Next gen audio confusion

Noggin1980

Well-known Member
I'm a bit confused at the moment about the new audio formats and what we need to enjoy them.

DD+ - am I right in thinking any normal DD amp will handle this fine through the analogue inputs but not through a digital connection?

TrueHD - I'm very confused on this, I was under the impression we would need hdmi 1.3 amps for this which could easily be over a year away, none of the Autumn release amps I've seen seem to have it. Yet on avsforum people are useing the 2.0 Toshiba firmware and are listening to the TrueHD track. So can this be done with normal amps?

Then there is DTS - HD etc, I don't think any movies have this yet do they? what about the amp situation here?

Are both TrueHD and DTS-HD lossless and thus should be the same?

I'm buying new Aucostic Energy Aelite speakers and my yamaha 757 amp may be a bit lightweight to get the best from them. I don't want to upgrade my amp though and wish I'd waited.
 

fatrich

Active Member
Noggin1980 said:
I'm a bit confused at the moment about the new audio formats and what we need to enjoy them.

DD+ - am I right in thinking any normal DD amp will handle this fine through the analogue inputs but not through a digital connection?

TrueHD - I'm very confused on this, I was under the impression we would need hdmi 1.3 amps for this which could easily be over a year away, none of the Autumn release amps I've seen seem to have it. Yet on avsforum people are useing the 2.0 Toshiba firmware and are listening to the TrueHD track. So can this be done with normal amps?

Then there is DTS - HD etc, I don't think any movies have this yet do they? what about the amp situation here?

Are both TrueHD and DTS-HD lossless and thus should be the same?

I'm buying new Aucostic Energy Aelite speakers and my yamaha 757 amp may be a bit lightweight to get the best from them. I don't want to upgrade my amp though and wish I'd waited.
i like you think its very confusing, i am going to use the analogue option when i get my new leads to test it out, i was going to invest in a current amp with HDMI switching but i will be looking at £600.00 ish for a half decent amp, which potentially i would be tempted to replace in a year or so,so i will hang on for the next next generation.

richard
 

Noggin1980

Well-known Member
Just realised alot of my questions have been answered in the Toshiba firmware 2.0 thread.

Seems the player decodes the TrueHD and can send it down HDMI or analogue.

So I should be fine buying something like a yamaha 2600 without feeling like I'm missing out over the next few years? Is that a safe bet?

Or maybe I should stay with my £400 pound amp with £1800 speakers. Just seems a bit of a mismatch to me.
 

AML

Well-known Member
A lot of folk are leting the HD DVD player do the decoding (True HD) and then using 6 analog RCAs to any amp that has the 6 analog inputs.
Results are apparently quite good.

Amps with HDMI 1.3 inputs for Audio will be a while away.
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
Yes it *IS* confusing.

Both formats still support normal DD. On HD-DVD, the maximum bit-rate for DD is still 448Kbps as it was with DVD. On Blu-ray you can get normal DD up to its maximum bitrate of 640kbps. Digital out of this works over existing Toslink/SPDIF outputs.

Next up is Dolby Digital Plus. On Blu-ray the maximum bit rate for this is approx 1.7Mbps, and on HD-DVD is can go up to approx 3Mbps. As I understand it so far, many of the HD-DVD titles are encoded at 640Kbps, and some at about 1.5Mbps. DD+ is a lossy compression, and is capable I believe of 24 bit 96KHz reproduction, although again, it seems all soundtracks thus far are 16 bit 48 KHz.

Then we have DTS. This is very confusing right now. It seems DTS are in the process of 're-branding' their various offerings, however there is no solid information on their website about this. Standard DTS as supported on DVD can go up to 1.5Mbps and in what was called DTS 24/96 can do the higher bit/sample rates. I think they are now merging these into what they now call DTS-HD (not a good move IMO.) This 'new' format is I believe compatible with existing DTS receivers using toslink/SPDIF.

Then we have TrueHD which is Dolby's lossless codec based on the DVD-A MLP technology. The only way to output this format digitally is via HDMI 1.3, so you would need a HDMI 1.3 compatible DVD player and receiver. None available yet. With the v2.0 firmware, the Toshiba will decode the sound internally and output it at FULL quality over either the analogue outputs of the player or as a PCM stream over HDMI which requires an HDMI 1.1 compatible receiver that will decode multi-channel PCM audio. Not many of those about either. Taking the HDMI 1.3 route to output the RAW digital TrueHD bitstream means you won't get ANY of the interactive features mixed into the sound, so none of that will work. Using the HDMI 1.1 method where the player outputs the mixed sound as a PCM stream, you WILL. This PCM method would also work over HDMI 1.3... confused yet??!!:hiya:

DTS-HD Master Audio is the DTS competitor to TrueHD and is lossless as well, just uses a different encoding method, that may be able to output a DTS compatible bitstream over existing digital connections, but I've not seen much detail and I don't know if any discs use it yet. I also don't know which players will support it as it was originally called DTS-HD, but if DTS are calling normal DTS DTS-HD then it makes it impossible to know exactly what you're getting when you see the logo... hence I think it's a rubbish idea to re-brand in this way.

The Toshiba HD-DVD players add to the confusion, but it is generally to people's benefit, by decoding any of the new advanced formats and re-encoding them over the Toslink and SPDIF digital outs as 1.5Mbps DTS. What this means is that on today's DTS capable receivers you can get pretty much the full benefit of the DD+ 1.5Mbps (or even TrueHD with the v2.0 firmware) capability over existing digital connections. This may be why we haven't yet seen a DD+ track of a higher rate yet, as if they keep the rate at 1.5Mbps they can push out a DTS stream of pretty much equivalent quality to existing gear...

Hope this helps. It's a complicated area.
 

rover2002

Novice Member
Going from DD to DD+ for me was a big wow factor, i did'ent get that same wow factor when comparing DD+ to TrueHD but then again theres not much in it.
 

Nic Rhodes

Well-known Member
Noggin1980 said:
I
DD+ - am I right in thinking any normal DD amp will handle this fine through the analogue inputs but not through a digital connection?
Yes any receiver / processor will handle ALL these audio formats through analogue. For a DD+ digital connection you need a compatible interface and processor that understands DD+. There are none of either atm.

Noggin1980 said:
TrueHD - I'm very confused on this, I was under the impression we would need hdmi 1.3 amps for this which could easily be over a year away, none of the Autumn release amps I've seen seem to have it. Yet on avsforum people are useing the 2.0 Toshiba firmware and are listening to the TrueHD track. So can this be done with normal amps?

Then there is DTS - HD etc, I don't think any movies have this yet do they? what about the amp situation here?
.
No the HD DVD format basically decodes in the player and not the receiver. There are no HDMI 1.3 devices and this is how it would be transferred to a receiver in the future. The HDMI 1.1 interface sends multi channel full PCM signal is which all that is required for the HD lossless format. The lossless can be sent via the analogue connection or HDMI 1.1. HD DVD players are designed to mix within the player so HDMI 1.3 isn't really needed but I suspect it will be added for marketing reasons.

DTS lossless is just another variant and should be identical to the DD variant otherwise it ain't lossless!! So they basically do the same thing. Again not available yet and I don't expect the world will take it up tbh, I think they will stick with TrueHD from Dolby.

The HD DVD player are VERY powerful AV processors as well as HD DVD player, in fact my player about 25x the processing power of my none too shabby Tag processor!! This is where you will see a big difference between HD DVD and BD is in the audio processing capabilities of the players.

Noggin1980 said:
Are both TrueHD and DTS-HD lossless and thus should be the same?
.
exactly

edit

and what they said above!
 

Noggin1980

Well-known Member
Brilliant, Thanks alot guys, particually Ian and Nic, appricate the time it took you to write that, that is really helpful and I understand it all much better now.

You have put my mind at rest about buying a new amp. It looks like the Yamaha RX-V2600 does 5.1 PCM over HDMI from looking at the manual on the yamaha site.

Just need to find some money now :D
 

tazpc

Novice Member
Nic Rhodes said:
Yes any receiver / processor will handle ALL these audio formats through analogue. For a DD+ digital connection you need a compatible interface and processor that understands DD+. There are none of either atm.



No the HD DVD format basically decodes in the player and not the receiver. There are no HDMI 1.3 devices and this is how it would be transferred to a receiver in the future. The HDMI 1.1 interface sends multi channel full PCM signal is which all that is required for the HD lossless format. The lossless can be sent via the analogue connection or HDMI 1.1. HD DVD players are designed to mix within the player so HDMI 1.3 isn't really needed but I suspect it will be added for marketing reasons.

DTS lossless is just another variant and should be identical to the DD variant otherwise it ain't lossless!! So they basically do the same thing. Again not available yet and I don't expect the world will take it up tbh, I think they will stick with TrueHD from Dolby.

The HD DVD player are VERY powerful AV processors as well as HD DVD player, in fact my player about 25x the processing power of my none too shabby Tag processor!! This is where you will see a big difference between HD DVD and BD is in the audio processing capabilities of the players.



exactly

edit

and what they said above!
As far as I was aware DD+ is decoded in any amp that can handle DD, it uses a higher bitrate but additional equipment is not required.
 

Nic Rhodes

Well-known Member
tazpc said:
As far as I was aware DD+ is decoded in any amp that can handle DD, it uses a higher bitrate but additional equipment is not required.

No. DD+ on HD DVD and DD+ on BD are actually different in how they work. Go figure :eek: . The structure of how they are put together is different from DD to avoid the limitations of DVD block sizes.

DD is limited to 640, however DVD is limited to 448. Sources like Dtheatre pushed this to 576 for obvious benefits. In fact many chip have compatibility problems with 640...hence when people try and put 640 on a disc, not everyone can use it (Pulse).

Depending on the format, you may get a pure DD output that you can use however but the HD DVD re encodes for DTS output.

Edit good summary paper from Dolby

http://dolby.com/assets/pdf/tech_library/DPlus_TrueHD_whitepaper.pdf
 

Duncan Harvey

Novice Member
Given that most amps have only one set of 5.1 phono inputs, and if you like listening to SACD or DVD-Audio - would a "best compromise" solution be to utilise a DVD player like the Pioneer 696 for SACD and DVD-A and output to the phono ins on the amp, and then use the digital output of the HD-DVD to convert everything to the 1.5 mbps pseudo dts?

This would seem to avoid using a clumsy lash up of switching boxes to enable the amp to "read" from two sets of analogue 5.1 outputs.

Is the pseudo dts delivered via digital better than plain vanilla DD and dts that SD-DVD has delivered to us?
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
Duncan Harvey said:
Given that most amps have only one set of 5.1 phono inputs, and if you like listening to SACD or DVD-Audio - would a "best compromise" solution be to utilise a DVD player like the Pioneer 696 for SACD and DVD-A and output to the phono ins on the amp, and then use the digital output of the HD-DVD to convert everything to the 1.5 mbps pseudo dts?

This would seem to avoid using a clumsy lash up of switching boxes to enable the amp to "read" from two sets of analogue 5.1 outputs.

Is the pseudo dts delivered via digital better than plain vanilla DD and dts that SD-DVD has delivered to us?
I think that would be a good compromise. It's real DTS, the HD-DVD player encodes it as such realtime... At 1.5Mbps, you'd hope it would be better than std. DD... :)
 

richard plumb

Well-known Member
or is there an easy way to have two sets of 5.1 into an amp? Some kind of scart switcher but for audio?


Its also very confusing just how many receivers have HDMI inputs but then can't amplify the audio, just pass it to the TV! Whats the point?
 

Duncan Harvey

Novice Member
it would appear that 5.1 switchers simply dont exist. You can use a swish component switcher, but its £200 which is way OTT for what it would be used for.

A cheap and cheerful solution is to use three manual stereo switching boxes which would probably cost circa £35 but I'd have concerns about the quality.

Hence if the advanced formats can be mixed down to dts - which has always sounded terrific to my ears, then this is what I'd be inclined to go for. Alternatively I could always listen to the dts tracks on my DVD-Audios, and hook a HD-DVD unit up to the 6 phonos. This doesnt help for SACDs though.
 

richard plumb

Well-known Member
Duncan Harvey said:
it would appear that 5.1 switchers simply dont exist. You can use a swish component switcher, but its £200 which is way OTT for what it would be used for.

A cheap and cheerful solution is to use three manual stereo switching boxes which would probably cost circa £35 but I'd have concerns about the quality.

Hence if the advanced formats can be mixed down to dts - which has always sounded terrific to my ears, then this is what I'd be inclined to go for. Alternatively I could always listen to the dts tracks on my DVD-Audios, and hook a HD-DVD unit up to the 6 phonos. This doesnt help for SACDs though.

maybe I'd need to accept that I can only connect one HD source via 5.1 analogue (bluray or HDDVD) and the other via optical/coax, using the player to mix to high bitrate DTS/DD.

I'd expect at this stage I'd want the HDDVD to have the analogue outputs to get the best from the limited TrueHD soundtracks.
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
richard plumb said:
maybe I'd need to accept that I can only connect one HD source via 5.1 analogue (bluray or HDDVD) and the other via optical/coax, using the player to mix to high bitrate DTS/DD.

I'd expect at this stage I'd want the HDDVD to have the analogue outputs to get the best from the limited TrueHD soundtracks.
Those next gen TrueHD soundtracks are still only 16bit 48KHz, which probably won't show much improvement over a DD+ track at 1.5Mbps... (or converted DTS at that rate). A bigger improvement would probably come from a 24 bit version which again would be encodable via the DTS output.

When decent music tracks appear on HD with a 24 bit 96KHz soundtrack, then TrueHD (or DTS-HD Master Audio) will shine...

So, my money would be on using DTS out for now over digital out, and keeping your SACD/DVD-A on the analogue inputs as they'll need the better quality more. Of course a quick 'plugging' session where you can easily switch between analogue outs on the HD-A1 and the DTS digital out would prove that. Of course, if you feel that the analogue TrueHD output is much better than the DTS digital then you're no further forward.

EDIT: Don't forget that the player should also decode the TrueHD 5.1 internally and output that as DTS, which in itself may give a big improvement if the other choice was a low bitrate DD or DD+, i.e. 640kbps or less.
 
A

av-phile

Guest
I now have two separate SACD and DVD-A players both requiring analog 5.1 phono inputs. Without any 5.1 switcher, I just improvise using use two composite AV swtich boxex (2 sets of 3 phono inputs per box, two of these for the 6 channels, with the yellow rca video terminal for composite used for center in one and for LFE in the other, they are identical)

Now if silly me were to get both HD-DVD and Blu-ray players in the future, I would need a total of 4 analog multichannel inputs. So I need to get another 2 AV switch boxes cascaded to the current AV switch boxes. I wonder when these receiver makers realize that a single 5.1 analog input is inadequate for many people. They put in multiple stereo inputs for CD, tape, tuner, etc, but only have one set of 5.1 inputs. Would putting another 1 or 2 sets of 5.1 phono jacks cost that much? I understand it would futher clutter an already input and output heavy back panel. But they can always make a better back panel layout with maybe lesser stereo input. Even if I simplify my set-up by getting a Universal DVD player for SACD/DVD-A and later on a dual format HD player, I'd still need at least 2 multichannel analog input.
 

tazpc

Novice Member
Nic Rhodes said:
No. DD+ on HD DVD and DD+ on BD are actually different in how they work. Go figure :eek: . The structure of how they are put together is different from DD to avoid the limitations of DVD block sizes.

DD is limited to 640, however DVD is limited to 448. Sources like Dtheatre pushed this to 576 for obvious benefits. In fact many chip have compatibility problems with 640...hence when people try and put 640 on a disc, not everyone can use it (Pulse).

Depending on the format, you may get a pure DD output that you can use however but the HD DVD re encodes for DTS output.

Edit good summary paper from Dolby

http://dolby.com/assets/pdf/tech_library/DPlus_TrueHD_whitepaper.pdf
Thanks you learn something new every day. But is very bizarre:eek:
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
Now if silly me were to get both HD-DVD and Blu-ray players in the future, I would need a total of 4 analog multichannel inputs. So I need to get another 2 AV switch boxes cascaded to the current AV switch boxes. I wonder when these receiver makers realize that a single 5.1 analog input is inadequate for many people. They put in multiple stereo inputs for CD, tape, tuner, etc, but only have one set of 5.1 inputs. Would putting another 1 or 2 sets of 5.1 phono jacks cost that much? I understand it would futher clutter an already input and output heavy back panel. But they can always make a better back panel layout with maybe lesser stereo input. Even if I simplify my set-up by getting a Universal DVD player for SACD/DVD-A and later on a dual format HD player, I'd still need at least 2 multichannel analog input.
You need to consider a new receiver! Look for one with multiple HDMI inputs!
 

Nic Rhodes

Well-known Member
Zektor 'video' switch boxes (4:1) are good here for audio switching (use HQ relays) and they will be launching a dedicated 7.1 audio switching unit shortly which looks good. The Zektors are flexible in both their RS232 abilities but also are remote programmable and also have a new optional dedicate remote switcher. It should take much of the heat off until proper HDMI 1.3 processors arrive.

tazpc said:
Thanks you learn something new every day. But is very bizarre:eek:
It is!
 

Matt Horne

Well-known Member
Thank god my Lex has 2 x 5.1 inputs for when I finally join in.

With the output of True HD/DD+ over the analog outputs do I correctly assume that you have to boost the LFE channel like you do for DVD-A/SACD?

Cheers

Matt
 

richard plumb

Well-known Member
Rasczak said:
You need to consider a new receiver! Look for one with multiple HDMI inputs!

not that many that actual deal with the audio though - they tend to just switch it.

I agree with the sentiment though. With decoding moving from receiver to player, the receiver guys need to recognise the need for multiple, multichannel inputs, and quick.
 

EddThompson

Novice Member
who would have thought we would go back to 5.1 RCA analogue cables.

my amp has 2 sets, but one for the sacd/dvd-audio, one for hd-dvd, one for blu ray, oops, ran out GARRRR.

edd
 

DMT

Novice Member
How does 7.1 fit in with all this?

Is there any future for firewire? (Don't want to change the AX10AI)
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
DMT said:
How does 7.1 fit in with all this?

Is there any future for firewire? (Don't want to change the AX10AI)
The newer codecs such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD High Resolution and DTS HD Master Audio all support 7.1 channels and I believe that this is discrete channels in all cases, not matrixed. Someone else will correct me here if I'm wrong.

However, currently there is only one way to get 7.1 output which is via HDMI (1.1 or higher) into you amplifier as neither the Toshiba or Samsung players have 7.1 analogue outputs, and the legacy Toslink/SPDIF outputs on both machines don't support the likes of DTS-ES or Dolby Digital EX which would be required for legacy 6.1 and 7.1 support. The upcoming Panasonic Blu-ray player appears to have 7.1 analogue outputs but as with most things HD, seeing is believing at the moment.

In terms of 7.1 content, I'm not sure any currently exists yet on either format, and I suspect the longer term picture will be similar to that of 7.1 on standard DVD players, rather sparse. I suspect 7.1 systems will remain an upper market cinema niche and that most people will continue with 5.1 setups.

As for Firewire, I personally believe HD formats will render it obselete, unless the likes of Denon are willing to make it HDCP compliant in which case they may be able to update Denon-Link accordingly. However firewire as a generic multi-vendor audio carrier is I feel dead in the water for protected HD content.
 

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