LFE, subwoofers and interconnects explained - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 777 Old 11-20-2006, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonian View Post

Do you remember where in the manual this is addressed, ie, under what heading? I'm trying to look through the pdf right now, but not sure where to look.

Just do what I do - search for "10 dB" or "10dB". Failing that, just "dB". Done this on dozens of manuals

In the case of the AVR-3806, in the PDF I have of the US manual (can't remember where I got it from), on page 35, under "Basic Operation / Surround Parameters", we have:

Quote:


LFE (Low Frequency Effect):
This sets the level of the LFE (Low Frequency Effect) sounds included in the source when playing program sources recorded in Dolby Digital, DTS, DVD-audio or Super Audio CD.
Program source and adjustment range:
-10 dB to 0 dB
  • When DTS encoded movie software is played, it is recommended that the LFE LEVEL be set to 0 dB for correct DTS playback.
  • When DTS encoded music software is played, it is recommended that the LFE LEVEL be set to -10 dB for correct DTS playback.

That advice is actually rather antiquated. As I understand it, early DTS music discs (mainly CDs) suffered from the "incorrect" (compared to DTS film) LFE levels. Most DTS music discs should now be okay at 0dB really.

The setting applies, as far as I am aware, equally to internal DD/DTS decode, PCM over HDMI, and PCM/DSD over Denon Link. However, I've not tested it personally.
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post #32 of 777 Old 11-20-2006, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMO View Post

Sorry, was that unclear? No, all receivers get bitstream right, or at least give you the option of getting it right . Because it's the common case used by 98% of users. It's only when you go raw multichannel, either analogue or digital, that things go pear-shaped.

Well, digital to me includes bitstream, and given how many times gear seems not to get things quite right, I didn't take it for granted. For people like me, perhaps its best to reword that heading -- to indicate explicitly that it doesn't apply to bitstream digital.
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post #33 of 777 Old 11-22-2006, 11:30 AM
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So those of us who have an AVR that doesn't do the 10dB boost properly. Would some external device that does bass management be the best solution?

I have a Pioneer 84 and a Tosh HD-A1, and I am wondering what would be the way to deal with this issue.

I took a quick look at the Outlaw ICBM and it is not clear to me if it will solve the problem or not. It looks like it can *reduce* the LFE channel, but not sure if it can add to it.

thanks,
aaron

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post #34 of 777 Old 11-22-2006, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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If you're using analogue interconnects, there shouldn't be much of a problem anyway; for your combination, using analogue, turning on the +10dB SW boost in the receiver and then adjusting the other channels down 5dB in the player should do the trick.

There's nothing available I'm aware of that would help with the HDMI connection.
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post #35 of 777 Old 11-22-2006, 01:02 PM
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I'll need to re-read your first post to hopefully make some sense of the math behind the -5dB on the player and +10dB on the receiver... unless of course you would like to explain that.

I am using HDMI, but if it will fix the issue, I will switch over to using the analog ins. Should I set the speakers to large on the HD-A1 for this setup?

I guess I would be hosed if I added a second source in the future (like BR player or something). So if I did switch over to analog, and added another source later on, is there where something like the Outlaw would come in handy?

thanks again,
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post #36 of 777 Old 11-22-2006, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
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If you use analogue, the receiver won't be doing bass management etc. So if you want to select small speakers or change distances, you need to do that in the player, replicating your settings for the receiver.

If you are doing bass management in the player, then the SW output will probably be 15dB lower than the rest (-10dB to fit the LFE, and another -5dB to fit redirected bass). So you need to get that lifted up relative to the other channels. The +10dB setting on the receiver will get you most of the way there, and you can get the rest by turning all the other channels down 5dB in the player, so the SW output will now be amplified 15dB more than the rest. Running a calibration DVD through the analogue hook-up should show that everything's okay.

In future, I suggest you look out for players that can adjust their channel levels over HDMI. Some can - with them you can work around the Pioneer problem by telling them to turn all their other channels down 10dB.
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post #37 of 777 Old 11-23-2006, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I find myself increasingly uncertain about DVD-Audio, and I've adjusted the opening post to reflect that. I'm beginning to suspect that the LFE on DVD-Audio PCM/MLP tracks is equal-level, like SACD, and players may be lowering it in their analogue outputs, like SACD, to match DD/DTS.

Can anyone offer any insight? If you're using DVD-Audio with a digital interconnect, are you using a 10dB boost? Or does it come out okay with non-boosting receivers like the VSX-84?
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post #38 of 777 Old 11-23-2006, 11:40 AM
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I have the Denon AVR-4806 and it has a sub-menu for EXT. IN SW level. It allows you to adjust it up 5, 10 or 15db. I can confirm from testing that it appears to work with both analogue in and pcm, dvd-audio and sacd via Denon Link or HDMI. +15 appears to be the correct level to match dolby or dts bitstream via optical and is the default setting. It also appears to be the correct level for sacd and dvd-audio when compared to the CD version via digital or denon link.

Although on the Pio 84 thread I originally posted that I thought the Pio LFE was pretty close with the Denon on PCM via HDMI, after getting more equal levels, it does appear the Pio LFE is 8-10db down from the Denon on PCM sources, but not SACD or DVD-Audio. Maybe KMO is correct that the player or the disc is making the adjustment for those music sources before outputting digitally or the receiver makes the adjustment based on what signal it is receiving (pcm, mlp or dsd).

Scott
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post #39 of 777 Old 11-23-2006, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Scott, that's useful.

What player are you using, and how are you connecting to the Pioneer? It sounds like you've got the analogue connection working smoothly with this combination.

Actually, are you sure the Denon's EXT. IN SW setting is affecting your HDMI and Denon Link? It should be the separate LFE setting for that.
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post #40 of 777 Old 11-23-2006, 08:21 PM
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I was comparing DD+ from the Toshiba HD-AX1 via Hdmi to both the Denon AVR-4806 and the 84. For DVD-Audio I used Denon Link from DVD-3910 to the 4806 and ilink to the 84.

I agree with you that the Ext. In SW level on the Denon should affect only the 7.1 analog input. However, I have checked every menu and every word in the manual and cannot find a separate setting for PCM through HDMI or any other digital link.

You have said that the AVR-3806 has such a setting. I cannot imagine the 3806 would have it and not the 4806. In what menu is it located in the 3806?

Scott
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post #41 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
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According to the 3806 manual, there's an LFE setting in the "Surround Parameter" menu. It says "this sets the level of the LFE (Low Frequency Effect) sounds included in the source when playing program sources recorded in Dolby Digital, DTS, DVD-audio or Super Audio CD." Ah, I've already posted that in #31 above.

From what you've said I'd be interested to see if this actually has independent settings for the different formats. It sounds to me like it may be giving you "0dB" for DD and "-10dB" for SACD. Which would be brilliant.

Actually it may just be remembering for different inputs; i.Link and HDMI. What does the Denon do if you switch between DD bitstream and DVD-Audio from the 3810 over i.Link, or DD bitstream and DD+-derived PCM from the HD-A1 over HDMI? Do you have independent LFE settings?

The most problematic case would be a universal HD DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio player or similar, where PCM output from DD+ would need a 10dB LFE boost, but PCM/DSD output from the music discs didn't (unless the player was helpful enough to lower the LFE for music to match). It would be great if the receiver could automate that somehow.
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post #42 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 04:41 AM
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The 4806 allows for an LFE setting of 0 or -10db for Dolby and dts only. For SACD and DVD-Audio it provides a SW attenuation setting if the bass is too strong, but says specifically you should not need this setting if using a Denon universal player.

Dvd-audio and 5.1 sacd from denon link and dd+, true-hd and uncompressed pcm via HDMI all show up as "Multi CH IN" on the 4806 face. This allows you to apply THX, PLIIx, EQ and bass management to the signal (and allows you to adjust treble/bass for each speaker, including bass level in the subwoofer), but no separate LFE setting is available in the Surround Parameter.

What all of the above tells me is that the Denon receiver IS applying a 10db boost to all incoming LFE, but for digital SACD and DVD-Audio the Denon DVD player is attenuating the output, so it is level once the boost is applied.

Do you agree?

Scott
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post #43 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm. I'm confused now. The copy of the 4806CI manual I've downloaded from http://usa.denon.com/AVR-4806CI-OM.pdf shows the same settings as the 3806 manual I downloaded. It says on page 55 that the LFE setting in Surround Parameters affects DD, DTS, DVDA and SACD, and it's shown as available for MULTI CH IN in the table on page 157. And on page 100, SW Level is said to only affect the EXT IN subwoofer terminal. I don't see any text about "you should not need this setting if using a Denon universal player".

I note there's also another setting shown "SW ATT", just for EXT IN, but it's not clear what that does exactly.

The way the manual describes it makes more logical sense than what you're seeing, as the terminology is correct - what you get over a digital link is plain LFE, not SW (LFE+redirected bass). So it should be an LFE control that affects it. But maybe they've implemented it so that the SW Level setting controls both the SW analogue input and the digital LFE input, leaving the LFE Level to only control the DD and DTS encoders. Hmmm. It would work, but it's not what that manual says.

I agree with your last assessment. The most sensible thing for a universal player to do is to align its SW/LFE outputs for all formats, by attenuating by 10dB where appropriate.

So, for DD/DTS/DD+/any other format that needs a 10dB LFE boost:
  • Digital LFE out = raw LFE data off disc
  • Analogue SW out = Lower5dB(LFE off disc + Lower10dB(redirected bass))
(The extra 5dB drop is needed to make room for the redirected bass)

For SACD/DVD-Audio PCM/any format that doesn't need a 10dB LFE boost:
  • Digital LFE out = Lower10dB(LFE data off disc)
  • Analogue SW out = Lower5dB(Lower10dB(LFE off disc) + Lower10dB(redirected bass))
So in the receiver LFE always needs a 10dB boost through digital and 15dB through analogue, regardless of format.

The only catch is that digitally lowering by 10dB will cost some quality, particularly for DSD (each re-encode of DSD introduces more noise). But I doubt you'd ever notice for the LFE channel.
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post #44 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Ah, I've just realised that the AVR-4806 and 4806CI are different models. The AVR-4806 manual indeed says the LFE setting doesn't work in MULTI CH IN mode.

The SW Level affecting digital inputs is undocumented; good catch, I'll add that to the top post. Do you think +15dB is the right setting for digital, matching analogue? I'm a bit surprised, but as it's undocumented, who knows what it's actually doing. Just because it's doing +15dB for analogue doesn't mean it's giving you +15dB for digital.

Still can't see the text about Denon universal players though.
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post #45 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 07:03 AM
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Excellent exposition, KMO!

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post #46 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 07:19 AM
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KMO,

As you probably know from another thread, I am in-between receivers at the moment. If you had to choose a make and model based on what you know today, what would it be?

Thanks,

Frank
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post #47 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Purely on these functionality concerns, I'm tending for the Denon AVR-3806, or its AVR-3807 successor if that's as good. Denon understand the issues, and have put in all the options, with sensible defaults. But I don't like relying on a proprietary Denon Link hook-up.

I originally started considering the Marantz SR7001, for its 4xHDMI 1.2 connectivity, but I don't yet have any information about its LFE handling over HDMI PCM/DSD. I'm also wary of being forced to bundle video and audio, as HDMI requires. Separate connections, i.Link style, strike me as being less prone to problems (such as not being able to get full-res audio with 480i/576i on many devices, or general format-negotiation and copy-protection grief).

The Pioneer VSX-AX4ASi (VSX-84TXSi) was a strong contender, having i.Link, but the lack of LFE boost holes it below the waterline for me.

Part of the problem is that I also need to get a new universal player. But at the moment, I'd probably end up forced to get a matching pair - only Denon players have Denon Link, only the upcoming Marantz DV7001 is likely to have HDMI 1.2 SACD output in the near future (and this would probably be my preferred player), and only Pioneer DVD players have i.Link in my price-range. So that complicates the decision.

I've not heard or seen any of these receivers in real life yet, I'm still researching. I currently own a 5+ year old Marantz SR7200.
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post #48 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 08:35 AM
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KMO... thanks for this.. I just had opportunity to read the thread in it's entirety.

I think I'll PM Chris this link as well, as it is a great adjunct to the discussion we are having in the 84-specific thread.

-Steve
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post #49 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, please do, Steve. I've just rewritten it a bit to reflect my new view that DVD-Audio doesn't use a LFE boost (but players compensate). And I've added more references to standards documents. Regretfully, I haven't yet gotten my hands on CEA-861-D (the standard for the soft layers of HDMI) or the DVD-Audio Book ($5000!), so I'm still not definitive on what HDMI and DVD-Audio say about their LFE data.
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post #50 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 11:24 AM
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Quote:


Still can't see the text about Denon universal players though.

It is on pg. 62 of the 4806 manual. Although it states it works only with EXT. IN., the manual seems to interchange that term between analog and digital. Also, it could not be referring to the multichannel analog in because the surround parameters do not work with that input. It is simply a pass through.

Regardless, I did the LFE only test (no mixed bass management) from Digital Video Essentials played by the Toshiba HD-XA1 through hdmi to the 4806. On one test I played the DD track decoded in the receiver and the other decoded in the player. The LFE levels were identical. When I ran the test with the Pioneer 84, the LFE was down 8db when decoded in the Toshiba.

I do not have test disc for DVD-Audio or SACD signals, but the bass seems spot on with 3910 connected to the 4806 via Denon Link. With the 3910 connected to the Pio 84 via ilink, the bass level was slightly down, but not as much as with the Dolby Digital test. It could have been less noticeable since there is generally more redirected bass and less LFE in DVD-A and SACD recordings. With some prior processors I have owned, the bass has been way to hot on multichannel music discs.

This test seems to indicate that, regardless of what the manual says, Denon does have it right with both its receivers and dvd players. On the other hand, the Pio Elite is definitely not providing the boost to the multichannel PCM LFE via HDMI.

Hope this helps in your admirable task.

Scott
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post #51 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 11:29 AM
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Scott,
That's tremendously helpful. Thanks for doing that!
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post #52 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Ah, gotcha. Didn't realise you were talking about the SW ATT setting - thought you were talking about the SW LEVEL.

That SW ATT is interesting. The 4806 is Ultra2, yes? That means it can do processing on its multichannel analogue input, I think. So it has analogue-to-digital converters on them. And if someone had a player that did boost its SW output by 10dB, raising its peak rms level to 6V, then the ADC would be overloaded. So the SW ATT exists to attenuate the input it in the analogue domain so the ADC can work. Then the SW LEVEL would boost it back up properly.

I'm pretty certain EXT IN. always specifically refers to the analogue connection; can you show any examples where they mean digital by it?
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post #53 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 01:02 PM
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Quote:


That SW ATT is interesting. The 4806 is Ultra2, yes? That means it can do processing on its multichannel analogue input, I think. So it has analogue-to-digital converters on them. And if someone had a player that did boost its SW output by 10dB, raising its peak rms level to 6V, then the ADC would be overloaded. So the SW ATT exists to attenuate the input it in the analogue domain so the ADC can work. Then the SW LEVEL would boost it back up properly.

I'm pretty certain EXT IN. always specifically refers to the analogue connection; can you show any examples where they mean digital by it?

You are correct and incorrect. Yes, I believe EXT.IN. does mean multichannel analog in. I was confusing it with Multichannel IN which is Denon's term for a digital input where the decoding is done externally.

However, although it is Ultra2 certified the 4806 does not do any processing on the analog EXT.IN, just the digital Multichannel IN. I believe only the 5805 can process the analog.

It is interesting though that there are 2 separate settings affecting the subwoofer input of the analog EXT.IN. In the setup menu under EXT Input setup, there is a setting for subwoofer level boost of +5db, +10db or +15db. Then when in EXT.IN mode you can pull up the surround parameter menu and the only choice available is the SUB. ATT. of ON or OFF. The two menus appear to be at cross purposes.

Now if you are in digital Multi Ch IN mode, then the only suround parameters available are surround back channel mode and tone defeat. If you select tone defeat off then it will allow you, among other things, to adjust up or down the subwoofer level (not the LFE specifically) for that input only.

Scott
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post #54 of 777 Old 11-24-2006, 01:29 PM
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Looking at the manuals, it looks like the Yamaha 1700 / 2700 would have the same issue since there doesn't seem to be an adjustment. Can anyone confirm / deny?

Thanks,

Frank
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post #55 of 777 Old 11-30-2006, 12:02 PM
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Pioneer called me back. They are aware of the issue and are writing a flash for the dsp to correct the LFE issue. They are hoping to have it available by the end of December. Owners please call and get a case# and register your product. They will email you when the firmware flash is available. They did not know at this time if it was going to be a user addressable fix or if it has to go to a service center for the flash.

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post #56 of 777 Old 11-30-2006, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Good to hear. I wonder if it's going to be switchable, or they'll just have it fixed at +10dB, like they do with the internal DD and DTS decode? That would be acceptable, but it's nice to always have a bit of flexibility, in case you need to work around problems.
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post #57 of 777 Old 11-30-2006, 03:07 PM
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this post needs a "sticky"

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post #58 of 777 Old 11-30-2006, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billymac View Post

Pioneer called me back. They are aware of the issue and are writing a flash for the dsp to correct the LFE issue. They are hoping to have it available by the end of December. Owners please call and get a case# and register your product. They will email you when the firmware flash is available. They did not know at this time if it was going to be a user addressable fix or if it has to go to a service center for the flash.

Did Pioneer say exactly which models were being considered for this ?

Will Pioneer be contacting you when this is available or will it be announced on their web site ?

All in all , this is good news . Pioneer very rarely provides updates on released products .

Scott.......................

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post #59 of 777 Old 12-01-2006, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftlee View Post

Looking at the manuals, it looks like the Yamaha 1700 / 2700 would have the same issue since there doesn't seem to be an adjustment. Can anyone confirm / deny?

Thanks,

Frank

I'm almost certain there isn't one.

That being the case...then what? If I wanted to buy one of these and basically go all HDMI, like with my PS3, what would I be dealing with?

What a great thread! I wish I could fit it into my sig along with the other one!

Great ISF Job by Chad B.
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post #60 of 777 Old 12-01-2006, 06:43 PM
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Other odd receiver behaviour
Onkyo SR-804E: can't apply EX/PLIIx/etc to multichannel PCM input
Sony STR-DA5200ES: can't apply EX/PLIIx/etc to multichannel PCM input
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Is the fact that the Sony won't scale HDMI inputs an odd behavior? Appears most of the others will.
(ie if my cable STB is connected to the Sony HDMI, no scaling will occur. One needs to use the component inputs to make it scale.)
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