Originally Posted by urbanmark
Ok... super-interested in the multizone stuff from Batpig's post #143.
If I'm understanding it right, with an X3000 all my sources can be connected via HDMI and I can get the audio separated and down-mixed to the Zone 2 pre-outs that connect to my whole house amp? No need to run other audio connections from source devices?
If so, that's really cool.
As some clarification on my earlier post, some updated info:
- It is accurate that the X3000/X4000 can play ANY source, digital or analog, to other zones. However, for digital audio inputs, it will only work with a 2.0 PCM input stream. I now see this is noted clearly in the "Tips" section:
- My earlier thought was that you could play multich audio in main zone, and then the receiver would do a "background downmix" of the multich audio to 2.0 PCM when the ZONE 2 / HDMI AUDIO setting is set to "PCM". So, for example, you could be watching the football game in 5.1 Dolby Digital in Main Zone, and then play the audio from the game on the Zone 2 speakers in stereo with the main zone remaining on DD 5.1. However, this is not accurate
-- the receiver itself doesn't do a downmix; rather, when you set that setting to "PCM", the EDID for the Zone 2 source is set to request 2.0 PCM from the SOURCE. So, in the example above, when Zone 2 and Main Zone are playing the same source (football game), the cable box would "see" that the EDID request is for 2.0 PCM, and would set itself to 2.0 PCM output. In other words, the source itself is forced to do the downmix to 2.0 PCM before the signal ever gets to the receiver
, and thus the audio in BOTH zones will be 2.0 PCM. So the receiver would then switch to PLII Cinema (or whatever) to matrix the surround sound in Main Zone.
- If Main Zone and Zone 2 are not set to the same source, it's not an issue. So, for example, continuing with the example above. Let's say you have your cable box and Apple TV hooked up to the receiver with HDMI. You set the ZONE 2 / HDMI AUDIO setting to "PCM" to enable HDMI audio to Zone 2. You are watching the football game from the cable box in Main Zone, listening to the DD 5.1 broadcast. Now, you start streaming from music from the Apple TV to Zone 2. The Apple TV will see the EDID request from Zone 2 and provide "legal" 2.0 PCM output, and the HDMI audio will play in Zone 2 with no issues, and the football game will continue in 5.1 DD in Main Zone.
So, in simple terms -- whether you are using the HDMI Zone matrix output or the "standard" Zone 2/3 stereo audio output, if you select the same source for Main Zone and Zone 2/3, you will be limited by the "lowest common denominator" audio rule and the input signal will become 2.0 PCM stereo for all zones. If you select a different source for Zone 2/3 (or of course if Zone 2/3 is off) then the Main Zone will operate normally, and Zone 2/3 will seamlessly force a stereo downmix and can play digital sources without any additional cabling.
This is still a HUGE advance of course, as you finally can toss those analog RCA cables and play audio to any zone using only digital cables. Not quite the "holy grail" of a background downmix of multich digital input sources, but a huge step forward nonetheless.