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Old 03-04-2008, 09:34 PM   #1
crackinhedz crackinhedz is offline
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Default HOW TO GET: Uncompressed PCM, Dolby TrueHD & Dts-HD MASTER Audio

"What do I need for the new HD audio?? And what is it?"


Seems like this question is asked a lot, or inquired about often in the forums. So let me take a second and give a little explanation on the various new audio formats currently found on Bluray discs and what you need in order to listen to them.

Lossless audio is the new generation of audio found in the HT world today thanks in part to HD-DVD and Blu-ray, and can basically be described as audio that is "bit-for-bit identical to the Studio Master". Meaning you should hear every musical note as it was recorded and how the director intended its use. To sum it up...it's better than being at the movie theater. (With the right setup of course )


What is it?

High-Def FAQ: Blu-ray and HD DVD Audio Explained


Uncompressed PCM
Dolby TrueHD
Dts-HD Master



So what is the right setup??

Before I go any further, I would like to note that Optical and Digital Coaxial cables are insufficient and will only transmit 2.0 PCM audio. In other words, only stereo...they are not capable of delivering Lossless 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound.

**If you are using an Optical cable or Digital Coax cable, you should have your Player set to Bitstream to avoid any issues.

The only way to hear 5.1/7.1 Uncompressed PCM, Dolby TrueHD & Dts-HD Master is to use either an HDMI or Multichannel Analog cable.

Now this is where it can get kinda confusing...but easy to understand after you think about it...


What is Linear PCM? ...and What is Bitstream??

In laymans terms...think of it this way:

Linear PCM is used when the audio is decoded inside the Player first, and then sent to the Receiver.

Bitstream, is used when the Player does not touch the audio...instead it is left in its raw form and sent to the Receiver, where it is then decoded by the Receiver.

To make a long story short, its just two ways to transfer audio from the Player to Receiver...just a different route taken and theoretically the same in the end.


With that being said let me start off with Multichannel Analog, as its pretty easy concept to understand.


Multichannel Analog




To hear Lossless audio through Multichannel Analog, you need a Player that has Internal decoding capability and Multichannel Analog output connections. (not all players do, so check before you buy!)

Pair this with any Receiver that has multichannel analog inputs.

Each channel is transferred through a single standard RCA cable. So for a 5.1 setup, you would need 6 single RCA cables.(for 7.1 setup you would need 8).

Also, If it cannot be decoded by the player, then you will not hear that specific codec. For example, the Sony BD-S1 can internally decode Dolby TrueHD. But it cannot decode Dts-HD Master. So with the multichannel analog connection, you could hear TrueHD but not Dts-HD Master (only the "core").

NOTE: You may (?) need to do an additional calibration to your speakers as this route can potentially bypass your Receivers automatic calibartion system. Speaker configuration can be found in the Players system settings.


HDMI



Using an HDMI connection is more simple in that it only requires one single cable. But there are some speedbumps (if you will) to its use.

First, you can transfer Lossless audio over an HDMI cable in either Linear PCM or Bitstream format.

In order to utilize Linear PCM through HDMI...you must have an HDMI v1.1 (or higher) Receiver that accepts HDMI audio. Also your Player must be able to decode the formats Internally. Everything that can, will be decoded inside the Player first and sent to the Receiver. It will also be displayed as "PCM" or "Multichannel" on the Receiver.


Bitstream through HDMI is a little trickier as it requires that you have all hdmi v1.3 connections. The Player must be HDMI v1.3 compliant and posses the ability to Bitstream the Lossless audio signal (not all players do) and you must have a Receiver that is HDMI v1.3 compliant that can decode the audio formats as well. This will be displayed on the Receiver with its natural format name...ex. "Dolby TrueHD"





Additional Info:

*List of BD Players that can Internally decode (LPCM) or send as Bitstream

*List of Bluray Movies by Audio Format

A Guide to Home Theater Audio Codecs
Have an old school receiver (non-HDMI) and want Lossless audio??
High-Def FAQ: Uncompressed vs. Lossless Audio
Wikipedia.com: Surround Sound
Dolby TrueHD
Dts HD-Master
HDMI v1.3 New Capabilities
HDMI.org : FAQ's
Get uncompressed PCM 5.1/7.1 audio from your PS3!
High-Def FAQ: Blu-ray and HD DVD Audio Explained
Audio and the PS3




Last edited by crackinhedz; 09-22-2011 at 03:56 AM.
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:41 AM   #2
crackinhedz crackinhedz is offline
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Quote:
So if I have a 1.3 compliant player (BD-30) and 1.3 compliant receiver (soon...Yamaha RX 863) will any old HDMI cable work or do I need a 1.3 compliant cable too?
Thats a good question...and I'll answer by saying that most any "category 2" rated cable should be sufficient. Cables that are labeled 1.3 do so mainly to attract new business. Its more marketing gimmick than actual performance guarantee. But in any case, HDMI cables can be found for a great price...so if you want the 1.3 branding just to give you piece of mind, its not a problem and won't break the bank.

I buy my cables from Monoprice.com and have heard excellent recommendations for Bluejeanscable.com.


Last edited by crackinhedz; 03-05-2008 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:43 AM   #3
Alaskankaijudude Alaskankaijudude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crackinhedz View Post
Thats a good question...and I'll answer by saying that most any "category 2" rated cable should be sufficient. Cables that are labeled 1.3 do so mainly to attract new business. Its more marketing gimmick than actual performance guarantee. But in any case, HDMI cables can be found for a great price...so if you want the 1.3 brand just to give you piece of mind, its not a problem.

I buy my cables from Monoprice.com and have heard excellent recommendations for Bluejeanscable.com.

And since we're only talking audio here, the TV itself has nothing to do with 1.3? Is that correct? Thanx for the great info.
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:54 AM   #4
crackinhedz crackinhedz is offline
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Quote:
And since we're only talking audio here, the TV itself has nothing to do with 1.3? Is that correct?
No, The TV does not have to be v1.3
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:24 PM   #5
sj001 sj001 is offline
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Very nice Hedz!

Thanks for posting that, now we can point people to this thread.
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:43 PM   #6
Brian Cash Brian Cash is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crackinhedz View Post
The PS3 internally decodes which means you have to have it on Linear PCM.
ok so do i have to set any settings on my receiver cause my living room setup was proffesionally installed with the 905 and it sounds great but i just ordered the 705 for my bedroom with klipsch bookshelf speakers for front and back and a klipsch center and the ps3 for the blu player but not really sure how to hook everything up settings wise when it comes to get the same sound i get in my livingroom
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:48 PM   #7
crackinhedz crackinhedz is offline
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your Receiver (705) should be set properly right out of the box.
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:49 PM   #8
Brian Cash Brian Cash is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crackinhedz View Post
your Receiver (705) should be set properly right out of the box.
Awesome thanks for all of your help once again and great post
"I'm glad you aren't dead"

Sharp LC46D64U, Sharp LC65D93U, Sony KDL-52XBR3, Samsung HP-T4254, Ps3 40gb n 60gb, Xbox 360, Onkyo TX-NR905, Onkyo TX-SR605, Klipsch Icon Series, Klipsch Synergy Series Quintet III

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Old 03-05-2008, 06:23 PM   #9
bicclick2002 bicclick2002 is offline
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Question Question

I know this is ridiculous but I still don't quite understand what the settings for my PS3 should be

I have my PS3 set to Bitstream with an optical cable running from the PS3 to my Logitech Z-5500 Digital surround sound. Are these the correct settings or should I set it to Linear PCM?

I think I'm going to read your post a couple more times to fully grasp this idea. . .

Quote:
So what is the right setup??

Before I go any further, I would like to note that Optical and Digital Coaxial cables are insufficient and will only transmit 2.0 PCM audio. In other words, only stereo...they are not capable of delivering Lossless 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound.

**If you are using an Optical cable or Digital Coax cable, you should have your Player set to Bitstream to avoid any issues.

The only way to hear 5.1/7.1 Uncompressed PCM, Dolby TrueHD & Dts-HD Master is to use either an HDMI or Multichannel Analog cable.
I understand this. . . but how is it that I feel like I hear better sound quality on movies with DTS-HD Master, and yet I am technically not supposed to hear a difference? Is it just my imagination? Is DTS-HD Master somehow backwards compatible? Cuz I swear I can hear a difference, but my Logitech receiver only has the dts mark on it.
Gateway FHD2400 24" 1080p LCD
Logitech Z-5500 Digital 5.1 Surround
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Blu-ray Movies: 50+
PlayStation 3 Games: 6
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Last edited by bicclick2002; 03-05-2008 at 06:32 PM. Reason: further questioning
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:37 PM   #10
crackinhedz crackinhedz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicclick2002 View Post
I have my PS3 set to Bitstream with an optical cable running from the PS3 to my Logitech Z-5500 Digital surround sound. Are these the correct settings or should I set it to Linear PCM?
Bitstream.



Quote:
how is it that I feel like I hear better sound quality on movies with DTS-HD Master, and yet I am technically not supposed to hear a difference? Is it just my imagination? Is DTS-HD Master somehow backwards compatible?
Dts-HD Master is fully backwards compatible with any and all Dts decoders.

"with the introduction of new higher capacity high definition optical disc media, consumers will be able to experience the DTS core at a full 1.5 Mbps, resulting in an immediate improvement in sound quality; clearer, fuller and more dynamic."
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:41 PM   #11
TrojanGuy TrojanGuy is offline
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Default PCM versus bitstream

Let me see if I can answer my own question. If I have a BD without TrueHD or DTS-HD, I might as well keep my Samsung 1400 bitstream settings, or stay with PCM and just use my analog outputs and decide which format to use via the disc's audio options as presented.

However, if I have a BD with Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD and since my Samsung 1400 player is capable of decoding these formats, I should set my Samsung 1400 player for PCM and go thru the analog outputs.

Finally, because some say there is a rolloff of LFE in trueHD or DTS-HD, I should compensate by boosting the LFE output by about 4 to 10 db.

How did I do?
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:49 PM   #12
crackinhedz crackinhedz is offline
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Trojan, what receiver are you using?
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:10 PM   #13
TrojanGuy TrojanGuy is offline
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Default 1997 Yamaha TOTL

Older near-top of the line Yamaha from 1997. Can't get the model number now, can post that info later. Very forward-thinking, Yamaha included analog 5.1 inputs for "future audio formats". They were probably thinking DVD-audio.

The receiver can decode Dolby Digital and DTS via the coax and optical inputs. If I play a TrueHD BD via the coax connection, I am pretty certain the Yamaha downconverts to a standard Dolby signal (Dolby Digital or DTS is displayed on front panel).

Listening to 30 Days of Night without the center channel cable being attached all the way (an earlier series of posts I made in this forum), I was blown away with the TrueHD sound field, I guess you would call it. Taking away the center channel allowed me to marvel at the ambient capabilities of TrueHD.

Many thanks for your advice. You clearly are a Jedi master at this stuff, and my Luke skills need upgrading. I am running a Panasonic 750 58" plasma via a Monster HDMI cable (thanks to your post, I now know I overpaid for that HDMI cable) to the Samsung BDP1400. Am salivating at this new crop of HDMI-capable home theater receivers, Onkyo's in particular, but will have to wait for quite some time before I can plunge more $$ into HD.

Last edited by TrojanGuy; 03-05-2008 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:13 PM   #14
Kuraudo Kuraudo is offline
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So how do I choose between DTS master and Dolby True HD?
The difference is 24.5Mbps on DTS vs 18 on Dolby?
Anything else?

What sound should I Set on my BD discs out to my ps3
on optical? (no hdmi on that receiver)
for best sound?
..at least until I get a newer receiver.
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:21 PM   #15
crackinhedz crackinhedz is offline
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Well trojan...until you get a newer Receiver, I think your best listening option is using Multichannel Analog. As for adjusting the LFE channel? This could fall into three categories as to why you would need to adjust the LFE...

1. Everything plays together fine and no adjustment is needed.
2. The Receiver outputs the LFE channel +/- (X)dB than normal.
3. The Player outputs the LFE channel +/- (X)dB than normal

Most likely they will play fine together, or the Player outputs at a higher or lower level. But can be adjusted for thankfully.

but in any case, it would probably be wise to give your setup an SPL Meter calibration.
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:24 PM   #16
crackinhedz crackinhedz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuraudo View Post
What sound should I Set on my BD discs out to my ps3
on optical? (no hdmi on that receiver)
for best sound?
Make sure the PS3 optical is set to Bitstream, and select any audio track you want. But remember, Uncompressed PCM tracks will only play in stereo through the Optical cable.
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:41 PM   #17
bicclick2002 bicclick2002 is offline
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Wink Great Info!

crackinhedz, I've really got to thank you! I kind of gave up on finding out the differences / pros and cons of Bitstream vs Linear PCM. (in general and specifically for my set up).

I'm glad I have all of that figured out! But I have another question if you will. . . if I have the option of listening to standard Dobly Digital vs Uncompressed PCM which would sound better? This is how I understand it. Since optical only passes 2.0 PCM it would have higher quality audio, but wouldn't be true surround. But if I use the Dobly Digital it would be in surround but would also be of lower sound quality. Correct?

One last question. As far as my ears can tell, TrueHD is not backwards compatible with older Dobly Digital receivers / products, in my case, Dobly Digital Pro Logic II. Is this true?
Gateway FHD2400 24" 1080p LCD
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:44 PM   #18
SDon1969 SDon1969 is offline
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Crackin', I've seen a lot of your threads (here and at other places, too) on audio and they all seem very well done and helpful. I will be looking up your threads and maybe consulting you when I finally can afford a new receiver to compliment my blu-rays. I am short on funds so I am thinking of getting the Onkyo 605 (just under $400, free shipping), any drawbacks to that receiver? I won't be able to afford speakers & a subwoofer right away, so I'll have to use the ones I currently have (Sony HTiB crapola).
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:52 PM   #19
crackinhedz crackinhedz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicclick2002 View Post
if I have the option of listening to standard Dobly Digital vs Uncompressed PCM which would sound better? This is how I understand it. Since optical only passes 2.0 PCM it would have higher quality audio, but wouldn't be true surround. But if I use the Dobly Digital it would be in surround but would also be of lower sound quality. Correct?
Correct. Uncompressed PCM would be far better in quality (give it a listen) but only in stereo, so you would be missing out on the surround.

Standard dolby gives you the surround, but at a loss to quality.

Quote:
As far as my ears can tell, TrueHD is not backwards compatible with older Dobly Digital receivers / products, in my case, Dobly Digital Pro Logic II. Is this true?
www.Dolby.com

S/PDIF Connection

"If your A/V receiver or processor has neither multichannel analog or digital inputs, but is equipped with 5.1-channel Dolby Digital decoding and playback, you will still be able to enjoy 5.1-channel performance from next-generation optical players. Included within 7.1-channel multichannel Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD streams is a core 5.1 mix..."

"In many instances, the audio quality you will experience from this connection may be better than what you would experience during playback of standard-definition DVD-Video discs, especially if the native signal on the disc is Dolby TrueHD or high-bit-rate Dolby Digital Plus. This is a direct result of a higher-quality source signal feeding a Dolby Digital encoder running at 640 kbps—higher than the maximum bit rate on DVD-Video."

Last edited by crackinhedz; 03-05-2008 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 03-05-2008, 09:40 PM   #20
Ranger-R Ranger-R is offline
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Ok, In the beggining of the thread,

Bitstream sends raw to Reciever
LPCM decodes in player

So which is better? Do I want my PS3 doing all the work or my VSX94TXH Elite doing the work?, HDMI connection ofcourse.

especially with all these pcm bd titles and a few 7.1pcm titles.
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