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Basic DVD Audio Question


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#1 of 27 OFFLINE   GregBe

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Posted January 27 2004 - 11:30 AM

It is my understanding that there are some serious bass management issues with DVD Audio. I have my sub hooked up to my main channels along with satellite speakers through the speaker level inputs, so in essence I have full range main speakers down to 24Hz. I have a small center channel and small surrounds that aren't capable of anything less than 80 Hz (and probably not more that 100 Hz at a good db level). My JVC DVD changer is DVD-Audio capable, and I already have 6 good Monster cables that I am not using. Are DVD-Audio mixed in multichannel to support this type of system, or is there sub 80Hz bass outside of the main channels?
If not, can you listen to DVD-Audio in stereo mode, and if so is 2 channel stereo mode not as good as multichannel, or is that preferable to some?
Thanks
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#2 of 27 OFFLINE   Phil A

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Posted January 27 2004 - 11:52 AM

You may want to post this in the Audio/Video sources area oe ask for it to be moved there. Your DVD-A player will have setting for the speakers hook to it. Since your set-up (if I correctly understand) has the sub set-up from the amp speaker terminals then for purposes of the player you have no sub. There may be bass management in your player which could work well small speakers. I would recommned you connect the sub via the (RCA) sub output of the receiver vs. speaker terminals assuming your player has bass management and the receiver allows for it. DVD-As can have both a stereo or multi-channel mix or just one of those. It is software depending and a matter of taste as to what someone might like.

#3 of 27 OFFLINE   neil wilkes

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Posted January 29 2004 - 05:49 AM

Bass management is generally not used in DVD-Audio, but only in DVD-Video.
How your system responds can be down to the setup in the player itself.
On the Pioneer DV565, you set up for the speakers you have, with separate options for L/R, Centre & Surrounds.
The systems with satellites & sub are usually optimixed for DVD-Video.
Also, on the DV565, you should use the analogue outputs for DVD-Audio, as you cannot get 5/6 channels of 24/96 down a digital line.
One other thing to think about is the way the player handles the higher sample rates/Bit depths too.
Most digital connections will not pass multichannel at 24 bit, and truncate down to 16 because of the copy protection. DVDA ignores this by using the analogue outs.

On a universal player, it is best to set the DVDA to use analogue outs - with the Pioneer you do not get a choice - and the DVDV to use the digital outs. And make sure that downsampling is not activated too.
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#4 of 27 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted January 29 2004 - 06:51 AM

Quote:
Bass management is generally not used in DVD-Audio, but only in DVD-Video.


Neil, can you clarify what you mean by this? Unless one has full range speakers at all position AND a sub, there best be some BM in the signal path somewhere.

As for GregBe's situation, I see a big problem in that most uni or DVD-A players will NOT redirect the .1 channel to the main speakers if the player is set for No Sub. As such, anything present on the .1 channel will not be redirected, and thus lost.

Greg, if you have not already done so, take a look at this FAQ http://www.hometheat....22#post1800722 that I and a few other members put together. It may help with your situation.

BTW, most DVD-A's do have a stereo track, so you can play that out the normal L/R stereo outputs of your player. As such, you will rely on BM in the receiver, if needed.

BGL

#5 of 27 OFFLINE   GregBe

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Posted January 29 2004 - 08:08 AM

Brian,

Great post in the FAQ section. It looks as though my player does not have proper bass management and the sub cannot be direct to the mains.
2 questions
1)If I were to choose the 2 channel mix, would I still have the same problem with the LFE, or is that taken care of on a software level.
2)Maybe I will post a different thread for this one, but I will ask it here as well. I noticed that most DVD-A discs have a 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS track on them. I am sure that this is nowhere near the quality of Hi-Rez, but is care taken on these mixes. The reason I ask, is that this may be a short term fix for multichannel music until I upgrade some hardware.
Thanks
Greg

#6 of 27 OFFLINE   neil wilkes

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Posted January 29 2004 - 08:26 AM

GregBE...
Dolby Digital and DTS are nothing to do with DVD-Audio. Period.
They are audio formats for DVD-Video, and DTS is an optional format, not compulsory. Not all players support it, and the DVD spec does not require them to.

DVD-Audio is either uncompressed PCM files, from 16/44.1 right up to 24/192 in stereo, and from 16/44.1 to 24/96 in Surround.
For the higher samplerates in multichannel, 24/88.2 or 24/96, MLP coding is mandatory or you exceed the permitted bitrate. This is a lossless compression, and merely repacks the data more efficiently, as opposed to the lossy perceptual coding of Dolby Digital or DTS.

Sorry to rant, but I really do get upset when DVD-Video is mistaken for DVD-Audio. The two are completely different animals.

EDIT - Sorry brian, I didn't see your post at first.
DVD-Audio outputs from the analogue outputs of your player. It does not use perceptual coding - Dolby Digital or DTS - and as such does not use bass management.
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#7 of 27 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted January 29 2004 - 08:42 AM

Quote:
1)If I were to choose the 2 channel mix, would I still have the same problem with the LFE, or is that taken care of on a software level.


Nope, you would be fine, as long as your player does not do any BM on the 2 CH track (most do not).

To be sure, set all speakers to large.The DD and DTS mixes on DVD-A can sound quite good. And using them will mean you are connected digitally to your receiver, thus its BM is in play. I would bet that your receivers BM will know what to do when you select No Sub, and thus your mains will get full range signals.

BGL

#8 of 27 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted January 29 2004 - 08:59 AM

As I understand it, most DVD-A players still do not have a bass management function. Perhaps this is changing, but that's not necessarily a good thing.

SACD players have had bass management capabilities just about from the start. But the implementation sucks. Using it degrades sound quality.

The only good solution I've found is the Outlaw ICBM-1, an analog bass manager that can be purchased for $200-250, and which will bass manage your DVD-A or SACD sources without diminishing sound quality and with greater flexibility than most people currently have for DVD-V functions.

(A forum member, John Kotches, did an excellent review of the ICBM-1. Do an internet search.)
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#9 of 27 OFFLINE   GregBe

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Posted January 29 2004 - 09:02 AM

Thanks Brian.
My receiver does handle BM correctly, so I should be able to listen to DTS and DD in multi-channel and DVD-Audio in two channel through analog inputs if the disc has a two channel option.

Neil,
I didn't mean to upset you. I do undertand the difference between DTS, Dolby Digital and DVD-Audio.
My question was, were the DTS and DD options on many DVD-Audio Discs of good quality. If so, I would then have a choice of multichannel recordings (of course at a lesser quality than DVD-Audio) or the 2 channel option in DVD-Audio. That way I could start purchasing discs now and have more choices down the road once I upgrade hardware.
Greg

#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted January 29 2004 - 09:06 AM

Quote:
As I understand it, most DVD-A players still do not have a bass management function. Perhaps this is changing, but that's not necessarily a good thing.


I think thats outdated info, Rich. Most (but not all, of course) test reports I have read recently do show that hi-rex and uni players have BM, its just FUBAR, usually!

Neil, are we talking about BM in the mixing of the music, vs. decoding? I assure that most players I am familiar with DO have BM capability, but as I said, its usually sub-par.

BGL

#11 of 27 OFFLINE   neil wilkes

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Posted January 29 2004 - 10:52 PM

Greg - The quality of any DD/DTS mixes that nay be part of a universal DVD-A are as good as the engineer that mixed them!
The reason it bothers me to hear DTS/DD referred to as DVD-A is purely an issue of awareness. I author DVD for a living, and my biggest problem with DVD-A is that so many people think it means any DVD with music on it, and so many customers are under the impression that DVD-Audio means Dolby Digital, and high quality DVDA is DTS! I have wasted so much time explaining the difference, and trying to get people to understand that any DD/DTS section of the disc is for compatibility purposes only, and is in fact part of the Video_TS as opposed to the Audio_TS. But I'm ranting now, for which I apologise and will desist.

As for Bass management, it's implementation does vary wildly, but it simply does not apply in DVD-Audio at all. Any LFE track on my DVD-A discs is handled directly in the system, as you do not use the digital outputs in DVD-A, but instead the analogue outs from the player, and the track/channel assignment is exactly 1/1. Even downmixes are handled internally using a coefficient matrix that is part of the encoding/multiplexing process. The player simply does what it is told to by the bitstream.
Everything is totally different in DD/DTS land though. This is when Bass Management actually matters, as the system is trying to cope with wildly variable content - Movie soundtracks, music soundtracks, dialogue, the whole 9 yards worth.
And yes - most of the BM implementation is 2hd rate at best.
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#12 of 27 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted January 30 2004 - 03:52 AM

Quote:
As for Bass management, it's implementation does vary wildly, but it simply does not apply in DVD-Audio at all. Any LFE track on my DVD-A discs is handled directly in the system, as you do not use the digital outputs in DVD-A, but instead the analogue outs from the player, and the track/channel assignment is exactly 1/1.


Neil, I do not want to come across as contentious, but your comments require some clarification.

What you are saying about BM is fine from an authoring standpoint, but these comments are extremely confusing to someone that is trying to play back a DVD-A.

Bass management, from a play back standpoint, DOES ABSOLUTELY apply to DVD-A, SACD, and any other format that can be played back on a system that does NOT have full range speakers.

I think it is safe to say that your knowledge of authoring DVD-A exceeds most of us here, but are you saying that when you author a DVD-A, you send full range signals to all main channels, plus send low frequency content to the .1 channel?

If so, how would you expect someone to play this back satisfactorily without full range speakers at all positions?How would I handle playback of a title by Chesky that is mixed 4.0, if I have a 5.1 system with main channels that are only good down to 80 Hz?

Without BM, I am going to be missing a portion of the music, would you not agree?

I am not sure if part of the confusion here is that we are perhaps not defining the term Bass Management in the same way.

I would define it as a method used during playback, to redirect low frequency content from channels that can not handle it, to channels that can (normally a sub, but other combinations can also apply, such as large mains with small surrounds and/or center).

Is that not what you would consider bass management?

Taken out of context, your statement that BM does not apply to DVD-A is contrary to what most folks with sub/sat system would say is true.

BGL

#13 of 27 OFFLINE   GregBe

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Posted January 30 2004 - 04:03 AM

Thanks Neil,

It is a shame that the bass management of DVD-Audio is not as good as it should be. I am a perfect example. By no means am I a high end audiophile, but I have spent $2000 on my speaker system that I am very happy with. My initial purchase was for DVD viewing, but that spilled over into DVD Concert Video's like Diana Krall, The Eagles and James Taylor. Since my DVD player also supports DVD-Audio, I really became interested in buying some discs to get an even better sound.
Although my system is small time compared to some, I am sure that as time goes on, systems that need to utilize bass management will continue to get better and better. It is a shame that someone like myself that is more educated on audio than 90% of the public (I am certainly more ignorant than most on this forum though) is getting frustrated and ready to walk away from this. I think this does not bode well for the Hi-Rez format.
I am sure that DVD-Audio and SACD are not trying to cater to the general public, but it seems that some of these barriers to entry are an easy fix, and some simple changes would open themselves up to far more customers which would mean more software titles for everyone.
Just one persons opinion.
Greg

#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted January 30 2004 - 04:18 AM

Your points are all well taken Greg. As I have said before, if this stuff is hard to get right for a serious HT enthusiast, then the average person is hosed.

But the good news is, once you do get it right, either with a player that gets BM right, a receiver or pre/pro that applies BM properly via a digital connection or to the analog external inputs, an ICBM, or 5 or more honkin' full range speakers plus a honkin' sub, you will start re-discovering and enjoying music in way that you never thought possible.

Well, I did anyway!

Keep the faith. At the end its well worth what ever you need to do to get teh system set-up correctly.

BGL

#15 of 27 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted January 30 2004 - 04:53 AM

The bass management thing is troublesome, but the Outlaw ICBM-1 seems to work for everybody. I haven't read a single negative report. It works as advertised, and without diminishing sound quality.

The problem most folks are stuck with is time alignment. It's possible that Meridian, Lexicon, and those top-o-the-line models with proprietary digital connections between player/receiver have worked this out without problems or degradation of sound quality. But, for most of us, it's time-alignment the old fashioned way: physical placement of speakers.

For me, that's fine because my room allows me to setup my speakers equidistantly from my listening position. And I've found that I'm unable to hear time alignment problems even with a variance of as much as 10%. That is, if I'm 10 feet from my main and center speakers, I can't hear any time alignment problems even if my surround speakers are 9 feet away or 11 feet away. Closer or further, however, and I do pick up a difference. If you have a "super nearfield" setup, say a listening position only 5 ft or so from your mains/center, an acceptable variance might be less than 10%.

(FWIW, I used the rhythmically precise, "aggressive" surround mix on Herbie Hancock's "Headhunter" to test this. These tracks require absolute rhythmic precision, or they sound terribly out-of-whack.)
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#16 of 27 OFFLINE   Phil A

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Posted January 30 2004 - 05:51 AM

Rich, I agree that small differences in distance are not going to be a big deal. I define all my speakers are full range for music as I have 4 subs in the system for bass managment. The main speakers are full range but crossed over at 22HZ on 2 Rel Storm III subs. I have a sub for the center and one for the rears that fills in just the very low bass that those speakers don't produce. For movies on the main system, I use BM for the center and surrounds at around 35HZ. The mains system pre/pro is just a straight pass thru on the 5.1 channel input. There are players that do have BM that may be acceptable to many. I actually have BM on the 5.1 channel input in the bedroom system receiver, although it does not see lots of use with my main system being listened to most of the time. What people in the industry need to understand that the vast majority of people are going to have primarily a home theater system that doubles as a music system. Product manuals in many cases need to be done better and the people mixing the music need to understand what the majority of people will be listening on. Most of the time when I use the bedroom system for multi-channel music is when someone asks a question and before I give a stupid absolute answer based on my main system alone, I'll make sure by giving it a whirl in the other system.

#17 of 27 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted January 30 2004 - 12:58 PM

Ignoring for a minute all the hand-wringing that goes on about potential phase problems with five speakers and a subwoofer:

Has anybody here on a whim taken some good-sized bookshelf speakers (something with a 6", 8" or larger woofer), a subwoofer and played their surround discs with no bass management of any kind? How did it sound? Was it horrible, just acceptable.........or actually sound pretty decent?

And from what I've read, it seems most surround mixers are not placing the same bass effects in the subwoofer channel and in the main channels, so phase problems shouldn't be anything to worry about.

I know this a nearly-heretical concept to HT purists but all this talk about lack of good b.m. for surround music has me wondering if we HAVE to have it for a quality listening experience. Maybe perfectly implemented b.m. will result in better sound but the big question is, how much better? Thousands of people everywhere don't have their stereo speakers placed exactly as the manual says to, but the sound is still perfectly acceptable and their owners still enjoy listening to it.

The only true problem I can see by not using b.m. is with owners of systems that use very small satellites, something with 4" or 5" woofers, that are also used in large rooms. A woofer getting fried is a distinct possibility in this situation.

I am getting worried people are going around discouraging others from adopting surround music based on what seems to me mostly theory and/or one bad experience with a really improperly arranged surround system.

LJ

#18 of 27 OFFLINE   Nathan Stohler

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Posted December 21 2004 - 05:40 AM

I decided to dig up this old thread because several of the ideas in it apply to a problem I'm having.

I've had the Pioneer DV-563A since March. Here is where I am in regards to listening to high-res music. Keep in mind that my sub is capable of 29 - 150 Hz, mains down to 45 Hz, center and surrounds (bookshelf speakers) down to 60 Hz.

SACD -- set all speakers to small, sub on. From what I understand, the 563A has a crossover of 120 Hz for SACD, so I would suffer from some localization here, but that's not a priority for me.

DVD-A -- I think I have 3 options:
1) Set all speakers to large, sub on. This would essentially bypass bass management, but some low material could be lost if it's sent to my mains, center or surrounds. My question: is there a lot of low bass (below 50 Hz or so) sent to the mains? The center? The surrounds? Shouldn't low bass be sent directly to the sub? I suppose this depends on the mix.
2) Set all speakers to small, sub on. I don't think I want to do this, or else I'll have a big hole in the frequency response between 150-200 Hz (my sub can't hit this high and my other speakers have a high-pass filter at 200 Hz, thanks to the 563A).
3) Listen to the dts/Dolby 5.1 track and let my receiver do bass management. Obviously, the downside here is that I lose the high resolution. The good part is I have much better bass management and I don't have to worry about "missing" anything.

I realize that something like the ICBM would solve this problem, but I'm holding off on that for the time being. My inclination is to go with option #1. I'm just wondering how much low material gets sent to the main, center and surround speakers. Maybe that's not an easy question to answer though, if there is a wild variation in DVD-A mixes.

Thanks in advance for any help.
--Nathan

#19 of 27 OFFLINE   Phil A

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Posted December 21 2004 - 06:11 AM

In the bedroom system, I use 3 Thiel SCS2s on the front channels which are large bookshelf speakers (about 7 inches wide and 19 inches high and about 31 lbs.) and I use the bass management in the receiver (with a Pioneer Elite DV-47A). For the basement system, I have a Sony 2000ES CD/SACD changer in the multi-channel input of the receiver (Marantz 7300 OSE). The 2000ES sounds best in the multi-channel direct mode and the rec'r fortunately has level controls. The left and right are small floorstanders (B&W P6s) with a B&W CDM center that probably goes down to around 50HZ (give or take a little) area and really small (PSB) satellites hooked to a passive sub for the rears. I still prefer 85% of the mixes in 2-channel but none of the set-ups has caused a dislike of multi-channel for those mixes I do like. When I listen to 2-channel SACD (or DVD-A) in the bedroom system (or the basement system), it goes analog direct as I find with just 2 speakers playing the bass management short-comings are more easily noticed.

#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Tim Hoover

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Posted December 21 2004 - 07:02 AM

Exactly where is it written that the 563 used a 200Hz crossover for DVD-A? I've seen this multiple times, yet I can find absolutely ZERO evidence to back this up. In fact, there was a thread on here a few months back where one member emailed Pioneer and was told that DVD-A used the same 120Hz crossover point as SACD on the 563. I'll do a search later tonight when I have some time...
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