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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My system for Bluray playback for a couple of years now has consisted of a Rotel RSX-1550 5.1 AVR with a Sony PS3 game console. I was getting normal Bluray audio sound out of it on all six speakers, the fronts, center, surrounds, and subwoofer. When playing a Bluray disc, the Rotel would indicate DTS-HD MSTR at the bottom edge of the front-panel display, and the expected speaker lights were lit in the display.

I added an Oppo 95 to my system a couple of days ago. It is connected to the Rotel by the included HDMI cable that ships with the BD95. I don't have any other cables attached to it. Now suddenly, only the two front speakers and the center speaker are being used for the Bluray audio, or the two front and the subwoofer, whether I play it on the Oppo or on the PS3.

I have my FIOS cable feed plugged into HDMI input 1 on my Rotel, the PS3 in HDMI 2, and the Oppo in HDMI 3. I had to make setup changes in my Rotel to assign the Oppo to a video input. As far as I know, I didn't make any other changes to the Rotel setup. The FIOS TV feed works as usual. My normal old DVD and VCR work normally. My Apollo CD player works normally. The tuner and my turntable work normally. And finally, an SACD disc played in the Oppo 95 works normally too, with all 5.1 speakers being used!

But when the main feature of a bluray disc starts, the Rotel displays DTS-HD MSTR in the front-panel display at the bottom, but only three speaker lights are lit. Sometimes it is front left, center, and front right. At other times it is the fronts, but with the subwoofer being used instead of the center. A banner rolls across the front-panel display on the Rotel that says DTS-HD MSTR DMIX. At other times, I've seen 48KHZ MULTICHAN DMIX. The latter, I think, occurs when the fronts and center speakers are chosen.

I've been through all the settings on the Rotel, and they all make sense to me, although that may not be saying much. I disconnected the Oppo and went back to my original configuration with just the PS3, but it did not fix the problem. I've also tried it with just the Oppo connected and the PS3 disconnected, and that improved nothing either. What could be wrong? Maybe the Rotel needs service, but it seems to be working fine for everything except for BD audio (video is fine).
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I've discovered that all of my firmware levels are pretty old. I'm going to update the main, scaler, and audio firmware, then test again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, updating the firmware did the trick. All 5.1 speakers are now selected and in use when I play a bluray disc from my PS3 and my Oppo. Everything works correctly now. Now I'm running all the most current firmware levels, 1.28 main, 1.22 scaler, and 1.15 audio.

What a pain it was to update the firmware! The RSX-1550 has a RJ45 plug on the back that is only used for updating firmware. Rotel provides a cable. The other end is a DB-9 serial connector. Out of seven computers in my house, only two very old ones, vintage 2004 or so, had serial ports. And both of those computers were mothballed and occupying space in a closet. One was a laptop and the other a desktop.

I decided to try the laptop first, but I didn't have a Windows operating system for it, so I installed Slackware Linux 13.37, the latest version with kernel 2.6.37.6. Then I installed wine 1.2.2, so I could install and run the Rotel firmware update programs. They are designed to run on a Windows system, so you need wine to run under Linux.

The NEC update program that writes the main and the scaler firmware to the Rotel AVR both worked properly under wine. But the DSP update program for the audio firmware did not work. It uses a serial port feature that's not implemented in the Linux kernel, I believe.

I thought I might just leave the audio firmware alone since I couldn't get the updater to work, but with the main and scaler at the latest levels and the audio at 1.12, I had no sound at all for bluray or my cable TV. The SACD still worked, as did phono, tuner, and CD. So I had to set up the old mothballed desktop system. It has Windows XP on it. I was able to write the latest audio DSP firmware with it.

In case anyone else needs to update their firmware on a Rotel AVR, save yourself some pain and just use WIndows since it's the only way you're going to be able to write the audio firmware. Also, you'll either need a computer that has a DB-9 serial port, which is pretty rare these days, or you'll need a USB to DB-9 serial adapter.

While I'm very happy with my Rotel RSX-1550, this painful experience has convinced me that ease of updating firmware is an important consideration for me. I will not buy another Rotel AVR unless they come out of the dark age and provide USB connectors and wired and wireless ethernet adapters and the ability to update the firmware via one of these connections. Support for DLNA and an e-SATA connector would be nice too.
 

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Hey Shackster,

Thanks for your posting your firmware upgrade. I am getting ready to upgrade as well and would like to know whether there is a particular order to upgrading Main/Scaler/Video firmware?

I have the following firmware levels:

Main: 1.1.5-096319
Scaler: (can not tell from "mute" button output)
Video: 1.11

Thanks,
Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Matt, the scaler is the video, so I'm guessing you meant main, scaler, and audio.

I downloaded the firmware from the B&W Group Support site. Click on the ROTEL icon then select your model.

There are instructions and installer software there along with the firmware downloads. The exact same installation program and instructions apply to the main and the scaler. The audio firmware has its own installer and instructions.

The instructions were pretty much on the money. I didn't have any trouble with them, aside from the audio firmware installer program not working with Wine under Linux.

I did the main firmware first, then the scaler, then the audio. Be sure to disconnect the serial cable and power cycle the Rotel after each upgrade before moving on to the next one. Just follow the process described in the instructions.

Once you get them all upgraded, you'll be able to see the new version numbers displayed using the mute button method.
 

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Hi Shackster,

Thanks for the URL to the software update and the tip on recycling the unit. I try to get to it this weekend.

Thanks again.
Matt
 
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