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Bitstream vs LPCM

Foster1984

Well-known Member
I have a query. :suicide:

I am currently running my surround sound through my PS3, outputting the HD audio formats in LPCM via HDMI to my Denon AVR1909. But am looking at changing to a dedicated Blu-ray player :D such as the Sony S350 or Pana BD50, which can output HD formats as LPCM or Bitstream (Except for DTS-MA on the Sony).

What I want to know is which will give me the best audio experiance LPCM or Bitstream (and how would this affect the DTS-MA on the Sony)? :lease:
 

blackpants

Active Member
From what I understand. You will get no advantage by outputting a signal from the BD player for decoding by the receiver than you would by decoding the audio in the ps3 and outputting pcm to the receiver. The only difference is that the amp would display the name of the stream it is decoding rather than stating it is receiving pcm multichannel.

Save your money and buy some films...
 

McFaber

Well-known Member
Apart from seeing the Hi-Def audio(DD-True/DTS HD-MA) on your amp, very little....
It's only when you go to the more expensive brands, you might be able to differentiate between the two, but lower down the scale where we mere mortals are, there is little difference, if any...
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
Another point to note is profile 1.1 and 2.0 actually specify decoding at source, i.e.LCPM or analogue out. This allows sound mixing for the special features. Using Bitstream will mean you'd miss out on that (may be a none issue though)
 

Foster1984

Well-known Member
The main reason for me wanting to upgrade is that I have read that the picture and sound quality generated by the standalone players is superior to the PS3 (I have the 60gb,if that makes any difference), I am unsure if there is a noticable difference though
 

TOM ALLEN

Active Member
Hi Guys, this sounds as if this will apply to me, I have a Yamaha 761 and was thinking of the Sony 550 ; would I also be wasting my money and be better off buying the Sony 350?:mad:

Cheers
 

Foster1984

Well-known Member
I looked at the 550, but couldn't really see any advantage over the 350. So I think Im going opt for that, unless I can't tell any real difference in video and sound quality from my PS3 which does do IMHO a very good job.
 

blackpants

Active Member
Try getting a friendly local store to set up a ps3 and the player you are interested in on the same TV. If you can see a difference an you think its worth the extra money then buy a standalone. If like me you can't see the difference then save your pennies.

My personal opinion is stick with the PS3.
 

Foster1984

Well-known Member
Ok, I will give that a go.

I would seem that most people think that LPCM is superior to Bitstream, which is what I really wanted to know which gave me the best sound.
 

Sgt Siff

Active Member
Another point to note is profile 1.1 and 2.0 actually specify decoding at source, i.e.LCPM or analogue out. This allows sound mixing for the special features. Using Bitstream will mean you'd miss out on that (may be a none issue though)

Interesting, i didn't know this. So you are saying that all profile 2 players will only output in LPCM?
 

eaglemmoomin

Well-known Member
Ok, I will give that a go.

I would seem that most people think that LPCM is superior to Bitstream, which is what I really wanted to know which gave me the best sound.

There really is'nt much of a technical reason for that to be true. The DACS in the amp are what finally convert the digitally encoded audio into analogue sound so any difference in the digital domain is errrrmmm mainly imaginary. I still think that the effect of clock jitter is overstated for the level of kit that most people buy (ie the kit is'nt sensitive enough to highlight it anyway). This will probably start a flame war but What Hi Fi are peddling some serious drugs right now and are making people buy gear with additional decoding features and blue lcds that say HD which are not strictly necessary, nice to have yes, needed no.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
If you bitstream you cannot access any features that bitstreaming doesn't support, specifically audio mixing. If you use LPCM you can do everything. There is accordingly only ever a need to bitstream when you use a legacy profile 1.0 source that can't do on-board decoding, but you have a receiver that can.
 

probedb

Banned
The PS3 can only decode and output LPCM as far as I'm aware, it can't send DTS-MA or Dolby-TrueHD over HDMI?

The main reason for me wanting to upgrade is that I have read that the picture and sound quality generated by the standalone players is superior to the PS3 (I have the 60gb,if that makes any difference), I am unsure if there is a noticable difference though

Audio-wise....lossless is lossless is lossless. It's still your amp doing the output not the PS3.

As for picture, well Criterion use a PS3 as their reference Blu-Ray player....
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Well, if you take DVDs in to consideration, i can see a considerable difference between letting my AVR do the decoding compared to that of the DVD player itself.

To be honest, i think there is an advantage, exactly what sense would it make to provide AVRs that decode bitsream if the player decodes it in to LPCM anyway?

And exactly who out there will have a BRD player that only supports bitstream out and not onboard decoding?
 

Mr_Sukebe

Active Member
Well, if you take DVDs in to consideration, i can see a considerable difference between letting my AVR do the decoding compared to that of the DVD player itself.

To be honest, i think there is an advantage, exactly what sense would it make to provide AVRs that decode bitsream if the player decodes it in to LPCM anyway?

And exactly who out there will have a BRD player that only supports bitstream out and not onboard decoding?

I don't think your DVD analogy is quite right.
With a BD disk, there's two key parts to the overall conversion. The first is to decode the signal into PCM. This is a bit like winzip un-zipping a file and is purely a digital process. The second element is to convert that decoded digital file into analogue audio.
What you're talking about with the Arcam, is which unit does the digital to analogue conversion correctly. Withe BD, we're talking about where that digital decoding happens.
I have to say that I see no logical reason why it should make any difference whether the source does that digital decode, or whether the amp does it. It is after all a purely digital process.
 

mackie1

Active Member
Yup, regardless of which end does the decoding the DACs in the amp will be getting the same bits and bytes to convert to analog. With lossy encoding it would be possible to have discrepancies between the DVD player and the amp as the amp may apply superior processing to the decoded stream. In the lossless high resolution world this just isn't needed.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Actually it makes no sense for the AVR to decode, and the original intention was indeed that only the Bluray player would do HD decoding. But onboard HD decoding was optional as there was a format war going on, so getting a player to market was more important than getting HD sound to work. Provided an HD player could stream DVD audio streams (DD and dts), the player would play...

However, certain AVR manufacturers play the feature game. "We decode HD formats" was a selling point. "Nobody currently sends it" was kept quiet. So the player manufacturers scrambled to added HD streaming (HDMI 1.3 added the necessary standards), since it was cheap to do and an important selling point.

Since onboard player decoding costs money and most modern receivers already do HD decoding, there are quite a lot of players that don't include onboard HD decoding. of course, this merely servers to perpetuates the belief that an A/V amp must have on-board decoding, and of course all owners of players without on-board decoding want this feature in their A/V amp.

The DVD analogy fails, as very few DVD players are capable of streaming decoded LPCM over HDMI. Optical and coax are spec'ed with insufficient bandwidth, so DVD players have to stream DVD's audio formats anyway.
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
Lots of smoke and mirrors here. Plenty of AV dealers will say the PS3 is inferior for video, that bitstream is better than LPCM as it's decoded "in the AV receiver which is higher quality". But in my experience, there is NO difference in video quality for BD between the PS3 and any BD player, and there is NO difference in audio between LPCM and Bitstream.

It's all nonsense. Your room will have far greater impact on sound than any miniscule difference between bitstream/LPCM, and your ears aren't that realiable anyway. There are only 3 reasons to go to a standalone from a PS3:

1. You don't like the look of the PS3
2. You don't like the fan noise (which was my reason for buying a standalone, although I think I had a noisy one!)
3. You'll feel better for seeing the "Dolby TrueHD" and "DTS MA" logos light up on your amp

If none of the above three both you, keep the PS3, buy more movies and enjoy :thumbsup:
 

boardingdan

Active Member
Lots of smoke and mirrors here. Plenty of AV dealers will say the PS3 is inferior for video, that bitstream is better than LPCM as it's decoded "in the AV receiver which is higher quality". But in my experience, there is NO difference in video quality for BD between the PS3 and any BD player, and there is NO difference in audio between LPCM and Bitstream.

It's all nonsense. Your room will have far greater impact on sound than any miniscule difference between bitstream/LPCM, and your ears aren't that realiable anyway. There are only 3 reasons to go to a standalone from a PS3:

1. You don't like the look of the PS3
2. You don't like the fan noise (which was my reason for buying a standalone, although I think I had a noisy one!)
3. You'll feel better for seeing the "Dolby TrueHD" and "DTS MA" logos light up on your amp

If none of the above three both you, keep the PS3, buy more movies and enjoy :thumbsup:

Amen:thumbsup: I'm there with you on this one.
 

syfodyas

Active Member
Lots of smoke and mirrors here. Plenty of AV dealers will say the PS3 is inferior for video, that bitstream is better than LPCM as it's decoded "in the AV receiver which is higher quality". But in my experience, there is NO difference in video quality for BD between the PS3 and any BD player, and there is NO difference in audio between LPCM and Bitstream.

I take it you have compared the video quality of the PS3 with every stand alone unit on the market? No I didnt think so.

Many professional reviews are mentioning the noticable difference between the BDP-S350 and PS3 for blu-ray - i.e the 350 has a sharper, more superior picture.

There are only 3 reasons to go to a standalone from a PS3:

1. You don't like the look of the PS3
2. You don't like the fan noise (which was my reason for buying a standalone, although I think I had a noisy one!)
3. You'll feel better for seeing the "Dolby TrueHD" and "DTS MA" logos light up on your amp
:


There are 3 reasons NOT to buy a PS3

1) You dont want a games machine to run your movies

2) You want to save £100

3) Its nice to see "true HD" and "DTS MA" on your amp rather than fumbling your way through a sixaxis just to verify what audio is being output to your speakers
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
I take it you have compared the video quality of the PS3 with every stand alone unit on the market? No I didnt think so.


Read my post again. "In my experience" is exactly that, and I've seen several BluRay players, a standalone AND a PS3 (and I've done comparisons side by side), and I can say that in my experience there is NO difference.

There are 3 reasons NOT to buy a PS3

1) You dont want a games machine to run your movies

2) You want to save £100

3) Its nice to see "true HD" and "DTS MA" on your amp rather than fumbling your way through a sixaxis just to verify what audio is being output to your speakers

Read my post and the OP's question again. He already has a PS3. The question is whether it's worth changing from a PS3 to a standalone, not if it's worth buying a PS3 or not.

As for fumbling through the sixaxis, you need to press one button. A bit like on a standalone remote really ;)

Don't get me wrong, the PS3 isn't the be-all-and-end-all of BluRay players, but I believe it's ALOT better than many dealers make out (stands to reason as they need to sell standalone BD players)
 
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Red55555555

Active Member
So in conclusion, it is better to LPCM the Bitstream , or not :confused: :D , i have a ps3 which i am using as my Hd player outputting lpcm, now thats ok for Hd audio, but what about DVD's, is it better to bitstream or leave it on LPCM when playing a DVD movie?
 

Foster1984

Well-known Member
Reading what some magazines say, alot say for HD audio LPCM is better, but if listening to DD and DTS bitstreaming is better.
Have yet to test this out mind.
 

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