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TrueHD, DTS-HD, and DTS-HD Master Audio

IdahoPhil63
12-20-2008, 09:03 AM
this is a very interesting article I thought I would pass along :eyecrazy
An Important Factor in Choosing a Blu-ray Player
Robert Harley
I recently took delivery of Classé Audio’s ambitious new $8500 SSP-800 controller for review. I was surprised, however, that the review sample did not decode the new audio formats, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, and DTS-HD Master Audio. Classé is working on an upgrade board—available free of charge to SSP-800 purchasers—that will add this capability. The upgrade will be offered next March. But is this lack of high-res audio decoding a shortcoming of the SSP-800? More to the point, does any surround-sound controller really need on-board decoding of the new high-res audio formats?
That might sound like a silly question—of course we want to hear soundtracks in high-res from Blu-ray discs. But the fact is that you don’t need a controller that “decodes” the new audio formats—but you do need a Blu-ray player that has one essential feature (keep reading).
The confusion arises from the term “decode.” Here’s how it works. The film soundtrack starts out as high-res PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) audio and is encoded into, for example, a Dolby TrueHD bitstream for storage on the Blu-ray disc. (I’ll use TrueHD as a stand-in for all the new audio formats.) You can think of this process as creating a Zip file on a PC.
The file must then be “unzipped” on playback; that is, the Dolby TrueHD bitstream must be decoded back into multichannel linear PCM audio for conversion to analog. This decoding can take place in the Blu-ray player or in the controller. If the decoding to PCM takes place in the player, the controller receives high-res PCM over the HDMI 1.3 interface. The controller then converts the PCM to analog for listening. If the decoding of Dolby TrueHD to PCM takes place in the controller, the HDMI interface carries the TrueHD bitstream.
It really makes no difference sonically where the “decoding” takes place—in the player or in the controller. In fact, it may be advantageous to decode in the Blu-ray player rather than the controller because the format has the capability of mixing different audio sources on the fly during playback. An example of this is a director’s commentary posted on a movie studio’s website after the Blu-ray disc has been released; you can watch and listen to the movie from disc as well as hear the director’s commentary streamed from the web. There are many other examples of Blu-ray’s interactivity—features that are lost if the TrueHD-to-PCM decoding doesn’t take place in the Blu-ray player.
Not all Blu-ray players can perform this “unzipping” of TrueHD bitstreams to PCM. It requires a fair amount of DSP horsepower, making it an expensive (for now) feature for disc-player manufacturers. I expect, however, that all next-generation players will have this capability. For a full listing of Blu-ray player features (including whether the player can output decoded PCM), go to http://www.idoblu.co.uk/page2%20Blu-ray%20Players.html. Scroll down the page to see the player features. You’re looking for blue boxes in the True-HD and DTS-MA columns.
So, when you talk about whether a controller can “decode” the new audio formats, remember that there are two distinct functions—“unzipping” of the TrueHD bitstream to PCM, and the conversion of that PCM to analog. The former is best done in the player; the latter in the controller.
Unfortunately, the Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray player I recently bought doesn’t decode the TrueHD bitstream to PCM. It will perform this decoding, however, with a software update. See http://esupport.sony.com/perl/news-item.pl?&news_id=274&mdl=BDPS350. I advise buying a player that has the ability to decode TrueHD bitstreams to PCM. Note that any Blu-ray player that has BDLive capability will decode TrueHD bitstream to PCM. That's because BD live involves mixing audio streams on the fly during playback, which requires decoding in the player.
Thanks to Classé Audio’s Dave Nauber for his discussion of this subject with me, and for his “unzipping” analogy

So you dont have to have an updated reciever to enjoy the new 'sounds' you just need to have the right Bluray player.

Loves2Watch
12-20-2008, 10:19 AM
So you dont have to have an updated reciever to enjoy the new 'sounds' you just need to have the right Bluray player.

That all depends on what you are calling an updated receiver. It does require some specific connections which some older receivers do not have.

Nikopol
12-20-2008, 10:38 AM
http://www.avguide.com/blog/read-buying-blu-ray-player

sprkeng
12-20-2008, 11:14 AM
I'm going on the market to purchase a sound system after the holidays and I don't want to spend an arm and a leg. So according to this article as long as I buy and receiver with HDMI 1.3, I could let my panny 35 decode the sound through an analog cable?

Bigloww
12-20-2008, 11:52 AM
I'm going on the market to purchase a sound system after the holidays and I don't want to spend an arm and a leg. So according to this article as long as I buy and receiver with HDMI 1.3, I could let my panny 35 decode the sound through an analog cable?


As long as your receiver has a True HDMI 1.3 (not passthrough) you can do Dolby True HD and DTS HD/MA VIA PCM. As long as the Blue Ray player has the capability to internally decode all 3 (all do now I believe). In addition some BD players have the capability to send the lossless codec raw via Bitstream to the receiver to decode. If you have a BD player that can and your receiver has the decoders built in (like the Onkyo 606 for example), you can let the receiver do the decoding instead of the player if you wish. Either way, you can get it.

The 3rd option and what I think you are reffering to when you say "analog cable" is 5.1/7.1 multichannel analog inputs.?. In older receivers that don't have HDMI but have the multichannel inputs, you can still get the lossless sound this way as well as long as the BD player has the multichannel outs which the BD-35 has I believe.

If you are buying a new receiver, it will most likely have HDMI 1.3a. Just make sure it is not passthrough. The 606 I mentioned above has 4 1.3a HDMI inputs and can be had for as little as $339 shipped..:yippee:


http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/item/features/538499144/onkyo-tx-sr606-b?v_c=Yahoo&srccode=cii_1038957&cpncode=21-2189198-2

IdahoPhil63
12-20-2008, 12:23 PM
ok L2W correct me if Im wrong (according to you), what I meant to say was, if you have a Blu that decodes Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, and DTS-HD Master Audio, and you have an older home theater reciever like me, that does dts and digital, then you should be good to go.
Does that cover your "specific connections" you were refering to but didnt meantion? Help me out buddy.

hdtvjunkie
12-20-2008, 12:41 PM
I'm going on the market to purchase a sound system after the holidays and I don't want to spend an arm and a leg. So according to this article as long as I buy and receiver with HDMI 1.3, I could let my panny 35 decode the sound through an analog cable?No Sprkeng you and I have the same player it only does the new codecs via hdmi. If we had got the BD-55 then you would have been able to get the new codecs via analog cables.

hdtvjunkie
12-20-2008, 12:47 PM
As long as your receiver has a True HDMI 1.3 (not passthrough) you can do Dolby True HD and DTS HD/MA VIA PCM. As long as the Blue Ray player has the capability to internally decode all 3 (all do now I believe). In addition some BD players have the capability to send the lossless codec raw via Bitstream to the receiver to decode. If you have a BD player that can and your receiver has the decoders built in (like the Onkyo 606 for example), you can let the receiver do the decoding instead of the player if you wish. Either way, you can get it.

The 3rd option and what I think you are reffering to when you say "analog cable" is 5.1/7.1 multichannel analog inputs.?. In older receivers that don't have HDMI but have the multichannel inputs, you can still get the lossless sound this way as well as long as the BD player has the multichannel outs which the BD-35 has I believe.

If you are buying a new receiver, it will most likely have HDMI 1.3a. Just make sure it is not passthrough. The 606 I mentioned above has 4 1.3a HDMI inputs and can be had for as little as $339 shipped..:yippee:


http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/item/features/538499144/onkyo-tx-sr606-b?v_c=Yahoo&srccode=cii_1038957&cpncode=21-2189198-2 Bigloww according to the papers with BD-35 (yes it does have analog outs) it will only do DTS MA and DD True HD via the hdmi cable. I wonder if there will be a firmware update that will allow lossless audio via analog outs on the BD-35?

PFC5
12-20-2008, 01:09 PM
As long as your receiver has a True HDMI 1.3 (not passthrough) you can do Dolby True HD and DTS HD/MA VIA PCM. As long as the Blue Ray player has the capability to internally decode all 3 (all do now I believe). In addition some BD players have the capability to send the lossless codec raw via Bitstream to the receiver to decode. If you have a BD player that can and your receiver has the decoders built in (like the Onkyo 606 for example), you can let the receiver do the decoding instead of the player if you wish. Either way, you can get it. The S350 & BD35 DO need a HDMI 1.1+ receiver to decode them since they do not have the 5.1/7.1 analog outputs. They must have a HDMI receiver to pass the decoded signal, but the S350 does not decode the DTS-HD MA codec, while the BD35 does. This is why I am returning the S350 I got on BF for $200.00.

The 3rd option and what I think you are reffering to when you say "analog cable" is 5.1/7.1 multichannel analog inputs.?. In older receivers that don't have HDMI but have the multichannel inputs, you can still get the lossless sound this way as well as long as the BD player has the multichannel outs which the BD-35 has I believe.

If you are buying a new receiver, it will most likely have HDMI 1.3a. Just make sure it is not passthrough. The 606 I mentioned above has 4 1.3a HDMI inputs and can be had for as little as $339 shipped..:yippee:


http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/item/features/538499144/onkyo-tx-sr606-b?v_c=Yahoo&srccode=cii_1038957&cpncode=21-2189198-2

You do not need a HDMI version 1.3 receiver IF the player can decode the HD audio via HDMI output (or 5.1/7.1 analog outputs). The receiver only has to be a HDMI version 1.1 receiver to receive the decoded output from the player. Another thing to remember is of all BD players that DO decode HD audio, most do not decode DTS-HD MA which about half the studios are now using. I know the Panasonic BD35 DOES decode DTS-HD MA, but the Sony S350 does not do it.

If someone does not have a receiver with a HDMI 1.1 or higher receiver, then they either have to get a new receiver or get a BD player with 5.1/7.1 analog outputs that DOES decode ALL the codecs. The two most popular that DO decode all codecs via the 5.1/7.1 analog outputs are Sony S550, and the Panasonic BD55.

PFC5
12-20-2008, 01:15 PM
Bigloww according to the papers with BD-35 (yes it does have analog outs) it will only do DTS MA and DD True HD via the hdmi cable. I wonder if there will be a firmware update that will allow lossless audio via analog outs on the BD-35?

The BD35 only has STEREO (2-channel) analog outputs, not the 5.1/7.1 analog outputs. It is the BD55 that has the 7.1/5.1 analog outputs only. ;)

bhampton
12-20-2008, 01:28 PM
My PS3 can decode all the audio formats on Blu Rays (including DTS MA) and DVDs (and SACDs actually too because it's the 60GB model) and send them out as multi-channel PCM.

So... I bought a nice Denon AVR that accepts HDMI Audio and I was all set.

PS3 Rulez.

-Brian

hdtvjunkie
12-20-2008, 02:27 PM
The BD35 only has STEREO (2-channel) analog outputs, not the 5.1/7.1 analog outputs. It is the BD55 that has the 7.1/5.1 analog outputs only. ;)Thanks PFC thats what I meant, that it only had stereo outputs.

Bigloww
12-20-2008, 04:17 PM
You do not need a HDMI version 1.3 receiver IF the player can decode the HD audio via HDMI output (or 5.1/7.1 analog outputs). The receiver only has to be a HDMI version 1.1 receiver to receive the decoded output from the player. Another thing to remember is of all BD players that DO decode HD audio, most do not decode DTS-HD MA which about half the studios are now using. I know the Panasonic BD35 DOES decode DTS-HD MA, but the Sony S350 does not do it.

If someone does not have a receiver with a HDMI 1.1 or higher receiver, then they either have to get a new receiver or get a BD player with 5.1/7.1 analog outputs that DOES decode ALL the codecs. The two most popular that DO decode all codecs via the 5.1/7.1 analog outputs are Sony S550, and the Panasonic BD55.


Sorry, for not clarifing better . But yes PFC, I meant to say 1.3 for bitstream (which I think is the requirement) and yes any HDMI version will work for PCM.. At least any I know..

Loves2Watch
12-20-2008, 08:52 PM
ok L2W correct me if Im wrong (according to you), what I meant to say was, if you have a Blu that decodes Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, and DTS-HD Master Audio, and you have an older home theater reciever like me, that does dts and digital, then you should be good to go.
Does that cover your "specific connections" you were refering to but didnt meantion? Help me out buddy.

I think PFC5 said it clearly enough.

PFC5
12-20-2008, 09:10 PM
ok L2W correct me if Im wrong (according to you), what I meant to say was, if you have a Blu that decodes Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, and DTS-HD Master Audio, and you have an older home theater reciever like me, that does dts and digital, then you should be good to go.
Does that cover your "specific connections" you were refering to but didnt meantion? Help me out buddy.

He means as long as you have a HDMI receiver version 1.1 or higher you can get all the HD audio decoding in the player to do it, but if the receiver does not have HDMI 1.1 or higher, then you need a BD player with 5.1/7.1 analog outputs that can do all the decoding, and that older receiver must have the 5.1/7.1 analog inputs on it. Some very old receivers or many HTiB receivers do not have the 5.1/7.1 analog inputs.

HD Goofnut
12-20-2008, 09:15 PM
I have extra 10ft 1.2a HDMI cable. Can I use that with that worrying about any signal loss or something? I ask this since it's not a 1.3a.

kamspy
12-21-2008, 03:41 AM
I have extra 10ft 1.2a HDMI cable. Can I use that with that worrying about any signal loss or something? I ask this since it's not a 1.3a.

10' you'll be fine.

Signal loss is easy to spot with HDMI.

If there is no picture or sound whatsoever, you have signal loss.

If you have picture and sound, there is no signal loss.

;)

BTW

I'm running monoprice 25' with no problem. But IIRC, that's near the max without using a repeater.

Stew4HD
12-21-2008, 04:11 AM
I have extra 10ft 1.2a HDMI cable. Can I use that with that worrying about any signal loss or something? I ask this since it's not a 1.3a.

As Kam said, 10' is no problem. You can go as far as around 40' without the need for a repeater/amplifier. I am running a 35' cable to my projector with no signal loss.

HD Goofnut
12-21-2008, 08:13 AM
As Kam said, 10' is no problem. You can go as far as around 40' without the need for a repeater/amplifier. I am running a 35' cable to my projector with no signal loss.

Will the fact that the cable is 1.2a instead of 1.3a cause any problems?

hdtvjunkie
12-21-2008, 08:37 AM
10' you'll be fine.

Signal loss is easy to spot with HDMI.

If there is no picture or sound whatsoever, you have signal loss.

If you have picture and sound, there is no signal loss.

;)

BTW

I'm running monoprice 25' with no problem. But IIRC, that's near the max without using a repeater.ROFLMAO Kampsy that is by far the best description of signal loss I have ever read.:bowdown:

Stew4HD
12-22-2008, 05:35 AM
Will the fact that the cable is 1.2a instead of 1.3a cause any problems?

IMO, plug it in and see what happens.

From WIKI:


HDMI 1.3a was released on November 10, 2006 and had Cable and Sink modifications for Type C, source termination recommendations, and removed undershoot and maximum rise/fall time limits.[13] It also changed CEC capacitance limits, clarified sRGB video quantization range clarification, and CEC commands for timer control brought back in an altered form, audio control commands added.[13] HDMI 1.3b was released on March 26, 2007 and added HDMI compliance testing revisions.[96][86][97] HDMI 1.3b has no effect on HDMI features, functions, or performance since the testing is for products based on the HDMI 1.3a specification.[98] HDMI 1.3b1 was released on November 9, 2007 and added HDMI compliance testing revisions which added testing requirements for HDMI Type C mini-connector.[96][86][97] HDMI 1.3b1 has no effect on HDMI features, functions, or performance since the testing is for products based on the HDMI 1.3a specification.[98] HDMI 1.3c was released on August 25, 2008 and added HDMI compliance testing revisions which changed testing requirements for active HDMI cables.[99][51] HDMI 1.3c has no effect on HDMI features, functions, or performance since the testing is for products based on the HDMI 1.3a specification.[98]

Lee Stewart
12-22-2008, 06:35 AM
The amount of misinformation that gets propagated concerning cables, never fails to amaze me.

dobyblue
12-22-2008, 07:30 AM
Will the fact that the cable is 1.2a instead of 1.3a cause any problems?

Cables cannot be "1.2a" - they are either Category 1 (4.6 Gbps) or Category 2 (10.2 Gbps)

Unless you have a source using 1080p120 nothing goes above 4.6 Gbps.

Even deep colour at 60 frames per second, not found on Blu-ray, would yield the following:

1920 * 1080 = 2073600 number of pixels
2073600 * 36 = 74649600 (12-bit color)
74649600 * 60 = 4478976000 (60 frames per second)
4478976000 / 8 = 559872000 convert to bytes/sec
559872000 / 1024 = 546750 convert to KB/sec
546750 / 1024 = 533.9355468 convert to MB/sec

That's 4271.48437 Mbps you would need for uncompressed 36-bit 1080p60,

which is 4.17137146 Gbps, well under the maximum data rates Monster are claiming you would need.

Lee Stewart
12-22-2008, 07:46 AM
Thanks Dobyblue for applying the numbers for all to see.:thumbsup:

Here is the original announcement from HDMI.org on 1.3:

http://www.hdmi.org/pdf/HDMI_Insert_FINAL_8-30-06.pdf

And here from HDMI.org is their FAQ's:

http://www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/faq.aspx#q3_1

HD Goofnut
12-22-2008, 07:57 AM
Thanks Dobyblue for applying the numbers for all to see.:thumbsup:

Here is the original announcement from HDMI.org on 1.3:

http://www.hdmi.org/pdf/HDMI_Insert_FINAL_8-30-06.pdf

And here from HDMI.org is their FAQ's:

http://www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/faq.aspx#q3_1

So I shouldn't have any problems with using that particular cable then, even though it says 1.2a on the packaging (ordered from Amazon)?

Lee Stewart
12-22-2008, 08:19 AM
So I shouldn't have any problems with using that particular cable then, even though it says 1.2a on the packaging (ordered from Amazon)?

Why are you going to Amazon?

www.monoprice.com

No - no problem - it will work fine.

HD Goofnut
12-22-2008, 08:29 AM
Why are you going to Amazon?

www.monoprice.com

No - no problem - it will work fine.

Because it was cheaper. I believe I paid $10 for a 10' cable on Amazon and the same cable on Monoprice was around $15-18.

Lee Stewart
12-22-2008, 08:42 AM
Because it was cheaper. I believe I paid $10 for a 10' cable on Amazon and the same cable on Monoprice was around $15-18.

Why didn't you buy this one?

Eforcity New 10 Ft HDMI to HDMI Digital Video Cable GOLD-PLATED

List Price: $49.99
Price: $3.73
You Save: $46.26 (93%)

In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Eforcity.

HD Goofnut
12-22-2008, 08:46 AM
Why didn't you buy this one?

Didn't see it otherwise I would have bought it. I have used monoprice before though and have been quite pleased with them.

ack_bak
12-22-2008, 08:51 AM
A fun read:

Audiophiles can't tell the difference between Monster cable and a coat hanger (http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/03/audiophiles-cant-tell-the-difference-between-monster-cable-and/)

hatt
12-22-2008, 10:18 AM
BTW

I'm running monoprice 25' with no problem. But IIRC, that's near the max without using a repeater.

You can get by with at least a little more. I have a 30' Monoprice HDMI that has never gave me any problems with any setting. It's not the 1.3 cable either.

http://www.monoprice.com (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10240&cs_id=1024005&p_id=3963&seq=1&format=2)

MikeHoll
12-30-2008, 10:52 PM
I just got the Panasonic BD55 and the Cary Cinema 11a. I am using the HDMI 1.3 out to the Cary. Am I right to set the Digital Audio to bitstream or should I use LPCM for HD Master and TrueHD? The player set up menu seems to suggest the former.

hatt
12-30-2008, 11:12 PM
I just got the Panasonic BD55 and the Cary Cinema 11a. I am using the HDMI 1.3 out to the Cary. Am I right to set the Digital Audio to bitstream or should I use LPCM for HD Master and TrueHD? The player set up menu seems to suggest the former.
I'd try both and see if one sounds better than the other.

Loves2Watch
12-31-2008, 05:35 AM
I just got the Panasonic BD55 and the Cary Cinema 11a. I am using the HDMI 1.3 out to the Cary. Am I right to set the Digital Audio to bitstream or should I use LPCM for HD Master and TrueHD? The player set up menu seems to suggest the former.

Using the bitstream setting, the receiver decodes the HD audio. Using LPCM, the BD35 does the decoding so the HD audio lights on the receiver will not be lit.

MikeHoll
01-01-2009, 12:53 PM
Using the bitstream setting, the receiver decodes the HD audio. Using LPCM, the BD35 does the decoding so the HD audio lights on the receiver will not be lit.
Thanks. Am I correct that since I have the Cary 11a, which is designed to decode these formats and cost 10x the BD player, I should let the Cary do the decoding instead of the BD55?

I am a novice, but my dealer has gotten so fed up with Cary over the past year that he will not talk to them anymore, so I am trying to learn as much as I can to avoid bothering him.

Mike

Loves2Watch
01-01-2009, 02:13 PM
Thanks. Am I correct that since I have the Cary 11a, which is designed to decode these formats and cost 10x the BD player, I should let the Cary do the decoding instead of the BD55? I certainly would as the decoders and audio circuit is sure to be better than in the BD55

I am a novice, but my dealer has gotten so fed up with Cary over the past year that he will not talk to them anymore, so I am trying to learn as much as I can to avoid bothering him.

Mike

From all I have seen, used and tested, Cary is one of the better, esoteric, high quality manufacturers.

m_ick
01-16-2009, 12:37 AM
Ive got a PS3 hooked up to my old receiver (Yamaha) via optical (no HDMI port available.) so it only transmits Dolby or DTS 5.1 to the reciever. Recently I went to pick up a few blu-ray movies (Sony Pictures) and was about to buy when I noticed that they only had PCM 5.1 Audio soundtracks. Isn't it mandatory for blu-ray discs to carry dolby and dts 5.1 output as well? I know lots of people like me who want to use their old recievers which have optical!

ack_bak
01-16-2009, 08:36 AM
Ive got a PS3 hooked up to my old receiver (Yamaha) via optical (no HDMI port available.) so it only transmits Dolby or DTS 5.1 to the reciever. Recently I went to pick up a few blu-ray movies (Sony Pictures) and was about to buy when I noticed that they only had PCM 5.1 Audio soundtracks. Isn't it mandatory for blu-ray discs to carry dolby and dts 5.1 output as well? I know lots of people like me who want to use their old recievers which have optical!

What movies were they? They should have both PCM and DD tracks.

hatt
01-16-2009, 12:45 PM
What movies were they? They should have both PCM and DD tracks.
All the Sony Pictures I've seen have DD. It's easy to tell since for some reason my PS3 plays the DD track by default.