Why can't I select "All Channels" with a TOSLink connected to my DVD?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by AnandS, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. AnandS

    AnandS Agent

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    I have a 5 Disc Panasonic DVD player that I have connected to my Onkyo 6.1 HTIB - Model # HTS760 (Don't laugh..I do not have a lot of money).

    It is connected to the receiver through a TOSLink cable. However, it was connected using RCA cables for a test run. When under RCA, I was able to select "All Channels" and have sound come out of all the 6 speakers.

    With TOSLink, I do not have that option it says. Only option is Stereo or one of the DD/DTS/ProLogic. Which is great, but, I watch some movies that don't have DD/DTS/ProLogic. For these, I would like to hear on all channels.

    is this possible? Can I have RCA and TosLink connected at the same time..and perhaps just choose, DVD1 or DVD2 or something?

    Thanx for any help.
     
  2. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Laugh? Why would we laugh? The Onkyo HTiB setups are often recommended on this forum, although Yamaha also has its devotees.

    I have an Onkyo 502, which may be somewhat similar. It is true that whenver a Dolby Digital bitstream is received, the "All Channel Stereo" mode is "Not Available", and the choices are generally limited to DPL IIx Music and DD EX.

    I'm not sure why you would want to use All Channel Stereo, but if you configure your player to output PCM rather than an AC3/DTS/Mpeg2 "bitstream", all of the DSP modes will be made available. Of course, you will need to re-enable the bitstream mode should you wish to hear a 5.1 soundtrack in all its glory.
     
  3. AnandS

    AnandS Agent

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    THanx for the quick reply.

    The reason why I want All Stereo available for DVDs is cause,

    1. The DVDs we watch do not have very good DD sound. I think they do not know how to make movies with True DD. Foreign Films.

    2. Sometimes my Granddad sits for movies and he can't hear well. So, with all speakers going, he can have a better time listening.

    I like your tip. Luckily, my DVD player has 2 options to set individually. I set the Dolby one to PCM. I left the DTS to Bitstream.

    Does PCM make thaaat much of a difference??

    Thanx again
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    Well PCM stinks.. NO DD 5.1!!! But in your case it shoudl give your PLIIx and All channel stereo and DTS Neo:6.
     
  5. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    PCM stands for pulse code modulation. It's essentially akin to what a CD would put out: uncompressed stereo (two channel) audio.

    Dolby digital and dts are more akin to mp3s- the audio data is compressed. This compression allows for individual audio tracks for the subwoofer, right and left surround speakers, and center speakers. Of course, in the case of mono soundtracks, the extra audio tracks are superfluous. Perhaps the extra space can be devoted to video data.

    DVD players often contain a decoder with a "mix down" subroutine. With "mix down", the 5.1 audio is reduced to a stereo soundtrack-- the center channel and surround information is added to the left and right channels, in such a way that when decoded by a Dolby ProLogic decoder, the resulting effect somewhat approximates the original mix. When played on an ordinary stereo, the audio sounds somewhat natural, as well, albeit without the surround effects.

    If you set your dvd player to "PCM" such a mixdown will be sent down the TOSLink cable, and every sort of audio effect can then be applied, including effects (All-Channel Stereo) that completely ignore the original intentions of the sound editor.

    If you set your DVD player to "bitsteam" the original, compressed audio is sent down the TOSlink, the Onkyo decompresses it into multiple channels of audio, sent to the proper speakers. Perhaps in an attempt to save hapless users from themselves, or in a bid to conserve limited computational power, the DSP effects are disabled.
     
  6. Jorge M

    Jorge M Stunt Coordinator

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    Forgive my assumption, but it seems to me that you haven't calibrated your system. Otherwise even for a shitty DVD turning the volume up would help more than using the "all channel" mode on a stereo signal.

    If that is the case, start with the primer or do a search for calibration. A SPL meter is recommended.

    Don't get me wrong -- the "all channel" mode has its uses -- I personally turn it on for background music when we throw a party. But I would never use it and PCM if there were a DD 5.1 mix available on a disc, and I don't think it would ever sound better.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    There are plenty of other DSPs that should work fine without having to set the player to PCM with a mono or stereo track.

    DSPs are generally disabled for discrete audio because it doesn't really make sense to apply somethign like 6ch stereo to a multichannel discrete track.
     
  8. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    If my 502 is anything like his 760, the tweaks are few and far between.
    You can choose to enable CinemaFilter.
    You can choose whether the Dolby Surround Mode is Movie, Music, or Game. The Music mode allows one to change the "Center Width", "Dimension", or set the "Panorama" on. The "game" mode sounds uniquely terrible to my ears, but then, I don't play video games on it.
    You can switch to Stereo Mode. (often recommended for mono films).

    For dts 5.1 and dolby digital 5.1 films, you can choose to always use the back speaker, and switch between various methods of extracting the rear channel signal (EX, Neo6, or DPLII Music Mode).


    And that's about it. I have calibrated my system, which does improve the imaging. I'm more or less satisfied with the results. But then, I rarely have an opportunity to share a film with the hard of hearing.
     
  9. AnandS

    AnandS Agent

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    Thanx for all the answers here.

    I tested out the Foreign films with PCM and put it on NeoCinema and All Channels. It sounds much much better.

    I will just have to switch to Bitstream on DD5.1 when I watch English movies.

    I need to calibrate my system as you indicated. I did get the Video Essentials DVD, but honestly, that wasn't very helpful I thought.

    Is Avia better? Or is the Digital VE better? I have a Panasonic RPTV.

    Thanx
     
  10. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Have you at least gotten out the tape measurer, and adjusted the speaker distances? Then, you can adjust the level calibration-- a SPL meter is helpful here, as one can simply dial the level until the needle on the meter is at 75 db.
     
  11. Jorge M

    Jorge M Stunt Coordinator

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    Like Jeremy says, the first and very important step is to setup the speaker distances accurately with a tape measure. Then, with the help of a test tone, adjust the the speaker levels so that they all match, preferably using a sound pressure level meter. You don't even really need a calibration disc, the test tones that your receiver generates should be fine. Since you have VE though, go ahead and use that for test tones. These two steps should help imaging and clarity for DD 5.1 movies.

    For discs without a 5.1 soundtrack, go ahead and do whatever sounds best to you. You might want to consider connecting the stereo cables to a different input than the digital connection is assigned to, say "video 3". That way when you want to use the "all channel" mode you can just switch your receiver to the different input instead of having to go through the DVD player's settings. Your Onkyo will probably even remember that you set "video 3" to "all channel" last time, so you only have to press one button (i.e. v3 under "Input") to switch sound modes.
     
  12. AnandS

    AnandS Agent

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    That's a good idea Jorge. I will attach a couple of RCA cables.

    As far distance is considered, what is a fair distance? is there a guide? I did a search on here and can't find anything about it. I must be pretty bad at searches or something.

    Thanx again.
     
  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    That's what the tape measurer is for. Adjust it as close to the actual distance as possible.
     
  14. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Pick a spot to be the main listening position-- a nice comfy spot near the centre of your theater. I picked the middle spot of my sofa... Now use a tape measurer to find out how far out each speaker is from that spot.

    For instance: my measurements are as follows:
    Front: 8 ft.
    Centre: 8 ft
    Surround Rt: 5 ft:
    Surround left: 5 ft
    Surround back: 4ft.

    Then place a SPL meter at that spot, about where the ears of a listener would be. A camera tripod helps here....

    From the Outlaw 1050 manual (sorry, onkyo's manuals are huge, and inconvenient to download)

     

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