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Discussion Starter #1
OK, I've got an HP HTPC which comes with HP DVD Play HD DVD/BD which as far as I can see is some sort of cyberlink product under the HP brand name.


I've got the PC hooked up to an older 6.1 amplifier system via optical SPDIF. When a 5.1 Dolby track is available, it comes through fine and sounds fine to me.


The player gives me 2 output options-- SPDIF and SPDIF Mixer(DTS). If I use SPDIF Mixer(DTS) I get 5.1 sound reported on my amp via DTS, but the quality is not as vibrant as DD (to my ear anyway when the source is 5.1 DD). If I use plain SPDIF, then I get Dolby Digital to my amp when it is on the DVD.


So I was playing a DVD that offered 5.1 tracks of all languages but english and only TrueHD in English. Listening to the foreign language audio, the sound was as good as it gets with my humble system. However, selecting the English TrueHD track only gave me 2 channel data and Prologic II just didn't do much with it. Reading on the web it seemed that 5.1 was supposed to be available within the TrueHD (or so a dolby page I read indicated).


So I was able to watch the bluRay movie with TrueHD by selecting SPDIF Mixer(DTS). The amp reported it was receiving 5.1 and I could hear cars zinging left -to-right on the surrounds so it was better than 2 channel prologic. But it still seemed less vibrant than the 5.1 tracks (I think, but I have a horrible ear for this so who knows).


Just to be clear, here is what my ear heard:

5.1 DD source -> SPDIF Sounds right

5.1 DD Source -> SPDIF(Mixer(DTS)) Not as good

TrueHD Source -> SPDIF (two channel drek)

TrueHD Source -> SPDIF(Mixer(DTS)) Better than 2channel, but not as nice as 5.1 DD source going direct to my amp


I had difficulty comparing the 5.1 DD Foriegn tracks with the TrueHD track with all the settings I had to do in between tests so I'm not really sure how well they compared. Certainly 5.1DD source sounded better sending the data straight to my amp via SPDIF than the SPDIF(Mixer(DTS))


So I've learned that SPDIF isn't going to handle TrueHD anyway and I'm not in the market for upgrading my sound system just now. I simply want to get the best sound possible to my existing 6.1 amp.


I've read this article http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/13..._pc/index.html which clearly states that if I get the creative cable kit (I have a XiFi XtremeGamer card) and connect it to the multichannel inputs on my amp, that I will not be able to get TrueHD. But my question is can I at least get high quality 5.1 sound with this setup??


So my question for all of you is this:


What *will* I get if I get
  • PowerDVD 8 Ultra (very difficult to know for sure if ths is an upgrade over what I have now, but I suspect it is)
  • The Creative Cable Set
  • Hook up 7 of the 8 multichannel analog wires from the creative cable set to my 6.1 multichannel input.


Should the sound be as good as what I'm accustomed to hearing with 5.1 DD over SPDIF?


Should this sound better than using the SPDIF(mixer(DTS)) setting?


Am I off in the weeds here? The more I seem to learn, the more chaotic it all seems to become.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstelter /forum/post/14207425


So my question for all of you is this:


What *will* I get if I get
  • PowerDVD 8 Ultra (very difficult to know for sure if ths is an upgrade over what I have now, but I suspect it is)
  • The Creative Cable Set
  • Hook up 7 of the 8 multichannel analog wires from the creative cable set to my 6.1 multichannel input.


Should the sound be as good as what I'm accustomed to hearing with 5.1 DD over SPDIF?


Should this sound better than using the SPDIF(mixer(DTS)) setting?


Am I off in the weeds here? The more I seem to learn, the more chaotic it all seems to become.

I think it all depends on the quality of your sound card.


In my case, i use spdif (dts mix) for every HD sound track. DD and DTS passthrou spdif un-modified. For me, I have tryed some discs with the same language audio track (english) in DD and trueHD ou LPCM uncompressed and the HDsound via spdif(dts mix) always sounds better to my ears than original standard DD.


Sorry for bad english...
 

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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezrangel /forum/post/14207517


I think it all depends on the quality of your sound card.


In my case, i use spdif (dts mix) for every HD sound track. DD and DTS passthrou spdif un-modified. For me, I have tryed some discs with the same language audio track (english) in DD and trueHD ou LPCM uncompressed and the HDsound via spdif(dts mix) always sounds better to my ears than original standard DD.


Sorry for bad english...

I think you're saying that you do the same as I've done?


TrueHD -> SPPDIF(dts mix)

5.1DD/DTS -> SPDIF


But when you have a choice of the two, you prefer the HD format over the 5.1DD/DTS format?


The only thing I'm certain of is that between

5.1DD->SPDIF vs 5.1DD->SPDIF(dts mix), the 5.1DD->SPDIF sounds much better.


I'll have to experiment a bit more to really see how TrueHD->SPDIF(dts mix) sounds vs 5.1DD->SPDIF sounds. I was trying that comparison with a French vs English track on a BluRay disk, but I have 2 english tracks on an HD-DVD I could test as well.
 

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Craig,

What your PC has is DTS connect sound, card, so what it is doing, when you enable the DTS mixer part in the sound card, is that it is re-encoding any surround sound audio (doesn't matter the format) into a DTS bitstream and send it out via spdif for your receiver to decode.


It could be just the way your sound card does the real time re-encoding into DTS is why it degrades a bit.


as far as using the analog outputs of your sound card, and the audio quality, it all depends on the sound card you are running, the DACs and opamps it uses.


- Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #5

Quote:
Originally Posted by umdivx /forum/post/14207939


Craig,

What your PC has is DTS connect sound, card, so what it is doing, when you enable the DTS mixer part in the sound card, is that it is re-encoding any surround sound audio (doesn't matter the format) into a DTS bitstream and send it out via spdif for your receiver to decode.


It could be just the way your sound card does the real time re-encoding into DTS is why it degrades a bit.


as far as using the analog outputs of your sound card, and the audio quality, it all depends on the sound card you are running, the DACs and opamps it uses.


- Josh

So the path is


TrueHD -> Sound card (or maybe player?) decode -> DTS encode -> Spdif out


(That's what I figured was going on)


And the real question is what is happening between the soundcard's decode and the DTS encode. From what I've read, the player plays a roll in this as well as the sound card (i.e. the player is taking 24bit/96Khz sound and resampling it to 16bit/48Khz sound before it even gets to the soundcard). As long as somehow it's not going to 2 channel and then the card is not doing some sort of extrapolation ala prologic to create a 5.1 bitstream to send to my amp, the degredation is more likely caused by a conversion of 24/96 to 16/48 somewhere along the path.


The other method of using the multichannel output seems to rely entirely on the code that decodes TrueHD-- from what I'm understanding, no player out there passes the 24/96 to the soundcard, but rather strips it to 16/48 before the soundcard ever sees it. If that's true, the analog may well be pretty much the same as SPDIF. If the soundcard is actually seeing 24/96 and it has reasonably good electornics, the resulting analog signals may well outperform anything SPDIF could deliver.


I think I need to retest how 5.1DD->SPDIF and TrueHD->Spidif Dts mix sounds to my ear on my system. I noticed there were certain output settings in the SPDIF configuration regarding 16/24bit and 48/96K. Will tweaking those generally have an effect too?


Thanks for all the advice.
 

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My sound card does not have DTS connect, so dts-mix IS from pdvd8. Maybe if your card is dts connect capable and if it is enabled, that is where you are loosing quality if the encoding from DTS connect is worse than from the player, Im not sure about that.

DTS is capable of a higher bitrate (up to 1500) versus DD (640 max). So downsampling a HD sound track to DTS is theoricaly better than pure DD.

I dont know if it matters, but maybe the way your AVR decode DD and DTS are diferente and the DTS decoder is not good. Maybe.
 

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Try diferent HD sound tracks, like LPCM or DTS-MA, using DTS-mix and see if you still like DD better.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezrangel /forum/post/14208768


Try diferent HD sound tracks, like LPCM or DTS-MA, using DTS-mix and see if you still like DD better.

So far I've only had 2 HD disks-- one HD-DVD and one BluRay to play with. The BluRay only offered TrueHD-- not LPCM or DTS-MA. The HD-DVD one offered TrueHD and 5.1DD. Only had the box 5 days...
 

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I don't have the same creative card, but see if you have a "AudioHQ" icon in your control panel. Under device controls, try setting it to SPDIF passthrough. Then just keep your player set to SPDIF for the audio output. That should bypass all of the crap that you're talking about. You're almost always better off having the receiver doing the decoding. Be sure to make the correct selection on the the DVD settup menu for the particular disc that you are about to watch (non-true HD setting). Also, if your receiver has 6.1, I'm almost certain that your receiver has a DTS decoder of its own; it just might not be automatic switching between DD and DTS on your particular receiver like it is on mine so you may have to do it manually. Like the other poster was saying, DTS blows DD away. It sounds so much cleaner.
 

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cstelter,


Take a look here and hope it will provide you more info/idea. I think you probably need to look in other sound card solution such as Asus, Azuentech HDMI sound card or ATI 4850.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan L /forum/post/14210250


I don't have the same creative card, but see if you have a "AudioHQ" icon in your control panel. Under device controls, try setting it to SPDIF passthrough. Then just keep your player set to SPDIF for the audio output. That should bypass all of the crap that you're talking about. You're almost always better off having the receiver doing the decoding. Be sure to make the correct selection on the the DVD settup menu for the particular disc that you are about to watch (non-true HD setting). Also, if your receiver has 6.1, I'm almost certain that your receiver has a DTS decoder of its own; it just might not be automatic switching between DD and DTS on your particular receiver like it is on mine so you may have to do it manually. Like the other poster was saying, DTS blows DD away. It sounds so much cleaner.

Well, the point was that I had a BD that *ONLY* had a TrueHD track in english. It had 5.1 in other languages. From what I've seen, passthrough isn't helpful in that case as the Fiber link couldn't pass TrueHD through for bandwith to begin with. Some processing on the TrueHD signal has to be done (I'm still unclear if the player handles that processing or the card or a combination-- it's the card in dts connect mode according to umdivx, but I haven't found much info about that). I was able to listen to the movie in 5.1 via spdiff, I just wasn't as impressed with the sound quality as I was with the 5.1DD in alternate languages.


The whole point of my post was whether or not it may be worth $15 to buy the creative set of cables to run the audio from the card to my amp's multichannel input, or would I be listening to similar sound as I'm getting by using SPDIF mix dts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12

Quote:
Originally Posted by hlkc /forum/post/14210791


cstelter,


Take a look here and hope it will provide you more info/idea. I think you probably need to look in other sound card solution such as Asus, Azuentech HDMI sound card or ATI 4850.

Very nice thread on the topic-- one of the more cohesive threads I've read through.


Honestly, I'm not looking for a better sound than 5.1DD. I have nothing to receive HDMI sound so the format is no good to me anyway.


I'm looking for the best solution for my current configuration. Right now 5.1DD sounds great passed through to my amp and as long as I'm watching HD-DVD or BD with a 5.1 track I'm pleased with the experience. But TrueHD can only reach my amp in 5.1 if I process it to DTS, otherwise all I get is 2 channel. The first BluRay disk I rented had *only* TrueHD in English so I'd like to solve this for my system as well as I can.


What I'm still not clear on is if the sound quality is due to my HP DVD Play software (cyberlink under the hood) only offering my card downsampled 16bit/48Khz which is then being faithfully wrapped up in DTS on my SPDIF, or if the algorithms in my soundcard are at fault. If the player is downsampling the bits before my soundcard gets them it really doesn't matter which card I have-- I'm just formatting them in DTS and sending them on to my amp, right?
 

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Can you tell us what MB, sound card and PDVD version you are using?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezrangel /forum/post/14212369


Can you tell us what MB, sound card and PDVD version you are using?

+1. I was holding my breath until someone asked what sound card does the op have but I think I've flatlined already.


I'm kind of in an opposite situation. I have the Prelude and using analog out. It sounds good but I would like to test the whole DDL / DTS-mix thing to see if it can sound any better.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
From my OP:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cstelter /forum/post/14207425


I've read this article http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/13..._pc/index.html which clearly states that if I get the creative cable kit (I have a XiFi XtremeGamer card) and connect it to the multichannel inputs on my amp, that I will not be able to get TrueHD. But my question is can I at least get high quality 5.1 sound with this setup??

So I have the Creative XiFi XtremeGamer sound card-- as for the motherboard, I haven't tried to identify it yet-- it's whatever HP ships with their m9200t series.


I had started this thread where I outlined my system-- apologies, I forgot that I hadn't repeated the same info here.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezrangel /forum/post/14212369


Can you tell us what MB, sound card and PDVD version you are using?

I'll try to post the MB when I around to identifying it.


As mentioned in last post, Sound card is SoundBlaster XiFi XtremeGamer


As mentioned in the OP, I don't use powerDvd right now, I'm using the HP DVD Play which is actually some form of powerDVD under the hood as far as I've been able to determine. I'm thinking it has to be a variant of 7.3 because it handles both bluRay and HD-DVD. It's version 2.42 of HP DVD Play HD DVD/BD if that helps you at all.


From what I read here , powerDVD 8 handles


Dolby TrueHD (7.1-channel)

Dolby Digital Plus (5.1-channel)

Dolby Digital EX (7.1 ch)

Dolby Digital (5.1 ch)


and here it seems powerDVD 7.3 BD does


Dolby Digital Plus

(2 Channels)

Dolby Digital

(2 Channels)

Dolby TrueHD

(2 Channels)


I can't find what my HP DVD Play is supposed to be doing. The fact that I can get 5.1 surround out of my player via mixmode DTS (or DTS connect if that is what it is) has me thinking it should be beyond 7.3.


I guess I'll probably just get the required cables and hook it up to my multichannel and see how it sounds-- that's really the best way to answer the question. I suppose.


Again-- I'm not trying to get TrueHD fidelity. I'm just trying to get something as good as 5.1DD which my current amp seems to do nicely. Maybe I need to get a soundcard with a 5.1DD encoder if such an animal exists.
 

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Craig, I might be wrong but before version 8 ultra, pdvd didnt handle multichannel HD audio. So what might be happening is that your player (with dts-mix) or your sound card (via dts connect) is encoding a dts track based only in 2-channel audio which is what your player (pdvd7.3) extracts from DD-trueHD.
 

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Discussion Starter #18

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezrangel /forum/post/14215616


Craig, I might be wrong but before version 8 ultra, pdvd didnt handle multichannel HD audio. So what might be happening is that your player (with dts-mix) or your sound card (via dts connect) is encoding a dts track based only in 2-channel audio which is what your player (pdvd7.3) extracts from DD-trueHD.

That could be true, which would explain why I'm somewhat unhappy with the results. However, the amp display 3/2.1 on the DTS and I can hear sound from all 5 speakers, so it's receiving 5 channels of DTS, not 2 channels. Generally if someone is going to mix 2channel into 5.1, wouldn't an algorithm selection be exposed some way shape or form (ProLogic, Neo, etc?).


Again, I can get no info on what this HP DVD Play is supposed to be doing-- at least the powerDVD gives some info.


A few days ago I had read this page that has been quoted in a number of threads. The part I had keyed on was this:

Quote:
S/PDIF Connection

If your A/V receiver or processor has neither multichannel analog or digital inputs, but is equipped with 5.1-channel Dolby® Digital decoding and playback, you will still be able to enjoy 5.1-channel performance from next-generation optical players. Included within 7.1-channel multichannel Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD streams is a core 5.1 mix prepared by the content maker that is used when the player is set for 5.1-channel mode. .

I figured it was this core 5.1 mix that was being used to generate the DTS mix being sent to my amp.


Is it possible to encode DD5.1 in a HTPC or would that have to be done on-board in a soundcard? That thought is derived from this bit of the same quoted article:

Quote:
Because Dolby Digital encoding support is optional in HD players, you will need to look for a next-generation player equipped with a S/PDIF output and built-in Dolby Digital 5.1-channel encoding technology.
 
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