HD audio on older equipment?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by pearlyred, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. pearlyred

    pearlyred Extra

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    Hi all,

    My first post in these forums, I'm kinda new to the HT scene, mainly due to having family commitments etc that prevent me splashing out cash on the gear. Anyhoo, I try to get something every now and again when I see something I really like and its not too expensive (which means its never cutting edge, but thats ok).

    I just recently bought a new projector, a Panasonic PT-AE900E. This is my first piece of visual gear above a standard tv and I have to say I absolutely love it!! Got a really good deal on it, good discount on the PJ with an almost free screen and a spare bulb at 25% of the normal price. Am spending a LOT of cash on dvd rentals, I just cant watch enough movies on this thing its great! The laptop looks pretty cool through it too, and the PS2 on a 100" screen is great for beer nights [​IMG]

    Anyway, to the point.. I'm currently running my audio through a Harmon Kardon AVR130 receiver. This has been superb so far for what i've used it for (had it about 2 yrs now). Unfortunately this has no HDMI abilities as its not that new now, but I'm wondering if when I purchase a HD-DVD/BD player in the future am I still going to be limited to the standard Dolby Digital/DTS or is there some way I can tap in to this uncompressed PCM audio or some other enhanced format? I'm guessing that the receiver wont be able to handle any of the new TrueHD/Super DTS kinda sounds..

    Am I stuck with the plain DD/DTS unless I buy a new receiver, or will even just the standard formats be better on these HD discs?

    Appreciate any advise from you experts..

    PR
     
  2. RobertDW

    RobertDW Stunt Coordinator

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    If your Harmon Kardon AVR130 receiver has analog inputs then the Toshiba HD DVD player with it's built in decoder will decode the new audio like DD+ and TrueHD and output them as PCM. The BD players don't have the decoders.
     
  3. pearlyred

    pearlyred Extra

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    It has composite, but not component. Is that what you meant? Seems strange that analog is the alternative to using hdmi, can you not get any of the new stuff through optical/coaxial digital?

    Is it just the current BD players that dont have the ability, or will even the new ones not have this?
     
  4. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    You're confusing video and audio. Composite and component connections are for video. What Robert was trying to tell you is that if you want to take advantage of Dolby Digital + or (later down the road) full Dolby TrueHD audio, your receiver needs to have 6 analog audio inputs that are specifically designed to accept decoded surround sound input from another source. Also as Robert mentioned, very few if any receivers/processors on the market right now are capable of decoding DD+ or TrueHD, so the HD-DVD player has to do it.

    So to boil it all down, your AVR130 has 6 analog audio INPUTS for surround sound:

    Front L/R
    Rear L/R
    Center
    Subwoofer

    The HD-A1 has 6 corresponding analog OUTPUTS for surround sound. You connect the outputs of the Toshiba to the corresponding inputs of the Harmon/Kardon, do whatever you have to do to configure the receiver to use those inputs when you're playing HD-DVD, and viola! You get DD+.
     
  5. pearlyred

    pearlyred Extra

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    Oh! Thanks for clearing that up Doug, I'd completely missed the plot there, sorry. I've never even used those analog inputs and forgot all about them. So using those connection all the receiver will do is relay the sound to the speakers and control volume? Or does it still do other funky stuff with the sound?

    It sounds like my future audio quality on this system will depend a lot on the quality of the HD players built in decoders. I'm just wondering how much difference there will be between using the standard DD/DTS through a digital lead with the receiver doing the work and using something like DD+ through an analog connection with the player doing all the work.

    I have a lot to learn obviously [​IMG]

    I can't wait until things settle down and I can feel comfortable purchasing a new HD-DVD/BR player. I dont know if theyre even available over here yet!.. My current DVD player has no hdmi lead so i am stuck with having my dvd player and receiver at the back of the room close to the projector (running component leads). Will be nice to be able to throw a long hdmi cable into the mix and move my equipment off the top of the bookshelf, hehe.

    PR
     
  6. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    By using the same analog inputs that you would use for multi-channel SACD or DVD-A. You will get what the decoder in the HD-A1 gives you without any tweeking or manipulation by your reciever. You still should hear a difference between the old formats and the newer formats. All your reciever will do is act like a volume control as all the decoding will be done in the HD-DVD player.

    If your projector has an HDMI conection I would recomend buying the HD-A1 and not only will you have an HD player. But you will be able to enjoy upconverted SD-DVD's that will look better on you 100" projection screen. It will be well worth the $500 investment!

    I do not have a front projection system yet. And I only just purchased a 50" rear projection HDTV last Oct. But I will be buying a HD-DVD player and hopefully it will be in the store this friday. I am going to wait and see what happens with Blu-ray and then make my decision then.
     
  7. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Does anyone know what channel selection the Analog Outputs usually are output from on the receiver? As in: Video 1, Video 2, CD, DVD, Tape 1, etc.
     
  8. Dave>h

    Dave>h Second Unit

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    HI,

    Mine works through tape 2/Ext in. That is, I hit the tape 2 button twice (first turns the amp to tape 2, second turns the external decoder in on). I assume the HK will work more or less the same way.

    You want it so that the external decoder setting is on.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  9. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Mine has a separate front-panel button for "6CH DIRECT". Oddly, the remote can't even select this input!
     

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