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5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Old 03-28-09, 06:59 PM
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5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Here's my setup:
  • Sony Bravia Z-Series KDL-46Z4100 46-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV
  • Sony BDP-S350 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player
  • JVC THC5 Home Theater System
  • Time Warner Cable Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD Hi-Def DVR

I have my cable box hooked up straight to the HDTV via HDMI.
I have my Blu-Ray player hooked up to the HDTV via HDMI and to the 5.1 surround sound system via an optical cable.

With this setup, I have been able to listen to Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and PCM 2.0. I just got "LOST" seasons 3 and 4 and would love to hear the PCM Uncompressed 5.1, but it comes out only in stereo on my system.

I read up that PCM Uncompressed cannot be transmitted through the optical cable in 5.1, and only through HDMI cables and my home theater system does not have an HDMI input.

So, I am thinking of changing out the receiver in my home theater setup. Although it is pre-packaged 5.1 setup I'm lucky that the 5 speakers are hooked up by normal speaker cables. All I have to do is buy a new subwoofer and a new receiver.

I was looking at the Sony STR-DG520 5.1 Audio Video Receiver but I read several comments that the HDMI input is just a pass-through and the audio won't come out in the surround sound speakers but only to the device you're passing it to.

So, I would love to hear receiver recommendations, especially those who have similar components that I have. I need at least 2 HDMI inputs and I want to pass the video through the receiver but I want the audio to come out of the speakers hooked up to the receiver. I don't think I need a receiver that decodes Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD; I think my player already decodes it since I know it's not my home theater system that's decoding it.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations!
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Old 03-28-09, 07:07 PM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Forget the 520, get the 820 which decodes pcm uncompressed and the other lossless formats. It has 4 hdmi inputs.
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Old 03-28-09, 07:19 PM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

I have the Sony STR-DG820 and it has been terrific. Great value for the features it offers. The 720 model will output PCM, but your Sony player will only decode TrueHD audio. It only bitstreams DTS HD Master Audio, so I would opt for the 820.
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Old 03-28-09, 07:55 PM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

The 820 it is! Thanks!
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Old 03-28-09, 10:02 PM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Also look at Onkyo. The TX-SR606 is a favorite around here.

Also, FYI, you are not getting the lossless tracks over your optical cable. You are getting, with DTS, the core, lossy audio, and with Dolby, an alternate Dolby Digital lossy track. S/PDIF, be it optical or coaxial, only has enough bandwidth to support 2.0 stereo.
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Old 03-28-09, 11:55 PM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

I also would recommend the Onkyo over Sony. I've owned both brands, and Onkyo is much better bang-for-the-buck, and has better sound quality. I'm a fan of Sony's TVs and video products (DVD and Blu-ray players) but not their audio equipment.

The receiver really should just be a first step for you. The speakers that came with your JVC HTiB aren't that great. If you really want to enjoy the benefits of the new surround formats, you'll want better speakers at some point.
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Old 03-29-09, 02:18 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Originally Posted by Mr. Cinema View Post
I have the Sony STR-DG820 and it has been terrific. Great value for the features it offers. The 720 model will output PCM, but your Sony player will only decode TrueHD audio. It only bitstreams DTS HD Master Audio, so I would opt for the 820.
Another owner of the Sony STR-DG820. Paid $220 for it and really like it. Yes I know there are many more fans for the Onkyo 606 but I am happy with my Sony STR-DG820. It is being used in a bedroom and I have a Panny BD55 and a Toshiba A30 hooked up to it. Best $220 I spent on a AV receiver.
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Old 03-29-09, 08:25 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Another vote for Onkyo. You should be able to find the TX-SR705 rather cheap. I have it and it's a great receiver. It also features Audyssey's MultEQ XT which, once you get the hang of it, is a very nice feature to have. Oddly enough, I've read that the TX-SR706 actually inferior to the 705.

Looking at the specs, all I see is that they added Audyssey's Dynamic EQ but downgraded to the MultEQ (which does 6 room position measurements rather than 8 and uses mid-level resolution filters for satellites and subwoofers rather than high resolution equalization filters).

It seems that in terms of features, the only genuine upgrade is the TX-SR906 which keeps the MultEQ XT from the 705 but also adds Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.

Last edited by RocShemp; 03-29-09 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 03-29-09, 10:12 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
The receiver really should just be a first step for you. The speakers that came with your JVC HTiB aren't that great. If you really want to enjoy the benefits of the new surround formats, you'll want better speakers at some point.
Definitely. I'll be upgrading that as sales come and I can get discounts.
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Old 03-29-09, 10:12 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Originally Posted by shaun3000 View Post
Also look at Onkyo. The TX-SR606 is a favorite around here.
I will definitely do that.
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Old 03-29-09, 11:35 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
Oddly enough, I've read that the TX-SR706 actually inferior to the 705.
Yeah, I remember hearing the same about the 700 and 800 series. I want to say it was the video processors that took a hit in the -06 series vs the -05. This didn't affect the 606 or 906.
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Old 03-29-09, 02:08 PM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

another vote for the onkyo
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Old 03-30-09, 08:07 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Onkyo/Denon/Yamaha over the Sony. I owned a Sony receiver...never again.

Onkyo 606, Yamaha 463/663/565
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Old 03-30-09, 10:30 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

OT: Just curious about the bad rap for the Sony receivers. I bought my parents a Sony receiver about ten year ago. It does DD and DTS, has lots of digital inputs, 5.1, etc. Very nice for its time. I remember doing the research and it was one of the best bangs for the buck and had good reviews. They are still using it and have never had any problems with it. Their only complaint is it can't do 'all-channel stereo'.

Where does Sony's bad rap come from? Is it recent or long-standing? Did I get in before they went downhill or did I just get lucky?
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Old 03-30-09, 12:05 PM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

I personally don't hate SONY receivers. Some of them have a good amount of features and connections for a reasonable price. The thing is that there are better sounding receivers (Onkyo/Denon/Yamaha) for around the same price or a little more. I dunno what the correct term is in English but in Spanish the way to describe the sound of a Sony receiver is "seco". I know that word translates to "dry" but I don't think that's the correct audio term in English. Basically, although they sound good enough, Sony receivers lack a certain warmth. They're not all that nuanced and, for the life of me, voices sound a touch artificial on a Sony receiver. Certainly not enough to call them crap but enough to put them below the other receivers.

I've heard great things abour Harman Kardon but have never had the pleasure of listening to such receivers myself.

Personally, if a little budgeting can get me in their price range, I'd rather save toward a good Onkyo, Denon, or Yamaha than on a Sony.
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Old 04-11-09, 07:01 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Okay, I've seen the Sony STR-DG820 on sale and I'm thinking of getting it. BUT... the speakers I'm using have are 3-ohms and the receiver I want is 8-ohms.

I've run into a lot of amp explanations on the web but no good suggestions about my situation. I have a small apartment and I can't turn up the sound really loud anyway.

So, I'm wondering if this is a bad idea?

Here are the specs for the receiver I want and the speakers I have:

STR-DG820 - Surround Mode Output Power: 8 Ohms, 1kHz, THD 10%, 150W per channel

Front Speakers - 170W, 3 Ohms, 95 Hz - 20 kHz
Center Speaker - 170W, 3 Ohms, 90 Hz - 20 kHz
Surround Speakers - 170W, 3 Ohms, 80 Hz - 20 kHz
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Old 04-11-09, 11:43 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Never mind. The more I read, the more I can see problems arising if I mix and match receivers and speakers. If I get a new receiver, I'm going to buy new speakers.
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Old 04-13-09, 10:53 PM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
I dunno what the correct term is in English but in Spanish the way to describe the sound of a Sony receiver is "seco". I know that word translates to "dry" but I don't think that's the correct audio term in English. Basically, although they sound good enough, Sony receivers lack a certain warmth. They're not all that nuanced and, for the life of me, voices sound a touch artificial on a Sony receiver.
Maybe the English term you're looking for is "tinny"?
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Old 04-19-09, 10:20 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

Okay, after shopping around a bit, I think this will be my setup as long as I can get some deals:

Definitive Technology ProCinema 600 5.1 Speaker System
Onkyo TX-SR606 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver
OPPO DV-980H 1080p Up-Converting Universal DVD Player with HDMI and 7.1CH Audio

I already have a Sony Blu-Ray 350 player and a Sony Bravia 46" Z-series LCD.

I'm going to have to get the Onkyo and the Oppo through Amazon.com. I'm going to wait to get the speakers either after I pay off the TV or there is a great deal at Best Buy like 36 months of 0% interest.
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Old 04-19-09, 10:57 AM
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Re: 5.1 PCM Uncompressed Problem

I think the 606 will be a very good starter HDMI receiver which can decode next-gen audio. I've got the 605 for almost 2 years now and it's been great.
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