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Discussion Starter #1
I have a few questions about HD Audio that I'm still not able to sort out.


My current set-up:

Sony STR-DE945, no HDMI

PS3 HDMI to display TOSLINK to AVR


My confusions/questions:


1. I'm still foggy on what the PS3 cannot do regarding True HD/DTS HD, I know that something has recently been upgraded in the firmware but still confused. If I want TrueHD audio, how do I go about it?


2. Must I run 7.1 for TureHD or can I get the improved audio with 5.1 (I don't want to add more speakers)?


3. I obviously need a new AVR if I'm going to get HD audio, is the Onkyo 606 pretty much the bottom dollar for this?


4. We watched Master & Commander last night, it was very good but suffered the typical problems I've always had, i.e. quiet scenes (dialogue, etc) were too quiet but loud scenes were too loud if we turned it up for the quiet scenes. Is this issue improved with HD Audio?


Thanks!
 

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Quote:
1. I'm still foggy on what the PS3 cannot do regarding True HD/DTS HD, I know that something has recently been upgraded in the firmware but still confused. If I want TrueHD audio, how do I go about it?

You get a new receiver. The PS3 can send the advanced codecs only via LPCM on HDMI. It can decode everything, but it requires a processor/receiver that can process multichannel LPCM audio, and there is (and never will be) a way around this with the PS3.


As it stands, you will hear the legacy DD5.1 or the core DTS5.1 sound that all BD movies also include, and it will sound fine.

Quote:
2. Must I run 7.1 for TureHD or can I get the improved audio with 5.1 (I don't want to add more speakers)?

No, 5.1 is fine. Most BDs are 5.1. If you set the PS3 output to 5.1 you will hear all the audio, even from 7.1 soundtracks.

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3. I obviously need a new AVR if I'm going to get HD audio, is the Onkyo 606 pretty much the bottom dollar for this?

I think there's a Yamaha and maybe a Pioneer. Someone else can fill you in.

Quote:
4. We watched Master & Commander last night, it was very good but suffered the typical problems I've always had, i.e. quiet scenes (dialogue, etc) were too quiet but loud scenes were too loud if we turned it up for the quiet scenes. Is this issue improved with HD Audio?

Not specifically, or at least not much. It's true that legacy codecs tend to become more muddy when the soundtrack becomes very complex and involves all channels, and lossless audio can clarify things. But on movies like M&C, the dialogue is sometimes simply buried in the mix by its very nature.


Things that can help with this problem include: some sort of dynamic compression feature or dialogue enhancement feature built into the receiver; or better placement/balance/quality of the center channel speaker.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fr. John /forum/post/14301017


4. We watched Master & Commander last night, it was very good but suffered the typical problems I've always had, i.e. quiet scenes (dialogue, etc) were too quiet but loud scenes were too loud if we turned it up for the quiet scenes. Is this issue improved with HD Audio?

If anything, there's more dynamic range with most HD soundtracks, not less.
 

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Originally Posted by JOHNnDENVER /forum/post/14302190


The dialog issue is usually a room issue. Tough to fix without fixing the room.

Sometimes. But a surprising number of center channel speakers are physically placed where they are for aesthetic reasons rather than sonic ones. A good, bright CC speaker, aimed right at your head from 6 feet away and turned up 2 or 3 dB extra if necessary, can do wonders for the intelligibility of dialog!
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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Originally Posted by rdclark /forum/post/14302246


Sometimes. But a surprising number of center channel speakers are physically placed where they are for aesthetic reasons rather than sonic ones. A good, bright CC speaker, aimed right at your head from 6 feet away and turned up 2 or 3 dB extra if necessary, can do wonders for the intelligibility of dialog!

First, thanks everybody. Sounds to me like I'd rather save a few bucks for now and just stick to standard 5.1.


I'll try tweaking my Center channel, that may just do the trick.
 

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Most digital receivers have a "Night" mode which minimizes the dynamic range a bit to make it easier to hear dialog without being blown out of the room by the loud parts. And digital receiver should also have a setting for DRC (Dynamic Range Compression), which will accomplish a similar thing for dolby digital soundtracks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fr. John /forum/post/14301017


3. I obviously need a new AVR if I'm going to get HD audio, is the Onkyo 606 pretty much the bottom dollar for this?

Actually, no, because you're using the PS3, which can only output HD audio as multichannel PCM, you can use any HDMI receiver that accepts PCM audio over HDMI. This includes cheaper, older used/refurb/open-box recievers like the Onkyo 605 or 674, Denon 2307/887, Yamaha RX-V661, etc. You can easily get an HDMI-equipped receiver which accepts PCM audio for $200 if you troll ebay and internet deal sites.
 

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Discussion Starter #9

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Originally Posted by batpig /forum/post/14302957


...

Actually, no, because you're using the PS3, which can only output HD audio as multichannel PCM, you can use any HDMI receiver that accepts PCM audio over HDMI. This includes cheaper, older used/refurb/open-box recievers like the Onkyo 605 or 674, Denon 2307/887, Yamaha RX-V661, etc. You can easily get an HDMI-equipped receiver which accepts PCM audio for $200 if you troll ebay and internet deal sites.

OK, back to partial confusement (yes, I know that's not a word
). What doesn't the PS3 do that would be utilized by a newer AVR (meaning one that is future proof)?


I am having a hard time getting my head around this and I realize I'm coming off pretty dense. Usually these things come pretty easy to me but I'm just missing the boat here.
 

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OK, there are two ways to get hi-def audio (ignoring analog for simplification):


1. The player (blu ray player, PS3, HTPC, whatever) decodes the TrueHD or DTS MA track and send it over HDMI as multichannel PCM.


2. The player bistreams the raw data to the receiver, and the receiver decodes the TrueHD or DTS MA track.


These should, theoretically, be identical in sound because the end result is multiple channels of lossless PCM sound.


The PS3 does #1 above -- it decodes all hi-def audio internally and outputs as multichannel PCM. This means that any receiver that has the ability to accept audio over HDMI will work fine with the PS3.


In order to do #2, you need a player that can output the raw bitstream (not many do), and a newer HDMI 1.3 receiver with built-in decoders. If you are only using the PS3 as a source, since it cannot bitstream, you do not need to invest in one of the newest HDMI 1.3 receivers like the 605/606 unless you want some of the other features they provide.


Hope that helps! If you need to, go read up on some of the audio FAQ's like the AVR FAQ at the top of the page.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fr. John /forum/post/14303753


OK, back to partial confusement (yes, I know that's not a word
). What doesn't the PS3 do that would be utilized by a newer AVR (meaning one that is future proof)?

Some players can send the still-encoded audio stream from the disc directly to the receiver, as a bitstream, so that the receiver can decode it. This allows the little indicator lights ("Dolby TrueHD," "DTS MA") on the receiver to light up showing what codec is being decoded. An HDMI connection from player to receiver is still required to bitstream the HD multichannel codecs to the receiver.


Other players, like the PS3 (but not limited to it) decode the audio internally, and send it as uncompressed LPCM to the receiver. There is no difference in the audio as decoded, although some (mostly older or entry-level) receivers have different capabilities for post-processing incoming multichannel LPCM vs post-processing its own decoders' output.


The PS3, and players like it, can actually be used with a wider variety of less expensive equipment without sacrificing anything. Another reason the elitists disdain it, I suppose.
 

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Discussion Starter #13

Quote:
Originally Posted by batpig /forum/post/14303906


...If you are only using the PS3 as a source, since it cannot bitstream, ....

Aha, here's exactly the source of my confusion, I am currently bitstreaming my audio out of the PS3 to my AVR via optical. Is this a different kind of bitstreaming?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fr. John /forum/post/14304267


Aha, here's exactly the source of my confusion, I am currently bitstreaming my audio out of the PS3 to my AVR via optical. Is this a different kind of bitstreaming?

No, it's the same thing. Problem is, optical only has enough bandwidth to bitstream DD and DTS. It can't do multichannel pcm which is what you want for the best results from a PS3.
 

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Discussion Starter #15

Quote:
Originally Posted by kplex /forum/post/14304281


No, it's the same thing. Problem is, optical only has enough bandwidth to bitstream DD and DTS. It can't do multichannel pcm which is what you want for the best results from a PS3.

Thanks a bunch (to all of you). I think I've got a handle on it now. Seems so simple. Too bad Sony didn't simplify it by having the PS3 bitstream via HDMI, seems like it would have been simple enough.
 

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It does bitstream via HDMI, just not for the newer HD audio codecs.


Optical vs. HDMI there will be no difference for old DD and DTS. The only thing HDMI changes is that you now have access to the hi-res audio.


"Bitstreaming" just means you send the raw, undecoded data to the receiver for decoding. Optical is fine for bitstreaming regular DD and DTS, as you are doing now. If you hooked up the PS3 to a newer HDMI receiver with an HDMI cable, you would then have the option of bistreaming the legacy DD/DTS audio while having the PS3 decode hi-res audio if you were watching a blu ray.


This setup actually DOES simplify things, because you run one cable from PS3 to the receiver, and it does everything: carry hi-def video, bitstream legacy audio (DD/DTS), and also be able to transmit hi-res audio. Having the PS3 decode the hi-res audio and output it as multichannel PCM actually increases compatibility, as there aren't that many receivers with HD audio decoders.


It's a little confusing but keep at it, it will make sense someday!
 

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Even though HDMI 1.3 could bitstream TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, I am guessing that the inability to bitstream these on the PS3 was an early engineering decision. Some suggest the HDMI chip they based the PS3 on may not be able to do it.


It would not surprise me if future PS3s gained the capability to bitstream HBR (High Bit Rate) audio in the future. If it's a chip restriction, newer PS3s could potentially use a different chip.


The AVR FAQ does cover much of this discussion, but you seem to have a grasp on it already.
 
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