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Input stream to a 2.1 soundbar

739 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  sdg4vfx
Hi everyone,

I apologize if this is the wrong forum to post in.

I have a modest Samsung 2.1 soundbar (HW-J4000) that's currently connected using HDMI to my TV's ARC channel.
I've recently learned that my TV's ARC is limited to either 2.0 PCM or multichannel DD/DD+/DTS bitstream. Essentially, this means that anything I play on my HTPC that has multichannel audio (that's decoded on the HTPC to PCM) eventually gets to my soundbar as a downmixed stereo 2.0 PCM stream (as opposed to 2.1), meaning there's no dedicated LFE stream for my subwoofer.

My question is -

If I'm looking at (for example) a 5.1 source and provided that I don't bitstream, how much of a difference is it if it's completely downmixed to 2.0 (including the LFE channel) vs keeping the LFE channel (and just downmixing the surround and center speakers) to get 2.1?
I'm assuming that even when the soundbar receives 2.0 audio it separates the lower frequencies and sends them to the subwoofer. Is there any significant value in the dedicated LFE channel?

I imagine there should be a difference, but I would appreciate an explanation.

Thank you!
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
2.0 PCM will typically be your best choice since you have a 2.1 soundbar.
  • 99.9% of content has a native stereo 2.0 PCM soundtrack as an option. The "mastered" stereo mix is preferable to having your soundbar downmix a 5.1 soundtrack.
  • 2.0 PCM is higher quality, uncompressed audio. DD/DD+/DTS bitstreams all have lossy compression - even when downmixed to 2.1 you'll be downmixing a very compressed source.

With 99.9% of stereo audio (2.0 PCM) you don't need a dedicated LFE stream. The soundbar (or AVR) will automatically route the appropriate bass frequencies to the .1 based on the crossover being used with the sub.
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
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