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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here's my problem, I'm having trouble getting 7.1 channel playback through my HTPC and understanding why.


My setup:

Vista with sound set to HDMI, 7.1 channels with DTS and Dolby Digital enabled for 48/96 and 192 frequency.


Receiver is Onkyo 606 which supports TureHD and DTS-HD Master Audio among other things, also is HDCP compliant and HDMI 1.3a compliant


Video card is an MSI ATI 4650 chipset which supports '7.1 channel audio' and HDMI output.


Playback software : ArcSoft TOtalMedia Theater 3 Platinum which supports DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD.


Here's my problem:

I bought Punisher War Journal because it has 7.1 channel DTS-MA which is supported by my amp and by my playback software.


When i click through the audio sound field options on my ONkyo, it's acting like it's getting a DTS source so the options are Neo6 (2 channel to 7.1 channel), Dolby PLIIx (2 channel to 7.1 channel) and my best option is DolbyEX which is 5.1 channel. I do not get any of the DTS HD source options which would include DTS-HD Master Audio.


Since my receiver and playback software both support DTS-HD MA the only thing i'm questioning is whether the MSI ATi 4650 does?


Do i need a special audio card to process Dolby TureHD and DTS-HD MA ? If so can anyone make some recommendations. I REALLY want to get my audio setup properly. I bought the 4650 because it promised 7.1 channel audio but from what i'm seeing, it's doesn't support TrueHD or DTS-HDMA.


Some clarification would be great to help unconfuse me
 

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Yes, you need a special audio card that supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA. It's no that your ATI card can't, but that the movie industry has placed a protection, PAP, on those two formats that not many devices support yet. The one I know that works is Asus HDAV Xonar Slim (about $140) and it's big brother. They work with TMT and come with a copy of TMT, version 2 I believe.
 

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If you don't want to spend the additional money then the other option is to get the software player to decode the HD audio tracks and send them out as 'PCM', not send 'Bitstream'. The receiver will then be able to play the PCM audio.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by hirent /forum/post/16852031


If you don't want to spend the additional money then the other option is to get the software player to decode the HD audio tracks and send them out as 'PCM', not send 'Bitstream'. The receiver will then be able to play the PCM audio.

That's an interesting idea, so you're saying have Total Media Theater decode the HD audio into 7.1 channel PCM ? Do you know if / how to get TMT to do that? I'll plug away in the config and see if i can find something. This might be an ok compromise while I wait for cheaper 'HD' compliant audio cards to hit the market. If that one card is 140 bucks for 60 bucks more i could just go buy a bluray player :lol:
 

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Quote:
If that one card is 140 bucks for 60 bucks more i could just go buy a bluray player :lol:

Yes, that is a big turn-off. They really screwed up with the additional PAP requirements.

About PCM, there should be an option in TMT to do that. You would need to look into it.

Here's how I do it in PowerDVD. Go to audio setup/options. And in the speaker list choose, HDMI. Then there is an additional drop-down box in which you can select AC3 mixing, DTS mixing or PCM. Choose PCM and you are set.

One word though. In the absence of PAP, the players downsample the audio to 48KHz. Not much of a big deal though, since most Blu-Rays are encoded at 48KHz, only some discs are at 96KHz.

Most people cannot tell the difference between downsampled PCM and exact bitstream reproduction.

As it stands now, its a personal choice. Is the audio difference worth the extra $150?
 

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Most Realtek audio chips support HD audio but due to PAP Protected Audio Path the players are the limitation at this point. Unfortunately what your doing could have been done using opensource (FFDSHOW, MPC-HC, etc.) If you want to bitstream then you will need one of the audio cards (Asus right now) that bitstreams the HD codecs. If not then what you have is sufficient. Your ATI video card has an HD audio chip (Realtek) build on the card which can handle LPCM. The net net is that you have the best you can get without bitstreaming. It should be just a setting in TMT. Turn off bitstreaming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bushmaster2000 /forum/post/16852110


That's an interesting idea, so you're saying have Total Media Theater decode the HD audio into 7.1 channel PCM ? Do you know if / how to get TMT to do that? I'll plug away in the config and see if i can find something. This might be an ok compromise while I wait for cheaper 'HD' compliant audio cards to hit the market. If that one card is 140 bucks for 60 bucks more i could just go buy a bluray player :lol:
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanglx /forum/post/16852178


Unfortunately what your doing could have been done using opensource (FFDSHOW, MPC-HC, etc.) If you want to bitstream then you will need one of the audio cards (Asus right now) that bitstreams the HD codecs. If not then what you have is sufficient. Your ATI video card has an HD audio chip (Realtek) build on the card which can handle LPCM. The net net is that you have the best you can get without bitstreaming. It should be just a setting in TMT. Turn off bitstreaming.

I thought you could not get DTSHD-MA using open source stuff like MPC-HC because there is no public decoder for it? I believe it works for Dolby True HD, but not for DTSHD-MA, for which it defaults to DTS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So i guess the question is this, if the Realtek chip on the ati board CAN do it, could they enable it with an update to Catalyst down the road?


I know all this HDCP crap is to prevent intercepting the signal and pirating it, so it seems ot me 'they' should favor one connection out of the video card to the receiver over the video card to the audio card to the receiver. It just doesn't make sense.


Anyway TMT has no obvious option for PCM, it has for the audio outputs 5.1, 7.1, SPIF (fiber i assume) and HDMI. If i put it on HDMI i get another pulldown that says DTS mixing, Dolby mixing or uncompressed i think.


So i tried setting it to 7.1 and it sounds like crap, didn't sound like the rear speakers were working. I think i prefer it being one of those 2 channel to 7.1 channel mixing sound fields instead. Anyway thanks for the clarifications, looks like i'll have to keep an eye on prices for that Asus card.
 

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You are correct which is why most of us re-encode using eac3to to FLAC

Quote:
Originally Posted by joker454 /forum/post/16852249


I thought you could not get DTSHD-MA using open source stuff like MPC-HC because there is no public decoder for it? I believe it works for Dolby True HD, but not for DTSHD-MA, for which it defaults to DTS.
 

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Quote:
Anyway TMT has no obvious option for PCM, it has for the audio outputs 5.1, 7.1, SPIF (fiber i assume) and HDMI. If i put it on HDMI i get another pulldown that says DTS mixing, Dolby mixing or uncompressed i think.


So i tried setting it to 7.1 and it sounds like crap, didn't sound like the rear speakers were working.

Yes, you have the option. Select HDMI and set it to uncompressed (PCM).

Also, which OS are you using?

Set up your speakers in the OS to 7.1.

It should work and sound really good.

Your software player (TMT) does not meddle with the audio track except for decoding the track to PCM (its like unzipping) and the downsampling. Then it sends the PCM signal over HDMI, it doesn't care whether the sound is 5.1 or 6.1 or 7.1; it just sends the uncompressed PCM signal through the HDMI port.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushmaster2000 /forum/post/16852552


Anyway TMT has no obvious option for PCM, it has for the audio outputs 5.1, 7.1, SPIF (fiber i assume) and HDMI. If i put it on HDMI i get another pulldown that says DTS mixing, Dolby mixing or uncompressed i think.


So i tried setting it to 7.1 and it sounds like crap, didn't sound like the rear speakers were working.

"Output Mode: 7.1 Channel" means 7.1 LPCM (i.e. Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD MA/DD/DTS are decoded into multichannel LPCM [and resampled to 16bit/48kHz]).


Did you select "7.1 Surround" in Speaker Setup in Control panel?


If you don't like downsampling and don't want spend money on a sound card, a quick fix is create a MKV file with FLAC audio track. Or wait for SlyPlayer; it's free. (In either case, you need AnyDVD HD.)
 

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MKV using FLAC for audio has been superb! Only downfall is NMTs dont support multi channel flac - NONE OF THEM! HTPC all the way then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/16852679


"Output Mode: 7.1 Channel" means 7.1 LPCM (i.e. Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD MA/DD/DTS are decoded into multichannel LPCM [and resampled to 16bit/48kHz]).


Did you select "7.1 Surround" in Speaker Setup in Control panel?


If you don't like downsampling and don't want spend money on a sound card, a quick fix is create a MKV file with FLAC audio track. Or wait for SlyPlayer; it's free. (In either case, you need AnyDVD HD.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
hirent : The way i had this setup originally in TMT was Speaker Output : HDMI Mixing Mode : use original primary audio (my other options are DTS mixing or Dolby mixing). With this setup i get the results in the original posting, basically DTS or Dolby 2channel mixed into 7.1 or Dolby Digital Ex which is 48khz 5.1 channel. And in vista sound control panel i have it set to HDMI with 7.1 speakers setup.


renethx : If i set TMT to 7.1 channel, there are no mixing options so it's just whatever this is, LPCM you're saying. In this mode the sound was not as rich and there is no sound coming out of the rear speakers. On the reciver it says PCM HDMI Multichannel in this configuration. Vista 's sound control panel is setup for HDMI and 7.1 channels.


I guess i'll install PowerDVD 9 again and try out it's LPCM mode just for a comparison, maybe it does a better job
 

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In TMT3, HDMI > "Using original primary audio" is just extract the core AC3/DTS from Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio track with HD 4xxx card. "DTS/Dolby Digital mixing" is Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio -> decoded to multichannel LPCM -> re-encoded to DTS/Dolby Digital (or maybe just extracting DD/DTS core in case of TrueHD/DTS-HD MA respectively).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I guess there's another card too by Auzentech that's all the HD audio coming the end of July ? So i think i'll wait on buying hardware, maybe with two options, some price competition will ensue and the price of the cards will come down to realistic levels.


It's funny, when i started building my HTPC it was the cheaper alternative, between new video cards, software updates and now it seems the requirement for an audio card, it's certainly surpassed what I could buy a BluRay player for today. Ah well, we do love our toys
 
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