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Help Needed.LOTR Blu Ray Only playing in Stereo


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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   ShadowArtiste

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Posted July 09 2011 - 12:05 AM

Hey guys, I just joined the forum and I need help. I recently received a splendid new version of the Lord of the Rings Motion picture Trilogy on Blu Ray. The Extended editions of course. I switched on my 5.1, I loaded up Fellowship of the Ring and to my dismay the movie only plays through the front 3 speakers and sub. Strangely though the menus and introductions seem to be presenting in 5.1 but when it comes to the actual film, the rear speakers go silent. I tried some trouble shooting. The other discs in the LOTR boxed set have the same issue. I tried some other blu rays, Rango and Batman Dark Knight and they play in 5.1 just fine. I played around with the audio settings in my dvd player menu and managed to get sound coming out of the rear speakers but it wasn't the actual rear audio, it seemed like it was a mirror of the front audio and it was panning a lot. My system is a Sony Blu Ray player which connects via optical cable to my 5.1 audio/DVD player. Any help would be appreciated. And please be gentle when it comes to technical terms cause I'm not really an expert in this stuff. Cheers - Scott

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Ed Moxley

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Posted July 10 2011 - 03:02 PM

Are you letting it default to the soundtrack, or did you try manually choosing which soundtrack you want to hear? If you didn't try that, do try it. I've had a BD movie or two default to a wrong soundtrack, but manually choosing the right one made it play. Go in the movie's menus and choose the dts 5.1/6.1 soundtrack. If it still won't play right, you may have gotten some bad discs. If you know someone with it, try theirs. If nothing else, rent one from Blockbuster or somewhere. If it plays fine, you'll know your discs are bad, and you can return for an exchange. Good luck!
Samsung HL61A750 (LED DLP)            Onkyo TX-SR805
Oppo BDP-83 Blu ray                                  Polk Audio LSi9
Polk Audio LSiC                                  Sony SS-MB100H
SVS PC12-NSD (Sub)                       ...

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted July 11 2011 - 01:53 AM

What is the model number of the DVD/Audio system you have?  The LoTR Blu-Rays are encoded with DTS-Master audio tracks.  When you use the digital optical cable from your Blu-Ray player, it will output the core, lossy DTS audio stream (you can only get lossless audio via HDMI or discrete analog outputs).


This will only play back in 5.1 if your audio system supports DTS audio (in addition to Dolby Digital).  Look on the front panel - is there a "DTS" logo along with a "DD" logo?


If your audio system can't decode DTS audio, then you will probably have to set your Blu-Ray player to output stereo audio, then let your audio system use ProLogic decoding to provide a pseudo-surround field.




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#4 of 11 OFFLINE   ShadowArtiste

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Posted July 11 2011 - 07:58 PM

Are you letting it default to the soundtrack, or did you try manually choosing which soundtrack you want to hear? If you didn't try that, do try it. I've had a BD movie or two default to a wrong soundtrack, but manually choosing the right one made it play. Go in the movie's menus and choose the dts 5.1/6.1 soundtrack. If it still won't play right, you may have gotten some bad discs. If you know someone with it, try theirs. If nothing else, rent one from Blockbuster or somewhere. If it plays fine, you'll know your discs are bad, and you can return for an exchange. Good luck!

Surprisingly there is no option in the disc menus. You can change the audio while the disc is playing but there is only 6.1 Master Audio followed by other language dubs and commentaries.

What is the model number of the DVD/Audio system you have?  The LoTR Blu-Rays are encoded with DTS-Master audio tracks.  When you use the digital optical cable from your Blu-Ray player, it will output the core, lossy DTS audio stream (you can only get lossless audio via HDMI or discrete analog outputs).


This will only play back in 5.1 if your audio system supports DTS audio (in addition to Dolby Digital).  Look on the front panel - is there a "DTS" logo along with a "DD" logo?


If your audio system can't decode DTS audio, then you will probably have to set your Blu-Ray player to output stereo audio, then let your audio system use ProLogic decoding to provide a pseudo-surround field.



The Blu Ray player is a Sony bdp s370, I can see the DTS HD Master Audio logo on the front. The surround sound system is a really cheap Samsung DVD/surround sound system, model number ht-z221 on which I can see no visible logos for things such as Dolby or DTS. It has HDMI and optical outputs available. I think I understand about 80% of your response. Are you saying that HDMI is a higher quality choice than optical for outputting my Blu Ray players audio to the surround sound? I was under the impression that optical was better but my knowledge is limited. I'll go swap the optical for HDMI right now and give it a shot. edit: scratch that last bit, the surround sound only has optical inputs and red/white stereo AV inputs, the HDMI is only an output.

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted July 12 2011 - 01:03 AM


Originally Posted by ShadowArtiste 

I think I understand about 80% of your response. Are you saying that HDMI is a higher quality choice than optical for outputting my Blu Ray players audio to the surround sound?


That's part of the issue, yes.  With the advent of Blu-Ray, higher quality audio formats were introduced.  These "lossless" audio formats are superior to the "lossy" formats found on DVD (this refers to the fact that the audio streams are compressed for storage on disc.  "Lossy" compression formats lose a little in the translation, so to speak, whereas "Lossless" formats uncompress to be bit-for-bit identical to the original source).


The lossless formats (DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD) can ONLY be carried from Blu-Ray player to receiver via HDMI cables (or via discrete analog outputs, which are not found on many Blu-Ray players).  Digital optical and coaxial cables are not capable of carrying these lossless formats.


All Blu-Ray players "support" both DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD - it's part of the "spec" of Blu-Ray.  However, the Blu-Ray spec also stipulates that the discs be "backwards compatible" with older systems and should also offer a lossy audio format as a "fallback" option.  These fallback audio tracks are what are carried by the optical and coaxial outputs of your player.


The problem, as I think it is for you, is that when a Blu-Ray disc is authored with ONLY a DTS-MA audio track, the "fallback" lossy audio format is regular DTS.  If your surround sound system is not equipped to decode even a lossy DTS audio track, you won't get any surround sound.


The worst part about this is that it will only happen with DTS-MA encoded Blu-Rays.  Blu-Rays that have a Dolby TrueHD audio encode, have as their "fallback" option, a standard Dolby Digital audio track, that your system can probably handle just fine.


Looking at the manual for your Blu-Ray player, under Audio Settings, you can specify what to do with each type of audio format for output over digital optical/coaxial cable (you mentioned you were using an optical cable already).


Change the setting for DTS (Coaxial/Optical) from "DTS" to "Downmix PCM".  This should (for DTS discs only) have the player do the decoding and send the already decoded audio stream to the surround system.


Sorry if that got a little long-winded.  My coffee is kicking in!


Hope this works for you.  Let us know if you get any results.


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#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted July 12 2011 - 02:10 PM

From that, I gather there's no HDMI input for you to plug your BD player into on the HTiB. If that's the case, the best you're going to get is lossy DTS which is nothing to sneeze at.


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#7 of 11 OFFLINE   ShadowArtiste

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Posted July 12 2011 - 09:35 PM

 


That's part of the issue, yes.  With the advent of Blu-Ray, higher quality audio formats were introduced.  These "lossless" audio formats are superior to the "lossy" formats found on DVD (this refers to the fact that the audio streams are compressed for storage on disc.  "Lossy" compression formats lose a little in the translation, so to speak, whereas "Lossless" formats uncompress to be bit-for-bit identical to the original source).

 

The lossless formats (DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD) can ONLY be carried from Blu-Ray player to receiver via HDMI cables (or via discrete analog outputs, which are not found on many Blu-Ray players).  Digital optical and coaxial cables are not capable of carrying these lossless formats.

 

All Blu-Ray players "support" both DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD - it's part of the "spec" of Blu-Ray.  However, the Blu-Ray spec also stipulates that the discs be "backwards compatible" with older systems and should also offer a lossy audio format as a "fallback" option.  These fallback audio tracks are what are carried by the optical and coaxial outputs of your player.

 

The problem, as I think it is for you, is that when a Blu-Ray disc is authored with ONLY a DTS-MA audio track, the "fallback" lossy audio format is regular DTS.  If your surround sound system is not equipped to decode even a lossy DTS audio track, you won't get any surround sound.

 

The worst part about this is that it will only happen with DTS-MA encoded Blu-Rays.  Blu-Rays that have a Dolby TrueHD audio encode, have as their "fallback" option, a standard Dolby Digital audio track, that your system can probably handle just fine.

 

Looking at the manual for your Blu-Ray player, under Audio Settings, you can specify what to do with each type of audio format for output over digital optical/coaxial cable (you mentioned you were using an optical cable already).

 

Change the setting for DTS (Coaxial/Optical) from "DTS" to "Downmix PCM".  This should (for DTS discs only) have the player do the decoding and send the already decoded audio stream to the surround system.

 

Sorry if that got a little long-winded.  My coffee is kicking in!

 

Hope this works for you.  Let us know if you get any results.

Thank you very much for an informative and educational response. I really feel like I know more about audio from your advice. I tried what you said, set the optical/digital parameter to Downmix PCM but unfortunately I didn't work. Any other suggestions? Is it possibly a problem with the disc? Perhaps I need a proper surround sound system, something that is up to scratch.

#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted July 13 2011 - 01:22 AM

Hmm, this is pretty odd.


As Casey pointed out, your system is capable of decoding DTS signals (at least it's supported for discs you play in the internal DVD player).


It would be very odd if DTS decoding was unavailable for external components that use the digital optical input.


On the surround sound system, you are selecting the "D-In." input on the surround sound system to hear the audio from your Blu-Ray player, right?  You don't have any additional connections between the BR and the surround system (just the optical)?


On the Blu-Ray player side, make sure the "BD Audio MIX Setting" is set to "Off".  And you can go back and set both "Dolby Digital (Coaxial/Optical)" and "DTS (Coaxial/Optical)" back to "Dolby Digital" and "DTS" respectively.


The remaining audio options on the Blu-Ray player should not matter.


On the surround sound system, make sure any DSP modes are disabled.  Press the "DSP/EQ" button until "Pass" is shown on the display.


You can also try turning "HDMI Audio" to "Off" on the surround sound system - keeping this On may limit your audio options elsewhere.


If all else fails, you should be able to put your surround sound system into "Stereo" mode, then press the "PL II Mode" button until "Matrix" is shown.  Though I'm not certain that these options are available for the optical input.


After that, I'm afraid I'm all out of ideas.  Hope some of this helps - the surround sound audio on LoTR is pretty outstanding.


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#9 of 11 OFFLINE   ShadowArtiste

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Posted July 13 2011 - 07:51 PM

On the Blu-Ray player side, make sure the "BD Audio MIX Setting" is set to "Off". 

Oh my God I love you like a Hobbit loves cake!!! Thank you. This single option on my Blu Ray player fixed everything. I went to a part in the movie that has individual noises panning between both rear speakers and it's proper surround sound. I was almost ready to go buy a new surround sound system so you saved me a few bucks. Obviously one day I'm gonna upgrade to something flashy but I didn't want to splurge right now. Thanks again for being so helpful and informative. Today is the first day of my weekend so after the kids go to bed I'm going to turn the lights off and crank up the sound and go back to middle Earth. :D:D:D:D:D:D

#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted July 14 2011 - 12:39 AM

Sweet - glad it solved the problem.


If the time comes that you feel like you want to upgrade your system, be sure to come back here and ask for input.  This is the best place to get the scoop on all the latest options out there.


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#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted July 14 2011 - 08:22 AM



Originally Posted by ShadowArtiste 


Oh my God I love you like a Hobbit loves cake!!!


Posted Image

I really love threads like these!

To Jason and all the other members who helped out Scott:  Thank you!


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