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post #1 of 18 Old 09-15-2015, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Question DTS HD 7.1 on 5.1 System

I have a Denon DHT-1513BA.

**Total watts: 650 Watt 5.1
**Discrete Circuitry- five 75-watt channels is powered by its own discrete circuit. This allows the receiver to reproduce original sound.
**Supports Dolby TrueHD and D̶T̶S̶-̶H̶D̶ DTS-HD-MA.

The movie i'm trying to play has lossless audio, DTS HD/MA 7.1. Media info says this:

8 channels / 6 channels
Front: L C R, Side: L R, Back: L R, LFE / Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE.

Obviously my home theater system only came with 5 satellite speakers and a subwoofer. My question is, will the audio output suffer from a 7.1 audio source movie to a 5.1 system? I tried it out myself and I thought I heard missing sounds. For example, when a fast moving object came from the left to right at times that audio was so soft I barely heard it. Several suspicions that this is because I don't have the extra two speakers.

Is this true or am I wrong? I would assume a 7.1 audio will downgrade to 5.1 on my system and I will not miss anything from watching the movie. I can't confirm this unless I buy a regular blu ray with 5.1 dts and the same exact movie in dts-hd ma 7.1 and try to see if i'm really missing anything. I thought I ask here first to see if anyone has gone through this. Thanks.

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post #2 of 18 Old 09-15-2015, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aztechnick21 View Post
I have a Denon DHT-1513BA.

**Total watts: 650 Watt 5.1
**Discrete Circuitry- five 75-watt channels is powered by its own discrete circuit. This allows the receiver to reproduce original sound.
**Supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD.

The movie i'm trying to play has lossless audio, DTS HD/MA 7.1. Media info says this:

8 channels / 6 channels
Front: L C R, Side: L R, Back: L R, LFE / Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE.

Obviously my home theater system only came with 5 satellite speakers and a subwoofer. My question is, will the audio output suffer from a 7.1 audio source movie to a 5.1 system? I tried it out myself and I thought I heard missing sounds. For example, when a fast moving object came from the left to right at times that audio was so soft I barely heard it. Several suspicions that this is because I don't have the extra two speakers.

Is this true or am I wrong? I would assume a 7.1 audio will downgrade to 5.1 on my system and I will not miss anything from watching the movie. I can't confirm this unless I buy a regular blu ray with 5.1 dts and the same exact movie in dts-hd ma 7.1 and try to see if i'm really missing anything. I thought I ask here first to see if anyone has gone through this. Thanks.
One requirement built into all multichannel audio coding systems is backward compatibility, in other words, the ability to mix down all channels into the number of channels available. The most frequent usage is to mix 5.1 to 2.0, but the capability is there to mix 8 to 6, even 8 to 2 or 1.

Of course, anything can be misconfigured, so even with downmix available, it might not be working correctly, though frankly, in an HTiB system, that would be very rare and wrong.

Your best test is to get a test DVD or BD with setup signals that ping your speakers in sequence. If the test disc takes 7.1 and tests them in order, you should never hear a gap in the test signal from missing channels in your system, and the test signals should eminate from the correct speakers. Surround Back will be mixed to both surround L and surround R in a 5.1 system.

Some test discs:

Disney WOW
Digital Video Essentials
Spears & Munsil High-Definition Benchmark
or look for THX Otimizer for free on any THX disc

If things don't quite come out right, you might check your manual or setup menus for settings that you can change.

I did get a chuckle out of "I thought I heard missing sounds."
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-15-2015, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your tips. I'm not sure I will be able to work this any time soon. Yea, I swear I'm watching a movie in 7.1 in my 5.1 system and I cannot hear some sounds or special effects. One time someone fell down and the sound was extremely faint almost like it was suppose to go to another channel. It just doesn't sound right. Also the dynamic range for 7.1 on my Denon 5.1 system sounds compressed. And I don't have night mode or those features on. I keep all features off so I can keep the sound as original as I can get it at. Also I tested other blurays at DTS sound and boy, it sounds crisper and quiet levels are there with the large range of loud sounds and booms. The 7.1 movie does not have that range. Its almost as if the sound was normalized. I'm not too sure.. anyways I think I will stay far away from DTS HD-MA as its really a nuisance to me. At least until I upgrade from 5.1 to 7.1 one day. So far I love DTS. I still need to find a TrueHD movie to compare. So far HD-MA is not worth two more speakers (for now).

Thanks for the help I just wanted other peoples opinions.
**And I will sell the movie I got for nothing. Since I don't think it plays right with the audio. I read people say that a 7 channel movie down mixes the extra channels to the r̶e̶a̶r̶ speakers on a 5.1 system? I don't notice that. :\

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post #4 of 18 Old 09-15-2015, 11:20 PM
 
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5.1 systems don't have rear speakers, that's a 7.1 thing. You have surrounds (to the sides), so maybe you don't have them setup correctly?
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
5.1 systems don't have rear speakers, that's a 7.1 thing. You have surrounds (to the sides), so maybe you don't have them setup correctly?
Whoops, I meant to say surround speakers not rear. I think I have my setup correctly. I have my bluray player at RAW mode and HDMI out to LPCM. My denon ̶shows DTS HD-MA on my denon front display. All my wires are set up correctly to each channel (I did a channel test as well). My personal conclusion to why the sound is off is because of the HD-MA audio. Can't really confirm until I get my hands on some HD Audio Tester THX video essentials mentioned by jaddie to make sure its going to the right channels. Confusing though.. so that's why i'm getting irritated by HD-MA.

Last edited by aztechnick21; 09-16-2015 at 01:28 AM. Reason: typos
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 12:20 AM
 
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What does the manual say what it does when playing a 7.1 track? I've never heard of RAW mode, and if you're sending LPCM then there is nothing for the Denon to decode as it's already been decoded by the player. You're sending bitstream if the avr is doing the decoding. More likely the sound is off due to the speakers' capabilities if you've heard better systems in the past. DTS 7.1 should be able to be downmixed to 5.1 easily enough so doubt you're losing anything.
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
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What do you mean by manual? If you meant the front panel display on my Denon. The 7.1 says/ reads DTS HD-MA. Plays the movie and audio fine but, as mentioned I suspect there is lost audio.

Well from what I read online and on the forums, RAW is another word for bitstream but, that's what my bluray player named it (choice menu for audio). I'm really hoping you are right about all this. I will try to get the same movies one with 5.1 and another with 7.1. Maybe i'm wrong but, I swear the sound is off. When I compare the same movie and it sounds the same then I was wrong and my Denon downmixed the sound fine. If I hear extra sounds effects on the 5.1 version of the movie then it'll confirm the 7.1 audio on my HTiB does not downmix HD-MA 7.1 correctly.

Also what do you mean about the speakers' capabilities? I have an old post I made long ago including all my home theater specs --Click link --> https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...l#post32598433

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post #8 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 01:22 AM
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What are you using to compare your 5.1 reproduction and to form the basis for your observation that the rear channels are not being folded properly?

You can google for demo world and download the 2D demo trailers in both lossless 7.1 and lossy 5.1 formats.
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhorik View Post
What are you using to compare your 5.1 reproduction and to form the basis for your observation that the rear channels are not being folded properly?

You can google for demo world and download the 2D demo trailers in both lossless 7.1 and lossy 5.1 formats.
When there are action scenes in a DTS-HD-MA 7.1 movie there are times when swooshes, motorcycles, cars or broken windows roll through and and say a car turning gets its audio cut off (goes missing) or in some scenes the audio is very silent. As if the reciever thinks I have the rear speakers when I don't. This is weird because it affect the F, C, R speakers. I'm not sure why the cutt-offs are there. But even if that is not the problem, the rage of the HD-MA 7.1 isn't wide. When large explosions happen there not dynamic or as loud as a movie with DTS audio.

Thanks! I will download the demo world trailers and compare them to be sure. This will save me a ton of time.

If the 7.1 trailer is missing any sound then there is something wrong with my Denon HTS. Will report tomorrow to test.
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 02:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aztechnick21 View Post
What do you mean by manual? If you meant the front panel display on my Denon. The 7.1 says/ reads DTS HD-MA. Plays the movie and audio fine but, as mentioned I suspect there is lost audio.

Well from what I read online and on the forums, RAW is another word for bitstream but, that's what my bluray player named it (choice menu for audio). I'm really hoping you are right about all this. I will try to get the same movies one with 5.1 and another with 7.1. Maybe i'm wrong but, I swear the sound is off. When I compare the same movie and it sounds the same then I was wrong and my Denon downmixed the sound fine. If I hear extra sounds effects on the 5.1 version of the movie then it'll confirm the 7.1 audio on my HTiB does not downmix HD-MA 7.1 correctly.

Also what do you mean about the speakers' capabilities? I have an old post I made long ago including all my home theater specs --Click link --> https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...l#post32598433
The manual in the download section here http://usa.denon.com/us/product/Home...versHT/AVR1513

I thought you might have been comparing hearing the same disc on another system in 7.1 to make your comparison, and perhaps that system had better speakers/setup....that's all.

Perhaps the avr simply picks out the lossy core, thought you had a 7.1 receiver at first but only a 5.1 package of speakers, obviously I didn't understand your obviously remark.

The guy who seems to have this stuff down around here is @BIslander perhaps he'll advise.
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post #11 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aztechnick21 View Post
When there are action scenes in a DTS-HD-MA 7.1 movie there are times when swooshes, motorcycles, cars or broken windows roll through and and say a car turning gets its audio cut off (goes missing) or in some scenes the audio is very silent. As if the reciever thinks I have the rear speakers when I don't. This is weird because it affect the F, C, R speakers. I'm not sure why the cutt-offs are there. But even if that is not the problem, the rage of the HD-MA 7.1 isn't wide. When large explosions happen there not dynamic or as loud as a movie with DTS audio.
What makes you think that audio cut off is not normal? Have you compare that same movie on another 7.1 system?

So you're saying when a 7.1 is downmixed to 5.1, lot's of info are gone + huge dynamic compression kicks in?
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post #12 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aztechnick21 View Post
When there are action scenes in a DTS-HD-MA 7.1 movie there are times when swooshes, motorcycles, cars or broken windows roll through and and say a car turning gets its audio cut off (goes missing) or in some scenes the audio is very silent. As if the reciever thinks I have the rear speakers when I don't. This is weird because it affect the F, C, R speakers. I'm not sure why the cutt-offs are there. But even if that is not the problem, the rage of the HD-MA 7.1 isn't wide. When large explosions happen there not dynamic or as loud as a movie with DTS audio.

Thanks! I will download the demo world trailers and compare them to be sure. This will save me a ton of time.

If the 7.1 trailer is missing any sound then there is something wrong with my Denon HTS. Will report tomorrow to test.
I'd be interested in your results using a 7.1 audio test disc or download. It's very hard to make any sort of judgement based on program material that you've never heard any other way before. The speaker ID test signals will tell the story definitively. Otherwise it's just guessing.
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post #13 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I tested it today. I guess I was dead wrong. Props to Zhorik for saving me time with the 7.1 audio test link. So far my Denon 5.1 system was able to play the DTS HD-MA fine. And the rears did go to my left and right surround speakers. I still don't know why the movie sounded odd to me. As I mentioned personally, DTS sounds much better to my ears. The movie I watched/ tested before was a ripped bluray. So maybe the audio was normalized? Still don't see the fuzz over HD-MA. But maybe because its suited better for a 7.1 system. Hmmm.. well I guess that's it. :X


@Skylinestar , no I can't compare a 7.1 HD-MA movie on a actual 7.1 surround system. I could only test it on my 5.1 system. And, yes the dynamics kick in when it downmixes audio. At least personally. For some reason I find DTS-HD 5.1 richer in sound quality and more boomy/ crisper than 7.1.

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post #14 of 18 Old 09-16-2015, 10:32 PM
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You could also turn your surrounds up some if you like lots of volume from them. Also I'm not sure what movies you've watched but some just don't use the surrounds that much. I'd boost the surrounds a dB or two and see if you prefer that better.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aztechnick21 View Post
Well, I tested it today. I guess I was dead wrong. Props to Zhorik for saving me time with the 7.1 audio test link. So far my Denon 5.1 system was able to play the DTS HD-MA fine. And the rears did go to my left and right surround speakers. I still don't know why the movie sounded odd to me. As I mentioned personally, DTS sounds much better to my ears. The movie I watched/ tested before was a ripped bluray. So maybe the audio was normalized? Still don't see the fuzz over HD-MA. But maybe because its suited better for a 7.1 system. Hmmm.. well I guess that's it. :X


@Skylinestar , no I can't compare a 7.1 HD-MA movie on a actual 7.1 surround system. I could only test it on my 5.1 system. And, yes the dynamics kick in when it downmixes audio. At least personally. For some reason I find DTS-HD 5.1 richer in sound quality and more boomy/ crisper than 7.1.
The difference between lossy 5.1 and lossless 5.1 isn't as great as some make it out to be, like many things audio that you might hear claims for....

Thought you didn't have 7.1 to compare to?
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post #16 of 18 Old 09-17-2015, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by aztechnick21 View Post
The movie I watched/ tested before was a ripped bluray. So maybe the audio was normalized?
That's probably the source of the problem. Depending on how it was ripped, there could actually be dropped channels. It's pretty wild and non-standard.
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Still don't see the fuzz over HD-MA. But maybe because its suited better for a 7.1 system.
As lovinthehd said, it's not always a big difference. On of the things lossy Dolby Digital does is share the high frequency portion around several channels. It's almost like a steered mono HF channel. But it works pretty well, when encoded right. That's actually where lossy can suffer or win, in encoding (nothing the viewer has control over), where choices are made during authoring that can really mess things up. I once authored a DD track that sounded absolutely dreadful. I had to dig through the encoder settings to optimize it for that material. Everything encodes a bit differently. Lossless is, well, lossless, so it's a 1:1 transfer of the original (barring "mastering for home", ugh), and thus it's not possible to mess things up with an errant encoder setting. But given the best authoring techniques, there may not be much difference between the two.
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post #17 of 18 Old 09-20-2015, 01:16 PM
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A related question: If a 7.1 source is correctly downmixed to 5.1, can it produce better sound than a 5.1 source? I'm thinking the 7.1 source will have more room info available in the sound, and thus can provide better sound even if downmixed to 5.1.

Also, what about object based sources such as Dolby Atmos? Can it also sound better if downmixed to 5.1, compared to if the source was 5.1 to begin with?
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post #18 of 18 Old 09-20-2015, 11:07 PM
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A related question: If a 7.1 source is correctly downmixed to 5.1, can it produce better sound than a 5.1 source? I'm thinking the 7.1 source will have more room info available in the sound, and thus can provide better sound even if downmixed to 5.1.
Most of what you're hearing at home as 7.1 is actually an up-mix from a 5.1 track. There are 7.1 mixes around, but it's less the norm than 5.1

If you did have a real 7.1 track, when it gets down-mixed to 5.1 an algorithm is applied that places Lb anr Rb channel sounds in Ls Rs. It's doing this to everything in those channels, and results in a compromise because where those sounds end up won't be exactly where the mixer working in 7.1 wanted them. That's technically not an improvement. Compromises never are. Even then 5.1 > 7.1 upmix is a compromise.
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Also, what about object based sources such as Dolby Atmos? Can it also sound better if downmixed to 5.1, compared to if the source was 5.1 to begin with?
Again, consider the goal of an Atmos track: placing sound objects in discrete locations above and around the audience. Now you need to fold all of that down to 5.1. The result will be nothing like the Atmos presentation, though the objects will all be present. Again, it's a compromise. It's better than not having the objects at all, but certainly won't bear a lot of resemblance to what was done to the track creatively.

A 5.1 track mixed originally in 5.1 will have every element placed precisely where the mixer intended it. There's simply no improving on that.

The thinking that there's "more room for the sound" because we'd be working with more channels is a bit flawed. While a sound track may end up at 7.1, 5.1 or Atmos, the number of channels and tracks used in production is far greater, and the number of simultaneous elements in any sound track can be staggering. However, all of that gets mixed down to 5.1 at least, all the time. So the space mixers work in creatively is a fast canvas, far greater than we may even perceive when we listen to the final mix. When that vast work area is channeled down to a release format, regardless of what that is, down-mixing on the fly based on generalized criteria can never meet the original intent exactly, so all down-mixes are flawed by definition. It's just a question of if the end result is acceptable or not. Mostly, it is.

The real magic happens in up-mixing, different story there.
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