26th June 2012
As part of my surround-sound journey, I found out that my Sony Blu-ray player did not, by default, send a DVD DTS sound track out of its S/PDIF digital output to my surround amp; it was converting it to Dolby first. After a detailed hunt through the set-up menu options and changing several settings, I could then get it to send it out unadulterated. To my ears, Moulin Rouge sounded much better in DTS, which it should do given the higher bit-rate. This amount of hassle, however, is no use to the average consumer though. I wonder why they did this? Maybe other audio features were only implemented internally in Dolby.
Of course now I'm using Blu-ray discs, I have found out that the player is converting the lossless audio tracks into compressed non-HD format to go down the S/PDIF interface to my aging surround-sound processor. It's interesting it still sounds a lot better than DVDs, though. So my only option now is to get a surround processor with HDMI input, so it can process the full HD audio. As I have the surround amp in addition to my stereo system, I need a processor with pre-outs for the stereo power amplifier. The new "Audio Return Channel" feature sounds useful too, so I only need one HDMI cable between the processor and my TV.
An HDMI surround processor will also allow me to connect my Freeview-HD box too, which is the UK's fledgling terrestrial HD broadcast service, using MPEG-4 encoding for 720 or 1080 resolution. And what is the audio quality on Freeview-HD? Most use AAC at 320kbit/s for 5.1, although Dolby Digital Plus is permissible. This is then transcoded to Dolby Digital or DTS for the S/PDIF, with the extra option of uncompressed for the HDMI output. Well I think I'd rather avoid the transcoding!
I'll let you know how I get on in a future post.
There are no categories assigned to this blog post