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Help a confused new guy: how do I get DTS/Dolby from HDMI?

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
I picked up my first HDMI-capable receiver this week on sale, a Pioneer VSX-521-K which I'm pretty damn happy with. The sound quality is leaps above my previous receiver.

However, the problem I'm facing is with my HTPC; an ASRock Ion 330HT. It's connected to the receiver via HDMI but I can't seem to get it to send DTS or Dolby sound. I'm new to the whole HDMI game as I've always used S/PDIF Optical in the past. What do I need to do to get decent surround out of my HTPC?

I'm using MKV files with DTS audio through Media Player Classic Home Cinema. Checking the HDMI audio device's configuration in Windows does not present me with DTS or other surround options. I've updated the Ion/Nvidia drivers and the Realtek sound card's as well. I'm not sure how to proceed from here.

I did try and search both the forums and Google but I couldn't really find anything relevant for a new guy.
post #2 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelfrog View Post

I picked up my first HDMI-capable receiver this week on sale, a Pioneer VSX-521-K which I'm pretty damn happy with. The sound quality is leaps above my previous receiver.

However, the problem I'm facing is with my HTPC; an ASRock Ion 330HT. It's connected to the receiver via HDMI but I can't seem to get it to send DTS or Dolby sound. I'm new to the whole HDMI game as I've always used S/PDIF Optical in the past. What do I need to do to get decent surround out of my HTPC?

I'm using MKV files with DTS audio through Media Player Classic Home Cinema. Checking the HDMI audio device's configuration in Windows does not present me with DTS or other surround options. I've updated the Ion/Nvidia drivers and the Realtek sound card's as well. I'm not sure how to proceed from here.

I did try and search both the forums and Google but I couldn't really find anything relevant for a new guy.

Have you checked the configuration of the audio so that it is outputting 5.1 or 7.1? Sometimes the default will be stereo.
post #3 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by capsid View Post

Have you checked the configuration of the audio so that it is outputting 5.1 or 7.1? Sometimes the default will be stereo.

I've set Windows to 5.1 speakers but I couldn't find any "control panels" for the Realtek device.

[EDIT] I should also mention that the optical output sound device does properly list DTS and Dolby Digital capabilities. HDMI only shows basic outputs.
post #4 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelfrog View Post

I've set Windows to 5.1 speakers but I couldn't find any "control panels" for the Realtek device.

[EDIT] I should also mention that the optical output sound device does properly list DTS and Dolby Digital capabilities. HDMI only shows basic outputs.

The settings should be the same as spdif, but for HDMI.

I am not home so I cannot give you screenshots. Also make sure that MPC-HC is set up to pass through DD/DTS
post #5 of 55
So if you click on sounds in the icon tray (lower right of screen), then select playback devices, you should see the sound device. Can you configure it to output multichannel?
post #6 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by capsid View Post

So if you click on sounds in the icon tray (lower right of screen), then select playback devices, you should see the sound device. Can you configure it to output multichannel?

Yup, I sure can. I click on the HDMI device, click on Configure and I set it 5.1. I do the test and I hear in the chime in the appropriate speakers just fine. I'm fairly certain I'm getting some kind of surround, but definitely not DTS or Dolby Digital.

When I check 'Supported formats', I don't see DTS nor Dolby Digital, but they appear in my Optical playback device though.

When I play a DTS-enabled MKV, my receiver's not displaying the DTS logo as it should.
post #7 of 55
Ok, so you need to get the DTS and HD audio formats showing up in the device properties. What happens if you disable the SPDIF device and make the HDMI default? Are you running Win7?
post #8 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by capsid View Post

Ok, so you need to get the DTS and HD audio formats showing up in the device properties. What happens if you disable the SPDIF device and make the HDMI default? Are you running Win7?

Windows 7 X64. HDMI is already the default device, but I'll disable S/PDIF when I get home. Would Windows only allow one device to decode at a time?
post #9 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelfrog View Post

Windows 7 X64. HDMI is already the default device, but I'll disable S/PDIF when I get home. Would Windows only allow one device to decode at a time?

Not sure, but sometimes it's best not to have conflicts. But I think your problem relates to there being no DTS and HD audio listed in the supported formats.
post #10 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by capsid View Post

Not sure, but sometimes it's best not to have conflicts. But I think your problem relates to there being no DTS and HD audio listed in the supported formats.

Agreed. There must be something trivial I'm not seeing here. Do I have to install any weird filters or codecs? I mean I figured MPC:HC would do everything out of the box.
post #11 of 55
You are already sending multichannel from your PC to amp, not all drivers/hardware support passthrough of DD/DTS, it 'unpacks' to Multichannel (simular to a PS3 eg.) same-same but without the fancy logo. Make sure you set your bitrate to the highest setting possible in one of the other tabs.
post #12 of 55
I don't think your HTPC will output DTS over the HDMI connection yet it will over SPDIF. From the Asrock website

Quote:


Utilizing the industry’s leading audio solution, DTS Connect® Surround Technology, ASRock NetTop ION 330HT series provides a better way of feeling the home entertainment perfection. DTS Connect® would be the perfect solution to enhance your entertainment experience using your home theater's Audio/Video Receiver. DTS Connect® is comprised of two DTS technologies, DTS Neo: PC™ and DTS Interactive™. DTS Neo: PC™ takes 2-channel (stereo) audio and transforms it into a full-bandwidth matrix of your speaker layout (up to 7.1 channels). DTS Interactive™ encodes digital audio sources into DTS Digital Surround, which can then stream out to your Audio/Video Receiver using an S/PDIF connection.
post #13 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by capsid View Post

I don't think your HTPC will output DTS over the HDMI connection yet it will over SPDIF. From the Asrock website

Was about to resign and plug in S/PDIF when I found an FAQ on the ASRock website about this exact topic:
http://www.asrock.com/nettop/faq.asp?Model=ion%20330

Question Q&A-75 clearly demonstrates DTS from HDMI. I'll have to try out those steps when I get home. Hope that'll do the trick.
post #14 of 55
^ That's something unrelated. The ion 330 is definitely capable of passing through DD/DTS over HDMI.

Make sure you have things set to pass through DD and DTS (ffdshow? Reclock?).
post #15 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

^ That's something unrelated. The ion 330 is definitely capable of passing through DD/DTS over HDMI.

Make sure you have things set to pass through DD and DTS (ffdshow? Reclock?).

I checked MPC:HT's filter lists and didn't see ffdshow in there. I don't know much - if anything - about codecs and filters, though.
post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelfrog View Post

Was about to resign and plug in S/PDIF when I found an FAQ on the ASRock website about this exact topic:
http://www.asrock.com/nettop/faq.asp?Model=ion%20330

Question Q&A-75 clearly demonstrates DTS from HDMI. I'll have to try out those steps when I get home. Hope that'll do the trick.

Yes, you can test that with the 30 day free trial of PowerDVD. In the new version 11 there is now a third output mode to select for bit streaming audio.
Out of interest, what formats are shown as being supported on the NVIDIA HDMI device?
post #17 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by capsid View Post

Yes, you can test that with the 30 day free trial of PowerDVD. In the new version 11 there is now a third output mode to select for bit streaming audio.
Out of interest, what formats are shown as being supported on the NVIDIA HDMI device?

I don't have it in front of me but if I recall correctly, it looks something like this. Not my screnshot, but similar results.
post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelfrog View Post

I don't have it in front of me but if I recall correctly, it looks something like this. Not my screnshot, but similar results.

It looks like you only get 2 channels from that device.
post #19 of 55
If that's really what yours says ("No compressed formats found"), then your receiver is not telling the computer that it supports DD/DTS. I'd look around for any HDCP hacks that might force it through.
post #20 of 55
Thread Starter 
I'll try out a few things tonight and let you guys know.
post #21 of 55
Thread Starter 
Here's the actual picture of my HDMI output device. So it says it supports Dolby but DTS is nowhere to be found.
post #22 of 55
But you can output 8 channels (=7.1) so try the passthrough option on MPC-HC with ffdshow
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by capsid View Post

I don't think your HTPC will output DTS over the HDMI connection yet it will over SPDIF. From the Asrock website

OK,
I went through the same problems with my setup until I figured out that passthrough for 5.1/DTS does not work with the device drivers provided with the hardware.

To fix the problem you will need to download two free programs from the internet.
1) http://ac3filter.net/wiki/Spdifer DirectShow filter
2) program for setting the default sound and video drivers.

Once these are properly configured passing DD5.1 and DTS over HDMI to your display is no problem. I connect the Media Center PC to my display via HDMI and then connect the optical out of the Samsung Flatscreen to my Suround Proccesser. After getting the MediaCenter correctly configured, both DD5.1 and DTS passes from the MediaCenter PC to the Surround Processer over the HDMI/Optical connections.
post #24 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Embry View Post

OK,
I went through the same problems with my setup until I figured out that passthrough for 5.1/DTS does not work with the device drivers provided with the hardware.

To fix the problem you will need to download two free programs from the internet.
1) http://ac3filter.net/wiki/Spdifer DirectShow filter
2) program for setting the default sound and video drivers.

Once these are properly configured passing DD5.1 and DTS over HDMI to your display is no problem. I connect the Media Center PC to my display via HDMI and then connect the optical out of the Samsung Flatscreen to my Suround Proccesser. After getting the MediaCenter correctly configured, both DD5.1 and DTS passes from the MediaCenter PC to the Surround Processer over the HDMI/Optical connections.

Isn't that just passing the audio through the optical cable and the video via the HDMI? Steelfrog wants to get DTS via HDMI, he can already get DTS via optical.
post #25 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by capsid View Post

Isn't that just passing the audio through the optical cable and the video via the HDMI? Steelfrog wants to get DTS via HDMI, he can already get DTS via optical.

Yes, this is correct. As it turns out, I ended out going "screw it" last night and plugged in the optical cable. Turns out that I don't think my receiver will let me use optical in for an HDMI source or at least, I couldn't find the function anywhere.
post #26 of 55
did you install Shark007 codecs?
post #27 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

did you install Shark007 codecs?

I don't think it's a codec issue. I mean the optical output does DTS. It seems like a driver thing but I can't figure out what it could be.
post #28 of 55
Thread Starter 
So I've kept on Googlin' and here's what I could find. I've no previous experience in the whole audio realm, so please correct me if this makes no sense as I'll try to put it down as best as I can understand the jargon.

The ION33HT does not provide bitstream audio via HDMI, only PCM. This explains why Windows provides 7.1 sound without the DTS or Dolby Digital decoding signals (see previous screenshot).

If my understanding is correct, what the player is doing is taking the DTS audio from my movie and converting that signal to 5.1 and then sending that to the receiver. Since the receiver is set to 'direct', it does not remix the audio and simply sends the signals to the appropriate speaker as directed by the PC.

Does that make sense? Is it safe to assume that I'm still getting DTS quality level of surround sound mixing? I mean it sounds fine to me as a non-audiophile, but I'm still wondering if I'm not missing out on something.
post #29 of 55
That would be very strange. I thought all HDMI audio supported DD/DTS. Do DD sources work?

And yes, what's happening is that your player is decoding the signal on the computer and sending the multichannel audio to your receiver. You aren't losing any audio quality, especially if you're using the direct mode on the receiver.
post #30 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

That would be very strange. I thought all HDMI audio supported DD/DTS. Do DD sources work?

And yes, what's happening is that your player is decoding the signal on the computer and sending the multichannel audio to your receiver. You aren't losing any audio quality, especially if you're using the direct mode on the receiver.

Both Dolby Digital and DTS aren't being sent to the receiver as far as I can tell. At least, my receiver's indicators aren't lighting up which prompted me to start looking in the first place.

I just can't figure it out. I'm starting to assume that the PC simply doesn't do 'em via HDMI, only via optical/SPDIF.
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