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Hopper Audio Question

Discussion in 'The Hopper Zone' started by FranklyFred, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. FranklyFred

    FranklyFred Thread Starter Member

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    Question regarding audio output. When you go to setting in the menu on audio you get decoder,mode and volume leveling. Anyone have any thoughts on how mode should be set line or rf. Volume leveling on or off. Decoder set to Dolby/pcm or PCM only. I want to get best sound quality. Thanks
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  2. Dirtydan

    Dirtydan Active SatelliteGuys Member Pub Member / Supporter

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    Dolby/PCM, RF, Disable Vol. Leveling...
    Dan
  3. kwindrem

    kwindrem Active SatelliteGuys Member Pub Member / Supporter

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    I'm assuming you are routing optical digital audio to an A/V receiver. In which case you want Dolby Digital if it's sent and do not want any processing like volume leveling.

    If your receiver decodes Dolby Digital, set to Dolby/PCM to take advantage of up to 5.1 channel audio.

    You probably always want "Line" mode not "RF". Previous help screens described "RF" as reducing dynamic range in some way. This may use the compression clues in the DD stream or may simply apply compression. Either way I am assuming it only works if you set the audio to PCM Only as affecting dynamic range would require decoding in the satellite receiver.

    Your A/V receiver should also have ways to limit dynamic range on DD and DTS streams.

    Volume Leveling is supposed to help compensate for overly loud commercials but I have not played around with it. Again I guess this only happens in PCM mode since it would require decoding the DD stream.

    One of the biggest volume jumps appears to happen when the program switches between Dolby and PCM audio. This often happens when a commercial comes on during a movie or other program broadcast in Dolby Digital.

    Another source of overly loud or soft program material is incorrect authoring of "dialnorm", a parameter in the DD data stream that tells the decoder what level was used for dialog. Most local broadcasters have no way of monitoring the audio stream and setting dialnorm so local broadcasts will probably be too loud or too soft. News casts from KCRA in Sacramento are much louder than other program material.
  4. Tampa8

    Tampa8 SUPPORTING FOUNDER 9/8/2003 Pub Member / Supporter

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    Isn't PCM uncompressed digital audio? With a receiver that decodes PCM I would have thought you would want that? With my pioneer receiver PCM gets decoded and to me has a better sound, better separation and better highs. I agree about using the line out.
  5. kwindrem

    kwindrem Active SatelliteGuys Member Pub Member / Supporter

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    Yes, that is true. However via optical, you only get two channels (stereo), Dolby Digital or basic DTS (not the newer DTS-MA or DTS-HD). Dish satellite uses DD or 2-channel PCM (no DTS).

    There is an optical standard that supports 8 channels of audio at 44.1 or 48 KHz but sadly no consumer audio components support it.

    Audio on the satellite is either compressed to Dolby Digital or two channel PCM so you can't do better than that regardless of the path to the A/V receiver. I'd agree that PCM audio should provide the best audio available, all else being equal. But loosing channels (center, surrounds, etc.) is worse than slightly lower quality. In this case, multichannel audio must be DD.

    Dish receivers will send 2-channel PCM audio if DD multichannel audio isn't used without changing settings.
    "Better" compared to what? Certainly better than analog audio.

    HDMI is the best conduit for audio between components that support it. It can support 8 (or more) audio channels at 48, 96 KHz or more, streaming of DD, DTS, DTS-MA and DTS-HD. But if you are limited to optical digital audio, 2-channel PCM is to restrictive. 2-channel analog audio would have the same limitations and would be of lesser quality in most cases.

    I'm not sure if the satellite receiver decodes DD to multichannel PCM over HDMI or whether Line/RF and Volume Leveling applies to this path.

    Since I've had an A/V receiver with HDMI inputs, I've always let it do the decoding. My Blu-Ray player will decode all formats and send multichannel PCM (up to 7.1 channels) to the receiver. I've played around with decoding in both places and couldn't tell much difference. I prefer to let the A/V receiver do the decode since it's better equipped to handle metadata like "dialnorm" and channel down-mixing.

    BTW, there's really no "decoding" of PCM audio -- just converting it to analog.
  6. king3pj

    king3pj SatelliteGuys Family Pub Member / Supporter

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    That is usually the case on bluray movies that have a PCM track but to get the best sound on Dish you want to select Dolby Digital if you have an AVR.

    HD channels from dish come with either DD 5.1 or DD 2.0. It is already compressed when it is delivered so selecting PCM can't give you uncompressed audio.

    When you select PCM on Dish you are having your satellite receiver take a 5.1 DD audio track (if available) and pass it through to your Denon as 2 channel stereo.
  7. Tampa8

    Tampa8 SUPPORTING FOUNDER 9/8/2003 Pub Member / Supporter

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    That makes sense, got it.... Thanks!

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