Originally Posted by kanefsky
I'm sure it can't do as good a job of downmixing or other processing without the associated metadata.
Depends on how the metadata has the downmix coeficents set (if at all). For example: most of the time the downmix is done using Dolby Surround encoding, where the stereo surround channels are combined into a single, mono, bandwidth limited surround channel. On my processor, the downmixing keeps the surround channels as stereo and full bandwidth.
I'm sure the metadata improves the quality of any post-processing that's done by the pre-pro.
How? Can you give me some examples?
passing the undecoded audio allows you to choose the best decoder instead of being stuck with whatever is in your player.
What are the differences in decoders? For example, if you were to compare the Dolby Digital decoding in a Walmart HTiB and Mark Levinson No.40 (to use extreme examples), how would the decoding differ? Would the data flagged for the left front channel be sent to that channel differently?
True, although you would think they'd design new codecs to allow for that since they're already passing so many channels of sound and doing various kinds of mixing and splitting depending on your speaker setup.
But that's not what they did. And we have to go by what is, rather than would we wish had been done. However, I do understand their thinking: why send all those streams to the processor when you'll only be listening to a portion of them? Better to live-mix the soundtrack in the player and minimize clogging the pipeline.
I just mean that I have to configure more-or-less the same settings on my HD-DVD player separately from my SD-DVD player, my Blu-ray player, etc. -- with various different features, limitations, user interfaces, quirks, etc.
That's strange. I've never had to do that. I can send a DD or DTS soundtrack natively to my processor and the sound quality will be the same as if I sent the same soundtrack as 6 channels of PCM to my processor. As I said before, there isn't any special secret version of Dolby Digital decoding in my processor. It's the same DD decoding you find elsewhere.