Audio Question

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by Ferrino, May 15, 2009.

  1. Ferrino

    Ferrino Cool Member

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    Feb 11, 2009
    I am currently listening to the audio from my HR-22 by taking the analog audio out of my LCD-TV into a simple stereo amplifier (i.e. no digital decoders). The HR-22 is connected to the TV with HDMI. I just use a pair of bookshelf speakers.

    I was wondering - if I upgraded the amp to one capable of decoding Dolby Digital, would I notice an improvement (on those shows broadcasting in DD) in stereo sound over my current setup? Or is the advantage purely for a surround sound setup (e.g. 5.1)? I understand that not all DD broadcasts are for 5 channels, but some are stereo...

    The plan is to upgrade to a 5.1 setup eventually, but I was just curious as to the difference of non-DD and DD broadcasts on a stereo setup... Thanks!
     
  2. jodyguercio

    jodyguercio Active Member

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    It would ultimately depend on what you think....
     
  3. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    I personally find the difference in audio quality to be huge. But I have had a DD capable setup for over 10 years now.
     
  4. EricJRW

    EricJRW Icon

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    Do the HRs output digital audio on HDMI, optical and coaxial simultaneously?

    If so, you could go with a relatively inexpensive HTIB or other 5.1 processor and use the digital audio out (optical or coaxial) from the HR22.

    I use Logitechs Z-680s (now replaced with model 5500) for gaming, DVD audio, and my HR21.

    While an A/V receiver with HDMI (inputs and outputs) is no big deal, and I honestly have no idea of cost, but if you want something simple, anything with digital in and the right decoders will do.

    If you happen to be using Dolby Pro Logic II as a reference, digital with it's discrete (vs. matrixed) channels will blow you away (even with an inexpensive processor).
     
  5. Ferrino

    Ferrino Cool Member

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    Feb 11, 2009
    Thanks guys! Considering I have no need for the newer HD audio formats (True-HD etc.), as my sources are my DirecTV HD-DVR and my Mac, is there scope for saving money and getting a slightly older receiver which has no HDMI inputs (i.e. just optical) and which just does the older decoding (Dolby 5.1)?

    With Dolby 5.1, is there any advantage of sending the audio from DirecTV over HDMI compared to optical?
     
  6. EricJRW

    EricJRW Icon

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    It is my understanding that they are the same (digital stream).

    Since HDMI cannot be "split", that typically means it must go from DVR, to receiver, to display (also meaning 2 HDMI cables). Thus the receiver will process the audio and pass picture (and audio for that matter) to the TV. Now I have read of some people who have digital out (usually optical) on their TVs, but I have yet to hear of one that actually outputs the full 5.1 stream. Usually it's just 2.1 or 2.0 (this of course may have changed since the last time the subject came up).

    I typically have all audio/video from my devices go to my TV. For the devices that have digital out (Xbox 360, DVD player, HR21) I run the digital to my 680s. If I want 5.1, I turn on the 680s. If the TV speakers are OK, then I leave the 680s off...

    Depending on your setup, you may find the audio processing only of a speaker set really designed for a PC may do the trick. I'm no audiophile, but I am pleased with my 680s (like I said, the new model number is 5500).
     
  7. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    Yes, absolutely. Many people with older AV receivers still get a lot of use from them with just Dolby Digital 5.1 (which is the best the sat receiver can do anyway).

    Only if you have a modern HDMI-equipped receiver that can extract digital audio from the HDMI stream. Otherwise, you're going to get identical audio information from optical or coaxial digital audio connections, at least from the sat receiver. As you already know, these connections don't support advanced HD audio codecs that are available on Blu-Rays.
     
  8. Ferrino

    Ferrino Cool Member

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    Feb 11, 2009
    Thanks a lot for your replies!

    I was wondering if you could suggest some entry-level AV Receivers which will decode Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS (not TrueHD/DTS-HD) and have at least 2 optical inputs? HDMI pass-through would be nice too, but I have read that some AV receivers don't actually process the audio in the HDMI, they just pass it onto the TV?
     
  9. EricJRW

    EricJRW Icon

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    PS. I said there are no HDMI splitters... Well I did a search on "HDMI splitter" and see that you can buy such a device... I just don't know how it would work in the various configurations, nor do I know if it would work with DHCP handshake... Anyway, just wanted to point out my mistake, as maybe in the right situation an "HDMI splitter" would do the job.
     
  10. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    Look at some of the entry level models from Denon, Pioneer, or Yamaha. Many of them should do what you want and can be had for a few hundred dollars. If you add a center channel to your setup the enjoyment could go way up.
     
  11. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    This is how I do it. I have an HR21 & HR23 connectec to my Yamaha A/V receiver via optical.

    And yes, the difference between the 5.1 via the Yamaha and the 2 speakers on the TV is very noticable. Even my wife noticed and she could care less about how she hears GH. :grin:

    Mike
     
  12. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    Probably not, as they are the same audio sent over different protocol delivery methods with similar if not identical specs.

    And, to actually answer your original question, analog out is also the same audio. By that I mean that all audio for HD broadcast and sat uses AC-3 format, which is technically identical to DD, other than they are both different subsets of the same family of Dolby technology; identical twins, actually.

    If 5.1 is sent but you do not have or use a 5.1 decoder, the AC-3 decoder built into your tuner will downmix a 2.0 version of that exact same audio. IOW, the system for 5.1 can contain 5 channels of full-range audio plus LFE, but every stereo derivative of it, which is what you are attempting to do (including analog audio outputs from a DVR) uses those same exact channels (the left, center, and right channels from the 5.1 source) as the downmix for 2.0 stereo.

    "Center" is mixed equally into L and R, so dialog is essentially mono just as it is in 5.1, and L and R are typically music, efx, and off-screen sounds, so they maintain the same stereo separation as 5.1. It's the very same audio source downmixed locally at your decoder to have the very same stereo separation specs and the same freq response and level dynamics. Turn off the surround speakers and turn off bass management in 5.1, and it will sound exactly the same, all else held equal.

    Of course 5.1 will be better, because it adds the surround and LFE channels.
     

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