How can I tell if my Denon AVR is decoding sound formats, or my Blu-ray Player?


Active Member
Hi. My memory isn't what it once was and I'm sure I should know this but... Having gone through manuals for both devices, my BD player tells me to set audio through HDMI to 'Auto' rather than PCM, which I have done, but, having set up my AVR as I think it should be, Both the player and AVR are displaying DTS-HD, or Dolby True HD etc, and I just want to know which device is decoding what into what? Nothing says 'bitstream' anywhere and I believe that the AVR should be doing all the decoding. Why I have this problem is, a few years ago, my then receiver had six analogue inputs that I put through from my Sony DVD, so that I could get 'proper' Dolby/DTS sound through and it was obvious just what was doing what. When I then upgraded both devices, the BD-Player then had bitstream coming through and it shew on the display that the AVR was doing all the decoding. Now however, (having had to change a broken player for an older one that still works), I have a Sony BDP-3500, feeding into a Denon AVR-X3300W. The player like I say, shows Dolby or DTS on it's display, suggesting that it is decoding, but then the AVR is also showing the format on it's display! I would prefer the AVR to decode everything. Sorry that this is a bit repetitive, but I'm just frustrated that it's seemingly impossible to find out exactly which device is doing the decoding and if it's wrong, how can I change it? Many thanks for any help given.


Distinguished Member
Configure the player to BITSTREAM audio it is outputting via HDMI as opposed to setting that devices output to the PCM option. Some players refer to their BITSTREAM setting using the term AUTO. Also ensure that the SECONDARY AUDIO option onboard the player is set to OFF.

This should ensure that the player outputs the audio still packaged via HDMI as opposed to the player decoding it and outputting it as the resulting PCM data. You cannot BITSTREAM audio via analogue outputs and a device would always need to decode said audio itself and convey the audio as analogue channels if using analogue outputs.

If the AV receiver indicates that it is receiving The formatted audio such as DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD etc then this is in fact what is being sent to that receiver. If the Player were doing the decoding then the AV receiverwould show PCM or Multichannel Audio as being the incoming audio. The receiver will not indicate what format the PCM data was derrived from if it is only receiving said PCM data as opposed to the actual formatted audio.

If your receiver is showing formats such as TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio when sourcing the audio via HDMI from your player then this is what the player is outputting and sending to the receiver. This indicates that the player is BITSTREAMING the audio and not decoding it. THe receiver is doing the decoding in such instances.

Also note that if still unsure as to what audio the source is outputting to your AV receiver, go into the GENERAL configurations and open the AUDIO INFORMATION menu. This will indicate the exact format coming into the AV receiver.
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Active Member
Thanks dante01. I had to read that twice, but having checked the audio information like you say, it says 'DTS-HD MSTR' as the Input Signal and 'DTS-HD + Neural X' as the Sound Mode. Still confusing, but like you say, it would show PCM if the player was decoding. I don't know why Sony can't just make it's players to just say 'Bitstream Out' instead of Auto, which would make everything a lot simpler! So I'm sorted now. Many thanks again!
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