Is lack of HDMI audio or HD audio decoding an issue?

Bingo76

Standard Member
Hi all,

A complete newbie to AV stufff, so would greaty appreciate any help.

I've got a budget of c. £1100 to get a telly and Blu-Ray surround sound. Was going down the Panasonic or Samsung all-in-one home cinema route, but after reading lots of comments on this site, have looked at seperates.

With some help from Richer, think I've nailed it, but if any one can see any issues with the below set-up, please let me know!

TV - Hitachi UT37MX70
AV receiver - Onkyo TXSR307
Speakers - Tannoy SFX5.1 Blk
Blu Ray - PS3
Ipod - Cambridge Audio Ipod dock

In addition, I'll want to connect up Sky HD, Xbox (old) and Wii.

With the above set-up in mind, I have 2 questons:

1. Richer proposed the BDP2500 Blu Ray player, but I think the extra £100 or so on the PS3 is worth it. While I'm sure a stand alone Blu Ray players will beat a PS3 on picture quality, will I really notice? (bearing in mind current tv is an old CRT)

2. Somewhere on this forum it says that the Onkyo TXSR307 doesn't have HDMI audio or HD audio decoding. Not entirely sure what this means, and will I miss this?

Any help greatly appreciated!
Cheers,
Paul.
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
Arguably a stand-alone BD player will give you marginal better picture quality. Take a look in the Bluray players forum as there have been several heated debates on the issue. Remember the PS3 is a Bluray player plus a whole lot more but if you don't need the additional features the PS3 offers, e.g. internet browsing, media streaming, gaming and so on, go for a cheaper player and spend the difference on an amp with HD audio capability, which would be more future proof. The new HD audio formats are basically lossless. You can read up on them HERE. Personally I would avoid a bottom of the range receiver anyway, so I would look further up the Onkyo range.
 

Bingo76

Standard Member
Hi Dave,

Many thanks for the info - greatly appreciated.

Just one thought - it's an extra £120 for the next Onkyo up (507) and this does have the HDMI Audio port. Is this something that I can currently use with Blu Ray or Sky HD, or will this just help future proof the system?

Many thanks in advance,
Paul.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Hi Dave,

Many thanks for the info - greatly appreciated.

Just one thought - it's an extra £120 for the next Onkyo up (507) and this does have the HDMI Audio port. Is this something that I can currently use with Blu Ray or Sky HD, or will this just help future proof the system?

Many thanks in advance,
Paul.


Simply buy a 506, which can be had for as little as £200 and is both cheaper than the 307 and better spec'd ;)

Not sure if it has an HDMI repeater though?

You can even get a 705 for the same money you'd pay for the 507:
http://www.hyperfi.co.uk/default.aspx?CategoryID=404&ItemID=Onkyo_TXSR705_B-Stock

or a 606:
http://www.hyperfi.co.uk/default.aspx?CategoryID=404&ItemID=Onkyo_TXSR606_B-Stock


The only reason the 507 has a premium price is because it is a new model.


I think I'd prefer the 606 to the 507.
 
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S Bibby

Active Member
The onkyo 506 and below did not have HDMI audio (I checked) but the 576 did, although it does not have decoding either. Not sure if decoding is a major issue but without HDMI audio you have some issues with what equipment you can use ie. many Blu Ray players now come without analogue (phono) 5/7.1 sound. I believe you can still get stereo through phono connections.

Cheers, Simon
 

Bingo76

Standard Member
Hi Dante,

Cheers for this - compared the spec and it does indeed seem much better specced than the 307. However it doesn't have HDMI Audio.

Actually, I'm still not quite clear what HDMI audio is! :eek: I presume the ability to pass sound through the HDMI lead? If so does this mean that any sky HD won't have surround sound?

Cheers,
Paul.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Hi Dante,

Cheers for this - compared the spec and it does indeed seem much better specced than the 307. However it doesn't have HDMI Audio.

Actually, I'm still not quite clear what HDMI audio is! :eek: I presume the ability to pass sound through the HDMI lead? If so does this mean that any sky HD won't have surround sound?

Cheers,
Paul.
Did you see the other items I added to my post? The 606 is a better option than the 507 and will do everythingthe 507 can ;)
 

S Bibby

Active Member
Actually, I'm still not quite clear what HDMI audio is! :eek: I presume the ability to pass sound through the HDMI lead?

Yeah that is it, in a nutshell. HDMI can carry the newer HD sound formats and apparently offers more convenience. Also, separate sound connections like phono might go out of fashion I suppose, since they are only now used commonly in Hifi.
 

brassbellend

Active Member
Bingo, neither the 307 nor the 506 has HD audio decoding over HDMI built in. Without looking at the specs for each amp I cannot give a definitive answer but I think if you can decode the audio on the player and pass it in as bitstreamed PCM through an optical cable then the amp will do the necessary job and distribute it to the speakers. You might find that by doing this though you will be unable to use the lossless TrueHD and DTS Master Audio soundtracks which will become more important in the future.

That said, I agree with other posters and I wouldn't go for either of those amps as they do not have a good enough spec and you will find yourself wanting some feature in the near future that you cannot get with either of those options. Look at either the Onkyo 507 (£350) or the new Sony DH800 (£280 but nit released until late June/July). Both of these amps offer HD audio decoding on the amplifier and support lossless HD audio codecs.

As for Blu-Ray players, I would go for a PS3 the now and as prices continue to fall look at getting a better standalone blu-ray player in the future. The PS3 is no longer King when it comes to Blu-ray performance but its still very good and it can of course do so much more besides video.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Bingo, neither the 307 nor the 506 has HD audio decoding over HDMI built in. Without looking at the specs for each amp I cannot give a definitive answer but I think if you can decode the audio on the player and pass it in as bitstreamed PCM through an optical cable…

You must use either the HDMI interface or multichannel inputs to transfer HD audio streams. Neither the optical or the digi coax has the bandwidth capacity to do this (technically, optical does, but the standards that govern the interface don't allow it).

see here:
http://www.avforums.com/forums/av-a...06-attempt-explain-high-definition-audio.html
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
HDMI audio is the ability of the receiver to extract the multichannel audio streams from the HDMI interface. You usually find this type of interface referred to as a repeater rather than switch. The manufacturers usually state the HDMI interface as being v1.3, but any version of the Interface fom 1.1 has the ability, it just seems like no one started utilising it to its full extent until version 1.3???

See here:
http://www.avforums.com/forums/av-amplifiers-receivers/533629-hdmi-v1-3-a.html
 
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Bingo76

Standard Member
Thanks all for the input! As always these things get more expensive :), but I'd rather pay a few extra quids now than regret it in the future.

The 576 sounds good - will deffo look into the deal. Will also stick with the PS3 for now.

Am really not very techhy at all, so just looking to invest in a good starter system that will play blu ray and sky hd movies in surround sound, and also play tunes via iPod.

Thanks again!
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Thanks all for the input! As always these things get more expensive :), but I'd rather pay a few extra quids now than regret it in the future.

The 576 sounds good - will deffo look into the deal. Will also stick with the PS3 for now.

Am really not very techhy at all, so just looking to invest in a good starter system that will play blu ray and sky hd movies in surround sound, and also play tunes via iPod.

Thanks again!

Seriously consider the 606 rather than the 576. It is more future proof ;)
 

S Bibby

Active Member
Hi Tone UK,
Have you heard many of the Marantz Receivers, especially with music coming from a CD? I only ask because I am considering one and the above model is probably the only one realistically in my price bracket.

I saw an SR4002 from the Hyperfi company mentioned here but they changed prices on some of the advertised models. When I emailed them they claimed the £250/£300 ones on Ebay were brand new but had others on sale at that price which were B-grade stock. As you can tell from my post I am a bit concerned about the reliability of these items.
 

Tone-uk

Active Member
I've heard the 4002, 4001, 5002 (and a 7001 (think it was). They just sounded better to me. 4002 and 5002 were too similar. The 7001 was rubbish (only joking!).

Biggest difference was between a 4002 and an Onkyo 606. Confirmed peoples opinions in regard to the Onkyo's not being good at music.

My Yamaha is good but never gets it completely right I feel with very fast or heavy music whereas the Marantz just takes it in it's stride and keeps up.

Marantz don't seem to bother with features so much and so have to sound better than the likes of Onkyo to sell their products. Thats my view anyway.

I'd recommend you audition a Marantz 4003 against a 606. You will understand!
 

Tone-uk

Active Member
By the way, I got my 861 from hyperfi and thought the same as you! However, it arrived as it should have - all nice and new with original packing.

Send it back if it isn't perfect - should be able to tell if it's b stock.
 

S Bibby

Active Member
Double thanks for that Tone, and I appreciate your advice on Hyperfi. I see them now and again and Ebay and they tend to have some decent deals.

I have started a thread myself with the Title of Pioneer VSX Vs Yamaha since I am interested in both of these with regards to music listening. Had a word with my local Hifi who said Marantz were a bright sounding Receiver which is also what I gather of Pioneer (plus the high power claims for Pioneer). Having said that, your remarks on Marantz and Yamaha seem to agree with some of what I have read so far. Personally I am favouring Yamaha a little as most of the music I listen to is low and has a fair bit of bass but generally a slower rhythm (Rhythm and Blues, Classic/Softish Rock, some Jazz and instrumental).
 

Tone-uk

Active Member
Well, you will not go wrong with a Yamaha then! If that is your kind of music the Yamaha's are extremely impressive. When it's chill out time my 861 is simply superb. Natural sounding and gentle and calm. Not "digital" is the best way I can put it. Some receivers seem too clinical and almost false!! That's why I couldn't live with a Sony receiver - I'd turn it off all the time!!
 

brassbellend

Active Member
You must use either the HDMI interface or multichannel inputs to transfer HD audio streams. Neither the optical or the digi coax has the bandwidth capacity to do this (technically, optical does, but the standards that govern the interface don't allow it).
And did my next sentence (edited out) not say just that...
 

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