Benefits of newer codecs for 5.1

Ed Gayton

Novice Member
I have a 5.1 system and I'm not interested in adding any more speakers. Is there any benefit to changing my amp so I can get all the new surround sound standards? Or are they only of benefit with the extra speakers? Would an amp with auto calibration be an improvement over me and a sound meter?

I have an Arcam AVR300 fed analogue audio from an Oppo105D and I'm not sure where to go next given that my amp won't do HDMI.

Any thoughts welcome.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Which speakers and subwoofer you own to get better idea of your system?

If you watch lot of bluray movies then you would get the support for lossless hd audio; Dolby TrueHD / DTD HD MA. Also for streaming of movies Dolby Digital Plus. Sadly your receiver is stuck on the lossy (compressed) Dolby Digital/DTS = DVD era. Need hdmi connection for all of the new ones.

It`s not just a mic auto setup, the new products have room correction systems so certainly audible differences for speakers/subwoofers. Arcam uses Dirac Live, but the unit costs over 3000£ (AVR20) which would be closely comparable what you have now, you would need laptop pc/mac to tweak it and there is lot of things you can do. However there is cheaper models coming with the same Dirac at end of year or early 2022 from Onkyo and Pioneer. Then you have also Denon X4700H / Marantz SR7015 roughly 1400-1600£ mark after little chat and Yamaha RX-A4A at 1300£ or A6A at 2300£. In the near 3k£ range you also have NAD T778 and Anthem MRX units.

Ideally you would get cheap Amazon Basics hdmi cable and get one of the new units for home trial to see what you think.
 

Ed Gayton

Novice Member
Thanks for your answer. I think the Oppo can handle some of the newer formats so maybe I'm already enjoying those. I've got it doing the decoding and sending an analogue signal to the Arcam.

The rest of my system is Acoustic Energy Aelite 5.1 speakers and an Optoma HD141x projector.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your answer. I think the Oppo can handle some of the newer formats so maybe I'm already enjoying those. I've got it doing the decoding and sending an analogue signal to the Arcam.

The rest of my system is Acoustic Energy Aelite 5.1 speakers and an Optoma HD141x projector.

But you are using optical cable for the connection?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
No, I'm using 6 channel analogue outs from the Oppo, with the Oppo using its DAC.
Ok then it could be possible with correct settings, perhaps some other member is more familiar with this. If this is the case that you get hd audio then i would think carefully is it worth the receiver change as you don´t need Atmos/DTS:X or any new streaming features, more processing etc.

The Arcam unit must sound very good, but there is no room correction to battle some room modes which in the low frequency range can´t be fixed alone with room treatments either, well not as effectively. However for subwoofer you can buy external box called Antimode 8033 Cinema from bkelec.com if you feel the sub doesn´t sound as controlled as it should. It will cost little over 200£. It´s basically plug&play device with mic so it will play test tones and flattens the in-room response. However if you would buy new at least 1k£ receiver then this isn´t needed.

I see you have this 1900£ system: -Acoustic Energy Aelite 5.1 Cinema System
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
Your Oppo gives you the lossless Blu-ray formats (Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master) over the analogue outputs and as you only have 5 speakers you‘re not going to be capable of Atmos.

The only “newer codec” you’ll therefore be missing out on is Dolby Digital Plus which is used by major streaming services. This needs an HDMI connection (optical cannot carry it) into the AVR so you won’t have it. DD+ is a more bandwidth efficient compressed format that plain vanilla DD but is capable of using higher bit-rates and supporting 7.1 and even Atmos metadata. At the moment though the bitrates used by Netflix and Amazon don’t seem any higher than standard DVD so they’re not yet making the most of the format but in time this is likely to change and we can expect to receive lossless type audio quality at some point.

in summary, you’re not really missing out on anything at the moment given your 5.1 speaker set-up but higher quality audio streams should be coming at some point and then you might benefit from an AVR upgrade. That said, you could save yourself some money and just buy a high end 10 year old AVR with 5.1 analogue inputs and HDMI to take advantage of this.
 
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Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Room Correction is like many other options in the world of music and movie reproduction - you either agree with it or disable it, and once you agree with it you can then argue about which 'room correction' system suits you best!

When you go into an AVR as a multi-channel analogue signal you often have limited or no ability to then apply room correction as it only applies to Digital (HDMI, Optical, Coaxial) source signals, which would then mean you ditch the analogue Output of your OPPO BD Player and hand the digital signal over to the AVR to process.

The AVR300 is/was a very decent option - though lacks many of the bells and whistles a more 'modern' design will incorporate.

Your speaker system offers great performance for the money, though can be bettered, and your AVR will deliver 'better' quality if you improve the speakers.

The Front LCR are the predominant channels in any movie mix and the Front LR carry everything if you are playing music (with the Sub disengaged).

If you have the option to home trial a step up in Front LCR performance I would do that.

Joe
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Your Oppo gives you the lossless Blu-ray formats (Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master) over the analogue outputs and as you only have 5 speakers you‘re not going to be capable of Atmos.

The only “newer codec” you’ll therefore be missing out on is Dolby Digital Plus which is used by major streaming services. This needs an HDMI connection (optical cannot carry it) into the AVR so you won’t have it. DD+ is a more bandwidth efficient compressed format that plain vanilla DD but is capable of using higher bit-rates and supporting 7.1 and even Atmos metadata. At the moment though the bitrates used by Netflix and Amazon don’t seem any higher than standard DVD so they’re not yet making the most of the format but in time this is likely to change and we can expect to receive lossless type audio quality at some point.

in summary, you’re not really missing out on anything at the moment given your 5.1 speaker set-up but higher quality audio streams should be coming at some point and then you might benefit from an AVR upgrade. That said, you could save yourself some money and just buy a high end 10 year old AVR with 5.1 analogue inputs and HDMI to take advantage of this.

Good room correction would still make big difference especially below room transit frequency where the room modes are messing the sound. Below the transition frequency, the measured response is mostly determined by the room. Above, the speakers mostly determine the response. Read the below link at least ~5 steps of those if not familiar, they are written so easy to understand. You can´t tackle these as effectively with room treatments either. Naturally he would get eq for subwoofer aswell. I think most people go wrong they try to correct full range as that can be hit or miss, this is also what Floyd Toole doesn´t recommend. Luckily you can limit the correction with all receivers these days, also Yamaha has come with new mode that limits it to 250hz.


Of course it would be quite expensive route to update the receiver to similar quality Arcam. And there is also the question of better speakers as Joe mentioned.
 

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