New Processors passing HD Sound?


I recently acquired a pretty good Blue-Ray player (Sony s2000es) but am frustrated sound-wise since my Sunfire TG4 (or the TG5 for that matter) do not pass the new HD sound formats (DTS-HD, Dolby Digital-HD, etc.). Apparently the only way these formats can pass from the BR player is thru HDMI, which I will have hooked to my 1080p Hi-Def TV.
Does anyone know of a PROCESSOR (NOT a reciever - I want to use my own amp)that passes HDMI AND supports these new HD sound formats?
Thanks.
fplanner2000
At the moment, I know only of the Integra and the Onkyo Pro with the NAD and the CaryCinema combo due shortly.

Kal
I realize you didn't want a receiver, but the Onkyo 805 receiver supports the new HD formats and has pre-outs that would still allow you to use your amp.
Integra and Onkyo are the only ones I know of right now and good luck getting one any time soon. I was waiting for the Integra, but it's been on back log for some time and I can't get my hands on one for at least a few more months.

I wanted HDMI-1.3 and the Audyssey MultEQ and these units have both. Didn't want to wait so I picked up a Integra DTR-7.8 reciever for the time being. I use my Acurus amps, but the Integra is pretty darned good by itself. I was surprised.

I'll probably get the Integra pre down the road, but this will hold me over and I've been extremely happy with it so far. Couldn't ask for much more for HT, but two channel audio is nothing to write home about.

BTW, the Integra line is still built in Japan.
If the Sony has the HD processors built in and 5.1 analog outputs, simply connect the 5.1 analog output to the 5.1 input of any preamp and you will get the HD sound.
Thanks for the responses so far. It looks like Denon has come out with several receivers as well - not sure what I'll get running "pre-out" to my amp.
Px25: That's what I originally thought as well, but the HD signal is ONLY passed thru the HDMI cable. In other words, all you get from 5.1 is 5.1, not HD sound, as it has been explained to me by several pretty prominent engineer-types.
I'm not sure I follow what you're hearing from these engineer-types. The 6-channel discrete out should be just as lossless as the HDMI, with the only difference being that it's being done at the player instead of the processor (after being transcoded to LPCM I'd assume?).

What are they saying the significant difference is?
Hudsonhawk: I'm certainly not an engineer, nor do I pretend to totally understand this. What they told me is that the player will only send HD sound thru the HDMI port, not the 5.1 out. Apparently that's how it is designed, maybe for copy-protection or something similar - I'm not sure - just frustrated. There is an explanatory chart on p. 48 of the s2000es manual, which is viewable on Sony's site (with a little digging) that explains what some of the outputs are. ALthough I don't understand all of it, it seems to confirm that the HDMI is the only source for HD sound from the piece.

Meanwhile, friends are telling me to just be patient, as there will undoubtedly soon be processors coming to market to deal with this situation (as there are already receivers surfacing from Sony, Denon and Onkyo). I guess the next several months, and especially CES in January, will be full of new HD processors as the big players weigh into this new "market" segment.

Thanks again for your responses to this point - additional comments are also welcome (especially if you're a Sony BR engineer).
Can someone please explain HD sound ?

Thank you.
My guess is that they were talking about the Toslink / Coax out, not the 6 channel discrete output.

6 channel discrete output will pass the lossless audio encoded on some Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs; because of bandwidth issues, Toslink and Coax can only handle lossy Dolby Digital / DTS.
C'mon. This is not a problem with the guys at the AV forums. You can get high rez audio via HDMI either in the original bitstreams (LPCM, Dolby True-HD or dts-HD MA) or, if decoded in the player, all as LPCM. They will have equal resolution in both cases but the design of the particular player will determine which options are available.

In addition, if the player decodes and converts these formats internally, the same high resolution may be available on the analog outputs. Again, the design of the particular player will determine if these options are available.

AFAIK, no current player will decode dts-HD MA internally.

TOSlink and coax will handle the lossy DD/dts as well as stereo hi-rez but, again, the latter depends on the specific player.

Kal

Kal
Kr4: Thanks for your input. My player apparently DOES decode DTS-HD internally. SInce you are apparently more technically savvy on these issues than I am, please take a look at pg 48 of the manual for my Sony bdp-s2000es, and see if that doesn't say to you what it says to me - that the best I can do out of either the analog outputs, toslink or coax is going to be regular 5.1, NOT the HD formats. ALso, kindly point me towards these AV forums you mentioned. Thanks again.
If you send me a link to the manual, I will look at that matter but please check to see if it is decoding dts-HD MA, the MA indicating that it is lossless.

www.avsforum.com
www.htguide.com/forum/

Kal
The Link is http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/model-documents.pl?mdl=BDPS2000ES&LOC=3
Check out Page 12 of the operating instructions at http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/model-documents.pl?mdl=BDPS2000ES&LOC=3
You'll see that the player's 5.1 analog outputs DO NOT put out Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, or DTS-HD. The only way uncompressed digital surround schemes are outputted is via the HDMI cable, and the A/V receiver has to be able to decode DD+, TrueHD, and/or DTS-HD.

Now it makes me wonder if the 5.1 analog outputs on HD DVD players are downconverted to DTS as well. That's what HD DVD does over the SP/DIF link, whether TOS or coax.
Can no one describe how these HD audio's differ from non HD audio ?

Is it just pulling the same ole thing from a new type of decoding system ?
Actually, I do not really see anything on p12 that is definitive either way. Also, p48 is equally amibiguous about what you get from the 5.1 analog jacks.

First of all, this is typical of most BRD and HD-DVD manuals since the number of variables and the non-standard terminology make accurate but simple descriptions almost impossible. I have 4 players and none of their manuals is completely clear (and they all have charts like p48).

Second, one cannot generalize about HD-DVD and/or BRD since individual players have unique feature sets. For example, I recently got an HD-DVD player, which on the manufacturer's website seemed identical in its audio features to another model, only to find that it did not do what I wanted while another model did.

The only reliable source is to find a hand's on review in print or on the web where an actual user tells you what the player does.

Kal
Can no one describe how these HD audio's differ from non HD audio ?
The HD codecs are lossless, unlike the predecessors.

Is it just pulling the same ole thing from a new type of decoding system ?
Depends on the source. Some of the newer materials on HD are spectacularly good.

Kal
Ok .

Thank you very much Kr4 .
11-29-07: Saki70
Can no one describe how these HD audio's differ from non HD audio ?

Is it just pulling the same ole thing from a new type of decoding system ?
I think I read a show report by Barry Willis in S'phile of an HD DVD with Dolby TrueHD played through an Onkyo HDMI 1.3a-compliant A/V receiver. Willis said it was the best surround sound he'd ever heard.

From what I understand, it comes down to lossy compression or the lack thereof. Std. Dolby Digital has pretty severe lossy compression in the surround channels. Std. DTS also has lossy compression, but less of it and sounds noticeably better than Dolby Digital. The new HD formats, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD have NO lossy compression in any of the 7.1 channels. I personally haven't heard that yet (I have a Toshiba HD DVD player, but have to use the downconverted DTS scheme sent over the Toslink), but according to Willis it's something to behold.
First, the report was by Wes Phillips. Barry Willis is no longer affiliated with Stereophile.

Second, the lossless version of dts is dtsHD-MA. The MA stands for master audio and is lossless. dtsHD (no MA) is less lossy than regular dts but not truly lossless.

Kal
Great info , I am learning !

Given that there appears to be a new Betamax/VHS war ie.
Bluray/HD-DVD , does one or more of these new HD audios get associated with a particular video type or are they universal ?

How many of the newer DVD's out today are produced in one of these new formats , both video and audio ? Does one of each type seem to be dominant ?

Thank you .
Bluray/HD-DVD , does one or more of these new HD audios get associated with a particular video type or are they universal ?

Both support Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD lossless. They each have different requirements on how the players handle them though - correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Blu-Ray titles are required to have Dolby Digital soundtracks, whereas HD-DVD players are required to transcode supported codecs to Dolby Digital if necessary.

That's all off the top of my head, though - I could be getting the details wrong.

How many of the newer DVD's out today are produced in one of these new formats , both video and audio ? Does one of each type seem to be dominant ?

The vast minority. Most Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs only have a standard Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack. I'd ballpark that less than 10% of titles support lossless. Even fewer support 7.1.

11-30-07: Kr4
First, the report was by Wes Phillips. Barry Willis is no longer affiliated with Stereophile.

Second, the lossless version of dts is dtsHD-MA. The MA stands for master audio and is lossless. dtsHD (no MA) is less lossy than regular dts but not truly lossless.
Aah, Wes Philips. That's who I meant, but I get those names confused these days. And thanks for clarifying which surround schemes are lossless.

What I found interesting in Philips' report, though, was that for all the high-buck surround separates he's no doubt heard thru the years, the uncompressed surround scheme playing into an A/V receiver was the best-sounding surround he'd ever heard.

This matches my experience. Back in the Dolby ProLogic days, conventional wisdom gave short shrift to the bandwidth and dynamic range of the surround speakers. In my current 7.1 digital setup, I've found that anything I do to improve the surround channels such as better speaker cable, higher quality interconnects, and better amplification has resulted in remarkable improvement to the overall surround field.

I'm going to have to be patient awhile before I can have uncompressed surround in my rig, however.
Wes's discovery is not a surprise to me. Very few high end companies are on the cutting edge of MCH technology these days and there have been very few MCH demos, at shows or in showrooms, that utilize high-end equipment effectively. That's why I write "Music in the Round": To spread the word, even among the writers.

Kal
Guys - thanks again for your input. Looks like I'll just have to wait and see what comes out of CES as far as processors are concerned. The HD sound I have heard was spectacular in those venues (running through receivers!) - it is really something special done correctly. I do look forward to incorporating this capability into my system, albeit in several months, hopefully.
There are suitable AVRs (and a very few pre/pros) available now that will do the job but there will, undoubtedly, be more coming. A problem has been the unpredictability of the players' capabilities in decoding and/or outputting the lossless formats coupled with the lack of explicit info from the manufacturers. Sometimes the only way to know what the player will do is to try it or get the info from someone who has. I try.

Kal http://www.stereophile.com/musicintheround