I inserted the Tears of the Sun BD disc after re-confirming that the LPCM audio distortion occurs with the Ratatouille BD disc. As soon as it started up the audio was already in distorted mode! I jumped to the main menu to start the main movie and the audio cleared (but it was in Dolby Digitial Multichannel mode). I switched audio selection to LPCM multi-channel and letting it play.
I think this firmware has introducced more severe audio problems for LPCM decoding. Now we have absolutely no reliable Hi-Def audio capability at all on this player...!
I have the same problem with almost every movie I have tried. I get distorting, crackling audio on Sunshine, Gladiator just two name two movies. I have tried audio over HDMI (to a RX-V2600) using PCM, as well as Bitstream over optical, both do the exact same thing.
The weird thing is Sunshine does it in similar parts of the movie when I tried replaying, so I exchanged my copy of the disc for a new one...and it does the same thing, in the same part of the movie (near the beginning while the crew is in the ship sitting around the table talking, and then on and off throughout the film).
This is a catastophic problem with this player as far as I am concerned. For the record, I had this problem before AND after the FW update. My HD DVD (Toshiba A1) player audio is flawless, so it isn't my amp.