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Hi-rez DD/DTS with 2-channel analog?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm getting active in the hobby again after dealing with some personal issues over the past couple of years, and it's really taken a toll on my audio brain...

For instance, what happens if you configure the speaker set-up on a Toshiba HD-DVD player to where you only have a pair of mains and nothing else. Can you output the new high-rez DD/DTS formats in only two channels through the regular analog outputs?

I guess what I'm getting at is, can someone with a 2-channel system still benefit from the lossless audio tracks on the HD-DVD discs?
post #2 of 16
Hi Summa - please check out my thread right next to yours titled "Theoretical question on 5.1 analog..."

I am in a similar situation because I only have a 2.1 channel set-up (2 mains + sub). I got some good feedback over there and you'd probably get better response in an ongoing thread.

The short-and-skinny of what I've learned is that, with only a 2-channel setup, you will gain no benefit from an HD-audio because you are already getting lossless 2-channel sound from 2-channel PCM stereo.

The benefit of the HD-audio formats is that you can get lossless sound on 5.1 channels (or more potentially), as opposed to DD 5.1 or DTS which is lossy multichannel sound.

As far as I can tell, there is no benefit to TrueHD or DTS-MA unless you have a multichannel setup.

(Someone please correct me if I'm wrong!)
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
DAng, I didn't even see your post there, batpig...sorry about that!

Thanks for the info, though...I'm sure we'll get all this figured out sooner or later, lol
post #4 of 16
No worries there, Monkey Lover

Just trying to keep the AVS thread-nazis off your back for starting a new thread on a similar topic....
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Much appreciated I've been in perpetual "brain fart" mode for the past couple of days, it seems lol.

I don't know what the hell to do with my system....I love my speakers (DeVore Super 8s) and my amp (Butler hybrid), but I'm thinking that now that I'm in a smaller room I may be better off with a 2-channel system. I think what I REALLY need is a 2.1 audiophile quality preamp, but the only one I've seen is the Anthem one and I don't know if it's going to offer as much as I want out of a preamp (in terms of sound quality, not features).

Now that I've treated my room, I'm getting some REALLY nice soundstaging and transparency, so I think 2-channel may be all I need. Decisions, decisions....
post #6 of 16
Just to clarify.

Quote:


I guess what I'm getting at is, can someone with a 2-channel system still benefit from the lossless audio tracks on the HD-DVD discs?

Yes you will benefit because of less compression in the source. I ran my HDDVD setup in 2 channel mode only and the DD+ and DD-TrueHD tracks sound noticably better when downmixed to 2 channel vs the standard DVD versions running in two channel mode. How much better it'll sound greatly depends on your speakers.

All Toshiba HDDVD players allow for 2 channel lossless output, via both analog, and digital connections.

Quote:


The short-and-skinny of what I've learned is that, with only a 2-channel setup, you will gain no benefit from an HD-audio because you are already getting lossless 2-channel sound from 2-channel PCM stereo.

Totally disagree - see above for why.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Gooki, that's very encouraging...do you need to run it through some sort of analog bypass on the preamp, or just through one of the regular inputs as usual? I guess I've never thought about it, but are there any DACs in a stereo preamp? Or does the signal remain analog the entire time?
post #8 of 16
Depends what type of pre-amp you have, if it doesn't do any DSP (processing) to the signal then it should stay analog the whole way through (i.e. no ADC or DACs).
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gooki View Post

Just to clarify.

Totally disagree - see above for why.

Hi gooki - as I said, please correct me if I'm wrong, and you did, so thanks! I was going on what I had been told in my thread about my 2.1 setup. Still trying to wrap my brain around the variety of audio formats as well, and it's hard to gather information when you're not running a 5.1 to 7.1 setup.

I see where I was confused though, let me see if I got your point now:

what you are saying is that he will see audio benefit stepping up from regular DVD to HD-DVD despite only having a 2-channel setup, because he will get hi-res 2-channel (downmixed DD+ or TrueHD) as opposed to the lossy DD 2.0 on a regular DVD. Correct? Even in 2-channel, the quality is still higher.

Question: Can this hi-res 2-channel be delivered over optical? Or would he need to hook up analog outs? I'm aware that the hi-res audio formats can't be delivered in 5.1 over optical, but what about the 2-channel DD+ or TrueHD downmix?

Thanks!
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, I just got it from two reps at Toshiba....they both say the only way to get the high-rez audio is via either HDMI or digital optical out. They said the analog outs will NOT pass the high-rez tracks.
post #11 of 16
I'm curious about this as well... I was under the assumption that DD+ and TruHD had stereo downmixes. Just to be absolutely clear: if I connect the STEREO analog outputs as opposed to the multichannel analog outputs and select a DD+ or TruHD track, am I getting a high-rez downmix?

If not, what the hell am I getting?

This is so frustrating...
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by win200 View Post

I'm curious about this as well... I was under the assumption that DD+ and TruHD had stereo downmixes. Just to be absolutely clear: if I connect the STEREO analog outputs as opposed to the multichannel analog outputs and select a DD+ or TruHD track, am I getting a high-rez downmix?

If not, what the hell am I getting?

This is so frustrating...

It is VERY frustrating....I agree. Here is the email I sent them and their response. I called to confirm by phone today, too, so that's two of their tech support reps with the same view:

Hello:

I am considering purchasing an HD-DVD player and was wondering if I
could still benefit from the hi-rez audio tracks even though I'm
running only a stereo audio system. Do your HD-DVD players output the
hi-rez audio through the stereo analog outs?

Thanks!


Their response was...

Dear Sir/Madam:

Thanks for writing!

The HD-DVD players can only output analog sound through the analog audio out connections. In order to receive HD sound you would need to be connected using HDMI or Digital Optical for your audio output.

For further assistance, please write back or call our Customer Solutions Department at 1-800-631-3811. They are available Mon-Fri, 8AM to 7PM Central time.

Kathryn

Toshiba Customer Service



On the phone I asked them about the 5.1 channel output and whether I could just use that, configure the player to where I say I have large mains, no sub, and no surrounds. He said that even though some of their players have the analog outs, they cannot promise that you're getting the high-rez audio from them. He said the only way is through the HDMI and/or the dig optical, just like what the email said

Part of me thought the email lady didn't understand what I was asking, but I talked to the guy on the phone at greater length and explained what I meant. Still the same answer.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

The HD-DVD players can only output analog sound through the analog audio out connections. In order to receive HD sound you would need to be connected using HDMI or Digital Optical for your audio output.

This makes me wonder if they know what the hell they're talking about. EVERY audio signal gets converted to analog at some point, and we know that the multichannel analog outputs do output hi-rez audio. I assume that by saying to use HDMI or optical, they're saying that these connections would output two channels of high-rez PCM. However, the multichannel analog outs obviously output high-rez PCM, so there's no reason to think that stereo high-rez PCM could only be output via HDMI or optical.

Perhaps they thought you were asking about bitstreaming of the high-rez formats?

Thanks for doing the legwork, though, Summa... this is just beyond maddening.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by win200 View Post

This makes me wonder if they know what the hell they're talking about. EVERY audio signal gets converted to analog at some point, and we know that the multichannel analog outputs do output hi-rez audio. I assume that by saying to use HDMI or optical, they're saying that these connections would output two channels of high-rez PCM. However, the multichannel analog outs obviously output high-rez PCM, so there's no reason to think that stereo high-rez PCM could only be output via HDMI or optical.

Perhaps they thought you were asking about bitstreaming of the high-rez formats?

Thanks for doing the legwork, though, Summa... this is just beyond maddening.

This makes no sense to me either, cause receivers that have DD+ and DD True HD decoders are just now coming out. The players themselves must have decoders on board, and it would only make sense that you'd be able to output those high-rez tracks via the 5.1 outputs. I dunno....I'm at a loss, lol.
post #15 of 16
Definitely frustrating -- I just don't know why it's always so difficult to get unambiguous answers on these technical issues. Moreover because the letter states that you can get HD sound via the digital optical connection, which isn't totally true because you CAN'T get multi-channel HD sound via optical. I'm not giving the customer service rep enough credit to think they were making the implicit distinction between stereo and multichannel.

Anyway, it looks pretty clear that, at the least, if you have a digital optical connection available, and you set your player on "PCM" in the audio setup, you will get a hi-res 2-channel PCM downmix of the DD+/DTHD audio via the optical connection. Which is good enough for me, and seems superior to using just two of the multi-channel ins on my receiver, since at least I can apply processing in the receiver to the 2.0 PCM signal.

But if you have just stereo analog inputs, it's still up in the air!

I'm so curious -- what the heck is the real difference between:

1. using just L/R stereo analog outs and
2. using just the "front" two of the 5.1 analog outs?

Why would they be any different, as long as you let the player know you only have front L/R speakers? I don't have anywhere close to enough technical understanding of this stuff to really know.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by batpig View Post

I'm so curious -- what the heck is the real difference between:

1. using just L/R stereo analog outs and
2. using just the "front" two of the 5.1 analog outs?

Why would they be any different, as long as you let the player know you only have front L/R speakers? I don't have anywhere close to enough technical understanding of this stuff to really know.

From looking at the service manual schematics it appears that the stereo two channel analog outputs are driven by the Wolfson DAC and may even bypass the SHARC DSP that does the 5.1 analog bass management, distance setting, level adjust, etc. So using them would bypass a lot of the possible DSP audio processing in the player (which should be a good thing for stereo users).

I would think that going into a analog stereo input on a AVR/Pre-Pro would still allow the AVR to do all the internal DSP audio processing it would also do with a two channel LPCM input via S/PDIF. But it does add a D/A conversion in the player and a A/D conversion in the AVR input. The AVR still has to do a final D/A conversion after AVR DSP audio processing. An AVR "Pure Direct" mode would skip the extra conversions and audio processing.
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