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Hello all,

I'm running a Samsung BDP-s550 into a Pioneer VSX-918V reciever via HDMI. On standard def DVDs, the display on the reciever reads Dolby Surround/Digital, and I can hear all the seperation and detail in the soundtrack, so all is right with the world. On the other hand, when Blu Ray features are playing, all the fancy Dolby Digital indicators are nowhere to be found, and the main display prints "PCM." I thought this meant the sound was being downmixed to stereo, until I sat myself down in the center of all my speakers and could still hear what seemed to be proper 5.1 seperation.

I've been tinkering with every setting I can find on the player and reciever, but have yet to find something that will flash some sort of visual confirmation one way or another.

Could it be I'm still getting the full soundtrack, even while the reciever isn't indicating it? I'm confident that my ears aren't playing tricks on me, but probably won't be completely satisfied without that little LED that says "Dolby Digital." :)

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
 

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First, do you mean the Samsung BD-P2550 Blu-ray disc player?

If so, in its audio setup menu, set the HDMI audio to 'Bitstream'.
And choose the appropriate audio soundtrack from the Blu-ray disc (i.e., Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA).
And just make sure that from your Pioneer VSX-918V-K receiver you choose the right audio mode.

Try it and let me know.

Cheers, :)
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
First, do you mean the Samsung BD-P2550 Blu-ray disc player?

If so, in its audio setup menu, set the HDMI audio to 'Bitstream'.
And choose the appropriate audio soundtrack from the Blu-ray disc (i.e., Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA).
And just make sure that in your Pioneer VSX-918V-K receiver you choose the right audio mode.

Try it and let me know,
Bob
The player is SONY BDP-(letter "s")550 (sorry I have Samsung on the brain because of my new TV!). The Pioneer doesn't support TrueHD or Master Audio. That reciever seems to be have pretty basic menu options, mainly relating to connections and speaker levels. What sort of audio mode should I be looking for? Any idea where?
 

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The player is SONY BDP-(letter "s")550 (sorry I have Samsung on the brain because of my new TV!). The Pioneer doesn't support TrueHD or Master Audio. That reciever seems to be have pretty basic menu options, mainly relating to connections and speaker levels. What sort of audio mode should I be looking for? Any idea where?
Hi Owen,

Ah, all right, Sony BDP-S550 it is. :)

And you're right, the Pioneer VSX-918V does not in fact support the new audio codecs.
That means you will get Multichannel LPCM from your front panel display, which is perfectly fine, as it is uncompressed high resolution audio as well. Your receiver still have HDMI version 1.3, but no internal decoders for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA, but will reproduce these through LPCM, which is the same.

Your Sony Blu-ray player does have these high res audio decoders built in, and will output them as Multichannel LPCM though its HDMI output, then to your Receiver's HDMI input.

Just set everything according to this. I'll be back for more details...

* OK, I'm back.
~ On your Pioneer VSX-918V receiver menu setup, assign the HDMI input to the corresponding source (Sony BDP-S550), from "ASSIGNING THE HDMI INPUTS" on page 65 in your manual.
~ Then, press SIGNAL SEL (Signal Select), on your remote or receiver's button front panel to select the audio input signal, from page 36 in your manual. So, the right audio mode here for you is "AUTO SURROUND", from the Auto/Direct button that switches between Auto and Stream modes, from page 30 in your manual.

~ Now, on your Sony BDP-S550 HDMI audio out menu setup, set the HDMI audio output to "Multichannel LPCM".

~ On the Blu-ray disc, make sure you select the high res. audio soundtrack, from the disc audio menu setup.

))) Your Pioneer 918 accept a high-resolution PCM audio signal from your Sony Blu-rat player that does its own internal decoding of Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD MA. You will still get the full benefit of these high res. audio codecs through Multichannel Linear PCM in your 918 receiver.

I think that should do it. Your 918 front panel display should now read "Multch PCM", or "Multi-ch LPCM" or something similar.
Then you're in business. :) Just enjoy.

>>> Oh, one more very important thing; the HDMI output in your receiver does not pass the onscreen menus; use the Component video output instead. Don't forget to make the connections of these.

Let me know.

Bob
 

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Hi Owen,

After more research, I found out that the HDMI interface in your receiver serves as a switcher function only and does NOT support audio or OSD functionality.

I cannot find which version the HDMI is??? One place they say version 1.3, and another says version 1.0.
It is quite frustrating to not have any info at all directly from Pioneer web site!!!

Anyway, you better use the Component video connections in your receiver for the OSD (On-screen display), and use the digital Coaxial/Optical for audio.
Then use the HDMI output from your Sony Blu-ray player directly to your TV's HDMI input.

* I'm still not even sure about all this, but if it is in fact the latter (this type of connection here mentioned), then it's a real drag.

I'll have to do more research on this, as for now it's quite uncertain what your VSX-918 can do and not do.
But one thing remains for sure; if ever you see what I told you in the prior post before this one, from your front panel display (MultCH LPCM), then it means VERY GOOD, even EXCELLENT.
And if not, then, poor me and poor you, and poor Pioneer.
Because the best audio you will get is a downconverted high res. audio, like DD at 640kbs, or DTS at 1.5mbs, from the digital Coax/Opt input.
But still better than plain DD or DTS (at 384 to 448kbs for DD, and 750kbs for DTS).

I wonder if there is another member here that can chime in to confirm exactly what it is going on with that particular receiver of yours, the Pioneer VSX-918V? Please, do so, I've been at it for few hours now!

And if I find more, I'll let you know for sure. But you can do your part now, with all these new info at your disposition, and letting me know what you now see from your front panel display window of your receiver, after making all the appropriate settings as described in my prior post.

Cheers & Good luck,
Bob

P.S. After all this, I almost feel to change my avatar for something more downbeat. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, thank you for all the info!

While the menu options and display readouts did not all perfectly match up with what you described, I was still able to use the direction you offered to go through and confirm that I have everything set properly and am getting a good audio experience. Turns out my ears were right all along, and I have been getting the full multichannel surround effect, so thanks for leading me to be able to confirm this.

Luckily, I had already figured out that the HDMI cables don't pass along the reciever's OSD, so that wasn't an issue. Curious though that I'm hearing the surround seperation w/out the use of the digital coax cable if the HDMI in/outs don't support audio. Does this mean I'm getting the downconverted 5.1 you mentioned? Would this also explain why the Pioneer's front display reads "PCM" and not "MultCH LPCM?"

Such a bummer that the Pioneer doesn't support the HD audio codecs. I think support for those became standard on just about every reciever just after I got this thing!

Thanks again for the continued insight! :)
 

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I think the non-support of HDMI audio just means that the Pioneer can't send audio over its HDMI output connection. That's usually not a problem, since you want to hear the speakers being driven by the Pioneer. You don't want to listen to the TV's speakers.

Even though the Pioneer can't decode the lossless format part of the DD and DTS audio when it comes over HDMI, it can still interpret the "core" DD and DTS channels if you run the BD player in bitstream mode. In that case, the appropriate DD and DTS lights will be illuminated on the receiver. That's one of the advantages of both of their audio encoding schemes: the data making up the "lossless" part of the DD and DTS signal is in addition to the original lossy DD and DTS signals. The decoder in the receiver just ignores what it doesn't understand.

Of course, with bitstreamed/downconverted DD and DTS audio you won't experience the advantage of the full-range lossless audio. You might want to try bitstreaming to find out if you can actually hear any difference, though. Many people can't, perhaps due to limitations in their audio systems or in their ears.
 

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Wow, thank you for all the info!

While the menu options and display readouts did not all perfectly match up with what you described, I was still able to use the direction you offered to go through and confirm that I have everything set properly and am getting a good audio experience. Turns out my ears were right all along, and I have been getting the full multichannel surround effect, so thanks for leading me to be able to confirm this.

Luckily, I had already figured out that the HDMI cables don't pass along the reciever's OSD, so that wasn't an issue. Curious though that I'm hearing the surround seperation w/out the use of the digital coax cable if the HDMI in/outs don't support audio. Does this mean I'm getting the downconverted 5.1 you mentioned? Would this also explain why the Pioneer's front display reads "PCM" and not "MultCH LPCM?"

Such a bummer that the Pioneer doesn't support the HD audio codecs. I think support for those became standard on just about every reciever just after I got this thing!

Thanks again for the continued insight! :)
Hi Owen,

I was actually right in my first post, not in the second one. I did more research, and it is now a fact that your Pioneer VSX-918V receiver can accept a high-resolution PCM audio signal from a Blu-ray player that does it's own decoding, which your Sony BDP-S550 blu-ray player does indeed.
And all this from it's HDMI inputs (2).

You don't need the digital Coaxial/Optical connection for this, my mistake, sorry.
The HDMI connection is taking care of this.

And your Pioneer receiver is showing "PCM" in its front panel display, which is excellent, because it means indeed that all the channels are receiving this high res. audio signal.
Every receiver is different as what they show in their front panel displays, but it all means the same, which is full high resolution audio. Perfect!

Your receiver is one very good-sounding budget receiver, with a special circuitry called PHAT (Pioneer Hybrid Amplifier Technology), including hand-selected parts, automatic temperature compensation, and power modules that minimize internal and external electromagnetic interference.

And it accepts Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio from your Blu-ray player's built-in decoder via high-resolution PCM, and through the HDMI connection.

You don't have to worry at all, or even feel left out, as this way of getting the high resolution audio codecs DOES NOT in any way make any difference, or affect the sound quality. You are still benefitting of the full resolution with no loss at all.
The only small, non-important difference, is that you don't see the audio logos of these high res. codecs in your front panel display. But, "PCM" is the BIG DEAL. And you got it. :bigsmile:

* Sorry that it took me a while to fully get clear on that, but now I am. And I'm happy for you.

Cheers,
Bob
 

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I think the non-support of HDMI audio just means that the Pioneer can't send audio over its HDMI output connection. That's usually not a problem, since you want to hear the speakers being driven by the Pioneer. You don't want to listen to the TV's speakers.

Even though the Pioneer can't decode the lossless format part of the DD and DTS audio when it comes over HDMI, it can still interpret the "core" DD and DTS channels if you run the BD player in bitstream mode. In that case, the appropriate DD and DTS lights will be illuminated on the receiver. That's one of the advantages of both of their audio encoding schemes: the data making up the "lossless" part of the DD and DTS signal is in addition to the original lossy DD and DTS signals. The decoder in the receiver just ignores what it doesn't understand.

Of course, with bitstreamed/downconverted DD and DTS audio you won't experience the advantage of the full-range lossless audio. You might want to try bitstreaming to find out if you can actually hear any difference, though. Many people can't, perhaps due to limitations in their audio systems or in their ears.
Hi Selden,

I got things straightened up now. See my post just above.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's great, thanks again Bob! I havewatched a few titles and am completely happy with the results. Thanks for the time and insight, and for helping to restore some faith in seeking advice from online forums :)
 

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That's great, thanks again Bob! I havewatched a few titles and am completely happy with the results. Thanks for the time and insight, and for helping to restore some faith in seeking advice from online forums :)
Thanks Owen, that is very nice of you to say that. It does help me in wanting to help others.
You witnessed first hand my true dedication in providing the very best I can for others that have some difficulties.
It's in my true nature, and I find it rewarding to be online at various audio/video forums.
Also, by helping others, I also learn myself. So it is indeed a double win, and much more too, depending on how many people read these threads.

Cheers and enjoy life with music & movies, :) ...well, with the family also, of course.
Bob
 

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I was going to ask this very question, until I ran into this post. My receiver is the upgraded Pioneer VSX-1019AH, and my BD player is the Sony BDP-BX1. I was so excited to hook everything up on Christmas morning and watch the system, "Come Alive!!" I even bought a Blu RAy disc to play Christmas to show off the 5.1 HD sound. And then the PCM lit up in big letters on my receiver. I tried everything also, and nothing... I too wanted to see the HD Digital lites, bold and proud. The separation and sound is good, as I am still learning and trying different settings. Sound is coming out of 5.1 speakers. All is good.

Why does Pioneer do it this way? Is there a way to make the display light up "HD Digital, or use the receivers decoders?"

Here is the definition of PCM according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jump to: navigation, search
"PCM" redirects here. For other uses, see PCM (disambiguation).
Pulse-code modulation (PCM) is a digital representation of an analog signal where the magnitude of the signal is sampled regularly at uniform intervals, then quantized to a series of symbols in a numeric (usually binary) code. PCM has been used in digital telephone systems and 1980s-era electronic musical keyboards. It is also the standard form for digital audio in computers and the compact disc "red book" format. It is also standard in digital video, for example, using ITU-R BT.601. Uncompressed PCM is not typically used for video in standard definition consumer applications such as DVD or DVR because the bit rate required is far too high.

So I too am thinking analog stereo is being upconverted to a 5.1 signal, versus taking pure HD digital, from the BD sound and pumping it through some Pioneer filters. But according to you, Bob, we are getting HD 5.1 sound as good as it gets? I am using Sony Extended Definition speakers, which are rated pretty good.

We watched the new Star Trec on BR last night...it sounded good. I'm not sure what I expected with the new sound system? I followed both user manuals exacally as far as setting up the listening area. My room is a little small, 11x21, but I have the Samsung Plasma against the wall across the 11 feet. It works out better that way for my furnture. SO the one of the rear speakers is right over my head, in the corner, and the other is about 10 feet on a speaker shelf mounted on the wall, same height.

I guess I don't hear the unexpected sound. As I watch a movie I was hoping to hear the unusual stuff, coming from nowhere? The surprise sounds, like was that real, or Memorex, or did a kid knock something over?

Any suggestions?

Thanks for the post! :gulp:
Greg
 

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Greg,

What is the "BD Audio Setting" in the "Audio Settings" menu in the Sony player?
It should be "Direct" if you want to see the different audio format lights illuminate on the receiver. See pages 45 and 55 in the player's manual. ("Direct" is the same as "bitstream".)

Most movies have very few surprises in the surround channels. However, the following were selected for a demo disc that's being put together on the AVS forum:
Dark Knight: 01:15:00-01:22:30 "Lower city car chase with Joker and Bat Bike."

Star Trek (2009): "Shoot-out scene aboard the mining ship"

Casino Royale: 00:11:17-00:15:59 "Construction yard foot chase. Heavy equipment sound, destruction, music, textural sounds (metals, drywall, etc)"

Quantum of Solace: 0:00:33 to 00:03:35 "The Gun fire, bullet shells falling from automatic weapons, engines revving and crashes"
Quantum of Solace: 0:00:35 to 00:01:37 "Car chase scene"

G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra: 00:06:15-00:12:06 "Forrest battle"

House of Flying Daggers: (00:12:10-00:15:30) "The Echo Dance"

Knowing: 00:38:55-00:41:11 "Plane crash"

Peal Harbor: 01:28:00-01:38:50 "1st Strike on Pearl Harbor"

Super Speedway: 00:16:15-00:20:15 "Surround sound CART testing on racetrack with two cars passing each other back and forth. you can hear everything fly by the cars!"
Super Speedway: 00:36:25-00:38:00 "Racing with good music and surround"

The Aviator: 00:42:45-00:47:26 "Howard Hues breaks the air speed record only to run out of fuel and crash into a beat field. Old Planes , Classic cars and Music.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If I understood Bob's input correctly (and I'm pretty sure I did), reading PCM on the front of the Pioneer is just the reciever's own way for decoding the audio track. Maybe we're not getting the fancy "DolbyHD" lights, but we're still getting the full benefit of that soundtrack. I know I can hear bullets zipping past and planes flying overhead anyway, just the same as on a standard DVD when the Dolby or DTS logos DO light up. Btw PS3 games are particularly impressive, also coming through this "generic" PCM mode.

One question: What do you all mean by surprises in the soundtrack??
 

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The PS3 has always been confusing to get to send the audio properly. With every firmware update they have fixed issues and if I am correct it now needs to be set to Bitstream in its audio setup if you want it to send TruHDS or DTS MA via HDMI. Are you sending it through HDMI to the receiver?
The "norm" is you need to be set to Bitstream if you want the uncompressed formats to be decoded by the receiver.
 

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Bob,

I took your advice and set the BD audio stting to "DIRECT"....and WOW what a difference. I rented the movie, Master and Commander, with Russel Crowe. I went to the battle scene, hit play, and wow, the receiver said "DTS" on the display. I've never seen that on the display on the receiver. My son came running into the living room and said it sounded like we were actually there at the battle on the ship. NOw, that's the response I was searching for.

By hidden sounds, I mean sounds that seem like they are coming from a different direction. As an example, during the battle scene, cannon balls were flying criss cross in the room. A pully hanging from a rope swings wildly across the deck and hits a seaman in the head. The sound was a great thud against his scull. Now that was expected, but that wasn't the focus of the scene. I just came out of nowhere. Unexpected sound. You can hear the ship's wood creaking as the cannon balls weaken it and the sea tossed her around. I'm so much happier with my new system.

Bob, you fixed my problem. Thank you.

NOw I'm going to figure out how to donate money to this site!! Awesome

Anyone out there looking for a good Home Theater Receiver. Take a hard look at the Pioneer VSX-1019AH....it rocks. Crystal clear sound. Video upconvert is also awesome.

Thanks again guys for your post...time to go watch this cool movie.

Greg
 
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