The official Dolby Atmos thread (home theater version) - Page 1893 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #56761 of 56827 Old 12-02-2019, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by MagnumX View Post
There's a very simple solution to the 4K projector/TV question that I've mentioned before. It's not a "cheap" solution, really, although it's MUCH cheaper than a new projector and that's the HD Fury Linker, Integral II and Vertex. The Linker doesn't support every possible mode, but you don't need every mode. It's also eventually going to disappear when stock runs out. But it's under $150. The other two are both under $300. You put that in your chain between your AVR and TV/Projector and EVERY device you have will think you have 4K and output it to it.
Just as an alternative, for about $50 I use the Gofanco Prophecy splitter. All sources think they are feeding a 4k device, provides simultaneous 4k and 2k outputs, and passes Atmos bitstreams.

https://www.gofanco.com/4k-hdr-1x2-s...split2p-c.html

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post #56762 of 56827 Old 12-02-2019, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post
Just as an alternative, for about $50 I use the Gofanco Prophecy splitter. All sources think they are feeding a 4k device, provides simultaneous 4k and 2k outputs, and passes Atmos bitstreams.

https://www.gofanco.com/4k-hdr-1x2-s...split2p-c.html
How well does it down-convert 4K HDR material to 2K, though? Fooling it for Atmos is one thing, having to watch the video if it's faded out looking is another.

This bit gives me pause, for instance: "- Splitter can bypass 4K HDR data content but cannot process it to make 4K HDR content fit 1080p proportionally."

Bypass HDR content? If it's HDR, it's HDR in the data. You can't just "bypass" it without changing the color mapping AFAIK. It has to be "tone mapped" or whatever the term is to match the nearest equivalent colors in the lower bandwidth spectrum. Supposedly, what makes the HD Fury Vertex worthwhile, is it's capable of downscaling and converting the color spectrum to whatever mode you need or have available.

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post #56763 of 56827 Old 12-02-2019, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by MagnumX View Post
Unfortunately, I don't think the Shield will give you Atmos with a 2k projector.
Ugh. What a bummer! Is this a limitation on the Netflix side or the Shield side? Nvidia really should note this somewhere!

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That's why I recommended the AppleTV 4K as it works for me with my 2K projector for Netflix and Disney+ (and iTunes). My LG UP875 does 4K to 2K just fine (cost me $92).
I just can't bring myself to add yet another device into my system (nor can I drop the Shield). The cost of programming into my C4 setup, getting my family to understand yet another media device, more source switching, etc.


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You can rip regular 2K discs with most drives using MakeMKV and 4K discs with so-called "4K Ready" drives, which I have one and I can rip most 4K discs for audio to "remux" with the 2K discs with KODI.
Good to know this is possible. I'll have to check out whether my drive is 4K ready.

Thanks!

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post #56764 of 56827 Old 12-02-2019, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by MagnumX View Post
How well does it down-convert 4K HDR material to 2K, though? Fooling it for Atmos is one thing, having to watch the video if it's faded out looking is another.
In my understanding, it simply parses out the core 2k video carried within the 4k bitstream. Same as happens when you play a UHD Blu-ray Disc into a regular 2k HDTV. You get 2k SDR picture that looks perfectly fine.

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This bit gives me pause, for instance: "- Splitter can bypass 4K HDR data content but cannot process it to make 4K HDR content fit 1080p proportionally."

Bypass HDR content? If it's HDR, it's HDR in the data. You can't just "bypass" it without changing the color mapping AFAIK.
When it says "bypass" I take that to mean the full HDR 4k data is preserved as it passes to the 4k output, but when it creates the 2k output, it does not apply the HDR, which makes sense because there's no actual video processing in the device -- it's a parser. They use the term "downscaling" which sounds like it's creating the 2k output from the 4k data, but it's really just throwing away data, IMHO.

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It has to be "tone mapped" or whatever the term is to match the nearest equivalent colors in the lower bandwidth spectrum.
Tone mapping is necessary if you want to play 4k HDR content on a 4k non-HDR display. But the 2k portion of the stream does not have the HDR extension, so that core works directly on 2k (and 4k SDR) displays without need of tone mapping.

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Supposedly, what makes the HD Fury Vertex worthwhile, is it's capable of downscaling and converting the color spectrum to whatever mode you need or have available.
If you want to do tone mapping, then the GoFanco is not relevant.

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post #56765 of 56827 Old 12-02-2019, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post
In my understanding, it simply parses out the core 2k video carried within the 4k bitstream. Same as happens when you play a UHD Blu-ray Disc into a regular 2k HDTV. You get 2k SDR picture that looks perfectly fine.
That's news to me. Now I don't know how Apple is handling 4K. They might have some sort of combined format in use, but most of the early complaints about 4K UHD BD Players was that they looked god awful connected to a 2K display and it was some time before some quality tone-mapping models started showing up. Now perhaps it's not the HDR that's the real issue, but the Wide Color Gamut aspect of it? HDR might be "meta" but I think the wider color bandwidth is baked in. If it was as simple as just using the "core 2K" feed (like some DTS core in the DTS-HD added signal), it seems to me that would have never been an issue. This is the first time I've ever read of any such thing as a 2K video stream within the 4K stream. AFAIK, it's a 4K video feed, not "2+2" or something. You can easily scale 4K to 2K, but HDR and Wide Color Gamut are another matter. If you convert UHD HDR BD discs to 2K using Handbrake, you will get a faded color mess. If it were as simple as just ignoring some meta data, I think they would have had the feature added by now. I think the broader bandwidth color spectrum is baked in to the 4K picture and has to be converted to display at the 2K standard. That is perhaps the issue more than HDR.


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If you want to do tone mapping, then the GoFanco is not relevant.
I want to be able to watch the video it's going to send if I select a 4K streaming source in relative quality (similar to the separate 2K feed). It's unclear to me whether I'll get a faded picture like with HDR on SDR sets or if it converts it or as you say bypasses the HDR part somehow.
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post #56766 of 56827 Old 12-02-2019, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MagnumX View Post
That's news to me. Now I don't know how Apple is handling 4K. They might have some sort of combined format in use, but most of the early complaints about 4K UHD BD Players was that they looked god awful connected to a 2K display and it was some time before some quality tone-mapping models started showing up. Now perhaps it's not the HDR that's the real issue, but the Wide Color Gamut aspect of it? HDR might be "meta" but I think the wider color bandwidth is baked in. If it was as simple as just using the "core 2K" feed (like some DTS core in the DTS-HD added signal), it seems to me that would have never been an issue. This is the first time I've ever read of any such thing as a 2K video stream within the 4K stream. AFAIK, it's a 4K video feed, not "2+2" or something. You can easily scale 4K to 2K, but HDR and Wide Color Gamut are another matter. If you convert UHD HDR BD discs to 2K using Handbrake, you will get a faded color mess. If it were as simple as just ignoring some meta data, I think they would have had the feature added by now. I think the broader bandwidth color spectrum is baked in to the 4K picture and has to be converted to display at the 2K standard. That is perhaps the issue more than HDR.
I'm sure my assumptions are mostly wrong. Sorry for the detour to nonsense.

When it comes to HDR video, and HDR10 and Dolby Vision, there's clearly no simple answer. Even in the case of DV, >>Dolby Vision allows content producers to have either one or two ‘layers’ of data; one carrying just an HDR signal, the other carrying a standard dynamic range (SDR) signal. << So even if there might be some content that embeds an SDR signal inside an HDR bitstream, that is not always the case.

Ok, back into my audio cave...
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post #56767 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 01:37 AM
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I'm sure my assumptions are mostly wrong. Sorry for the detour to nonsense.

When it comes to HDR video, and HDR10 and Dolby Vision, there's clearly no simple answer. Even in the case of DV, >>Dolby Vision allows content producers to have either one or two ‘layers’ of data; one carrying just an HDR signal, the other carrying a standard dynamic range (SDR) signal. << So even if there might be some content that embeds an SDR signal inside an HDR bitstream, that is not always the case.

Ok, back into my audio cave...
Like I said, I'm hardly an expert, but there seems to be some kind of incompatibility in the overall video that's stored on UHD blu-rays. From what I've read, the HDR information is in a meta layer, yes, but I'm under the impression the overall video is encoded somehow in a higher bandwidth color space (HDR is Rec 2020 as opposed to SDR's Rec 709) and that the conversion back to SDR is not exactly trivial. For example, see this thread here: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/150-b...sdr-discs.html

It would seem the upcoming TV 4K competing standards (HLG and SL-HDR-1) are always backwards compatible with SDR by comparison. And Dolby Vision "Double Layer" discs contain an SDR copy as well, but standard HDR10 discs do not. Why they designed them that way instead of backwards compatible from the start is beyond my pay grade.

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post #56768 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 07:20 AM
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Are there any difference in the Dolby Atmos mix in Streaming contents vs Disc? I watched the movie IT in ATV4 streaming, the Atmos sound was good but when i watched the same movie IT in 4K UHD the ATMOS sound was fantastic and i heard more overhead sounds.
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post #56769 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 08:37 AM
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Are there any difference in the Dolby Atmos mix in Streaming contents vs Disc? I watched the movie IT in ATV4 streaming, the Atmos sound was good but when i watched the same movie IT in 4K UHD the ATMOS sound was fantastic and i heard more overhead sounds.
Yes. Streaming services use a lossy DD+ stream to carry Atmos, while Blu-rays use a lossless TrueHD stream. The number of objects and their placement will most likely be the same, but the sound quality is not.
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post #56770 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 08:38 AM
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Just wait and see what they eventually package with 8K to try and sell it to the masses.... (then 16K!)
Maybe real cinema 128 waveforms Atmos
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post #56771 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 08:41 AM
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The streaming aspect is much more forgivable, I don't think it's unreasonable for a mfgr to say that a 2-3+ year old version of a streaming box (like Roku or FireTV) doesn't support the newest codecs, since streaming Atmos is much newer than disc-based Atmos.
All devices that pass through the DD+ stream should be able to pass through the DD+ with Atmos stream. I find it unforgivable that they refuse to activate it. Same is true for my 2016 LG OLED. It's only forgivable for devices that decode the DD+ stream to PCM imho.
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post #56772 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 12:04 PM
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Theatrical Mix Versus Near-Field Should Be More Important

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Yes. Streaming services use a lossy DD+ stream to carry Atmos, while Blu-rays use a lossless TrueHD stream. The number of objects and their placement will most likely be the same, but the sound quality is not.
I've yet to see someone prove they can tell a decent bit rate lossy format from lossless. It's an audiophile myth there's a difference and the number of people deluding themselves that they NEED lossless is beyond incredible. TrueHD and Master-HD has been, IMO a massive waste of disc space in home theater and more marketing than reality. Above a certain bit-rate, nearly all "lossy" formats become indistinguishable from the lossless one, but save about 10:1 space at that point on average (e.g. I've never seen anyone prove they could tell 256kbps VBR AAC from the CD lossless original with DBX testing, but I've seen hundreds CLAIM they can to no avail).

Meanwhile, the industry could have used that space to include something that DOES sound different and sometimes VERY different from the original Theatrical Soundtrack Mix and that are these so-called "Near Field" mixes that claim to adjust the sound for home theater rooms that typically sit closer to speakers (the "standard" setup seems to be to place speakers 8-feet away from the console from what I've read). There's two problems with Near-Field mixes. One is that THX "RE-EQ" and modern Audyssey "Reference" (and similar settings on other brands) ALREADY adjust the ONE thing that truly differs between the two spaces and that is the X-Curve measurement of high frequency (treble) fall-off as you get further away from tweeters. If you run a Theatrical Mix at home, it will have more treble to balance that space out. That is what RE-EQ/Audyssey Reference, etc. are for). The other problem is that they don't just change those parameters, but are free to change anything they think "sounds better" for the home mix.

I'll point out right now that there was an interesting discussion with someone that edits (or edited; I don't know if he's still active) soundtracks over at the Film Tech Forums (http://www.film-tech.com/cgi-bin/ubb...001428/p1.html). He explains exactly what is "typically" done and with remasters it's often a different team that does it (from the award winning soundtracks in some cases) and that ultimately it's "subjective" what they change based on what they 'hear' in this large mixing room with speakers placed closer to the console to hear "near field". They don't just pre-adjust the EQ (making the setting do it DOUBLE again if you use it at home), but also reduce dynamic range under the assumption people won't play it at theatrical levels at home and raise center dialog levels (and also sometimes reduce stereo separation assuming you have speakers to the sides that make it wider than it should be, but too bad if you have them behind an acoustically transparent screen or underneath the screen and now get a "shrunk" width).

That EQ defeats Audyssey reference levels since once you raise dialog well past the sound effects and reduce their range so they're louder "sooner", you make a soundtrack that sounds BAD at theater levels. People often complain that they can't play their home theater anywhere NEAR "reference" levels and that's why. The soundtracks are pre-baked to sound "optimal" anywhere from 6dB to even 16dB lower than the theatrical mix and going above that makes them hard to listen to as certain elements are then "too loud". There are no "standards" (beyond the seemingly common 8 foot speaker distance used) to what is changed. It's all up to the team doing the work. But this guy suggests that if they did turn in a Theatrical Mix and label it "near field" someone's head would roll. The Studios are convinced it will affect sales if they use the Theatrical Soundtracks like they did before the year 2000, but instead of aiming for the people who CARE about the soundtrack the most (high-end), they cater to the low-end that wouldn't know the difference instead! It's probably why Disney does 7.1.4 print-out "Atmos Lite" soundtracks too. Who cares about the handful of people going above 7.1.4 or that have rooms large enough that they actually "need" the extra speakers to cover the phantom imaging angles that are now much larger. Marketing BS always wins over common sense. TrueHD and Master-HD promised the studio quality masters, the same as the theater went the marketing hype. Except, that no, they're NOT the same as the theater mixes! They had already moved to "near field" mixes that often do more than they're supposed to (http://www.film-tech.com/ubb/f12/t001084.html).

It's all about mass marketing. You're supposed to be able to set your listening level for movies at a STANDARD (and adjust for taste) and then leave it there (one of the goals of THX and Dolby "Standards" for levels, etc.), but I think most of us know that is simply no longer the case. In 2000, they abandoned that practice and went to this "near field" stuff that does whatever it wants instead. I have a version of The Matrix in Cinematic DTS (converted from the APT original cinema CD) and when compared to the new Atmos version and level matched for dialog, the sound effects are 6-8dB louder on the Cinematic version and oh boy, does it sound awesome on my setup compared to the Atmos version, which sounds kind of weak when you compare them at dialog matched levels. But The Matrix is a MINOR example. 6dB isn't the end of the world (although significant, IMO) and most people thought the Atmos version sounded great, but then they didn't have the Theatrical version to compare it to and thus don't realize what they're missing. Yes, that cinema version is LOSSY. So what? It still sounds better in terms of IMPACT than the new Atmos "home version". Yes, the latter adds some overhead effects, but Neural X does a good job adapting older soundtracks and personally, I'd take the dynamic range over positioning in that movie. Plus that's the version heard in theaters with DTS in 1999. And I think that should matter to people that want to see the ORIGINAL STAR WARS and the like as it was at the theater in 1977, not some washed and rewashed and then cut to pieces and put back together again George Lucas editing. Why is the soundtrack less important than the picture?

People should be upset that the true theatrical mixes generally ended around the year 2000 or so (save some exceptions like Paramount whom I read rarely changes the theatrical mix and according to an interview with someone from IMAX, the "Imax Enhanced" Blu-Rays will use the THEATRICAL MIX, not the near-field ones as the primary soundtrack on the discs! See: https://www.cepro.com/audio-video/in...r-skaaden-dts/). Before 2000, generally ALL home theater mixes were the theatrical one. But that is probably why since then so many home mixes are so inconsistent now as some mixes get very little changed and others get completely screwed up (e.g. Back to the Future) as it's very subjective and up to the mixing guys how much they screw with the original (and in some cases award winning) soundtracks. But we almost never hear a peep about that in home theater forums. All we hear is whining about how streaming sucks and the occasional disc (e.g. Fast and the Furious 6) ABSOLUTELY SUCKS (to paraphrase some comments on the blueray.com site) because it used DTS-High Resolution Audio instead of DTS-Master Audio and so clearly is must be GARBAGE. There's ZERO AUDIBLE difference, but hey, who cares that it's a near-field mix that sounds nothing like the theatrical experience, but let's instead harp about an extremely high bit-rate "lossy" format that sounds not ONE IOTA different from the Master version.

People have even complained about Apple's ALAC LOSSLESS format thinking it still loses "something" because it's half the file size of the WAV file version and people have to explain how lossless packing works and they still claim they think it sounds inferior to FLAC, despite all common sense. But not a peep about "Near Field" versus "Theatrical Soundtracks" that can sound similar or sometimes sound completely different based on the whims of a sound team or guy that may not even be the original one that made or mixed the soundtrack in the first place when it comes to remastering old soundtracks. No, the attitude there seems to be "We NEED near-field at home because we're in smaller rooms!" when that's horse crap. The ONLY factor that needs addressing (based on the size of your room and speakers) is the high frequency X-Curve which is typically taken care of by "Reference" on Audyssey products and "RE-EQ" on THX, etc.

In short, there's no need for a "near-field" soundtrack and in reality, it's often used to "dumb down" the track so they don't blow up cheap sound bars and the like (cough Disney). You can claim that's not the purpose of "near field" and that it's only to make the soundtrack sound good in smaller rooms sitting closer to speaker than a typical theater, but THAT is the MIX that gets screwed with. Besides, there's thousands of different rooms and configurations at "home". Some people have 50x50 rooms with 34 speakers and Trinnov and they aren't sitting "near field" (8 feet) at all. How can they mix for all those rooms and expect consistency? No, consistency would be using ONE mix and giving the hardware some tools to adjust it to match that standard (Audyssey, RE-EQ and the like along with dynamic range compression setting OPTIONS that can adjust the level for you if you find the theatrical mix to be too much).

But again, more importantly, with all the unneeded foreign language soundtracks included (they can use subtitles or get discs for their region), it shouldn't even be a problem with lossless to include BOTH Theatrical AND Near-Field mixes, but that's the excuse I've seen when someone from the industry was asked at another forum. There's usually not enough space for both! I just bought "Death Machine" (1994) from Germany by Turbine and it's outfitted with Auro-3D soundtracks in both English and German (plus the original German and English stereo mixes also in lossless) and manages to fit on ONE disc. Perhaps that's because it only contains TWO languages (the original English and the subs for the market/country it's aimed at, Germany instead of trying to fit 6 languages on one disc and 50 subtitle sets). IMO, it all comes down to greed and the marketing nonsense and propaganda wins over common sense every single time.

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post #56773 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 12:16 PM
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The official Dolby Atmos thread (home theater version)

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Originally Posted by MagnumX View Post
I've yet to see someone prove they can tell a decent bit rate lossy format from lossless. It's an audiophile myth there's a difference and the number of people deluding themselves that they NEED lossless is beyond incredible. ).

.

I can’t prove it to you but, with my system, which is, I would say, near the top of what is possible in home theater dynamics I can tell a big difference in the lower frequency sounds when comparing streaming Atmos vs the Atmos or true HD track on a 4K blu-ray.

The compressed streaming signal (10-70Hz is my guess) sounds muddy and bloated many times vs the more precise ultra low frequencies and the 40-70 Hz slam and punch I hear with a disc.

It very much depends on the system you are listening on. I do agree though that many Netflix tv shows in Dolby Atmos sound fantastic.


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post #56774 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 12:26 PM
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I can’t prove it to you but, with my system, which is, I would say, near the top of what is possible in home theater dynamics I can tell a big difference in the lower frequency sounds when comparing streaming Atmos vs the Atmos or true HD track on a 4K blu-ray.

The compressed streaming signal (10-70Hz is my guess) sounds muddy and bloated many times vs the more precise ultra low frequencies and the 40-70 Hz slam and punch I hear with a disc.

It very much depends on the system you are listening on. I do agree though that many Netflix tv shows in Dolby Atmos sound fantastic.


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I've noticed a kind of thinness to a lot of lossy compressed streaming audio, often in the upper frequency range and on dialog. There's something missing in the slam and attack too. I have a THX 15" Monolith sub and Triad Gold speakers up front, so not exactly a low end system either.


Also, in the Netflix notes for prepping and mastering audio tracks, it looks like they ask for a kind of "normalization" and built-in dynamic compression (based on volume peaks) on submitted audio files for programming added to their service. This can subdue soundtracks as well, beyond what they normally do for near-field mixing on disc.


I'll continue to stay it until proven otherwise... streaming sucks.
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post #56775 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 12:44 PM
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I'll continue to stay it until proven otherwise... streaming sucks.
That is an unfair absolute statement (understanding that I've removed some of the context).
What IS fair to say is that the streaming services used by the average consumer cannot provide the same level of quality in their audio content as from a BD or 4k BD.

Streaming has it positives...convenience first and foremost. The average user has probably never listened to a quality source via good headphones or a decent HiFi system so if all they have ever experienced is lossy formats through their soundbar, cheap earbuds or BT speakers then they have no idea what they are missing and no...streaming won't sound any better or worse than whatever audio files they have saved to their phone.
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post #56776 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 12:59 PM
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I can’t prove it to you but, with my system, which is, I would say, near the top of what is possible in home theater dynamics I can tell a big difference in the lower frequency sounds when comparing streaming Atmos vs the Atmos or true HD track on a 4K blu-ray.

The compressed streaming signal (10-70Hz is my guess) sounds muddy and bloated many times vs the more precise ultra low frequencies and the 40-70 Hz slam and punch I hear with a disc.

It very much depends on the system you are listening on. I do agree though that many Netflix tv shows in Dolby Atmos sound fantastic.


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First I would categorize myself as a lossless snob.

In my limited testing I agree differences are there, but I'd also guess the differences (if heard) would not be a big deal for most consumers. As you alluded to the room itself, along with calibration, speakers, etc., have the most impact on the sound heard, certainly much more than lossy vs lossless.

Having said all that, I would dread the day we no longer have lossless, physical media.
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post #56777 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 01:06 PM
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It would be hard to account for any single difference in a given stream from a provider if the rates are not known or if they screwed with something like Dynamic Range even further than the studios already have in the "home mix". But I maintain proper high bit-rate lossy sounds identical to the original. That is an easy test to do with a home encoder and a simple music CD. 256kbps AAC...can't tell it from a CD any of the times I've tried.

Now the APPLE versions? They are known to go for "loud" on their "Remastered for iTunes" editions and even many CDs do the same thing. I bought Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" from the remastered greatest hits album and it went into clipping several times and it's like 8-9dB louder than the one from his original album that it was on and that version does NOT clip at all and both are from iTunes.

It's really easy to blame digital problems on lossy compression, but in my experience, there's usually something else going on other than JUST the use of a lossy compression algorithm. Until recently Netflix used LOW RATE LOSSY. That does cause crappy sound. They've since supposedly moved up to 640kbps DD+ (The same rate as the core Dolby Digital tracks on Blu-Rays only in superior DD+ rather than Dolby Digital and thus it should sound as good or better than the Blu-Ray lossy track, which is already at a rate where I hear little if any difference from the lossless one. But whether they've left everything else alone in the process is unknown. The audio has improved considerably at the very least, however. I certainly have a hard time trying to hear ANY difference between the core Dolby Digital tracks on Blu-Rays versus the TrueHD one as 640kbps DD sounds pretty transparent and DD+ at that rate indistinguishable in most situations.

But other things I suspect something else is going on. For example, the lack of "punchy bass" is not a sign of digital lossy compression, IMO, which mostly affects the treble/highs of the track with swirly/harsh crap. It's a sign of dynamic compression to the signal before that point (i.e. they've altered the levels and probably beyond just overall volume).

Given a choice, however, I'd gladly take 640kbps DD+ lossy with the original Theatrical Soundtrack Mix over Lossless with some crappy remixed "home mix" using "near field" as an excuse to compress the crap out of dynamics and other areas that have nothing to do with sitting closer to speakers.
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post #56778 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 01:25 PM
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First I would categorize myself as a lossless snob.

In my limited testing I agree differences are there, but I'd also guess the differences (if heard) would not be a big deal for most consumers. As you alluded to the room itself, along with calibration, speakers, etc., have the most impact on the sound heard, certainly much more than lossy vs lossless.

Having said all that, I would dread the day we no longer have lossless, physical media.
I agree wholeheartedly. Also our access to lossless physical media has been very short-lived and fleeting when you look back.

For video, we've never had it: analogue formats like VHS were lossy due to lower resolution and bandwidth, digital formats are lossy with MPEG/HEVC/etc compression. For audio music, we had it for a few short years with physical CDs before everything was ruined in the "loudness wars" of 1990s onwards. So really it only lasted for the second half of the 1980s!
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post #56779 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 01:52 PM
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I agree wholeheartedly. Also our access to lossless physical media has been very short-lived and fleeting when you look back.

For video, we've never had it: analogue formats like VHS were lossy due to lower resolution and bandwidth, digital formats are lossy with MPEG/HEVC/etc compression. For audio music, we had it for a few short years with physical CDs before everything was ruined in the "loudness wars" of 1990s onwards. So really it only lasted for the second half of the 1980s!
FYI, Laserdiscs had lossless CD quality digital soundtracks since 1984, only seven years after VHS came out (they also were first with 1235kbps DTS). And if you gave two bits about quality home theater back then you sure as hell owned a laserdisc player. I had one since 1989 and I was only 15 at the time. My father had a VHS player in 1976. We had all the movies recorded off Star Channel and HBO. The neighborhood kids always wanted to come over and watch Star Wars and Willy Wonka. I've still got over 200 laserdiscs today. I just compared the DTS Jurassic Park laserdisc wtih the DTS:X UHD version for sound. Amazingly, the levels of dialog and bass were within an average of 2dB of each other. They may have reduced the subsonic bass (below 20Hz) in the DTS:X version, though. My sub is only flat to 20Hz. But I was shocked with all the comments about DTS being "overcooked" with bass in the 1990s that the new version is faithful to the original version for the most part (the laserdisc still sounds darn good today!). The bass goes nowhere NEAR the levels of Blade Runner 2049, however (my nomination for best sounding movie soundtrack of all time I've heard thus far) and I have Blade Runner 2049 in Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D here. They are both excellent.

The comments about CDs are lumping the few into the piles of the many. Not every artist/studio went "loud" and even a certain amount of compression is normal for rock (instead of classical). I have tons of CDs from the 1990s that are AWESOME sounding. Hell, if anything, the early CDs from the early '80s were often direct copies of albums mastered for LP and had almost NO BASS on them compared to more modern albums. I found the best CDs started appearing in the late '80s and for quality artists have never stopped. If you listen to mainstream crap, you get what you get, I guess. And yet your are not upset by them using near-field mixes in home theater? That's compressed crap for the 21st Century (loudness wars all over again). TrueHD doesn't give you what you think it does. It's still at the whim of the mixing guys, all too many listen to their bosses tell them to make it sound good on sound bars, not high-end home cinemas.

Given comments on lossless audio, I'm starting to feel these forums have more in common with Stereophile than honest to goodness SCIENCE which well knows the limits of lossy audibility in double blind testing.

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post #56780 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 01:55 PM
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FYI, Laserdiscs had lossless CD quality digital soundtracks since 1984, only seven years after VHS came out (they also were first with 1235kbps DTS). And if you gave two bits about quality home theater back then you sure as hell owned a laserdisc player.
Charming - I was being supportive. Sheesh.
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post #56781 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 02:36 PM
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That is an unfair absolute statement (understanding that I've removed some of the context).
What IS fair to say is that the streaming services used by the average consumer cannot provide the same level of quality in their audio content as from a BD or 4k BD.

Streaming has it positives...convenience first and foremost. The average user has probably never listened to a quality source via good headphones or a decent HiFi system so if all they have ever experienced is lossy formats through their soundbar, cheap earbuds or BT speakers then they have no idea what they are missing and no...streaming won't sound any better or worse than whatever audio files they have saved to their phone.

This is a perfect illustration of what Thomas Gray was referring to when he penned that "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly (and costly in terms of both money and WAF) to be wise."

I'm paraphrasing.

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post #56782 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 02:40 PM
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Given comments on lossless audio, I'm starting to feel these forums have more in common with Stereophile than honest to goodness SCIENCE which well knows the limits of lossy audibility in double blind testing.

Ouch, comparing me with Stereophile hurts me more than you know.

I'd be curious if @appelz has an opinion on lossy vs lossless in home theaters and if, in his opinion, there are any sonic differences perceived or otherwise. I know he used lossless material with me, but that may just be due to convenience and familiarity.

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post #56784 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 03:35 PM
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This is a perfect illustration of what Thomas Gray was referring to when he penned that "where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly (and costly in terms of both money and WAF) to be wise."

I'm paraphrasing.
I'd agree except I know you're on the side of hear-say instead of science. Lossy audio has to be the single most poison pill in the audio world, well at least since "digital audio" came out which Stereophile and their followers instantly HATED as sounding "robotic" or "harsh" or some other crap based not on science, but on advertising dollars. These are the same people that believed Shakti stones placed "just so" in the room could greatly improve sound (the "liquidity" of it or some other nonsensical term), that rubber CD mats did anything but load the electric motors down so they performed worse for tracking and that painting the edges of a CD with green markers SOMEHOW magically improved their sound quality! When I was dealing with THAT level of Voodoo Hoodoo SNAKE OIL, I suppose anything is a step up from selling one's soul for marketing dollars in a magazine.

Yes, there's a lot of bad streaming audio out there, but just blaming it on lossy audio is like blaming bad sounding cable music on digital audio in general instead of the fact they neutered the dynamic range and levels before broadcasting it. It's not digital's fault people do bad things to audio nor is "lossy" encoding "evil". It's just a space saving mechanism like MPEG. Blu-Rays and all Hi-Def and Ultra-High-Def VIDEO has LOSSY compression, but you don't see the mass HATRED of it in video like you do audio for some bizarre reason and I dare say it's MUCH HARDER to get perfect looking lossy video than it is to get to the point in audio where people can't tell the difference in blind testing. I have few doubts that many of these streaming services have poor audio, but just using Netflix as an example, they had very low bit-rates until recently where you can finally get 640kbps DD+, which is quite transparent in blind testing. Does that mean they won't touch something else? I can't guarantee that. Why does AppleTV 4K have lower overall volume levels? That's not a quality issue per se, but it causes problems with some equipment just the same as you run out of volume range sooner with lower voltage input levels.

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Charming - I was being supportive. Sheesh.
I don't see what you're upset about. I simply stated a fact about when lossless digital audio soundtracks were first available. I forgot how sensitive people get when it comes to FACTS overriding PERCEPTION on some forums. I got used to people on Audioholics generally listening to science rather than hear-say, I suppose. The simple fact is VHS was a very poor home theater medium regardless of how popular it was. Sony Betamax was a little better (with its own unique problems, not the least of which was cost), but laserdisc had far more resolution than either. SVHS came closer, but it was never popular as a commercial movie outlet as not enough people had them (they bought the cheapest models available). I had VHS, but tried to get my favorite movies on Laserdisc. They weren't cheap and neither were large screens back then (A decent front projector was $25k and up in 1990s dollars with mere scan doubling). After a decade, I had slightly over 200 titles. I've purchased more 3D titles in the past two years than that, let alone in general.

Never have large screen TVs and projectors been as cheap as they are now and never has video and audio quality been capable of such feats and that is why it's a shame when I get some crappy near-field mix that sounds like ear-piercing noise at Reference theater levels. They're not ALL like that. Some near-field mixes are only slightly different than the original theatrical mixes, but that lack of standardization is what bothers me. TRON:Legacy was REFERENCE material. What happened to Disney after that? Why does even the Atmos track on The Matrix have 6-8dB less dynamic range than the original DTS (lossy) mix? It's a HOME mix, that's why. I simply don't see why they could deliver the theatrical mixes in the 1990s on Laserdisc and even early DVD, but after about 2000 we started getting these "home" versions that lacked the same dynamics as the home theater mixes. There's more than enough space on a UHD disc to have more than ONE lossless mix, even in Atmos or DTS:X. My "Death Machine" (1994) disc from Germany has TWO Lossless Auro-3D soundtracks (English and German dubbed) AND TWO 2.0 channel lossless DTS-HD Master Audio mixes of the theatrical mix (English and German dubbed) and it's a regular Blu-Ray, not even an UHD one (that generally has more space available). I don't need SIX to EIGHT foreign language tracks on my Blu-Ray discs. Streaming is great for that market. If I'm going to buy physical discs, I think I deserve the option of the original Theatrical Mix. All modern AVRs have near-field EQ options on them (whether Audyssey's Cinema Reference mode or THX's RE-EQ).

While I don't believe we "need" lossless, I don't mind it being present either. I simply think it's being used as an excuse to not include the theatrical mix as an option (not to mention the original mono and stereo mixes should be preserved for older movies! You should be able to hear Star Wars in Mono, Stereo and 70mm soundtracks, even if it's just on an "Archive Release" or something, not to mention the original video footage instead of these Lucas "edits" where Greedo shoots first when he didn't shoot at all in 1977!) Streaming can be good with enough bandwidth. The problem is the lack of a high-end service. It's 2019 and you still cannot buy lossless CD quality tracks on iTunes when Internet bandwidth has long eclipsed the rates necessary to make them available (whether they are "needed" is beside the point in a world where the consumer is supposed to be king so even though I think 256kbps AAC sounds good enough, I think people should be able to buy what they want regardless, whether that's LPs or 8-tracks if there's enough demand). We've moved instead to music services (e.g. Apple Music) where you have NO control over what quality you get. They can change to a "remaster" for a given album at any time and there's nothing you can do. If you owned the good CD, they can't take it from you!

I do mind sub-standard "home mixes" being sold under the guise of "near-field" when they have no standards for what constitutes a "near-field" mix. You can't make an optimized mix for every home when they vary so much. We don't all sit 8 feet from our speakers either. It's better to have a theatrical standard and then dilute it down with EQ and dynamic range compression for those that don't want cinema levels and/or don't have larger home theater rooms. Clearly, some studio mixes as of recent years (Disney being the worst, but not only offender) have walked away from standardization and moved into subjective home mixes (and even theater ones according to some) that took Lucas' original concept of THX STANDARDS and threw them down the toilet. Yes, THX sold itself out long before that point, but the idea of standard levels and dynamic range was a good one. But now the home mixes take that and crap on it. What's the point in having Audyssey set up a reference 0dB level when the home mixes have the dynamic range reduced 10dB or more already?

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post #56785 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 04:06 PM
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I don't see what you're upset about. I simply stated a fact about when lossless digital audio soundtracks were first available. I forgot how sensitive people get when it comes to FACTS overriding PERCEPTION on some forums.
Not "upset"; just that the barrage of negativity - including SHOUTING CAPITALS - towards a supportive post was unwelcome and unnecessary.
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post #56786 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 04:09 PM
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Not "upset"; just that the barrage of negativity - including SHOUTING CAPITALS - towards a supportive post was unwelcome and unnecessary.
I don't "shout capitals" they're simply easier to type for italics/bold than having to stop typing and outline or hypertext, particularly when I'm on a phone. Shouting is continuous capitals in a sentence, not one word or a phrase. I'm not trying to shout at you. (you have to admit they stand out better than italics; bold is almost too much anyway)
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Click THEATER (Updated: Nov-12-2019) for pics: Epson 3100 3D Projector, DaLite 92" screen, 11.1.6 (Marantz SR7012 + Yamaha HTR-5960 + Onkyo ESPro) - Dialog Lift - PSB T45/B15/S50/X1T/CS500 Speakers & Def Tech PF-1500 15" sub; 2nd Room (Updated Apr-22-2019): 48" Plasma TV, Carver AL-III, Carver C-5 Pre-Amp, Technics SH-AC500D, Dual Carver TFM-35x Amps (Active Bi-Amp), Klipsch Surrounds ; Sources: PS4, LG UP875 UHD, Nvidia Shield (KODI), ATV4K, Zidoo X9S, LD, GameCube : Props (Updated 11-01-19)
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post #56787 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 04:25 PM
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post #56788 of 56827 Old 12-03-2019, 11:37 PM
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Would it be worth it to put overhead Atmos speakers up high on the wall behind me? My head is only about a foot away from the wall while viewing so they would be almost directly above me. Or would it be better to just put them on top of my floorstanders? I already have a Klipsch system so these are the speakers I'm looking at.

https://www.klipsch.com/products/r-4...-atmos-speaker

Last edited by bytor; 12-04-2019 at 12:08 AM.
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post #56789 of 56827 Old 12-04-2019, 06:14 AM
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I had the similar setup as you and put 4 ATMOS speakers(2 front height and two rear height). My Atmos speakers were SVS elevation speakers. The sound was fantastic and enjoyed the ATMOS and DTS:X Movies.

When i moved to a new home in last summer, i installed 4 overhead ceiling speakers for ATMOS. Definitely i see much difference in the over head vs height speakers for ATMOS movies(Conjuring 2 cops visit scene is the best example of overhead. The sound moves from right to left just above your head. I didn't experience the similar sound when i used height speakers.) But same time didn't see much difference in the DTS:X movies. This is just my personal observation.



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Originally Posted by bytor View Post
Would it be worth it to put overhead Atmos speakers up high on the wall behind me? My head is only about a foot away from the wall while viewing so they would be almost directly above me. Or would it be better to just put them on top of my floorstanders? I already have a Klipsch system so these are the speakers I'm looking at.

https://www.klipsch.com/products/r-4...-atmos-speaker
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post #56790 of 56827 Old 12-04-2019, 09:02 AM
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Heights phantom image between them overhead so they can pull towards the nearest speaker like any stereo set if you're not sitting directly midway in-between them. After a certain angle of separation (~90-100 degrees give or take ten degrees front to back between them), imaging gets weak in the middle a well which is where top middle helps tremendously by bridging the distance.

I've had no trouble with overhead sounds using top middle extraction with heights. It's the angle, not the setting IMO. Heights are further apart than tops by nature and work better in smaller rooms length wise unless top middle is also employed.

Unfortunately, I don't have The Conjuring in Atmos to compare here (I looked; I don't even see an Atmos version anywhere; my iTunes copy is 4K but no Atmos; The Conjuring 2 will supposedly be in Atmos when the 4K version comes out so I'm not sure what you're talking about unless you mean a Neural X upmix or something of the scene). Jumanji (original) in Atmos had those giant mosquitos buzzing right above my head to the point I almost started swatting at them.

Click THEATER (Updated: Nov-12-2019) for pics: Epson 3100 3D Projector, DaLite 92" screen, 11.1.6 (Marantz SR7012 + Yamaha HTR-5960 + Onkyo ESPro) - Dialog Lift - PSB T45/B15/S50/X1T/CS500 Speakers & Def Tech PF-1500 15" sub; 2nd Room (Updated Apr-22-2019): 48" Plasma TV, Carver AL-III, Carver C-5 Pre-Amp, Technics SH-AC500D, Dual Carver TFM-35x Amps (Active Bi-Amp), Klipsch Surrounds ; Sources: PS4, LG UP875 UHD, Nvidia Shield (KODI), ATV4K, Zidoo X9S, LD, GameCube : Props (Updated 11-01-19)

Last edited by MagnumX; 12-04-2019 at 05:47 PM.
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