Remote
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post #25 of 26 Old 04-13-2012, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 49Merc View Post

BIG NEWS!

Recently replaced my six year old Denon AVR 987 with a new 2012 Denon AVR 1912. So far the mystery audio problems with Dallas network affiliates are gone!

I truly appreciate all the help I have received. Hopefully, this is the end. I guess time will tell.


Well, that's one solution!

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post #26 of 26 Old 04-13-2012, 09:22 AM
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I must say I am disappointed to find out in this thread that the networks take a perfectly good PCM stream and downconvert it to DD.

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