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These discoveries occurred over several months while getting Dirac Live set up on different systems with a laptop or PC or media server. They are HDMI-related, however, and could apply with any AVR or with any system using HDMI for audio processing and delivery. The following applies to PC systems, I have no experience with IOS or Mac-based systems. It applies to my experience with my system, there might be variations with other hardware. Most of this is obvious second-nature stuff to AVR gurus, it was not to me.


General Observations


  • You will be able to configure audio for surround in the PC only after being properly connected through an AVR to an HDMI screen or display and appropriate audio outputs and speakers. That step comes first. The Display Devices (AMD or Nvidia) and Playback Devices (Win 7 Audio) panels must show the AVR as the output device before you will be able to continue with configuration and setup. The video display must be on for audio to be sent through the HDMI system (this really threw me for awhile).
  • I was able to get audio working with AMD video cards, but not with Nvidia video cards (same result with two Nvidia cards in two systems - it could be the AVR was to blame, but I just ended up using AMD video cards throughout my system in order to be able to continue - not really an option with a laptop). With the Nvidia cards, I could only get audio through the HDMI with the display either not attached to the AVR or disabled in the AVR settings or turned off. I doubt this is really a universal problem for Nvidia video cards, but it could be something to look at if you can’t get audio through your system.
  • Once an update to the AMD video drivers broke the HDMI audio. I had to find the audio drivers and back them to the previous level to get the audio working again. A Windows update - or any system or firmware update - can break HDMI operation and require backing drivers to a previous level.
  • The AVR must be in the right mode to get set up. Start with a mode that gives MULTICHANNEL - HDMI - PCM indications on the AVR display.
  • To get the AVR and display properly recognized in the computer, start with all devices connected and powered OFF (computer, processor, AVR, display). Then turn on devices one at a time from display backward to computer and allow each to fully initialize before continuing. First turn on the display and allow it to fully initialize. Then the AVR, allow it to fully initialize. Then any HDMI processors (miniDSP, etc). Then the computer or server. The computer’s Display Devices panel (AMD or Nvidia) and Playback Devices panel (Win 7 Audio) should now show the AVR as the connected device. It might take a few tries to get all this to ripple through the system properly. It might also take some playing with Display Device and Playback Device settings particular to your system.
  • Tried and True Tips, if a device is repeatedly not recognized properly:
    • Select some other device and then switch back to the desired device.
    • With volume turned way down, power off one component (pick one), wait 10 seconds, turn it back on. Do this for all components in the system.
    • With devices powered ON, starting at the display and working back toward the computer, unplug each HDMI cable (either end), wait 10 seconds, plug the HDMI cable back in and see if the correct device is recognized. Do this for each HDMI cable in the chain.
  • Some displays require that computer HDMI be connected to a specific HDMI input. This can be true even if the computer HDMI is going through your AVR on the way to the display. For instance, one user reported that his display, with 3 HDMI inputs, requires that computer HDMI be connected to HDMI IN #2. Even with his HDMI going through the AVR first, the AVR must connect to HDMI IN #2 on the display for anything to show on the display and for the display to be properly recognized at the computer. Check your manuals carefully for specific requirements like this.
  • A useful debug method can be to remove the AVR from the chain altogether. Connect the computer directly to the display. The computer's output (and sound. if the display has speakers built in) should be seen(/heard) on the display, and the display should be recognized at the computer. When this all works properly, add the AVR back into the chain, following the display>AVR>computer power-on or connection sequence described above.
  • Get the AVR recognized in the Display Devices panel first, then look at the audio Playback Devices setup.
  • Display Devices:
    • R-click on desktop, Screen Resolution
    • Can set HDMI Display as extension of desktop, generally 2 screens max per video card
    • over/under
    • side by side (1=HDMI screen, 2=computer screen)
  • Audio Playback Devices
    • R-click on HDMI Device, Configure
    • 5.1 or 7.1 or Custom, the test sounds should go to proper channels.
  • System audio with a nanoAVR DL used to lock up if not used for a while and a power reset of the nanoAVR would get it going again. I believe this was not actually a nanoAVR DL problem but it was usually blamed on the nanoAVR. A new version of nanoAVR DL firmware solves this system problem.
A few more particulars from my own system that might be useful:

PC Audio Setup:
  • Audio > Playback devices > AMD HDMI output > r-click > Configure Speakers > 5.1 > test
  • Audio > Playback devices > Dirac Processor > default
  • Dirac Audio Processor Controller > Output device > Output (AMD HD Audio HDMI out #0)
  • player > configuration (Ctrl-P) > WASAPI (event): Dirac Processor (Dirac Audio Processor Device)
When the AVR is switched to a different HDMI Source and back again, the audio path in the PC is broken.
To reset it:
  • Dirac Processor usually is no longer seen as a Playback device and the media player no longer sees the Dirac Processor
  • Check that the AVR is recognized (r-click on Windows desktop > Screen resolution; and... Audio > Playback devices; The AVR usually still shows up OK in both of these settings.
  • Dirac Audio Processor Controller > Output device, switch away from and back to Output (AMD HD Audio HDMI out #0), verify Audio > Playback devices > Dirac Processor is default (it usually is); then Dirac Processor will show up in player configuration list again, usually already selected as the output device
  • if not, set player configuration back to WASAPI (event): Dirac Processor (Dirac Audio Processor Device)
    computer driver sequence is now properly reset
Another example:
  • With Room EQ Wizard running over HDMI, when the HDMI input to the AVR gets switched, or when switching the HDMI output channel number in REW, the PC/AVR combination can get "lost." It is often necessary to switch the HDMI output channel to a different output, then back to the desired output again, of toggle the REW generator output on and off a few times with a long wait (several seconds), to get the devices properly communicating again.
 

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Just wanted to let you know your effort to document this common issue has not gone unnoticed! It renews my motivation to configure multichannel capability on my laptop. I was ready to abandon it for a new one because of its seeming inability to play well with room correction software (as far as HDMI is concerned).

Enabling HDMI audio will be a valuable addition to my room acoustics tool chest. Once again, thanks for your time organizing and posting this topic!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Wayne,
Are you able to identify any differences between audio generated from HDMI or a USB DAC? Either objectively or subjectively?
The frame of reference of this question is that I use JRiver through a Broadwell NUC and Dirac Live. I currently have both HDMI out and USB out of the NUC to an Oppo 105. Have been using the USB for 2CH and HDMI for MCH but this is a bit cumbersome to switch and I wonder if it's worth simplifying.
My hearing tells me there is little difference (none?) but there is alot of chat about jitter, etc.
Thanks for all your tips and reviews.
jjk43
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wayne,
Are you able to identify any differences between audio generated from HDMI or a USB DAC? Either objectively or subjectively?
The frame of reference of this question is that I use JRiver through a Broadwell NUC and Dirac Live. I currently have both HDMI out and USB out of the NUC to an Oppo 105. Have been using the USB for 2CH and HDMI for MCH but this is a bit cumbersome to switch and I wonder if it's worth simplifying.
My hearing tells me there is little difference (none?) but there is alot of chat about jitter, etc.
Thanks for all your tips and reviews.
jjk43
Jitter is theoretically a potential problem, but one that I believe is rarely actually heard. I have seen elevated noise floor problem with HDMI due to power distribution and ground loop problems and believe that to be a much greater potential.
 

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Hello,
this week-end I had to do experimentations to find a bug in my system. The chain via hdmi connections was the following: Laptop to nanoavr-dl to avr to display device (no bluray in the equation). I succesfully did measures with dirac but I can't get sound signal sweeps from rew. (laptop +rew directly to avr was ok but laptop+rew to avr via nano was not working). I suspect that my problems are related to what you are pointing in this thread.
Maybe it would be helpfull if you could add some screen shots of the most importants steps that you kindly describes here?
 

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I will try to get to it, but have other pressing priorities.:|

It will be at least a few days before I can get to it.
Hello,
I may add something usefull for someone. A few weeks ago, I reconnected my receiver to the my TV (Samsung)via hdmi output 1 from the receiver to hdmi 1 input of the TV. The video and audio signal from the hdmi cable of the the BD player worked fine. When I connected my laptop to the receiver to use Rew guess what : nothing appears on the TV. The laptop did not see the receiver nor the TV.

My TV has 3 hdmi inputs. The second one is called HDMI2 RECEIVER in the OS menu of the tv (it is the input that also has ARC function but it is irrelevant here because I deactivate it). It took me the week-end to understand that the signal from a laptop via the receiver to the Tv must passes through this particular input of the TV.

You must connect your hdmi from the receiver into this particular input if you want to use your laptop when it is connected to your receiver. At least in my set up.

P.S.: Also take note that the last update of Windows 10 messed up with the displays drivers. I had to uninstal the intel driver completly, reboot the laptop, followed Microsoft instructions toreinstall and update the Intel driver to get it again in ASIO4all.
 

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Hi, I am using Intel HDMI audio setup to 5.1 (side speakers) in Windows 7 Ultimate, not set as default. I am also using Dirac, setup to 5.1 and default. Dirac Audio Processor will show 2 channels 44.1kHz, while the XMC-1 will still show 5.1, but will show 44.1kHz.

When I play stereo using Wasapi Dirac in foobar or Kodi, my XMC-1 shows 5.1! When I try mutlichannel, my XMC-1 shows 7.1!?!

Any ideas? Does your Dirac setup automatically change the number of channels properly?

PS: When I use Wasapi using Intel HDMI audio (instead of Dirac WASAPI), the number of channels change properly (XMC-1 shows PCM 2.0 for stereo).

Another little update, concerning use with REW.
 

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Hi, I am using Intel HDMI audio setup to 5.1 (side speakers) in Windows 7 Ultimate, not set as default. I am also using Dirac, setup to 5.1 and default. Dirac Audio Processor will show 2 channels 44.1kHz, while the XMC-1 will still show 5.1, but will show 44.1kHz.
My setup is Dirac in the PC/server, and it does not show frequency or channels, only that it is streaming. All is set to 5.1 throughout, with foobar as the player, and the Onkyo AVR always says Multichannel, even with stereo source.

When I play stereo using Wasapi Dirac in foobar or Kodi, my XMC-1 shows 5.1!
That is what I see in my AVR.

When I try mutlichannel, my XMC-1 shows 7.1!?!
That is a mystery!

Any ideas? Does your Dirac setup automatically change the number of channels properly?
Not really, it does not change at all. MUltichannel all the time.

PS: When I use Wasapi using Intel HDMI audio (instead of Dirac WASAPI), the number of channels change properly (XMC-1 shows PCM 2.0 for stereo).
My video/hdmi card is AMD, not sure that makes any difference.

Once I got it set up, it is pretty reliable, except that when the chain "breaks," by changing HDMI source at the AVR, I have to go to the PC and reset it in the Dirac output selection slot. Dirac does not recover automatically when the AVR is switched back to the PC as the source, while thge other drivers (Win7, foobar) seem to do so. Not sure what that means. The science of coding a really resilient audio driver is no small thing, and the Dirac driver might not be quite as mature as some other audio drivers when it comes to fine points like that.
 

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This thread was invaluable to me in getting my ASIO and Windows audio configuration working for full 8 channel HDMI support in REW!! I cannot say "thank you" enough!! :TT

A few details of my system's issues are documented here. I would only like to add that AudiocRaver's suspicions about Nvidia cards were correct: some do work. Well, at least mine does. Now! I would also like to add that if you're still at a loss after trying the other tips, make sure that bit depths and sample rates match. Thanks again, Wayne. :clap:
 

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This thread was invaluable to me in getting my ASIO and Windows audio configuration working for full 8 channel HDMI support in REW!! I cannot say "thank you" enough!! :TT

A few details of my system's issues are documented here. I would only like to add that AudiocRaver's suspicions about Nvidia cards were correct: some do work. Well, at least mine does. Now! I would also like to add that if you're still at a loss after trying the other tips, make sure that bit depths and sample rates match. Thanks again, Wayne. :clap:
Totally agree!
 

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Hi,
an other experiment with hdmi cables. Since a long time I had the feeling that my system did not sound as it should. All REW measures were good but something was wrong. Like if the sound was not stable. Sometimes laking of dynamic, other time the treeble sounded harsh, other time mids went in the mist etc.
Each time I drained all the system, suddenly it sounded good but after a while, here the problems again. (By draining I mean disconnect everything (from the outlet) and all hdmi cables, wait for 10 minutes, reconnect hdmi cables, connect the tv, put tv on, wait, connect the avr, put avr on, wait, connect NanoAvrDL, wait, connect bd palyer, put player on).
After many nights awake (!) and many draining sessions, I suspected something was wrong between the bd palyer and nanoAvr DL. I changed the hdmi cable between those 2 geers and voilà. The most mysterious part is by the same miracle the humm at 60hz that I had between the cable box and my receiver (solved by adding a rca cable randomly connected from the cable box to the receiver) deappeard too. Indeed, I disconnected the rca cable and no humm appeared since I changed that hdmi culprit.

DO I need to see a shrink? I don't know but I think that the cable had a bad connection in one or mor of the 19 pins is made of.

HDMI cables are the worst invention of the human kind since the atomic bomb!
 
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