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Topic:
DTS-HD Audio
This thread has 36 replies. Displaying posts 16 through 30.
OP | Post 16 made on Monday January 5, 2009 at 18:51
Herman Trivilino
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On January 5, 2009 at 02:09, Daniel Tonks said...
Regarding your STR-DE635, it's quite an oversight that
it won't let you adjust the level of the front versus
the back (but will still let you do SOME stuff such as
left versus right). I can't imagine any situation where
this would be expected to sound right.

Well, just to be clear, the front vs back level can be adjusted on the STR-DE635, but not for the 5.1CH analog inputs!
Origin: Big Bang
OP | Post 17 made on Thursday January 8, 2009 at 00:32
Herman Trivilino
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On January 5, 2009 at 02:09, Daniel Tonks said...
Just for future receiver shopping purposes, now that your
BD player will do all decoding internally, any receiver
than can accept 5.1/7.1 LPCM over HDMI will do

I just learned that there are two types of DTS-HD audio:
dts-HD High Res Audio and dts-HD Master Audio.

I've got BD's with each, but the latter seems to be far more prevalent.

The Sony BDP-S500 handles them differently. It can't decode the Master Audio, and if I'm interpreting page 48 of the operating instructions correctly, it downconverts it to DTS.

It can decode the High Res.

Interesting that you mentioned 5.1/7.1 LPCM over HDMI. According to that same page of instructions, High Res is output as 7.1 LPCM and Master Audio as 5.1 LPCM. I wonder which would sound better on a 5.1 system?

I did a little research: About a year ago these issues were discussed quite a bit on the various forums. A rumor was circulating that the S500 was going to get a firmware update that would allow it to decode Master Audio. I could find no mention of it on Sony's website, despite the fact that the firmware has been updated from v3.75 to v4.2, or something like that.

Anyway, my system sounds a lot better now that I've got the 5.1 analog audio properly balanced. By swapping BD players I've gotten what I'd originally desired: DTS 5.1. As a bonus, I think I'm also getting both the TrueHD and PCM lossless audio formats. I THINK I can hear the difference between these and the DVD-quality audio. Lossless seems richer, DVD-quality seems harsher. I really need to listen to a greater variety of music and vocals, but I think I'm training my ears to hear the difference.
Origin: Big Bang
Post 18 made on Thursday January 8, 2009 at 00:41
Daniel Tonks
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I don't know the full variants of dts-HD High Res, but basically it's normal DTS with more channel support and higher bitrates... thus higher quality sound, but it's still "lossy". I'm not sure it's been used on many mainstream discs; most seem to go right to some sort of uncompressed audio, or cheap out and only provide Dolby Digital (such as Warner is prone to doing).

Since the S500 apparantly can't handle DTS HD Master Audio, what you're getting is the core DTS 1.5mbit track, decoded to 5.1 analog. For LPCM it would be decoded to 5.1 LPCM, since there can only be 5.1 channels in the core track. But since it DOES handle the High Res codec, it'll decode that to however many channels the track actually has, up to 7.1.

DTS HD Master Audio was always something of a sticky format. It wasn't a mandated specification for BD players, thus there was little support for it in players, despite companies such as Fox making it their primary codec very early on.

You'll be hearing uncompressed from discs with LPCM or TrueHD.
Post 19 made on Thursday January 8, 2009 at 15:53
wjjz106
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On January 3, 2009 at 16:36, Herman Trivilino said...
One of the drawbacks of the analog connections is the
possibility that the relative volumes of the speakers
may not be adjustable. In my case, I can adjust the left/right
balance for both the front pair of speakers, and the rear
pair of speakers. I cannot, however, adjust the volume
of the front speakers relative to the rear speakers.
(I don't use a center speaker, and the sub-woofer has
it's one volume knob).

I would recommend adding a center speaker to your system. If you add a center speaker between the front left and right speakers, you'll notice a big improvement in sound quality. IMO, it's the most important speaker in your system. If you do end up buying a center speaker, try to match it with the same manufacturer as the front left and right speakers.
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[Link: invelos.com]
Post 20 made on Thursday January 8, 2009 at 18:15
Daniel Tonks
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For many many years I avoided using a center channel in my system, mostly because I had no good place to put it. The phantom center seemed just fine. Then I did a little 5.1 setup in my bedroom and was amazed at how good it sounded on everything. So, when I replaced the speakers in my main system, I FOUND a place for a center channel.

It took a few weeks to get used to the localized sound over the more expansive (but hollow) sounding "phantom", and now I love it. Also much better for off-center viewers.
OP | Post 21 made on Thursday January 8, 2009 at 19:42
Herman Trivilino
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I don't have a place for the center speaker.

Except for the TV itself, my front speakers are the most expensive component in my system. They are 32-inch-tall floor standing speaker cabinets with 12-inch woofers -- Cerwin-Vega VS-120's. (A lot of the listening I do is out of just those two speakers.) Their center-to-center separation distance is too small -- about 5.3 ft.

I feel that if I could separate them further, and if I could find a center speaker of comparable quality, and if I was an off-center listener, I would benefit from a center speaker.

Some of these restrictions occur because, for some reason, my spouse feels that our living room should have an attractive appearance, sometimes at the expense of a more elaborate home theatre system. To her credit, though, she does have other qualities that offset this particular shortcoming.

What I really need is a new house with a room dedicated to home theatre. Then I'd have an excuse to spend more money on better equipment, like a good center speaker.
Origin: Big Bang
Post 22 made on Tuesday January 13, 2009 at 20:15
shepdawg7
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You have no center speaker and you're worried about lossless audio from BD? Riiiiight... Please get your center channel before you do anything else!
Chris
OP | Post 23 made on Saturday January 24, 2009 at 12:54
Herman Trivilino
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On January 13, 2009 at 20:15, shepdawg7 said...
You have no center speaker and you're worried about lossless
audio from BD?

It's true that I have no center speaker, but it's not true that I'm worried about lossless audio.

My problem is that my receiver is very old. It doesn't support DTS. How to get audio out of my surround speakers when playing a disc that one, has a DTS audio track but two, has no Dolby Digital 5.1 track? This was never an issue with DVD's, but is an issue with some BD's.

I needed help deciding what to do, which is why I came to ths forum and started this thread. I learned that I had a choice: Upgrade my receiver or return the BD player for one that has a DTS decoder and 5.1 analog audio outputs. This latter choice is an option for me because my receiver has 5.1 analog inputs. That's the option I chose for several reasons. It cost me nothing!


Riiiiight... Please get your center
channel before you do anything else!

I may take that advice. These issues of the lossless audio and the center speaker came up only as asides during this discussion. As I said at the beginning of this thread, I was perfectly happy with the audio I was getting. And as a result of swapping out the BD player, I am happy again.

I think, though, that adding a center channel speaker would probably be the next upgrade I'd make. As I've already said, the furniture layout and other factors make this upgrade unlikely.

I've moved on to other projects. I'm hoping to find a good deal on a HDTV for the bedroom. Yesterday and today I'm installing ceiling speakers and a shelf to accomodate an even older receiver. This'll be a major upgrade in the bedroom audio.
Origin: Big Bang
OP | Post 24 made on Saturday March 7, 2009 at 14:37
Herman Trivilino
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On January 8, 2009 at 00:32, Herman Trivilino said...
think I can hear the difference between these and the DVD-quality audio. Lossless seems richer, DVD-quality seems harsher. I really need to listen to a greater variety of music and vocals, but I think I'm training my ears to hear the difference.

I just watched the Blu-ray disc Resident Evil: Apocalypse.  This is a Sony release with two audio tracks: English PCM 5.1 and English 5.1.  The former is of course uncompressed.  The latter is Dolby Digital 5.1, DVD-quality lossy compression.

When listening through the analog inputs on my receiver, I can use the pop-up menu to do an A/B comparison.  There is definitely a difference.  First of all, the PCM track is louder.  Also, it has a larger dynamic range.  This movie is loaded with sound effects, and they've done a nice job of taking advantage of all the 5.1 discrete channels available.  There really is no comparison.  The difference may be due to the lossy compression, the DD 5.1 decoder in the BD player, the DD 5.1 compression algorithm employed by the authors, or the audio engineering done by the authors.

There really is no way to tell which parts of this difference are due solely to the DD 5.1 compression itself. 

In other words, if the producers of the BD were so inclined, they could produce a BD that had the best DD 5.1 audio engineering possible, ditto for the PCM track.  In that case, the type of A/B comparison I'm doing here would then be as true as possible, assuming the BD player had a good DD 5.1 decoder.

I read an article, but now cannot remember where, describing a process where the author and his crew visited Dolby labs.  The facility had a state-of-the-art listening room where A/B comparisons could be done of their DVD-quality lossy format (DD 5.1) versus their new lossless format (TrueHD).  They then visited DTS labs and repeated their listening experience comparing their DVD-quality lossy format (dts) to their new lossless format (dts-HD Master Audio).

The author reported that under these ideal conditions, only the slightest difference could be heard between the lossy and the lossless formats.  Moreover, the author stated that, for the reasons discussed above, the home listener can't really perform a valid comparison.
Origin: Big Bang
Post 25 made on Tuesday March 24, 2009 at 21:06
towboy123
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I have an additional question. How would all this apply to 6.1 Or DTS EX receiver
Harmony 1100 , RF Extender, Sanyo DP-42647 HDTV, Sony STR-DA3400ES Receiver, Sony BDP-N460 Network Blu Ray Player, Dish Network ViP-722k, SqueezeBox Classic
Post 26 made on Tuesday March 24, 2009 at 23:08
Daniel Tonks
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Really, not any differently than an "ordinary" DTS receiver.
OP | Post 27 made on Sunday April 5, 2009 at 13:45
Herman Trivilino
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On March 24, 2009 at 21:06, towboy123 said...
I have an additional question. How would all this apply to 6.1 Or DTS EX receiver

It would apply only if the receiver isn't HDMI audio capable.

My receiver is very old and doesn't support DTS. If I had a DTS (or DTS EX) receiver that's not HDMI audio capable, the only thing I could possibly gain by using the analog inputs is lossless audio. I therefore probably wouldn't bother with getting a Blu-ray player that has analog outputs, unless it was available at little or no extra cost, and otherwise had all the features I wanted.

If I was interested, though, in using the analog inputs on a 6.1 or DTS EX receiver, I'd make sure the Blu-ray player player had 7.1 analog outputs (as opposed to only 5.1).

One brand of Blu-ray player, Panasonic I think, can fool you. It has 7.1 analog outputs, but looks like it has only 5.1. It uses the two stereo L/R analog outputs, in addition to the 5.1 outputs, to get 7.1. So, if you're shopping, look closely at the output jacks on the back of the player.
Origin: Big Bang
OP | Post 28 made on Saturday August 14, 2010 at 11:16
Herman Trivilino
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On March 7, 2009 at 14:37, Herman Trivilino said...
I read an article, but now cannot remember where, describing a process where the author and his crew visited Dolby labs.  The facility had a state-of-the-art listening room where A/B comparisons could be done of their DVD-quality lossy format (DD 5.1) versus their new lossless format (TrueHD).  They then visited DTS labs and repeated their listening experience comparing their DVD-quality lossy format (dts) to their new lossless format (dts-HD Master Audio).

The article is
Signal to Noise - Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD MA vs. Uncompressed PCM by David Jones-Birch, dated July 14, 2008.  It appeared in "Home Entertainment" and can currently be found here: [Link: hemagazine.com].

Last edited by Herman Trivilino on August 14, 2010 11:36.
Origin: Big Bang
OP | Post 29 made on Saturday August 14, 2010 at 11:35
Herman Trivilino
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On January 8, 2009 at 18:15, Daniel Tonks said...
For many many years I avoided using a center channel in my system, mostly because I had no good place to put it. The phantom center seemed just fine.

I finally got around to adding a center channel speaker. I chose the Dayton UA721 Speaker Kit w/o Cabinet available from Parts Express as Sku 302-854.
[Link: parts-express.com]

The quality level is close, if not higher than, my two front speakers.  I chose to build the cabinet myself so that I could make it fit on the shelf below the TV. 

It took a few weeks to get used to the localized sound over the more expansive (but hollow) sounding "phantom", and now I love it.

After installing the speaker and calibrating the system, I was watching a baseball game and was impressed with the way the crack of the bat hitting the ball seemed to come from a central source.  I now understand what you meant by the "more expansive but hollow sounding phantom".

It's a huge improvement when listening to almost any source.  Both discrete 5.1 sources and 2-channel surround sources.  The only source I've listened to that sounds better coming from just the two front speakers are stereo FM broadcasts and the like ... sources engineered for two-channel stereo. 
Origin: Big Bang
Post 30 made on Saturday August 14, 2010 at 18:47
Daniel Tonks
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Yeah, the phantom always sounded "fuller" to me, but analyzing that I realized it also sounded kind of hollow in comparison. A real center can take some getting used to if you're used to the "fuller" phantom sound, but it's worth it.

Conveniently at the same time I added a center to my 4.1 primary system, I upgraded my bedroom speakers from 2.0 to 5.1 with a center over the TV. Now in the bedroom it sounded so clearly better than what I had before, it didn't take too long for me to get used to the primary system either. However one member of the household liked using Dolby Music processing for a bit because it expands the center onto the left/right speakers, which made it sound similar to the way it was before. That didn't last long though.
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