What setting should be used for the majority of my DVD's? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-05-2013, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Just picked up a 515 and I'm curious as to what I should use in all of the different available settings to get the best out of my 5.1 setup?

I'm not at home right now but I watched "The Blue Max" last night and I was less than enthused with the quality of the "surround sound" that we experienced during the movie.

The DVD box says that the movie was in "Dolby Surround".

thanks!
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-05-2013, 04:51 PM
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Dolby surround is not Dolby Digital 5.1. That movie has a dolby 2.0 soundtrack and is from 1966. Don't expect the best audio quality.

When you have movies with better soundtracks either choose Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS when available.

For older movies with 2.0 soundtracks you'll have to experiment with the different audio modes on your receiver to determine which one is best. there is no clear winner. Could be Dolby PLIIx, DTS Neo:6 or even multichannel stereo. Its a listener preference.

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post #3 of 15 Old 05-06-2013, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for your quick reply, it's much appreciated.

Another quick question-is there a setting that allows the 515 to detect and utilize the best option available to "produce" the proper surround effect?
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-06-2013, 07:53 PM
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The default AUTO setting for the input means it will detect the type of audio arriving and apply whatever decoder is needed. So, codecs such as DD 5.1, TrueHD, and their DTS cousins get processed properly. Anything else you want to do on top of that requires applying specific settings yourself. For example, if you want the receiver to use PLII to expand stereo sources to 5.1, you have to use the PLII Listening Mode.
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-07-2013, 03:11 AM
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If we're talking about the Onkyo, there isn't a specific 'auto' mode you can set.smile.gif

The confusing thing in the Onkyo (and maybe others) is that Orchestra, all ch stereo etc. are listening modes, so are input channel number (stereo, MCH) and encoding formats (DD etc.).

The 'detect' part: For an encoded audio stream the receiver will detect it automatically and decodes it. If it's DD, it MUST decode it with the DD decoder: there's no other way to hear the audio.

The 'best option part': For a MCH source in a 5.1 set-up there isn't much else to change from 'straight decode' but for 2CH source it defaults (on my 818) to all ch stereo which you would want to change.

Whether you choose direct/pure direct or DPLII, dts Neo to expand channels is down to your preference, as pointed out above. There's no general 'best' setting apart from straight decode but generally avoid the DSP listening modes.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #6 of 15 Old 05-08-2013, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the info!

So to make sure I'm following this correctly-if I select DIRECT the unit will process whatever is the proper "information" it's receiving and "project" it in the manner that the movie was intended?
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-08-2013, 06:52 PM
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Not exactly. The receiver will decode Dolby and DTS tracks automatically, producing a 5.1 PCM output as it was originally mixed.

The Direct setting pretty much tells the receiver to do nothing else. Direct bypasses Audyssey room correction, for example. With some receivers, Direct also means no bass management, although I do not know if that is the case with your particular AVR.

There really isn't much you need to do to get the track as mixed. Just let the receiver decode it and avoid applying any extraneous Listening Modes such as All Channel Stereo.

Beyond that, you want your processor to help make your equipment and room sound their best by using features such as room correction and bass management. Remember, the track was mixed in a good listening space with full range speakers all around, which is rarely the case in home setups. The tools in your receiver can compensate for room and equipment weaknesses so that the track will sound the way it was mixed.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-08-2013, 07:23 PM
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To make it simple, I'll tell you what I use on the 818 (what is actually displayed on the front):

• 2CH music: stereo (this outputs 2.1; 'direct' will omit bass management hence the sub)
• MCH music with player sending PCM: MULTICH
• MCH movie with player decoding and sending PCM: MULTICH (same as for MCH music)
• MCH movie with player sending bitstream (DD/dts etc.): Dolby Digital/DTS/Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD MSTR

As you can see it's not complicated.

The bass management, Audyssey and Audyssey Dynamic EQ you have to set these separately.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #9 of 15 Old 05-09-2013, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Once again, thanks folks for the great answers!

I did in fact run the "detailed" Audyssey setup as my viewing area is acoustically "challenged" and I didn't realize that using direct bypassed all of the modern goodness!!!

Can I go through all of the "sound options" from the front of the 515 or will I need to pull it up on the TV and get into "setup"?

Also, with regard to the selections based on whether the data is "bitsream" or "PCM"---what tells you what kind of data stream you are receiving? Is it info displayed on the receiver or do you have to look at the DVD/Blu-ray jacket to find that information?

Thanks again for your time!
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-09-2013, 08:07 PM
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On the Onkyo I think the default is already MULTICH for MCH PCM input and DD/dts etc for bitstream. I didn't need to set anything.

Whether the player outputs bitstream (DD, dts etc.) or PCM (digital audio which is decoded form of bitstream) the receiver will handle it correctly. So whatever options you set in the player it will work fine.

Just play a DVD with DD or dts: if the receiver shows DD or dts or MULTICH you're doing fine.smile.gif

If not then ask again...

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #11 of 15 Old 05-10-2013, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the reply!

I stuck the old Blue Max dvd in and cycled through the MOVIE/TV sound options button on the front of the receiver and "PLII MOVIE as we as "dts", NEO:6, PCM, Audyssey and Dynamic EQ Vol were illuminated.

Should I assume that if dts is illuminated, that is the format that should be selected?

I inserted the Blu-Ray version of Iron Man 2 and "MULTICHANNEL" was available with PCM, Audyssey and Dynamic EQ VOL which was pretty much it other than the normal direct, mono,etc. options available.

I changed my LG BP 730 to BITSTREAM and now the option displayed on the 515 is "dts HD-MASTER" as well as Aud. and Dyn. EQ Vol.

I guess my final ADDITIONAL question (for now! ;-) is should I leave the blu-ray player in bitstream or use PCM. In other words which one of these two available options would provide the highest quality sound experience when watching "newer" DVD's???

Thanks again for your patience and answers, they are much appreciated.
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post #12 of 15 Old 05-10-2013, 08:24 AM
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A little background about audio processing:
PCM is the fundamental digital format used in entertainment audio. Movies and CDs are mastered as PCM and receivers are engineered to process PCM to produce sound. Multichannel PCM soundtracks are quite large and studios use data compression codecs to save space on discs. Dolby and DTS codecs are really just types of zip files that save space. A large PCM track is fed into an encoder, where it is compressed to reduce the size. The decoder decompresses it, turning it back into PCM.

When using HDMI connections, it doesn't matter where the decoding is done. You get the exact same PCM when decoding in either the player or receiver. Most people choose to bitstream so that their AVRs do the decoding because they can see the codec displayed on the AVR panel. But, it really doesn't matter when it comes to audio quality.

As for listening modes, when a source is already 5.1, modes such as PLII and Neo:6 don't do anything. Those modes are used to expand source content to 5.1 and cannot be used when the source is already 5.1. So, they won't be involved with movie watching except for the rare disc that only has a stereo soundtrack. But, give them a try with stereo sources such as CDs and non 5.1 TV shows. Personally, I use PLII Music mode for all stereo sources because the music mode offers user configurable settings for the width and depth of the sound stage . But, this is all about personal preference. There's no right or wrong approach when it comes to listening modes and channel expansion. Some people don't use them as all.

Audyssey Volume and EQ have specific purposes that should be described in the manual.
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post #13 of 15 Old 05-10-2013, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, that was fantastic info and really cleared things up ALOT!!! Thanks again for the straight skinny!!!!!
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post #14 of 15 Old 05-10-2013, 07:48 PM
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Glad you found it helpful.

Dynamic Volume is an effort to equalize levels between sources -helping keep commercials from being lots louder than shows, for example. The jury is out on whether it works and whether it adversely affects quality.

Dynamic EQ is a technique to compensate for the lower playback volumes commonly used in home theaters. Soundtracks that are mixed to be played at reference levels in theaters may not work so well at lower volumes. Dialog may be hard to hear over special effects when the volume isn't cranked up. Dynamic EQ can help with that.
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post #15 of 15 Old 05-11-2013, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I figured I'd give the EQ and Vol a try. I just turned 60 and I've spent the last 37 years as a helicopter pilot and that translates into me not hearing like I used to-if you know what I mean!!!! ;-)

I also just replaced my 10 year old Klipch center speaker with an Energy CC-10 that's supposed to have better clarity and freq. response so I don't have to turn things up so loud which should make my wife happy!
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