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HD Audio Decoding better in AVR or BDP?


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It is NOT necessary to have an AVR with  the latest DTS MA and Dolby TrueHD decoders to enjoy highest quality HD audio if your BDPlayer has the decoders. The newer BDPs apparently come with these HD audio decoders, so are we unnecessarily upgrading our HDMI equipped AVRs tempted by the prospect of DTS MA and Dolby TrueHD?

 

See

 

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-13817_7-6462511-4.html?tag=mncol;txt

 

To summarise - the BDP can decode all uncompressed HD audio bitstreams to basic LPCM and send the 7.1 channels by HDMI to the AVR for processing. Alternatively, BDP sends the bitstream to the AVR which does the decoding to 7.1 LPCM. Either way, decoding of the bitstream to LPCM must be done. Conversion to analog is always from LPCM. HDMI 1.1 is specified for 7.1 LPCM audio channels so v1.1 is adequate for HD audio.

 

There seems to be some debate if the decoding is best done by the AVR, BDP or even if there is any difference at all where the decoding is done.

 

From one forum

"It's amazing how much misinformation and confusion is out there over this issue. I place the blame for that squarely on all the CE companies involved, right along with Dolby and DTS. From my perspective, processing of the advanced codecs (Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD and DTS-HD Master Audio) should NEVER have been licensed for inclusion in audio processing equipment. Instead, all decoding of them should have been left to Blu-ray (and formerly HD DVD) players, for output over HDMI or analog outputs.

 

With the way the audio is handled in Blu-ray, LPCM output over HDMI will always be superior, from the standpoint of getting the best, most complete soundtrack out of the player. There is no arguing this point, and there is absolutely no downside to using player decoding and output over HDMI." 

 

 

Your opinion?

 

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IMO, bugs aside, there should be no reason to expect that decoding in a BDP and decoding in the AVR will produce different results. This is because the new "lossless" audio packing formats for Blu-ray (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA) are "lossless" in the sense that what comes out of the decoder is "bit-for-bit" identical to what went into the encoder in the first place when the studio created that track.

 

If you can hear a quality difference in your setup, then most likely you have discovered a bug or a "setup" error either in the BDP or in the AVR. Even if you bitstream to your AVR, you still need to get an AVR that can handles HDMI LPCM input properly -- because otherwise you won't be able to listen to the raw (uncompressed) LPCM tracks found on some Blu-ray discs.

 

While others would like the BDP do the decoding as it also makes it easier to take advantage of "secondary audio mixing" on Blu-ray discs and the only thing you lose will be that the little TrueHD or DTS-HD MA light won't turn on in your AVR because once the track has been decoded to LPCM the AVR can't tell what format it was prior to that.

 

Just my 3 cents as I prefer to see the TrueHD or DTS-HD MA light up in the AVR.  ;D

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True.

 

But this is coming from a person who HAD use such a BD player with a legacy AV Amp and then abandoning this idea altogether, here are my reasons:-

 

(1) Complicated as the BD has channels distance and levels control and so does your AVR as well.  You can never be sure that running your audio thru 2 sets of multi channel processing is a good idea.

 

(2) No such thing as a Audssesy equipped BD player.

 

(3) Need to get quality 5.1 or 7.1 analog interconnects.  To get good enough analog cables could probably costs more than new AVR upgrade.  Using a HDMI connect between BD player and AVR gives more consistent results and could relieve your "are my analog interconnects good enough?" headaches.

 

(4) Possible +10db LFE boost's "is it there or not" uncertainty.  When to turn it on and when not to turn it on?

 

(Audio)

 

You decides............I already throw in the towel....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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;D

 

the Sony BDP-S550 is one of the better bluray players to have. but in my opinion for those on a budget and connecting to the new generation of av-amps that decodes trueHD/dts-HD then between the two, the Sony BDP-S350 is a better buy. using the analogue connections or even streaming LPCM to a legacy av-amp (one that does not decodes trueHD/dts-HD) unfortunately has its disadvantages

 

  • it does not allow surround processing eg dolby prologic IIx upmixing processing of 5.1/2.0 signal formats to 6.1/7.1 formats
  • it does not allow eg dts-ex surround upmixing of 5.1 signal formats to 6.1/7.1 channels
  • it does not allow advanced room eq processing eg audessy
  • it does not allow bass management even though most bluray players have but limited bass management as compared to the av-amp
  • it does not allow post surround multiplexing process of 5.1 channels to 7.1 channels
  • it does not allow or only limited thx processing
  • at the mercy of the generally inferior dac of your bluray player

 

this is not an exhaustive list and the above is generally true of the average av-amp currently on the market

 

if i am not wrong most av-amps do these post processing (10db boost, dolby prologic IIx, room eq, etc) in the digital domain. so if you are using analog inputs, then most likely the av-amp's digital processing/equalisation functions will most likely be bypassed

 

i do know of a number of high-end pre/pros that set up speaker trim levels in the analog domain but the speakers distance, crossovers etc are still only processed in the digital domain

 

If you use the S550's multichannel analog outputs instead of hdmi, then there will be differences. the LFE is recorded 10db lower than its proper playback level and it needs to be boosted at the av-amp. If you set any speakers to small in the player, the sub-channel drops a further 5db and needs a 15db boost. for those using hdmi, it is automatically adjusted by the av-amp
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If you use7.1  analog connection between BDP and AVR, yes, you may lose out on further processing at the AVR, unless the AVR does an A/D followed by processing. So it depends on the AVR if it has this capability.

 

But if you use HDMI connection, which from ver 1.1 allows 7.1 digital channels, the AVR should be able to take the LPCM signals decoded from the BDP and process it as usual. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the AVR can process the signal unless its decoded from bitstream to LPCM since LPCM is the basic 'common denominator".

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But if you use HDMI connection, which from ver 1.1 allows 7.1 digital channels, the AVR should be able to take the LPCM signals decoded from the BDP and process it as usual. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the AVR can process the signal unless its decoded from bitstream to LPCM since LPCM is the basic 'common denominator".

 

Sounds logical but converting say, DTS HD MA to PCM in BR player and then let AVR convert PCM to analog is "double conversion" process.  Good meh?

 

This is like PS3 which is what get people to switch to BR player to avoid anyway.

 

(Audio)

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True.

 

But this is coming from a person who HAD use such a BD player with a legacy AV Amp and then abandoning this idea altogether, here are my reasons:-

 

(1) Complicated as the BD has channels distance and levels control and so does your AVR as well.  You can never be sure that running your audio thru 2 sets of multi channel processing is a good idea.

 

(2) No such thing as a Audssesy equipped BD player.

 

(3) Need to get quality 5.1 or 7.1 analog interconnects.  To get good enough analog cables could probably costs more than new AVR upgrade.  Using a HDMI connect between BD player and AVR gives more consistent results and could relieve your "are my analog interconnects good enough?" headaches.

 

(4) Possible +10db LFE boost's "is it there or not" uncertainty.  When to turn it on and when not to turn it on?

 

(Audio)

 

You decides............I already throw in the towel....

 

 

 

Totally in agreement : No such thing as a Audssesy equipped BD player

 

This is the word of a wise man ... salute!

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Sounds logical but converting say, DTS HD MA to PCM in BR player and then let AVR convert PCM to analog is "double conversion" process.  Good meh?

 

This is like PS3 which is what get people to switch to BR player to avoid anyway.

 

(Audio)

 

You still need double conversion no matter what, ya? AVR takes bitstream converts to LPCM, processes it then still have to do DA conversion before we can hear. Correct me if I'm wrong, but everything must go thru the LPCM stage, ie you cant go from bitstream to analog in one leap. Question then is:  is it really best to do the bitstream/LPCM conversion at the AVR. Personally for me the verdict is still out. I suspect its more eqpt dependent, ie which piece does a better job.

 

PS3 didnt have codecs for HD formats that's why. Without it there was no way to get HD audio, so its a different issue. Now I hear these codecs are available to arrest their falling sales.

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Totally in agreement : No such thing as a Audssesy equipped BD player

 

This is the word of a wise man ... salute!

 

I dont have an Audessy equipped AVR so I need to ask:  can LPCM be sent to the AVR for Audessy to be processed on the LPCM? I would be surprised if the answer is no.

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I dont have an Audessy equipped AVR so I need to ask:  can LPCM be sent to the AVR for Audessy to be processed on the LPCM? I would be surprised if the answer is no.

 

The answer is yes to that especially if you own a marantz range of av receivers/processors.The whole range of marantz amp do not have the capability to apply audessy

to be processed while bitstreaming DTS HD-MA / Dolby TruHD.In fact the only way to apply Audessy is to sent an LPCM signal...only then will you be able to utilise

audessy eq and even then you are limited up to 24bit/96khz....any higher and you can't use audessy eq.(I for one prefer not to use audessy eq anymore after

living wif and without one for some time thus the reason for still sticking wif marantz)

 

Not sure for analog connections(DACs might play a part here) when decoding is done at the source side of things but if you send decoded LPCM thru HDMI to the AVR the difference

is hard to pick out(if there's any).I have done several comparisons on my own system and frankly speaking(IMHO) whether decoding is done at the source side of things or AVR

(through HDMI of course) the difference is not significant enough(if there is one) to warrant a change in equipment unless you are upgrading or really itching for one and have money to burn.

 

Do note though that these comparisions are done using a HTPC(wif the HDAV slim) instead of your normal bluray players as it is easier to do a comparisions wif the HDAV slim having

the capability to bitstream.For bitstreaming the actual BD disc was used and for LPCM a rip copy(MKV/Flac) of the BD was used as i was toying with the idea of keeping my media

digitally for easy access and keeping only the main content without all those annoying ads/preview/warnings.This to see if it's a viable without sacrificing quality and in fact I'm currently

viewing a rip copy of THE KILLERS Live From The Royal Albert Hall(a great sounding concert BTW) while writing this and for me on my equipment the quality is the same...YMMV.

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The whole range of marantz amp do not have the capability to apply audessy to be processed while bitstreaming DTS HD-MA / Dolby TruHD.In fact the only way to apply Audessy is to sent an LPCM signal..

 

correct me if i am wrong, but audyssey does process DTS HD-MA / Dolby TruHD audio streams, or any other audio streams as long as they are still in the digital realm

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correct me if i am wrong, but audyssey does process DTS HD-MA / Dolby TruHD audio streams, or any other audio streams as long as they are still in the digital realm

 

I believe all the audio formats get converted from bitstream into LPCM first (still in digital realm) before audyssey or for that matter any DSP is applied. It's just that the process is not evident to the user. If so then you will not lose the audyssey function by decoding the audio at the BDP.

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True.

 

But this is coming from a person who HAD use such a BD player with a legacy AV Amp and then abandoning this idea altogether, here are my reasons:-

 

 

Audio, was your legacy AVR without HDMI? If so then it explains why you had to upgrade.

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http://www.xtremeplace.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=70733.msg530847#msg530847

 

BITSTREAM VS LPCM VS LOSSY

 

Using the Oppo SE as a BR player, we alternated between LPCM, DTS-MA and Dolby Digital (lossy).

 

The conclusion? There was clearly a difference between decoding done by the player and the amp.

 

Apart from one reviewer, everyone else heard a difference and preferred the decoding to be done by the amplifier rather than the player. We repeated this a few times and the difference was not hard to hear.

 

So there IS a difference between LCPM and bitstream. We will discuss the reason later.

 

 

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correct me if i am wrong, but audyssey does process DTS HD-MA / Dolby TruHD audio streams, or any other audio streams as long as they are still in the digital realm

 

Audyssey does process  DTS HD-MA / Dolby TruHD audio streams for all other brands but for some weird reasons the marantz

whether purposely or not does not do so when you bitstream these codecs but does so instead on LPCM which actually

is a bigger size data wise and more prone to errors(jitters).

 

BITSTREAM VS LPCM VS LOSSY

 

Using the Oppo SE as a BR player, we alternated between LPCM, DTS-MA and Dolby Digital (lossy).

 

The conclusion? There was clearly a difference between decoding done by the player and the amp.

 

Apart from one reviewer, everyone else heard a difference and preferred the decoding to be done by the amplifier rather than the player. We repeated this a few times and the difference was not hard to hear.

 

So there IS a difference between LCPM and bitstream. We will discuss the reason later.

 

I think maybe I'm one of the reviewer that does not hear the diff :P.

 

Conclusion should be if you still have legacy equipment with at least a HDMI ver 1.1 that

you just don't feel like upgrading than don't.Just use the decoding from the source and be happy

at that.The money saved should go to buying more software for you to enjoy rather than thinking

about which sound better decoding here or there since you can't anyway.

But if you've got money to burn by all means go change that receiver...heck go for separates even

or better yet change your whole setup for the better.

 

But if on the other hand you've got the capability to bitstream to AVR/Processor than why still

hesitate.Bitstreaming is the way to go unless for some reason you own a marantz and wants to use

audyssey.

 

I for one dont find the difference in Audio quality compelling enough for me to not still use LPCM.

It is that subtle.....but then again some peeps are willing to spent tens of thousands just to achieve

that subtleness....but hey what do I know I'm your average joe. ;D

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I think maybe I'm one of the reviewer that does not hear the diff :P.

 

Conclusion should be if you still have legacy equipment with at least a HDMI ver 1.1 that

you just don't feel like upgrading than don't.Just use the decoding from the source and be happy

at that.The money saved should go to buying more software for you to enjoy rather than thinking

about which sound better decoding here or there since you can't anyway.

But if you've got money to burn by all means go change that receiver...heck go for separates even

or better yet change your whole setup for the better.

 

But if on the other hand you've got the capability to bitstream to AVR/Processor than why still

hesitate.Bitstreaming is the way to go unless for some reason you own a marantz and wants to use

audyssey.

 

I for one dont find the difference in Audio quality compelling enough for me to not still use LPCM.

It is that subtle.....but then again some peeps are willing to spent tens of thousands just to achieve

that subtleness....but hey what do I know I'm your average joe. ;D

 

Its a little hard for you to be one of the reviewers for the post DH mentioned bro... since you were not present...?

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DH,

 

In the comparo, I don't doubt what the group heard. But it's hardly enough to be conclusive for this thread's title dontcha  think, as it could be equipment specific. Only the Oppo as source was used with a Denon avr (?). There remains a technical reason why one or the other should be better, and more comparos to be done for a broad consensus to emerge imo.

 

Main purpose of this thread is to justify owners of HDMI 1.1 AVRs needing to upgrade to AVRs having the HD Audio formats. For example, my Denon DN-A7100 handles 7.1 LPCM just fine with HDMI1.1.  In fact one who owns this reports it sounds better with LPCM than bitstream compared to a Lexicon prepro he used to own.

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You have just proven the point.

If you read my thread and also the previous my other thread in HT, you will know, I suspected there IS a difference between LCPM and bistream.

 

My points are posted in the other threads as to why I feel this way.

 

Quite simply, the chipset and design make a difference, which will vary from machine to machine.

 

This is contrary to some belief that digital is digital.

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In fact one who owns this reports it sounds better with LPCM than bitstream compared to a Lexicon prepro he used to own.

 

How is this comparison of bitstream decoded to LPCM by player vs bitstream decoded by AVP/R possible if your Denon does not handle bitstream decoding?

 

The top of the line Lexicon MC12HD doesn't support HD bitstream either.

 

 

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How is this comparison of bitstream decoded to LPCM by player vs bitstream decoded by AVP/R possible if your Denon does not handle bitstream decoding?

 

The top of the line Lexicon MC12HD doesn't support HD bitstream either.

 

 

 

This was on regular DD/DTS, not HD audio. Still, one comparison between bitstream and LPCM.

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