BluRay audio - explain please

caveman38

Active Member
I need some educating.
My system is CRT, Arcam DV88, Denon AVR3801 and M&K K Series. I am in the market for a HDTV and BR player.
The BR player is my priority as Arcam is playing up. I would like to go the BR route but wouldn't if my SD DVD's don't upscale with a BR player and give as good a picture as I am used to.
I have no intention of changing the receiver (not so flush these days) and have no HDMI and therefor will need to feed the audio via DD coax.
Nevertheless I would like to know what is the difference between the DD audio I am used to and BR audio (in simple terms) and what should I look for and/or avoid when selecting my BR player.
Cheers

PS.
 

Scott_Mac

Distinguished Member
You sound like an ideal candidate for the Samsung BD-P2500.... the best audio possible over optical (rather than fudging about with analogues) and a Reon upscaler to give top notch SD DVD performance.

As for BR audio, in a nutshell it comes down to bitrates (how much data you can throw at the amp), standard DD and DTS that you have on SD DVD are limited to 668kbps and 768kbps (i believe, am a little rusty on the exact numbers) whereas the top rate ones such as DTS MA have a theoretical limit of 18Mbps - a healthy increase! Basically you get less compression (similar to a CD vs an MP3) so the quality is far improved...

In the above player you get a re-encode feature which converts ANY HD audio to maximum bitrate DTS (which is 1.5Mbps) and passes it over optical... now this may seem like not a huge hike, but the DTS MA example was indeed theoretical, i believe in practise it is more like 6Mbps actually... by not using analogues you avoid the issues of fixed bass crossovers etc and also get the benefits of all the processing and performance your amp has to offer.

For your money it is the best choice by a mile IMO... unless you feel flush in which case the Denon 3800 has a stunning analogue stage, but is the other side of £1500 :)
 

kingfats

Distinguished Member
I have no intention of changing the receiver (not so flush these days) and have no HDMI and therefor will need to feed the audio via DD coax.
.

Hi caveman38. :)
Do you have to use coaxial or is optical an option for connection?
All the best.
 

caveman38

Active Member
Hi caveman38. :)
Do you have to use coaxial or is optical an option for connection?
All the best.

I use coax from the Arcam and I use the optical from my Virgin V+ at the moment. I assume I could reverse them if it was preferred.
 

kingfats

Distinguished Member
I use coax from the Arcam and I use the optical from my Virgin V+ at the moment. I assume I could reverse them if it was preferred.

:smashin:
It all depends on what you want really and budget?
Anyway,Scotts recommendation the Samsung 2500 will actually give you an "upgrade" in sound as it Re-encodes all the HD soundtracks to max bitrate DTS over the optical :cool: so that's something to think about it.
How good was your player with DVD by the way?
 

caveman38

Active Member
:smashin:
It all depends on what you want really and budget?
Anyway,Scotts recommendation the Samsung 2500 will actually give you an "upgrade" in sound as it Re-encodes all the HD soundtracks to max bitrate DTS over the optical :cool: so that's something to think about it.
How good was your player with DVD by the way?

My Arcam is first rate although at the moment I am still on CRT. When I get the Plasma I will want a BR player that has good SD capabilities as I have hundreds of DVD's. Therefor although I am not flush, I would be prepared to spend up to £300 on a BR machine that had good SD repoduction, gave DD without a lot of fussing about because of my non HDMI receiver.
 

kingfats

Distinguished Member
My Arcam is first rate although at the moment I am still on CRT. When I get the Plasma I will want a BR player that has good SD capabilities as I have hundreds of DVD's. Therefor although I am not flush, I would be prepared to spend up to £300 on a BR machine that had good SD repoduction, gave DD without a lot of fussing about because of my non HDMI receiver.

Any region 1 DVD's? :)
 

Blu4KHD

Well-known Member
SD-DVD Bitrates

Dolby digital 384,448kbps (lasersisc did have the topnotch 640kbps variant)

DTS 768,1536kbps

All the above available through optical or coaxial connection.

Blu-Ray Bit rates

Dolby digital standard 640kbps available through optical

Dolby TrueHD anything from 3mbps up to 18mbps

DTS-HD High Resolution anything from 1.5mbps up to 6mbps

DTS-HD Master Audio anything from 6mbps up to 24mbps


The above only available through HDMI connection as bitstream or analogue from a supporting player

in which case either the Samsung 2500, Sony S550 or Panasonic BD55

all have 6 phono connection for your denon 3801 and would give you the HD audio converted by player and output as PCM to your amp
 

kingfats

Distinguished Member
Forgot to mention. Yes, loads - MR a must (for DVD's obviously)

Samsungs out then i'm afraid. :(
BD35 will keep you well under budget (optical,DD/DTS) very sound and well specced player,is also regarded as having good DVD playback. (easily hacked for region free)
But how's it going to match up to your Arcam though? because your player looks pretty good.
 
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Ian_S

Distinguished Member
Just some clarifications... ;)

Dolby Digital on Blu-ray can be up to 640kbps, some tracks are re-cycled DVD tracks at 448 kbps or worse...

DTS standard core as part of either DTS-HD High Resolution, or Master Audio can be up to 1509kbps, but again doesn't have to be, and again can be a re-cycle of DVD tracks.

DTS-HD Master Audio can be anything up to 24.5 Mbps, but you'll be lucky if you see above 6 on most film soundtracks, as the uncompressed PCM rate for 5.1 at 24 bits is about 6.9 Mbps... so given that average 3:1 compression on movie tracks is usually achieved, then you will often see really low rates on DTS-HD Master Audio, especially during quiet bits as it's variable rate.

If your Arcam is the straight DV88, and not the 88P, then it doesn't do progressive scan (perform de-interlacing) so I would seriously hope that the current Blu-ray players would do a better job with an HDTV to be fair.

If you have a lot of Region 1 DVD's, then the stand out player is the Panasonic BD35, as it will produce 24 frames per second from NTSC DVD's, which providing you get a 24p capable HDTV, will provide clear benefits. The Panasonic's are currently the only BD players to offer this facility.

With your Denon amp, I would presume it has some multi-channel analogue inputs, which, were the Panasonic DMP-BD55 still available, have made it an option as you could have tried full HD audio through your current gear, albeit with some bass management limitations. However, I think these are hard to find now.

So, if the cash is burning a hole, then the Panasonic DMP-BD35 would seem to be the best fit, plus an HDTV that supports 24p input at 1080. IF it's not burning a hole, then it might be worth holding on for a couple of months to see if the replacement Panasonic BD60 and BD80 are due soon. It really depends on whether you think HD audio over analogue is worth waiting for. If the Panasonics re-encoded to DTS like the Samsungs, I'd say probably not. If you like music content, and were expecting to buy BD music titles, then I'd say lossless is worth getting...

Hope that helps.
 

caveman38

Active Member
Just some clarifications... ;)

Dolby Digital on Blu-ray can be up to 640kbps, some tracks are re-cycled DVD tracks at 448 kbps or worse...

DTS standard core as part of either DTS-HD High Resolution, or Master Audio can be up to 1509kbps, but again doesn't have to be, and again can be a re-cycle of DVD tracks.

DTS-HD Master Audio can be anything up to 24.5 Mbps, but you'll be lucky if you see above 6 on most film soundtracks, as the uncompressed PCM rate for 5.1 at 24 bits is about 6.9 Mbps... so given that average 3:1 compression on movie tracks is usually achieved, then you will often see really low rates on DTS-HD Master Audio, especially during quiet bits as it's variable rate.

If your Arcam is the straight DV88, and not the 88P, then it doesn't do progressive scan (perform de-interlacing) so I would seriously hope that the current Blu-ray players would do a better job with an HDTV to be fair.

If you have a lot of Region 1 DVD's, then the stand out player is the Panasonic BD35, as it will produce 24 frames per second from NTSC DVD's, which providing you get a 24p capable HDTV, will provide clear benefits. The Panasonic's are currently the only BD players to offer this facility.

With your Denon amp, I would presume it has some multi-channel analogue inputs, which, were the Panasonic DMP-BD55 still available, have made it an option as you could have tried full HD audio through your current gear, albeit with some bass management limitations. However, I think these are hard to find now.

So, if the cash is burning a hole, then the Panasonic DMP-BD35 would seem to be the best fit, plus an HDTV that supports 24p input at 1080. IF it's not burning a hole, then it might be worth holding on for a couple of months to see if the replacement Panasonic BD60 and BD80 are due soon. It really depends on whether you think HD audio over analogue is worth waiting for. If the Panasonics re-encoded to DTS like the Samsungs, I'd say probably not. If you like music content, and were expecting to buy BD music titles, then I'd say lossless is worth getting...

Hope that helps.

I bow to your greater knowledge of HD audio. I must admit before today, I thought DD was digital and no different to the audio from BR discs except how it is delivered to TV or receiver ie. HDMI or coax/ optical lead.
I now realise (hopefully I understand this right) that HD audio in my case would be improved via RCA leads from BR to receiver rather than coax DD lead.
If that is the case and it is worth holding out then I will.
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
It's a shame there is no MR hack for DVD's on the Samsung 2500, as the DTS re-encode is a really good option for older amps.

One problem comes from TrueHD, as you may find yourself listening to a DD track that is identical to the DVD release with no benefit at all. Quite a few DD tracks on Blu-ray that accompany TrueHD on the same disc are 640kbps, and therefore will sound better, but, are some way from TrueHD.

DTS with it's core + extension architecture generally offers better audio for older amps with most normal DTS parts of the DTS-HD stream being full bitrate, and as such are usually double the bitrate of what you find on DVD, giving a healthy upgrade.

The 'problem' area are BD's that have an uncompressed PCM HD audio track instead of TrueHD or DTS-HD. In this case you normally have to use the supplied DD track or even stereo, as very few players will actually downmix PCM to Dolby surround compatible as it just takes too much CPU.

The Samsungs sidestep all of that by decoding TrueHD to PCM and re-encoding to 1.5mbps DTS, and with just PCM, will do the same for 5.1. It really is a neat solution.

So, this is why I say, it might be worth waiting as analogue may be the better route. At this level though the players don't have many options for speaker setup as you need to perform this in player as your amp probably works in bypass or direct mode for multichannel analogue input, which means crossover for your sub also is controlled by the player. The Panasonics are fixed at 100Hz I think, which may or may not be a problem for you. If it is, then really the BD35 with just DD or DTS is going to be the best option bar someone discovering a MR hack for the Samsung.

So, it's not that cut and dried really.
 

sdm197

Active Member
Just some clarifications... ;)

If you have a lot of Region 1 DVD's, then the stand out player is the Panasonic BD35, as it will produce 24 frames per second from NTSC DVD's, which providing you get a 24p capable HDTV, will provide clear benefits. The Panasonic's are currently the only BD players to offer this facility.

I did not realise that, so for example even the Pioneer LX91 or Denon 3800 cannot achieve this?

SDM197.
 
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caveman38

Active Member
The Panasonic DMP-BD55 is available at RS for £350 multi region as well as a few other places. Worth it?
 

alpine101

Active Member
Another way of looking at BD audio is to think of it as just a way of helping Sony to market their new format despite there being little difference, to human ears, in sound quality. HD video is significant, HD audio less so...:D
 

Scott_Mac

Distinguished Member
Another way of looking at BD audio is to think of it as just a way of helping Sony to market their new format despite there being little difference, to human ears, in sound quality. HD video is significant, HD audio less so...:D

Oh dear... maybe you need the right gear to tell the difference, but for me there is as much a jump in quality from DD to TrueHD as there is from DVD to Blu Ray....
 

jwyg

Active Member
sorry to hi-jack the thread but i'm just trying to make sense of all this...

i've just bought a 2nd hand denon AVR-2807 amp. whilst it does have HDMI, it doesn't decode trueHD or DTS MA.

will my amp still give me trueHD / DTS MA from a BD player (capable of decoding it) through HDMI or do i need to use multi-channel? i haven't got the BD player yet, i'm trying to figure out if i need the Sony BDP-S550 or if i can save a few pennies by getting the 350.

(another factor is that i'm not sure the denon has 1080p pass-through for HDMI?)

please help!:lease:
 

kingfats

Distinguished Member
will my amp still give me trueHD / DTS MA from a BD player (capable of decoding it) through HDMI or do i need to use multi-channel? i haven't got the BD player yet, i'm trying to figure out if i need the Sony BDP-S550 or if i can save a few pennies by getting the 350.

(another factor is that i'm not sure the denon has 1080p pass-through for HDMI?)

please help!:lease:

Go for the S550 or the BD35 :thumbsup: player decodes TrueHD/DTS-MA and sends over HDMI,used to have the same amp :cool: your get excellent sound.1080p passthrough....no problem.
All the best mate.
 

jwyg

Active Member
fantastic, thanks muchly kingfats, just wasn't sure if the amp needed to be able to decode the TrueHD / DTS MA signals coming in via HDMI in order to output them to my 5.1 speakers - you've just saved me a whole question over multichannel via 550 vs re-encoded via sammy 2500!

think i've seen the sony bdp-s550 for something close to 200 notes which compared to the RRP seems a bit of a bargain. dvd playback is ok from the sony?
 

jwyg

Active Member
nice one :thumbsup:
 

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