Dolby settings - Yamaha RX-V373 and 3 speakers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-17-2013, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I have recently put together a modest home theater, consisting of a DVD player, and TV which are connected to an AVR (audio visual receiver) - which is connected to 3 speakers - left, right, and center.

Since most of my source audio is either 2 channel stereo or 5.1 DD, it's not obvious to me how to configure the Dolby settings on the AVR (Yamaha RX-V373) to work best with 3 speakers.

The RX-V373 has 4 "Scenes" buttons which I believe allows me to apply different settings to BD/DVD vs TV vs CD vs RADIO.

Audio CDs and FM radio are 2-channel stereo, only - so the only question there is whether or not I want some of the stereo mixed to the center channel - and no audio will be lost, either way, right?

But with TV, as I understand it, some OTA content is 2-channel and some may be more than 2, right? Can I assume the receiver is smart enough to switch from applying fake surround to a 2-channel source - to decoding a surround signal from a multi-channel source?

If my main goal is to preserve as much clarity in the dialog as possible, which of the following settings should I select for the "Surround Decoder" for OTA TV when output is to 3 speakers?
- Pro Logic, or
- Pro Logic II (several flavors for "Movie", "Music" etc.)
- Neo (Cinema or Music) - a DTS decoder. Does that have any significance in the context of OTA TV?

I'll save my questions about setting up the Dolby options for DVD Movies for another post.

= Equipment model and setup details =
AVR (Yamaha RX-V373) is connected to 3 speakers: Axiom M3 left and right, and VP100 center
Outdoor antenna for digital broadcast television connects to TV's Antenna input by coaxial cable.
TV (Panasonic VIERA TC-L3232C) is connected to AVR by HDMI with ARC (audio return channel)
CD/DVD player (Sony DVP-SR500H) is connected to AVR by HDMI
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-17-2013, 07:20 PM
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When you configure the AVR for L/R/C, it will make sure multichannel sources are downmixed to three channels. Stereo sources will play as stereo unless you apply a DSP such as PLII or DTS Neo:6, which will reroute some audio to your center speaker. Those DSPs will not be engaged when the source is already multichannel.

So, configure the AVR for three channels and tell it which DSP to use when the source is stereo. That's all there is to it.
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-17-2013, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

So, configure the AVR for three channels and tell it which DSP to use when the source is stereo. That's all there is to it.

Wow! Thanks BIslander. This equip is more sophisticated than I imagined - which is good, because there are many settings, and the documentation assumes I know more than I do.

So the "Neo: 6" settings are like ProLogic II - that is, they don't depend on the source being pre-encoded to work?

Now that I've got the AVR set for Dolby, my final hurdle is getting the DVD player configured. It's a Sony DVP-SR500H. I use it to play both audio CDs and DVD movies, and there are 5 settings:

Setting #1 is for DOWNMIX - there are 2 options: DOLBY SURROUND and NORMAL. The instructions say "Normally select DOLBY SURROUND" - and a footnote says: "This function affects the output from the ... DIGITAL OUT (COAXIAL)/HDMI OUT jack only when DOLBY DIGITAL is set to D-PCM." (see Setting #3, below)

Setting #2 is DIGITAL OUT, with options of OFF or ON. I believe ON is the correct choice for my HDMI connection.

Setting #3 is DOLBY DIGITAL, and options are DOLBY DIGITAL and D-PCM. The instructions say: "Set to D-PCM when the player is connected to an audio component without a built-in Dolby Digital decoder" - so for my Dolby-savvy AVR and DVD movies I'm pretty sure I want DOLBY DIGITAL, but will that also be good for audio CDs? And if I do select DOLBY DIGITAL here, then it doesn't matter how I set Setting #1, right?

Setting #4 is for DTS - which can either be OFF or ON. My AVR supports DTS, so I guess I want this On? Am I correct to assume that if I enable the AVR to decode *both* Dolby and DTS - then the correct decoder will automatically be selected, depending on which one was used to encode the source?

Setting #5 is for 48kHz/96kHz PCM, and options are either 48kHz/16 bit or 96kHz/24 bit ... Not sure why anyone would select the lower spec - any suggestions?

Thanks in advance to anyone who will take the time to help me wade through these unfamiliar waters.
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-18-2013, 09:41 PM
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DVD settings:

1. DOLBY SURROUND - you want the receiver to do the downmixing when necessary - allow the DVD to output multichannel for a multichannel source
2. ON - you are correct; it should be on
3. DOLBY DIGITAL - you have a DD decoder
4. ON - you have a DTS decoder
5. WHATEVER THE DEFAULT IS - you might have to do a factory reset to determine this - the reason that people would select the lower rate is that not all decoders support 96kHz decoding

Also a suggestion: I run a very similar setup to you -- an RX-V473 with three speakers (PSB Image B6 bookshelfs and the C5 center--all very similar in size to yours). I don't use any DSP (Dolby, DTS Neo, etc.). To do this you would keep it on Straight all the time.* For 5.1-channel sources, it will mix the surround and low frequency channels in with the L/R/C channels. For 2-channel sources, it will just play out of the L and R, without artificially routing signals to the center. You can experiment with selecting "5ch stereo" in order to route shared channel audio to your center when you play a CD, but I find it strange. I prefer the actual stereo separation with just two channels. And honestly I don't hear a big difference when TV content comes on with 2-channel audio. Set it to Straight and surf some channels, keeping an eye on the little speaker display on the front panel. See if you can tell, without looking, whether it's 5.1- or 2-channel. Sometimes I can't, so I just set it and forget it.

* The 473 has a DIRECT mode, which is even "straighter" than Straight--no DSP, no YPAO adjustment, no large/small settings, nada. I actually use that all the time.

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post #5 of 14 Old 01-19-2013, 02:10 AM
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The downmix setting has no effect on the bitstream output. It only matters if you decode in the player, which you have no reason to do. Just set the outputs to DD and DTS and let the AVR handle all processing. The 48k setting is for AVRs that don't support the higher sampling rate, not that there's much 96k content.

Using PLII or Neo:6 will anchor dialog in the center speaker where it works for all seats, not just those in the sweet spot. They work considerably better than all channel stereo. I'm not sure why you'd want to disengage features like room correction.
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-19-2013, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

I'm not sure why you'd want to disengage features like room correction.
I ran YPAO--the right way with the mic on a tripod and everything--and I didn't like the sound as much afterward. Also with my RX-V473 (and likely any other AVR with DSP), any mode other than Direct produces a slight delay. I've confirmed this because its tuner is out of synch with my clock radio in Straight mode but in synch in Direct mode. To each his own, right?

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post #7 of 14 Old 01-20-2013, 02:39 PM
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Yes, to each his own. Personally, I'd recommend using room correction tools unless there's a good reason not to.
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-20-2013, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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The downmix setting has no effect on the bitstream output. ... Using PLII or Neo:6 will anchor dialog in the center speaker where it works for all seats, not just those in the sweet spot.

BIslander, that is exactly what I was hoping for from the center-channel. At least for some content. Please clarify: Does "bitstream" mean the same thing as "D-PCM"?

JBWIII - Thanks so much for your advice about my DVD player settings. Your reply has been especially helpful since we have similar systems, and, apparently, similar listening habits, as well.

I also prefer 2-channel stereo when listening to music CDs, and for that, I turn the center channel off by pressing the STRAIGHT button on the RX-V373's remote. However, for FM stereo when it is mostly spoken word (NPR), and for stereo TV, I find it a bit easier to understand dialog if the center is on, so I've been using PL II. I also have noticed a slight delay in FM between the AVR and the portable radio in my kitchen - I'll see if STRAIGHT puts them back in synch.

As for the YPAO settings, I am mostly satisfied with them, but I decided to boost the center volume just a bit and also the EQ settings to enhance voice. We watch a lot of independent movies, foreign films, and British content - and I'd like to be able to understand marginal dialog without boosting the volume to ear-bleed levels. I wish my RX-373 had the DIRECT mode like your 473 so I could defeat my EQ settings for music CDs without messing about with menus. (Actually, I have a dedicated 2-channel system set up in another room which I prefer for music, so I don't often use the Yamaha for CDs.)

Thanks again to all!
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-20-2013, 08:15 PM
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Bitstream means sending the encoded file to an audio processor for decoding.

Movies are mastered as multichannel PCM, which takes up too much space to fit on DVDs. DD 5.1, DTS, and their lossless cousins TrueHD and dts-MA are all data compression codecs used to save space on a disc. They have to be decompressed back into PCM before they can be processed to produce sound.

Back to my original post: If the soundtrack were decoded by the player, then it could do the downmixing, which can't happen until the encoded track is turned back into PCM. When you set the player to bitstream an encoded track to a receiver, then the AVR has to do the decoding and subsequent downmixing.
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-21-2013, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

Bitstream means sending the encoded file to an audio processor for decoding.

Movies are mastered as multichannel PCM, which takes up too much space to fit on DVDs. DD 5.1, DTS, and their lossless cousins TrueHD and dts-MA are all data compression codecs used to save space on a disc. They have to be decompressed back into PCM before they can be processed to produce sound.

Back to my original post: If the soundtrack were decoded by the player, then it could do the downmixing, which can't happen until the encoded track is turned back into PCM. When you set the player to bitstream an encoded track to a receiver, then the AVR has to do the decoding and subsequent downmixing.

BIslander - I'm pretty sure the answer to my question is in there somewhere, if only I were smart enough to see it.

Let me ask the question another way. If I understand correctly, my DVD player can output one of two kinds of digital audio, as determined by Setting #3: either "DOLBY DIGITAL" or "D-PCM" - right? I believe you are telling me that "bitstream" refers to the encoded one, which is the one called DOLBY DIGITAL, right?
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post #11 of 14 Old 01-21-2013, 09:23 PM
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Correct. Bitstream sends an encoded DD 5.1 or DTS track to a receiver for decoding back into PCM. D-PCM is a setting that tells the player to decode the track itself and send the resulting PCM to the receiver. As the manual says, D-PCM is designed to be used when the device receiving the signal lacks the needed decoder.
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post #12 of 14 Old 01-30-2013, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

Correct. Bitstream sends an encoded DD 5.1 or DTS track to a receiver for decoding back into PCM. D-PCM is a setting that tells the player to decode the track itself and send the resulting PCM to the receiver. As the manual says, D-PCM is designed to be used when the device receiving the signal lacks the needed decoder.

So would it be fair to say that my PS3 outputting in LPCM to my Yamaha RX-V661 receiving it as MPCM is better than my WD TV Live player sending the encoded source (Dolby Digital) to the AVR?? So essentially, the PS3 is sending the source uncompressed while my WD TV Live is sending it compressed. So the PS3 should sound better than the WD TV Live player, right?!?! I don't understand why the compressed source sounds much more richer and detailed than the uncompressed, in my setup. I'm streaming files (movies) from my PC. I've been trying so hard to wrap my head around how all this works for the past few years, lol!

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post #13 of 14 Old 01-30-2013, 01:33 PM
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Not exactly. If the source content on the PS3 is DD 5.1, the same as the source on the WD TV player, the quality will be the same. No matter what codec is used to store a soundtrack, it always has to be decoded back into PCM before a receiver can process it. It generally doesn't matter where the decoding is done. Decoding in either the PS3 or the AVR will produce the exact same PCM.
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post #14 of 14 Old 01-30-2013, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

Not exactly. If the source content on the PS3 is DD 5.1, the same as the source on the WD TV player, the quality will be the same. No matter what codec is used to store a soundtrack, it always has to be decoded back into PCM before a receiver can process it. It generally doesn't matter where the decoding is done. Decoding in either the PS3 or the AVR will produce the exact same PCM.

Thanks for the explanation!

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