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Any Receivers Decode HDMI Audio For Zone 2/3 Yet?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Since all the major manufacturers are pulling off all their analog inputs, have any stepped up so that they are decoding HDMI for zone 2 audio output yet?

I've used the 3313 with dual HDMI outputs (matrixed) with a second surround receiver, and it certainly will pass digital audio to it's second HDMI output, but won't decode HDMI audio to either zone 2 or zone 3...

Not a big deal if you have all your sources located right next to the receiver (I typically don't) AND the receiver supports the 7 or so HDMI inputs with matching analog connections (almost none do now!).

So, what's the solution out there since analog connections have been taken away and they still aren't providing a second DAC for zone 2/3 on their products? Even on the highest end models you can't get this feature from what I've seen...

Of is there a manufacturer that has solved this and properly provides a truly discrete zone 2 analog audio output that is a one-wire solution with HDMI?
post #2 of 21
Of the AV receivers you can buy today, only the Yamaha RX-A3020 can play HDMI audio through zone 2 speaker terminals or pre-outs. Highend 2013 Denon models that should be coming out soon also have this feature, and other manufacturers might this year as well. Nothing supports this in zone 3 or is likely to.

It takes a bit more additional hardware than some DACs do this. You also need a matrix HDMI switch and another HDMI decoder. While a number of high-end 2012 models from various manufacturers included the matrix HDMI switch, only the RX-A3020 included the other necessary hardware. Support for this doesn't seem to have anything to with lack of analogue audio inputs, as the RX-A3020 isn't lacking for those and any high-end 2013 models with this feature will likely have a decent amount as well.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that... I have been hoping that they might put a DAC unit at each input to extract the analog audio, or some other similar function at some point. It is good to see that Yamaha has a nice page about the 3020 that indicates how their zone audio can be sent to various other zones and specifically list HDMI as an available audio source for the Zone 2 analog audio outputs.

Denon still worries me as this is a feature that seems to have been completely lacking on all of their previous receivers... Still, it is all the zones that I am hoping to see get analog audio capabilities from a receiver, or I guess I would be happy enough to find a good HDMI analog audio extractor/format converter that allows me to pull two-channel analog audio off a HDMI cable and remixes all surround formats (including HD audio) to 2-channel analog so I can put them into audio distribution systems.

Crestron certainly is one of the few that can deliver this level of functionality. I believe that Extron can as well, but a 8x8 HDMI matrix from them runs in the $10,000 range, which is a bit out of my budget at this time.
post #4 of 21
The new Denon X3000 and X4000 (avail end of May) will both offer the feature you want and the X4000 will offer it to both Zones 2 and 3 as well.
post #5 of 21
The AVR-X4000 specifications on Denon's US website say that HDMI audio only works in zone 2: "Digital to Analog Conversion Multi Zone Outputs: HDMI (Z2 Only), Coaxial , Optical". The manual also suggests this tha thist receiver has this limitation on page 216 as well.

However, none of these receivers, the Yamaha RX-A3020 or the new 2013 Denon models, will downmix zone audio into stereo, which seems to be a requirement of the original poster. They both require that HDMI (or optical/coaxial) audio to be in 2.0 PCM. The RX-A3020 relaxes this condition when the same source is selected in the main zone and zone 2, and will downmix to stereo in that case, but apparently the AVR-X3000 and AVR-X4000 don't do this and always require 2.0 PCM.

As for not trusting Denon, until last year no one supported HDMI audio in anything other the main zone, so Yamaha is only one year ahead in supporting this. Denon also supported optical and coaxial digital zone audio in some of their 2011 and earlier models, back when no else did, so this isn't not totally new to them either.
post #6 of 21
The "All Zone Stereo" feature is available on all "X" series models and will play the same HDMI audio playing in the main zone to Zones 2/3 on the X4000 (p. 111 OM).

post #7 of 21
And how exactly is this "All Zone Stereo" feature relevent? If this was what original poster wanted, then Yamaha receivers have had it for years.

No AV receiver supports HDMI audio to indepedent zone 3 pre-outs or speaker terminals, and I doubt any AV receiver will any time soon.
post #8 of 21
If it's only stereo to zones 2/3 why not use SPDIF given most sources have that?
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

If it's only stereo to zones 2/3 why not use SPDIF given most sources have that?
There are several reasons for this:
1. It defeats the one-wire solution - As many of the sources are remote located 100'+ away from the receiver, a HD-Base-T unit carries the full HD video & audio over a single cat-5/6 cable. If I need to run more audio cabling, then it presents some problems.

2. My understanding is that many receivers won't decode surround sound over S/PDIF down to stereo, so if you only have stereo, and the receiver doesn't support zone 2/3 downmixing, then your digital surround sources won't playback properly.

3. Many receivers don't support zone 2/3 digital audio at all. Older Denons used to, but I have heard the new ones do not support this at all. They require analog audio connection, then don't actually provide as many analog connections as there are HDMI sources. So, a 6 source receiver (zone 1) can only do 3 or 4 sources in zone 2/3.

I have also been looking for HDMI audio de-embedders which will downmix... Not easy to find those either. Crestron has HDMI matrixing solutions which will do everything I want, but daaaammmmmnnnnnn! I don't think I'm gonna drop $10,000 on a HDMI switcher right now.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Ridge View Post

And how exactly is this "All Zone Stereo" feature relevent? If this was what original poster wanted, then Yamaha receivers have had it for years.

No AV receiver supports HDMI audio to indepedent zone 3 pre-outs or speaker terminals, and I doubt any AV receiver will any time soon.

I think the relevance is you can do all zone stereo with a 5.1 HDMI input. The receiver just downmixes to stereo for main and remote zones. So it's still a bit of a kludge but it doesn't require a separate stereo connection to use one's HDMI sources in the other zones.
post #11 of 21
The "All Zone Stereo" feature is not what the original poster is asking for. The existance of this feature doesn't support the claim made by jdsmothie, and I disputed. that the Denon AVR-X4000 will offer the feature the original poster wants in zone 3.

The Denon AV receivers and the Yamaha RX-A3020 almost do what he wants in zone 2, but nothing comes close to supporting the independent "single-wire" HDMI audio in zone 3 that he asked for. The zone 2 limitation of requiring 2.0 PCM may or may not be a big problem with achieving the original poster's goals however. These receivers should set their EDID capabilities accordingly so many HDMI connected sources would automatically switch to 2.0 PCM output, downmixing to stereo themselves, when selected in zone 2 instead of the main zone.

I think the closest the original poster is going to achieve, within a reasonable budget, is the ability to play all sources in the main zone, most sources in zone 2, and just internal sources zone 3. If he can manage to run addtional analogue (or maybe optical/coaxial) audio cables then he can do better.
post #12 of 21
So then the person who separately connects analog stereo because they want to preserve multichannel in zone 1 can complain about how they cannot get surround in their msin toom when they turn on snother zone?

A switchable capability could be helpful but thr receiver need two separate decoder/dac stages to do multichannel in the main room plus stereo elsewhere from a single hdmi input and for now thst is a small pool of receivers
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHAz View Post

So then the person who separately connects analog stereo because they want to preserve multichannel in zone 1 can complain about how they cannot get surround in their msin toom when they turn on snother zone?

A switchable capability could be helpful but thr receiver need two separate decoder/dac stages to do multichannel in the main room plus stereo elsewhere from a single hdmi input and for now thst is a small pool of receivers

As far as I can see, the pool is empty. I don't think any of the systems mentioned here can do what you describe. To restate - take an HDMI (DTS / multi-channle) input, play the 5.1 in Zone 1 and be able to get the same source out to any other zone.

All of the "party mode" or "all zone mode" solutions downmix everything (including zone 1) to stereo. Completely defeats the purpose from my view.

Is there something in the "small pool" that I missed?

Thanks
post #14 of 21
We are building a new home right now, and researching all the limitations of multizone receivers is frustrating. I think I've come down to not being able to do what we want with a single receiver.

Zone 1 = 7.2 (or more.....)
Zone 2 = 2.0 or 2.1 (in wall/ceiling for dining, kitchen, and library)
Zone 3 = 2.0 for outdoor speakers.

First thing I learned is that I will need external amps (can I run Main zone off amps, and Zone 2/3 off internal amps for any of these?). Which may not matter because it appears if I want to listen to 5.1+ football in the main zone, and zone 2, we can't, zone 2 will force zone 1 in to 2.0?

Okay, let's say I can live with that, what about Optical or Coax coming from a Sonos connect? Will that work in all three zones? PCM 2.0?

Alternatively, I might just end up with an additional receiver for Zone 2/3 and send hdmi audio/video out of main zone AVR.

What about Airplay to zones 2/3?
post #15 of 21
I'm also in the market for a receiver/pre-pro that will handle a/v in other zones. I'm leaning toward the Onkyo TX-NR 929 which has second zone HDMI out . But after reading this thread I can see I don't have a handle on all of the particulars.
BUT, I will mention, for those with a HTPC, that J River Media Center 18 has extensive options for WHA and probably video. I'm just now getting mine up to speed. I've got six other rooms with components, two with video. I feel like I'm starting over.
Patrick
post #16 of 21
According to its manual, the RX-A3020 (and I assume the RX-A3030 and RX-A2030) should let you have surround sound in the main zone while having downmixed stereo from the same digital audio source in zone 2.

No AV receiver supports digital audio (optical, coaxial, HDMI) in an independent zone 3. Yamaha and Denon receivers support digital audio, downmixed to stereo, in all zones at the same time with their respective Party Mode and All Zone Stereo features.

You can often eliminate these limitation on zones by hooking up your sources using analogue audio cables as well digital ones. Many devices are capable of outputing digital and analogue audio simultaneously without having to downmix the digital output.

Most AV receivers support AirPlay in zone 2 and 3 and this counts as an analogue source.

The Yamaha receivers with 9 internal amplifiers will let you connect 7.2 speakers in the main zone, and 2.0 speakers in zone 2 and 3 all directly to the receiver. Because there are only 9 amplifiers driving 11 speakers in this configuration you will be limited to 5.2 in the main zone when zone 3 is turned on. Using external amplifers would prevent this.
post #17 of 21
Would something like http://www.ambery.com/hdautorcasts.html help?

Alternatively, some of these products may help: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_sr_electronics?_encoding=UTF8&field-brandtextbin=ViewHD&node=172282 (I use their Digital to Analog Audio Decoder to get Apple TV audio to Zone 2).
Edited by Ryan1 - 7/27/13 at 10:42am
post #18 of 21

I have tried to use an HDMI audio extractor but when this is placed into the HDMI chain from the source to the receiver it tells the source to output PCM audio to the receiver and the receiver loses the DD /DTS audio.   

I am very frustrated in that I have not been able to find a receiver that can allow the full demuxing to work in the main room and then convert the incoming HDMI DD signal to analog for playback in zone2.  I talked to Onkyo support after someone said they had a receiver that would do this but the support tech said that while zone 2 could playback the same audio that was playing in the main room the audio MUST be PCM from the source and that it would not demux any incoming DD or THX, or DTS to zone 2.

Since most of the music disks are DD, TXH or DTS-MA and many of the TV programs broadcast in DD I need a receiver that will PLAY these non PCM soundtracks while doing the conversion internally to stereo for output to zone 2.  Everybody so far that has said no problem seems to not understand that the current crop of receivers tell the source to output only PCM audio (which will work) but this defeats my requirement to playback the non-altered original sound in the main theater room.   HAS ANYONE FOUND A (reasonably priced) SOLUTION YET? 

post #19 of 21
According to its manual, the RX-A3020 (and I assume the RX-A3030 and RX-A2030) should let you have surround sound in the main zone while having downmixed stereo from the same digital audio source in zone 2.

With other AV receivers, you can often get the same effect by hooking up your sources using analogue audio cables as well digital ones. Many devices are capable of outputing digital and analogue audio simultaneously without having to downmix the digital output.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Ridge View Post

According to its manual, the RX-A3020 (and I assume the RX-A3030 and RX-A2030) should let you have surround sound in the main zone while having downmixed stereo from the same digital audio source in zone 2.

No AV receiver supports digital audio (optical, coaxial, HDMI) in an independent zone 3. Yamaha and Denon receivers support digital audio, downmixed to stereo, in all zones at the same time with their respective Party Mode and All Zone Stereo features.

You can often eliminate these limitation on zones by hooking up your sources using analogue audio cables as well digital ones. Many devices are capable of outputing digital and analogue audio simultaneously without having to downmix the digital output.

Most AV receivers support AirPlay in zone 2 and 3 and this counts as an analogue source.

The Yamaha receivers with 9 internal amplifiers will let you connect 7.2 speakers in the main zone, and 2.0 speakers in zone 2 and 3 all directly to the receiver. Because there are only 9 amplifiers driving 11 speakers in this configuration you will be limited to 5.2 in the main zone when zone 3 is turned on. Using external amplifers would prevent this.

The bold type is incorrect. Denon's 4311 and many of their past of their recent models will allow independent SPDIF playback to ALL the zones...Main, 2, and 3. I do it all the time with my 4311.

It's only in the last year or so have they become (annoyingly so, even in the flagship 4520) neutered in this dept. Seemingly, they think the "all-stereo" option of sending the identical HDMI input to all zones simultaneously is an adequate replacement, but of course nothing could be further from the truth.

I don't know how far we are away from it, but with HDMI becoming more and commonplace...and even the ONLY output on many devices, it's only a matter of time before we see (at least on flagship AVRs and PRE PROs) the ability to send ANY HDMI input to any zone. It will happen...just not fast enough for any of us "multi zone" guys. Sigh.

James
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by garyrall View Post

I have tried to use an HDMI audio extractor but when this is placed into the HDMI chain from the source to the receiver it tells the source to output PCM audio to the receiver and the receiver loses the DD /DTS audio.   
I am very frustrated in that I have not been able to find a receiver that can allow the full demuxing to work in the main room and then convert the incoming HDMI DD signal to analog for playback in zone2.  I talked to Onkyo support after someone said they had a receiver that would do this but the support tech said that while zone 2 could playback the same audio that was playing in the main room the audio MUST be PCM from the source and that it would not demux any incoming DD or THX, or DTS to zone 2.
Since most of the music disks are DD, TXH or DTS-MA and many of the TV programs broadcast in DD I need a receiver that will PLAY these non PCM soundtracks while doing the conversion internally to stereo for output to zone 2.  Everybody so far that has said no problem seems to not understand that the current crop of receivers tell the source to output only PCM audio (which will work) but this defeats my requirement to playback the non-altered original sound in the main theater room.   HAS ANYONE FOUND A (reasonably priced) SOLUTION YET? 

Wow, and I thought MY "needs" were hardcore. Good luck with this occurring anytime soon. Otherwise, this is how I suffer through...

Set my directv box up to 2 channel PCM...ditto for the disc player. Output either via optical or coax to the AVR.

Zone 2 or 3 now plays back stereo fine and I up mix the 2.0 to 11 channel with my AVRs DSP's The need to have discreet multci channel sound going on in one room while the identical source is blasting elsewhere in stereo is simply something 99.9% of users will never demand, never mind use. I feel your pain, but that's just the way it is.

I suppose another near-solution would simply be to use a cable/sat box and a disc player that has analog outs. They almost ALWAYS simultaneously output a stereo signal while using the SPDIF or HDMI. Then you can obviously have multi channel in the main zone with stereo to zones.

Again, it's imperfect but I really think you're asking a lot at this point of the game, my friend.

good luck, we're all waiting on this stuff.

James
Edited by mastermaybe - 9/25/13 at 7:42am
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