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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive got a pretty simple system at home: an Onkyo 3 receiver, polk audio 5.1 system and a Panny plasma.


For some reason, i cannot figure out the best sound settings for this system. I have the system on "PLII-Music", as this sounds the best to my ears. However, when I watch a DVD on this setting, the surrounds are way too loud.


Why is there such a big difference between watching TV and DVD?


All the "movie" and "cinema" settings sound terrible to me; the voices seem to only come from the center channel. Conversely, when I use the "music" settings, the surrround comes to life.


Advice/wrods of wisdom here are greatly appreciated.
 

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You dont have real surround if pro logic is on. Is the dvd player hooked up via some digital method (optical or coax? (or hdmi))


If not, you'll need to hook it up one of those ways


If it is hooked up correctly, then you'll want to turn off prologic and turn on dolby digital decoding.
 

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Onkyo 3 receiver? I haven't heard of that model before. Is that the model number? I don't see a DVD player in your equipment list. Is it built into the receiver? Is your TV connected to your receiver? If so, how? And how to get TV reception?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwitel /forum/post/18303264



All the "movie" and "cinema" settings sound terrible to me; the voices seem to only come from the center channel.

That's how it's supposed to work. Or at least how the DVDs are mixed at the studio. Center channel provides voices and onscreen sound effects, left and right front are for music (in the movie) and panning sound effects, and surrounds are for ambiance, enveloping sounds (rainfall, battle sounds) and the occasional panning effect (like a helicopter circling, etc.)


if you don't like it, I can't argue with you (although I strenuously disagree), so set it to whatever you like to hear. You can probably adjust the overall volume of the surrounds in the receiver's setup menu, if that's what you want. That would lower the surround volume but keep everything else level.


Quote:
Conversely, when I use the "music" settings, the surrround comes to life.

By coming to life, do you mean voices come out of them, or just sound effects in general? If voices are coming out, that's not what was intended, as I said, but if you like it, set it that way.


Just don't invite me over for a movie night.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwitel /forum/post/18303264


Ive got a pretty simple system at home: an Onkyo 3 receiver, polk audio 5.1 system and a Panny plasma.


For some reason, i cannot figure out the best sound settings for this system. I have the system on "PLII-Music", as this sounds the best to my ears. However, when I watch a DVD on this setting, the surrounds are way too loud.


Why is there such a big difference between watching TV and DVD?


All the "movie" and "cinema" settings sound terrible to me; the voices seem to only come from the center channel. Conversely, when I use the "music" settings, the surrround comes to life.


Advice/wrods of wisdom here are greatly appreciated.

Did you adjust speaker levels. Sorry i do not know onkyo. Does it come with a mic? I would start by reading the stickies.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwitel /forum/post/18303264


I have the system on "PLII-Music"

Why is there such a big difference between watching TV and DVD?

Pro-Logic is designed to take a stereo source and make it sound like discrete surround. The music version you selected is "intended" to work with music, and will have the effect you described.


Broadcast TV in HD (don't know about whatever subscription service you may be using) has discrete 5.1 encoded in it. If you are using a digital connection to get the sound form your TV or tuner (wherever the signal is decoded) then the Dolby Digital setting on your AVR is the one "they intend" you to use. (However, if your cable box or device outside your TV is decoding the signal, and then you send the signal out from your TV, you're only sending stereo, and you'll need some kind of ProLogic to mimic the original signal. That's what I do, because my cheapo receiver doesn't decode Dolby Digital) I have a hunch that this has something to do with the difference you're hearing between DVD and TV.


Cinema surround schemes are intended to keep the sound field matching the visual cues on screen, so on-screen dialog is supposed to be limited to the center channel. That should be more or less the same for ProLogic surround as well as discrete surround; however music settings (like the one you say you've been using) will be much "wider" and allow center channel sounds to be reproduced in other channels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by unfalliblekrutch /forum/post/18303297


You dont have real surround if pro logic is on. Is the dvd player hooked up via some digital method (optical or coax? (or hdmi))


If not, you'll need to hook it up one of those ways


If it is hooked up correctly, then you'll want to turn off prologic and turn on dolby digital decoding.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred /forum/post/18304965


Pro-Logic is designed to take a stereo source and make it sound like discrete surround. The music version you selected is "intended" to work with music, and will have the effect you described.


Broadcast TV in HD (don't know about whatever subscription service you may be using) has discrete 5.1 encoded in it. If you are using a digital connection to get the sound form your TV or tuner (wherever the signal is decoded) then the Dolby Digital setting on your AVR is the one "they intend" you to use. (However, if your cable box or device outside your TV is decoding the signal, and then you send the signal out from your TV, you're only sending stereo, and you'll need some kind of ProLogic to mimic the original signal. That's what I do, because my cheapo receiver doesn't decode Dolby Digital) I have a hunch that this has something to do with the difference you're hearing between DVD and TV.


Cinema surround schemes are intended to keep the sound field matching the visual cues on screen, so on-screen dialog is supposed to be limited to the center channel. That should be more or less the same for ProLogic surround as well as discrete surround; however music settings (like the one you say you've been using) will be much "wider" and allow center channel sounds to be reproduced in other channels.

I am using an Onkyosr304; I am hooked up via Optical, straight from the cable box to my receiver (SPDIF). Is this stereo or ProLogic?


If its ProLogic, how then do I know if its on?


Im guessing its not on b/c as you say, there is a huge difference between using DVD and watching cable.


BTW, I am on Time Warner, NYC.


Thanks for the help.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwitel /forum/post/18305057


I am using an Onkyosr304; I am hooked up via Optical, straight from the cable box to my receiver (SPDIF). Is this stereo or ProLogic?

ProLogic is applied by the receiver. Coming over optical could be PCM stereo (for analog channels) or Dolby Digital (for HD channels and a few standard def digital channels.) There should be an indicator for each.


If it's an HD channel, then it depends on the show. Primetime shows are usually in Dolby Digital 5.1 that won't need ProLogic applied. The receiver should have a "display" button (and on the remote) that if pressed, will tell you the channels. If it says 3/2.1, then it's Dolby Digital 5.1. Sometimes it may say 2.0 for shows that don't have the full 5.1 soundtrack. Those can use ProLogic with good results.

Quote:
If its ProLogic, how then do I know if its on?

Receiver's display should say ProLogic (II) or some such. And the Dolby Digital indicator may not be on (if the receiver is getting 5.1.)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwitel /forum/post/18305057


I am using an Onkyosr304; I am hooked up via Optical, straight from the cable box to my receiver (SPDIF). Is this stereo or ProLogic?

ProLogic is not an encoding format, actually. So, the cable box output will never be ProLogic. The question is whether it is sending an encoded DD 5.1 signal or stereo. An optical connection can send stereo PCM, stereo DD 2.0, and multichannel DD 5.1. It depends on the channel you are watching and how you have the cable box configured for audio output.


Assuming that your box is set to bitstream, then most HD channels will output DD 5.1. Your receiver will not be able to apply ProLogic since ProLogic does not work on native 5.1 sources. Your receiver display will say something like Dolby Digital when it receives a DD 5.1 input.


Non-HD channels usually output stereo. However, the stereo may include Dolby Surround encoding, which may instruct your receiver to use ProLogic decoding.

Quote:
If its ProLogic, how then do I know if its on?

The Onkyo display should tell you that. It should show the kind of input being received from the cable box and whether ProLogic or DTS Neo:6 or some other DSP is being applied by the receiver.


In order to answer your questions about why the DVD player sounds different, you need to let us know what player you have, how it is connected to your receiver, and what audio settings you are using on the player.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander /forum/post/18305564


ProLogic is not an encoding format, actually. So, the cable box output will never be ProLogic. The question is whether it is sending an encoded DD 5.1 signal or stereo. An optical connection can send stereo PCM, stereo DD 2.0, and multichannel DD 5.1. It depends on the channel you are watching and how you have the cable box configured for audio output.


Assuming that your box is set to bitstream, then most HD channels will output DD 5.1. Your receiver will not be able to apply ProLogic since ProLogic does not work on native 5.1 sources. Your receiver display will say something like Dolby Digital when it receives a DD 5.1 input.


Non-HD channels usually output stereo. However, the stereo may include Dolby Surround encoding, which may instruct your receiver to use ProLogic decoding.


The Onkyo display should tell you that. It should show the kind of input being received from the cable box and whether ProLogic or DTS Neo:6 or some other DSP is being applied by the receiver.


In order to answer your questions about why the DVD player sounds different, you need to let us know what player you have, how it is connected to your receiver, and what audio settings you are using on the player.

Forgive me but I have no idea what the diff is between Dolby Digital and Prologic. That said, the only thing it says on my display is Video2 (the output im using) and above that there is a "PCM"-to the left of that there is a an "A" in a box and a red PLII (the settying I have chosen) to the right. I have it on "PLII Music" right now.


I tried changing to a variety of different channels and nothing on the display is changing.


As for my STB setting, i checked under "audio" and its on "digital".


What am I missing here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by unfalliblekrutch /forum/post/18305779


The question is, how is the connection different from your dvd player to your receiver. Is it also optical or is it something else?

Im using a Sony ns77h via optical as well.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwitel /forum/post/18305741


Forgive me but I have no idea what the diff is between Dolby Digital and Prologic.

Dolby Digital is a way of compressing audio digitally on either a DVD or a TV show transmission. It's decoded by your receiver, processed, and then amplified and sent to your speakers.


ProLogic and Prologic II, ProLogic IIx and ProLogic IIz are all processing algorithms designed to expand out various signals received into surround sound channels, basically making things like stereo into something that will work with all your speakers. Your receiver has ProLogic II, if I'm not mistaken, as the original ProLogic (I) hasn't been around for a few years; it was used for early surround sound setups and was replaced by ProLogic II for 5.1 setups.


ProLogic II takes signals like stereo and Dolby Surround (and older codec) into a "matrixed" 5.1. Things like DVDs and HD channels have what is called "discrete 5.1", which means they were mixed with five channels and a subwoofer channel from the studio. Those won't need ProLogic II as they're already 5.1, although the other ProLogic algorithms might expand them to 7.1 and 5.1 with front height channels, but that's another (longer) discussion.

Quote:
That said, the only thing it says on my display is Video2 (the output im using) and above that there is a "PCM"-to the left of that there is a an "A" in a box and a red PLII (the settying I have chosen) to the right. I have it on "PLII Music" right now.

PCM = pulse code modulation. Most likely PCM stereo from the TV channel. It's basically decoded already, the receiver just needs to process and amplify it.


A = main speaker outputs are active. There should be a "B" choice for a stereo pair of speakers that you're probably not using.


PLII = ProLogic II. See above.


PLII Music = a surround mode for Onkyo receivers. It's meant for music, but if you like it with TV shows and movies, then nothing is stopping you from using it.

Quote:
I tried changing to a variety of different channels and nothing on the display is changing.


As for my STB setting, i checked under "audio" and its on "digital".


What am I missing here?

Are you sure you're watching an HD channel? The receiver's PCM indicator should go away and the Dolby Digital indicator (a D with a Dolby logo next to it) should kick on if you're watching a show with Dolby Digital 5.1. Everything seems right otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa /forum/post/18305929


Dolby Digital is a way of compressing audio digitally on either a DVD or a TV show transmission. It's decoded by your receiver, processed, and then amplified and sent to your speakers.


ProLogic and Prologic II, ProLogic IIx and ProLogic IIz are all processing algorithms designed to expand out various signals received into surround sound channels, basically making things like stereo into something that will work with all your speakers. Your receiver has ProLogic II, if I'm not mistaken, as the original ProLogic (I) hasn't been around for a few years; it was used for early surround sound setups and was replaced by ProLogic II for 5.1 setups.


ProLogic II takes signals like stereo and Dolby Surround (and older codec) into a "matrixed" 5.1. Things like DVDs and HD channels have what is called "discrete 5.1", which means they were mixed with five channels and a subwoofer channel from the studio. Those won't need ProLogic II as they're already 5.1, although the other ProLogic algorithms might expand them to 7.1 and 5.1 with front height channels, but that's another (longer) discussion.




PCM = pulse code modulation. Most likely PCM stereo from the TV channel. It's basically decoded already, the receiver just needs to process and amplify it.


A = main speaker outputs are active. There should be a "B" choice for a stereo pair of speakers that you're probably not using.


PLII = ProLogic II. See above.


PLII Music = a surround mode for Onkyo receivers. It's meant for music, but if you like it with TV shows and movies, then nothing is stopping you from using it.




Are you sure you're watching an HD channel? The receiver's PCM indicator should go away and the Dolby Digital indicator (a D with a Dolby logo next to it) should kick on if you're watching a show with Dolby Digital 5.1. Everything seems right otherwise.

Yes, apologies; there is a small Dolby logo to the left of the PLII.

As for the A with the box around it-all my speakers are working. Should there be a B as well?

Finally, if everything is set up correctly, then whey is there such a huge difference in the sound coming from surround speakers when watching a DVD, from the sound coming from them when im just watching cable?
 

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Movie soundtracks and many primetime TV shows are mixed in 5.1. That's five full range speakers and a low frequency effects channel (the sub). There's a discrete channel of audio information for each speaker. In a 5.1 soundtrack, the dialog is mostly in the center channel while the sound of a door opening over your right shoulder will be primarily in the right surround channel.


Without going into a lot of technical details, DD 5.1 is a format used to send discrete 5.1 soundtracks from cable boxes and disc players over optical connections to receivers. The output device (cable box, DVD player) must be set to bitstream to send a DD 5.1 track over optical. When the output device is set to bitstream, the AVR will report receiving a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal. The receiver will decode it to produce discrete 5.1 audio.


But, your receiver doesn't appear to be getting a Dolby Digital signal, at least not from the cable box. It's getting PCM. PCM is also digital audio. But, an optical connection will only send two channels of PCM (stereo, in other words). That's where ProLogic comes into into play. ProLogic and other digital signal processors take stereo signals and apply matrix processing to make faux surround. They look at the audio data in both stereo channels and make decisions about how to re-route it to all six channels. You'll get dialog in the center speaker that way, but not the sound of a door opening over your right shoulder.


Most HD channels send DD 5.1 audio. So, if you are watching an HD channel and your receiver reports getting PCM, that means your cable box is not sending the DD 5.1 bitstream that it should. Your cable box is decoding the DD 5.1 audio and downmixing it to stereo. Non-HD channels usually only send stereo. So, with SD channels, PCM is the expected output.


You haven't said what type of audio shows up at the receiver when you play a DVD. If it sounds a lot better, I suspect your DVD player is properly set to output the DD 5.1 bitstream. But, you'll need to confirm that by looking at the AVR display to see what it says about the arriving audio format.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander /forum/post/18306144


Movie soundtracks and many primetime TV shows are mixed in 5.1. That's five full range speakers and a low frequency effects channel (the sub). There's a discrete channel of audio information for each speaker. In a 5.1 soundtrack, the dialog is mostly in the center channel while the sound of a door opening over your right shoulder will be primarily in the right surround channel.


Without going into a lot of technical details, DD 5.1 is a format used to send discrete 5.1 soundtracks from cable boxes and disc players over optical connections to receivers. The output device (cable box, DVD player) must be set to bitstream to send a DD 5.1 track over optical. When the output device is set to bitstream, the AVR will report receiving a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal. The receiver will decode it to produce discrete 5.1 audio.


But, your receiver doesn't appear to be getting a Dolby Digital signal, at least not from the cable box. It's getting PCM. PCM is also digital audio. But, an optical connection will only send two channels of PCM (stereo, in other words). That's where ProLogic comes into into play. ProLogic and other digital signal processors take stereo signals and apply matrix processing to make faux surround. They look at the audio data in both stereo channels and make decisions about how to re-route it to all six channels. You'll get dialog in the center speaker that way, but not the sound of a door opening over your right shoulder.


Most HD channels send DD 5.1 audio. So, if you are watching an HD channel and your receiver reports getting PCM, that means your cable box is not sending the DD 5.1 bitstream that it should. Your cable box is decoding the DD 5.1 audio and downmixing it to stereo. Non-HD channels usually only send stereo. So, with SD channels, PCM is the expected output.


You haven't said what type of audio shows up at the receiver when you play a DVD. If it sounds a lot better, I suspect your DVD player is properly set to output the DD 5.1 bitstream. But, you'll need to confirm that by looking at the AVR display to see what it says about the arriving audio format.

Every single channel I turn to, whether HD or SD and, even when I use my DVD player-its says the same thing on my AVR display: PCM and then a red Dolby Digital logo followed immediately by PLII.


Im guessing that since nothing is changing, that there is somehting wrong here?
 

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You need to set your AVR to automatically detect what sort of signal it is being sent via the optical input you are using from your cable box (or DVD player, as the case may be). Set this way, it should apply DD5.1 decoding to any material that is truly being received as DD5.1. And for that which isn't DD5.1, but is instead plain ol' DD2.0 or stereo, you will need to set the AVR to apply something like DPLII-Movie (this is what most people would use). Once that is chosen, whenever your AVR encounters DD2.0 material from the cable box, it will apply DPLII-Movie. If you prefer DPLII-Music, then choose that.


It is possible that your cable provider is not providing you with any DD5.1 programming. Try the first couple of HBO channels.


There could also be some setting in your cable box that you need to change.
 

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Take a look at p37 of the Onkyo manual. It explains how you can see exactly what is being sent to the receiver.


On the remote:

Press Receiver

Press Display - It shows you the name of the input source you are using

Press Display again - Input signal such as Dolby Digital 3/2.1

Press Display again - Name of the input source and the listening mode


If the input signal says PCM instead of Dolby Digital 3/2.1 (that's 5.1), then whatever you are watching (DVD, HDTV, regular TV) is not sending encoded 5.1 audio.


Start there are see what you are getting from each of your devices.
 

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And pgs. 45-47 tell you about using the listening modes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwitel /forum/post/18306300


Every single channel I turn to, whether HD or SD and, even when I use my DVD player-its says the same thing on my AVR display: PCM and then a red Dolby Digital logo followed immediately by PLII.

Yeah, the Dolby logo and PLII is the Dolby ProLogic II indicator. Dolby Labs developed all the ProLogics and the Dolby Digital family of codecs. Dolby Digital will be something like the Dolby logo and a "D" following it.


If it says PCM, you're not getting Dolby Digital 5.1 from any TV shows or the DVD player for some reason.


Is your DVD player set to "bitstream" in its audio menu? If not, set it to that and play a DVD and look for the Dolby logo with a "D" on the receiver.


Also, aside from "digital", what other audio choices does the cable box have?

Quote:
As for the A with the box around it-all my speakers are working. Should there be a B as well?

No, "B" is a separate output. It's for like a second room or outdoor speakers or whatever. For normal viewing of movies and such, you only need "A".
 
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