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FAQ: Setting up a PS3 to an Onkyo amp

Discussion in 'Integrated Amplifiers & Receivers' started by Rom, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    As this seems to be the most asked about/problematic area in the setup of HD sources I thought I would write a little explanation and guide to setting up these items to get the full experience.

    If the mods wanted to make this a sticky or anyone has things to add or correct, please feel free.

    The following is assuming a PS3 and a 605 amp. It is relevant to the higher end amps but the menu options may be different. I can only speak for the hardware I have. OK here goes.....

    First a bit of background knowledge on the connections and audio formats:

    Optical connector (sometimes called TOSLINK)
    This connection has limited bandwidth and can only supply
    Dolby Digital (Bitstream)
    DTS (Bitstream)
    PCM (2 channel stereo)

    HDMI connector (in brackets is the minimum revision of HDMI needed for that format)
    Dolby Digital (Bitstream 1.1)
    DTS (Bitstream 1.1)
    Dolby Digital plus (Bitstream 1.3)
    Dolby TrueHD (Bitstream 1.3)
    DTS HD (Bitstream 1.3)
    PCM Multichannel (1.1)

    Ok, from the above list you can see that HDMI can do a lot more than optical. So, surely this is the best way to go, correct?

    A little bit about PCM (and LPCM) and bitstream.
    PCM stands for (Linear) Pulse code modulation. This is an uncompressed stream of audio. As it is uncompressed, a lot of information is sent along your interconnect cables. This is why the limited bandwidth of an optical connection only allows a stereo PCM signal to be carried.

    Bitstream is a compressed signal (sometime lossless, sometimes lossy). This is why a bitstream 5.1 signal can be sent over optical. Because it is compressed, effectively more information can be sent. However, even compressed, optical cannot handle the new HD formats as they still exceed the optical connections limits.

    Now, for bitstream to end up coming out of your speakers it has to be de-compressed. This can happen in your player or in your amp. The difference? Well, if you decode in the amp it will tell you which format it is decoding and outputting. If it is decoded by your player, the amp is only getting uncompressed sound, it does not know what compression method was used (DolbyTrueHD, DTS HD etc). This is why, when you decode the audio in a player the amp will only show 'Multich' and the pretty lights on the amp will not light up.

    Ok, got that, so what should I use on my PS3?
    Well, here is the issue. HDMI is the best (looking at the above comparison) for carrying the sound. So, you only need the PS3's HDMI cable connected to your amp. However, there is an issue with the 'fat' PS3 and bitstream. It cannot send any HD audio format bitstream via HDMI - it just doesn't do it. Some say it is due to a custom HDMI design in the PS3 that doesn't allow it, some say Sony just haven't bothered and it can be updated in firmware. Who knows? All we know is, it doesn't at the moment so that option is out. And optical is out as that by design cannot.

    The new 'slim' PS3 CAN now bitstream HD audio (the 'fat' PS3 still cannot).

    Now, the PS3 can decode all of the audio formats (standard and HD) and send via PCM.

    Right, so what do I need to set the PS3 and Onkyo to for the 'best' solution?
    So, from above we can deduce that HDMI and PCM (in the case of the fat PS3) is the best option. To do this do the following:

    Turn on the amp and select the source that your PS3 is connected to (DVD, Gam/TV etc)
    Turn on your PS3

    On the fat PS3:-
    Select Sound Settings
    Select HDMI
    Select AUTO
    Check that all the DD, DTS and a number of PCM (all the way up to 7.1) are ticked.
    Save the settings
    Go to the BD/DVD settings
    Select audio output format as PCM and save the settings.

    On the slim PS3:-
    Select Sound Settings
    Select HDMI
    Select AUTO
    Check that all the DD, DTS and a number of PCM (all the way up to 7.1) are ticked.
    Save the settings
    Go to the BD/DVD settings
    Select audio output format as bitstream and save the settings.

    On the Onkyo:
    Press Setup
    Select Input/Output Assign -> HDMI Input
    Go to the line for the source that you want the PS3 to appear on and set it to the HDMI socket that you plugged the PS3's HDMI cable into (IN1 or IN2).
    Press return
    Select Digital Input
    Check that the input you assigned your HDMI to (above) states 'HDMI'
    Press setup

    All done!

    OK, done that but what if I want the amp to decode where the PS3 can send bitstream
    It seems some people would like the amp to decode when the PS3 can send bitstream (only on DD and DTS soundtracks on the fat PS3). To do this:

    Bring up the 'media player' settings whilst playing a disc; Press the triangle button on the controller or whatever button it is on your particular remote control for the PS3.
    Move to the line one up from the bottom and the icon that is a square with 2 lines with circles on them (titled 'AV Settings'), press 'X'
    Move to the bottom option (saying PCM).
    press 'X'
    move up and down to select between bitstream and PCM.
    Press 'X'
    if you get a message telling you that some audio will not be played correctly on bitstream, press 'X' to clear the message
    Press 'O' twice.

    Note that on the fat PS3 bitstream should only be selected when playing standard DVDs or BD discs with only standard Dolby Digital or DTS tracks. If you want to play DolbyTrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus you must select PCM in the above settings to get the full benefit of these HD audio tracks. The slim PS3 can send all formats bitstream so leave the bitstram setting on all of the time - no need to change!

    Just a point to note: As explained above, because the PS3 is decoding the audio if set to PCM, you will only see 'Multich' on the display of the amp. This is because the amp does not know what the original format of the audio was, it just sees the channels it is receiving. However, you are getting the best sound possible from the PS3 according to the audio track you select on the disc that you are playing.

    There is one point to mention on the 605: There is a setting to allow the 605 to send your sound to the TV. This can be set to ON or OFF. I recommend that you leave it to OFF when you are listening to the soundtrack through your speakers. This is because, when set to ON, the amp will downmix that lovely 5.1 or 7.1 audio to stereo (as it thinks your TV can only output stereo). Onkyo confirmed to me that this is the case (this is verbatim so excuse the grammar):

    To toggle this setting:

    Press setup
    Hardware Setup -> HDMI -> HDMI Audio Out
    'ON' sends audio to the TV, 'OFF' sends no audio to the TV.
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    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  2. Kryptix

    Kryptix Active Member

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    Cheers mate. This will be helpful to direct people to when asking the same question over and over. :rotfl:
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  3. tommyb1

    tommyb1 Member

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    That is absolutely brilliant!

    I've just bought an Onkyo 875 - and I've found that information really really helpful!

    I hope people appreciate the time you've taken to start this thread!

    Once again - thank you. Great forum!

    Tom:clap:
  4. tvmonkey

    tvmonkey Member

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    I'd personally only have it set to Linear PCM if i was trying to listen to Dolby True HD and DTS HD (i.e when watching Blu Ray), otherwise i'd have it set to Bitstream as the onboard decoder on the Onkyo amp is better than the onboard on the PS3. It takes two seconds to change this using the pop up menu (triangle button) and going to AV settings, you can change between the two.

    Generally i leave it on Bitstream as i have more DVDs than Blu Ray and i only change it to Linear PCM if i pop in a Blu Ray.

    :smashin:
  5. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    Personally I cannot tell the difference between the player or the amp decoding. If it is as simple as say 'unzipping' a file on a PC it would be like having a quad core unzipping and an old pentium unzipping - the end result is the same, an uncompressed 'file'.

    If you feel you get better output from the amp decoding then go for it. I personally can't be bothered continually going into the PS3 settings to change the output all the time.

    My HD DVD player automatically switches to bitstream if it can send it, I just wish that Sony would implement this in the PS3.
  6. mattkhan

    mattkhan Active Member

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    it isn't as simple as that for traditional DD & DTS and the decoder does make a difference. The difference is quite noticeable in my system, this is with an 805 though so it's entirely possible that the gap between a PS3 & 605 is closer.

    Cheers
    Matt
  7. ttdriver

    ttdriver Member

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    Great thread!

    Quick question though....

    Could you connect the PS3 with an optical cable and HDMI and have them running at the same time so that when a standard DVD is playing you get the amp decoding the signal and when playing a Blur-ray with an HD audi track the player does the decoding?
  8. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    You have no need to do that. The HDMI can carry bitstream DD & DTS as well, you just need to change the BD/DVD settings on the PS3 to bitstream (as tvmonkey posted). Optical is totally unneeded.
  9. ttdriver

    ttdriver Member

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    Ah but does that not mean that the PS3 does all the decoding? The reason I asked about running the HDMI and the optical is so the amp can take care of the decoding where possible as it is (meant to be) better quality. I.E DD and DTS running through optical and decoded by the amp and HD audio through HDMI, decoded by the PS3
  10. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    No, it has nothing to do with the connection you use to indicate what does the decoding. You tell the PS3 whether to decode or not using the BD/DVD settings audio out option. Set it to bitstream, the amp decodes,. Set it to PCM, the PS3 decodes. It doesn't matter whether it is over optical or HDMI.
  11. ttdriver

    ttdriver Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to explain that mate :smashin:

    So I just need to flick between Bitstream and PCM depending on what audio track is needed. I only asked as I want the best quality possible and obviously using the amp (where possible) tends to yield this result.

    Dave
  12. drashp

    drashp Member

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    Am I misremembering but I thought there was an issue (bug?) with leaving the PS3 always on PCM for everything as it then only outputs 2 channel and not multi channel for either DD or DTS. Or is it the other way around? - leaving it always on bitstream it *should* switch to pcm when necessary for BD discs but then only switches to 2 channel not multi channel for one of the HD formats.

    I've looked but damned if I can find where I read this.
  13. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    If you leave the 'HDMI Audio out' set to 'ON' it will go to 2 channel. If you leave it on bitstream and play HD tracks it will downmix the audio.

    I think you may be thinking if you leave on bitstream and play a PCM track on a BD it will play PCM (as there is nothing to decode)?
  14. garyrh

    garyrh Member

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    Hi
    Still a bit confused here, if you go to page, i think 6,7,8 on the 875 owners page they have done some testing with Casino Royale, and all are saying the sound is much better with the Ps3 set to Bitstream, and there is some set up solutions for you to look at,
    i for one would love to have the correct settings so i can sit back and enjoy.

    gary
  15. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    You will only get normal DD/DTS from bitstream as the PS3 can only pass DD, DTS or DTS HD 'core' (DTS at 1.5mbit) via bitstream. Not sure as to how this can sound better than a PCM or DolbyTrueHD track which is lossless, not lossy like DD etc.
  16. garyrh

    garyrh Member

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    Rom
    Thanks for that, when playing the Spider Man 3 which is DolbyTrue H.D am i right in thinking the the amp will read Multichanal, not DolbyTrue H.D.
  17. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    Yes Gary, that's correct. You can check what the PS3 it outputting by pressing the 'display' button on the PS3. It should say 'Audio track Dolby True HD' and 'audio output PCM' (or words to that effect, I can't remember the exact words).
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  18. garyrh

    garyrh Member

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    Thanks
    just one other question getting a lot of Lip Sync problems on Sky, Judder with picture, got the amp set on Enabled for Lip Sync, also the Sky settings i have tried to alter in set up, should they both be adjusted or just the amp, Sky .HD seems to be ok, Sky HD set up with HDMI cable to AMP also OPTICAL to AMP.
  19. Stoke192

    Stoke192 Member

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    Great thread :thumbsup:

    Just set up my PS3 on my shiney new 605.........the TrueHD audio sounds great :smashin:

    Thanks
  20. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    Hi Gary. I have the lipsync adjusted on my SkyHD box (I think it is about 80ms). Not touched the sync on the amp though. Also, I believe the 'auto lipsync' feature is only available if both 'player' and amp are HDMI 1.3a (I'm sure I will be corrected if I am wrong) - I don't think the HD box has this version of HDMI. So, manual sync is probably your only option.

    BTW, I have the HDMI from SkyHD going straight to my TV so the amp only handles the audio.
  21. Zain

    Zain Member

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    Informative thread, but I've decided to go with these settings from another thread (http://www.avforums.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=5464871) and let the 605 do the de-coding.
    Any opinions Rom?

    Thanks


  22. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    Yes, there is a major flaw in this setup:

    If you do this and leave it there you will never get the full DolbyTrueHD or DolbyDigital plus. As I stated in my original post, the PS3 cannot pass this as bitstream.

    If you read the last part of my post (toggling bitstream to PCM and vice-versa) it indicates that you can select bitstream and let your amp decode but only for standard dolby digital and DTS.

    If you select a PCM track on your BD disc, you get PCM whether the settings are bitstream or not.
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  23. garyrh

    garyrh Member

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    Rom, i will now connect the HDMI to T.V direct and leave the OPTICAL connected to the amp, from SKY, i wanted to sort this out as i did not want the amp on all the time, the guy in the shop where i bought my amp told me the only way to do this was with COMPONENT leads from SKY for VIDEO into the T.V and a SQART lead from SKY to T.V for AUDIO was not happy with that.
  24. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    Yep, that's what I have done, HDMI->TV, optical-> amp. There is no point in putting the HDMI to the amp except for switching so going direct to TV gives more flexibility.
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  25. Zain

    Zain Member

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    Thanks for that, I will adjust it accordingly.

    :smashin:

    edited to add - noticed you've posted on that thread too. nice one!
  26. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    You're welcome :smashin: Enjoy your HD audio :D
  27. oddy

    oddy Member

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    Hi guys...wondering if anyone can help me.....I have recently bought the above system..an onkyo 605 plus a ps3...but am having a problem with my surround sound....the rear back speakers aren't emmitting any sound when I play the bd....just the 3 front ones...so in effect no surround sound....

    Now it is connected to the system via hdmi....everything assigned right....
    have gone into the sound settings on the ps3 and set the hdmi to auto...which gives me all the diff sound compressions...

    when the bd is playing it gives me an audio option of 5.1dts or pcm5.1...both do not give me sound in rear satelites...and yet...i get perfect surround sound on my panasonic dvd player which is connected to the other hdmi...go figure....
    I have spent hours now going into the onkyo set up...changing things but to no avail...

    any help please wud be much appreciated....who knows if ya fix this I might buy u a pint :smashin:
    regards

    oddy
  28. protiusmime

    protiusmime Member

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    Good morning: I have been doing a LOT of reading of these forums for ideas and also help on PS3 to Onkyo setup.
    I wanted to reply to the forum to say that the latest PS3 update is 2.1. I have updated mine thus far. I am also using a SR705 Onkyo with HDMI from the PS3. I also have HDMI audio turned ON on my Samsung LNT4671F LCD. Albeit, the TV speakers I usually have muted because of headphones plugged in there. I use a full set of 7.1 Bose speakers.

    I have tried LPCM and Bitstream on my BDs. LPCM does decode and then pass all appropriate formats to the Onkyo. In this mode, the Onkyo displays multichannel. HOWEVER, my back speakers were not included... thus only 5.1 it seems. I changed to Bitstream and my Onkyo now decodes, indicates, and plays well all 7.1 with TrueHD, THX, DTS, PL2x, etc., etc.

    I think the latest Sony PS3 update did the trick for those of us who have been looking. I am very pleased with the surround audio capability of the 705.

    cheers
  29. tvmonkey

    tvmonkey Member

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    What Bose speakers do you have mate?
  30. Rom

    Rom Active Member

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    I can guarantee you are not getting TrueHD sent via bitstream as the PS3 cannot send this via bitstream (yes, even with firmware 2.1). I am sure you re seeing the Dolby Digital light appear and not the TrueHD light. You are getting 7.1 because the Onkyo is matrixing the 5.1 dolby digital stream.
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