No surround sound from Marantz-Paradigm HT after upgrading from dvd player to bluray‏

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by vpantvaidya, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. vpantvaidya

    vpantvaidya Auditioning

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     I have been using my Marantz SR5200 receiver and 5.1 Paradigm speakers with a Panasonic DVD player for past several years. With the optical audio output of the DVD player connected to the receiver's optical audio input, I was able to hear good surround sound from all speakers. Now I have upgraded to Samsung BD-P1600 bluray player and the optical audio output of bluray player is connected to receiver's optical audio input. When I play a DVD movie in the bluray player and the player is setup to output a PCM signal, I hear only stereo sound from the front 2 speakers. When I change the blueray player setup to output bitstream (reencoded), I get surround sound, but the volume from the speakers is almost inaudible. Is the Marantz receiver not compatible with the blueray player? If not, how can I correct this? 
     
  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Isn't there a third bitstream choice - audiophile? I think that's the one you should be using. I have the Samsung 1500, and it does have three choices for the audio streaming (but that's through HDMI). Is there a place where you choose whether you want the audio to go through optical instead of HDMI? I set mine so long ago, I can't remember, but it seems to me you'd need to tell the player that, particularly if you have the HDMI connected to the TV for video.
     
  3. vpantvaidya

    vpantvaidya Auditioning

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    Thanks Matt. The setup does not have have an option to tell whether audio goes through optical / HDMI. But you are right - it does have the bitstream audiophile output. Here is more detailed info on that and some more testing:

    The BD-P1600 bluray player has following 3 settings in audio setup. Here are the results I got in each case when using the optical o/p to connect to my receiver:
    1. PCM: outputs stereo only
    2. bitstream(reencoded) - outputs surround sound but audio level is extremely low, almost inaudible
    3. bitstream(audiophile) - outputs only to center channel

    The BD-P1600 manual mentions the following at 2 different places:
    a. optical cable connection is recommended when connecting to a non-HDMI amplifier but in this case discs with LPCM soundtracks will only be heard over front 2 channels
    b. if optical cable is used, multichannel sound may not be heard

    The question that I have now is:
    - do movie DVDs in US region have LPCM soundtracks?
    - even if they do, why did my older Panasonic DVD player deliver surround sound when connected to same receiver using optical o/p. Do I need to look for an alternative bluray player that has similar capability?

    Tried a bluray movie also, here are the results with that:

    1. PCM: still outputs stereo only
    2. bitstream(reencoded) - outputs DTD surround sound, audio level is higher than for DVD but still lower than with Panasonic DVD player
    3. bitstream(audiophile) - outputs Dolby Digital with full surround sound at expected level

    As mentioned earlier the stereo output in #1 and the lower audio o/p in #2 are expected and documented in the BD-P1600 manual. So my conclusions are:
    - the player will not play DVD with proper audio with the optical connection, so I either need to try out a different player or an HDMI receiver
    - bluray discs will play well in the bitstream(audiophile) mode.

    Any thoughts/suggestions?
     
  4. vpantvaidya

    vpantvaidya Auditioning

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    I did a couple of things and now DVD audio seems almost where it needs to be:

    1. updated player firmware from 2.04 to 2.05
    2. set player audio setting for dynamic compression to off

    Now while playing a DVD, the player still behaves same with PCM / bitstream (reencoded) settings. But with bitstream (audiophile) setting, I get proper surround sound. I think the dynamic compression change made the difference - the BD-P1600 manual does say that "When Movie soundtracks are played at low volume or from smaller speakers, the system can apply appropriate compression to make low-level content more intelligible and prevent dramatic passages from getting too loud."
     

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