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Okay, Let's Start Over: Please Explain How These New HD Soundtracks Work...

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Nick Chavez Beverly Hills, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Well-Known Member

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    Also note that neither HD DVD nor BD support "Deep Color", so you'll need a source other than those to send "Deep Color" to an capable set. Some PC games, perhaps.
    Audio-wise, nothing wrong with a 1.3 receiver, but don't buy it just based on that...look at what it actually does (LPCM handling, etc.). Many parts of the 1.3 spec are optional...
     
  2. mastermaybe

    mastermaybe Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, Jeff. I've been an audio buff for most of my years, but I find the chasm between tv's with similar technology to be much wider than that of their similarly priced audio counterparts...even with identical source material and set-up configurations. I will go to war with the sony and toshiba and post the results. I hope the Toshiba brings its A-game cuz I'm really leaning on the sony at the moment. The Toshiba price tag will definitely warrant consideration, to be sure.
    james
     
  3. Bleddyn Williams

    Bleddyn Williams Well-Known Member

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    First of all, a big thanks to those of you who participated in this thread. Although I've been doing home theater for a long time, I am really quite confused by the new audio formats, and found this thread a great read!

    I have a Toshiba D2, which only has optical output, and my amp & TV do not have HDMI. I am thinking of getting a blu-ray player (probably the PS3) by the end of the year, and a new HDMI amp next year. Am I right about the following...?

    Because my HD DVD player only offers optical output, I am only able to access the 1.5 "core" audio, but not TrueHD, as it needs HDMI or analog outputs for it to be passed.

    If I buy a PS3 with my current setup, I will not be able to access HD audio as the PS3 outputs this via HDMI. What will I be listening to via optical? blu-ray's version of "core" audio?

    I hear about the current limitations of the PS3 for passing HD audio. If I upgrade to an HDMI amp like the Onkyo 605 next year, will I be kicking myself because the PS3 will be unable to provide the full HD audio to the amp?

    Hope I have articulated this clearly, and someone can help clear the clouds of confusion from my brain!

    Any help welcome!
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I missed this one. I can't speak to the PS3, but I can clear up the A2. You are not really getting "core" audio out of the A2 via optical, unless you are choosing a DTS-HD soundtrack. The Dolby codecs do not have a "core" (i.e. an underlying base bitstream that can be stripped out easily) per se. On the A2, DD+ and/or TrueHD are actually "transcoded" to a DTS 1.5 Mbs bitstream for output via optical, meaning the A2 fully decodes the DD+/TrueHD, then recodes it as high bitrate DTS. The results are good, but the actual HD soundtracks are better.
     
  5. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    One excellent thread.

    Jeff (and others):

    If you can tolerate another couple of questions from an HD newbie...

    If hooking up a Blu-ray player to an existing system in which the receiver and HD-TV (a CRT) do NOT have HDMI, would I be best-served to hook up audio from the player to the receiver via analog 5.1 cables...rather than a coax connection? It sounds that way based on the above post from Jeff.

    Could I ask what the resulting difference would be as far as results between the two set-ups?

    For video, my only option for now will be to use component.

    I guess there will need to be some upgrades in my future. [​IMG]
     
  6. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Well-Known Member

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    Mike, first off - BEWARE THE FUTURE!!! I went from purchasing an HD-A2 HD DVD player because I had a few giftcards, to a Onkyo 605 for HD audio, to upgrading my CRT RPTV to a 65" 1080p DLP for HDMI/1080p. This happened within a month and a half. This HD stuff is addicting. [​IMG]

    Second, the analogs will be better than an optical/coax, but harder to set up since you have to do speaker balance/delay in the player. The analogs will give you any HD audio format that the Blu-Ray can decode (shop carefully, not all BD players can decode all formats). The optical/coax connection will give you the "core" of the DTS-HD format(s) and/or a downmix to DD/DTS for non DTS-HD, depending on the player.

    The difference between HD audio and regular DD/DTS is significant, but not extreme. If the difference between Pro-Logic and DD is a 10, the difference between DD and lossless is about a 7. Definitely noticable by anyone, but not as "WOW!!!" as the first time you heard true digital 5.1.
     
  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    So maybe given the nature of my system...the STR-DE445 and Polk 50 Towers for fronts, Polk CSi25 Center and Polk 15s for surrounds...the push to do the analogs versus coaxial is not as great? Or would you still recommend it?

    I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your answers here.
     
  8. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Well-Known Member

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    I have the same player for BD. I personally never had a problem with it. It's pretty solid and it actually decodes more HD audio than most.

    As far as doing the settings in the player, yes this is required for analogs because receivers take the analog and output it straight, without any processing or bass management. So you would have to get out the ol' SPL meter and measuring tape. The setup resembles any setup on a receiver, with distance, level and speaker type settings.

    As far as not using the HD audio, that is up to you. Even with your setup, which is mid-level like mine, you would hear a significant difference. However, the core/downmix is no slouch either and if you never hook up the analogs, you probably will be very pleased with it. It is never any less than what you get with SD now

    Note: I am speaking strictly second hand about the downmix for this player, because I bought it after the upgrade frenzy, not before. I think I was suffering from a shopper's hangover and the Panasonic was a little "hair of the dog."

    I guess I should attend a few 12 step meetings now. [​IMG]
     
  9. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Well-Known Member
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    Mike,
    Setting up the speakers in the Panasonic player is actually pretty simple. It's all the same settings you do when setting the levels via your receiver. You set speaker size, subwoofer presence or absence, gain in 1dB increments, and, for the surrounds and the center channel only, a delay in milliseconds that is a function of how far those speakers are from you vs. the front L/R speakers. I would recommend starting with the L/R speakers at their minimum gain (-6dB, IIRC) and adjusting everything else accordingly.

    The only caveat to going this way is that it does not (or at least I could not get it to) do bass management for 1.0 mono or 2.0 stereo soundtracks. For these, you would either have to use the optical digital output or the standard L/R analog outputs into your receiver. The crossover frequency for bass management is a non-adjustable 100Hz.

    While we are on the subject, does anyone know what the bitrates are for the extracted "core" DTS and Dolby Digital tracks derived from DTS HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD tracks (e.g. is the DTS 1536 kbps, 1411 Kbps, or 768kbps? Is the DD 448 kbps or 640 kbps, etc.)?

    Regards,
     
  10. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    Or, the standard solution for BM for SACD: the Outlaw ICBM. But the SACD players tended to skate on support for BM in the player.

    Since I paid for my own ("ahem") HD-DVD player, I went with the cheaper HD-A2 which does not output 5.1 analog audio. Therefore without an HDMI receiver I am forced to use the "downgraded" DTS over Toslink.

    Sometimes it's better to take the downgraded audio over SPDIF/Toslink. I prefer to listen to old mono movies via the LR speakers rather than just through the center. My receiver lets me do this on the digital serial connection.
     
  11. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I'll need six cables to connect the 5.1 analogs from player to receiver? Or, do some companies (maybe Blue Jeans?) make a special "single" cable with six RCA plugs at each end?

    Man, you guys must hate people like me who ask these types of questions.

    EDIT** Never mind. I got my answer at the Blue Jeans site:

    [​IMG]

    Wow. Expensive. But they look like a very high quality cable.
     
  12. Royce H

    Royce H Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the Onkyo 705 and above can overlay DSP processing on 5.1 LPCM (mine does it just fine with both my Tosh XA1 and Samsung 1400). The 605 can't do this.
     
  13. JimJasper

    JimJasper Member

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    Just wanted to say that this thread has been very helpful for me, as I have had the same questions as the Nick guy, and have been interested in that same Onkyo receiver.

    The comment of Deep Color transmitting to a HD TV vs displaying on a HD TV was surprising. It's another frustrating little detail (for "future proofing") that I never would have thought about. Then again it doesn't look like there is any Deep Color High Def DVD Content out there at all...though it will probably arrive.
     
  14. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I have new questions because of the new audio formats.

    I went and hooked up the DMP-BD10 to my receiver (Sony STRDE-445) via the 5.1 analog connections. After doing a fair amount of A/B listening, it became clear pretty quickly that many of the uncompressed PCM tracks were quite a bit superior to the downmixed HD 5.1 tracks fed over my coaxial cable.

    My question now is this. Is it ONLY Uncompressed PCM tracks which are carried over the analog cables? Does this set-up work with any of the other tracks offered on a Blu-ray disc?

    Panasonic's website says the BD10 can decode the following formats: DD, DD+, Dolby True HD, DTS, DTS HD.

    So, am I to assume that for any of these formats I should use the analog 5.1 connections rather than the coaxial?

    I made the mistake recently of listening to half of Pixar's Cars over the analog connections while defaulted to the Dolby 5.1 track. The sound was really lackluster (subdued even) compared to the uncompressed 5.1 track over the same analog connection.
     
  15. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Well-Known Member

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    Anything the player can decode can be played through the 5.1 analogs, so yes you can and should use them for DD, DD+, Dolby True HD, DTS, DTS HD (DTS HD will only be the core on the BD10).
     
  16. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

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    That's not surprising. For starters, it was probably 4db lower, due to dialnorm.

    M.
     
  17. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Right. I find it only pays to use the 5.1 analogs when a BD disc offers one of the uncompressed audio formats.

    I've tried listening to a 5.1 DD or DTS soundtrack over the 5.1s and it doesn't come close to when I play it back over the coaxial and have the Sony decode the audio.

    That seems odd to me (that there would be such a dramatic difference--when the uncompressed tracks sound SO good over the analog 5.1s).

    Does it logically follow then that if I upgraded my receiver and went HDMI that I would hear an improvement in the uncompressed tracks then by listening over the 5.1s (because the receiver might handle the decoding better than the player)? Not that there will be a receiver upgrade at any time in my near future... [​IMG]

    Thanks!
     
  18. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Well-Known Member

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    Theoretically, the lossless tracks should decode to the exact same bit-for-bit stream, whether decoded in the player or in the receiver (that's what "lossless" means). Now what is done after the decoding (D->A processing, any DSP's that are applied, etc.) is another story.
     
  19. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that would be the case, but I can't confirm it from experience. I'm in the same boat!

    M.
     
  20. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Well, I guess I've just had my first experience where I have been less-than-impressed by the audio on a Blu-ray disc. I was expecting big things from Pixar's Wall-E...but have, instead, found that, while the audio is clear as a bell and especially well-defined, the bass is exceptionally lacking.

    As noted awhile back in this thread, I'm using the 5.1 analog outs on a Panny BD-10.

    Should I assume it's because the mix is a 6.1 DTS HD MA and the analogs are simply passing along a down-rezzed signal which doesn't come close to matching the original? Many others are talking about how this soundtrack is shaking their house. I'm not getting anything close to that experience.

    Switching the audio over to my coaxial connection (bitstreamed) doesn't seem to help any. In fact, it seems to have even less "oomph" than over the analogs.

    One other fella--who has a similar set-up to mine--reported the same findings in the review thread. Everyone else is raving about the audio track. Meanwhile, I am underwhelmed. [​IMG] Most of my other audio experiences using the analogs have been terrific.
     

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