5.1 Sound Problem, Comes And Goes

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by joetoronto, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    i'm not able to receive 5.1 sound on some movies that are supposed to be in 5.1

    i get sound but it's very low and mostly just the subs rumbling, just like the sound you get from commercials that aren't in 5.1 while watching a 5.1 program, like NFL football, for instance.

    it happens a lot on channel 74 (uhd) on directv for some reason.

    for instance, i recorded scarface in hd and my receiver says it's in 5.1 but it's obviously not.

    can anybody shed any light on this?

    thanks.
     
  2. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

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    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...
    What brand/model AV Receiver do you have? How is it conected to your HR10-250?
     
  3. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    it's a yamaha HTR-5590 6 channel receiver connected with an optical cable to an audio authority 1154A 4 channel signal selector.

    i want to stress though that i only have the problem once in a blue moon and it seems like it's only on UHD (formerly called bravo) and even then, only on the odd program.

    i'm thinking that for whatever reason, the receiver is getting a 5.1 signal even though the program isn't in 5.1
     
  4. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

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    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...
    Most likely it's a UHD problem.
     
  5. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada

    thanks buddy, i figured that. i was wondering if anybody else has had this problem but it doesn't seem like it.
     
  6. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

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    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...
    Maybe not too many of us are watching UHD :)
     
  7. Budget_HT

    Budget_HT Heavy User (of TiVo)

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    Jan 2, 2001
    Renton, WA
    joe,

    It looks like Scarface was produced in 1983 and had "Dolby" sound (I think before DD 5.1 became available). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086250/

    There are many errors in the listings. IIRC, UHD leaves their audio on DD 5.1 all the time, even if the program was not produced in DD 5.1. So maybe they listed it as DD 5.1, even though the movie itself was not.

    Depending on how our A/V receiver options are set for your subwoofer, it may only receive very low frequency content from the L+R channels since there was no LFE channel to play.

    I could be wrong here, so corrections are encouraged.
     
  8. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    i hear ya, litzog, once every 5 million programs or so they do show a gem though. :D
     
  9. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    ya, that makes sense, budget.

    as far as my settings go, i wouldn't know where to start, to be honest with you and considering how it only happens once in a blue moon, i think i'll just change the tivo's sound option to stereo when i record from UHD.

    then my receiver will convert it to DTS, which is fine with me.

    thanks for your help. ;)
     
  10. MeStinkBAD

    MeStinkBAD Member

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    Jul 16, 2003
    Tucson, Az
    DTS was the first digital multichannel audio format that supported both front and rear speakers. It was first used in 1993 for the film Jurassic Park. Dolby Digital didn't arrive until sometime after that. Like '94 or '95. Before DTS was introduced you had two maybe three channels (I think).
     
  11. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    i love DTS. :)

    i have no problem watching a movie with DTS, it's so close to DD, in my opinion, that i have trouble telling the difference.
     
  12. Budget_HT

    Budget_HT Heavy User (of TiVo)

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    Jan 2, 2001
    Renton, WA
    Thanks for providing the info. I was pretty sure that DD 5.1 was a 90's item, but not being sure, I did not state so.

    We get some great video on older movies but the sound is obviously not up to date. If the movie is good enough entertainment, we just aren't bothered by the "primitive" sound.
     
  13. Fineas

    Fineas New Member

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    May 24, 2004
    Ft. Lauderdale
    I get the same thing on UHD. My SOny 5.1 receiver says its broadcast in 5.1 (I get the blue light that shines when something is Dolby Digital) but I get nothing from the center channel. The voices come from the left and right channels only.

    I hadn't really taken notice of it, but my friend's mother in law just got a HDTivo last week. She's been bitching about this problem on UHD, so I checked mine to see if it was just her. It wasnt'.

    So it seems it clearly is a UHD problem, not an isue with your equipment
     
  14. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    yes, and thank God for that. ;)
     
  15. BadGuy

    BadGuy New Member

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    Feb 4, 2006
    This seems to be a common problem. I have the HR10-250 Tivo HD DVR/DirecTV receiver connected to an Onkyo surround sound receiver. When I go to channel 74 (UHD), the display on the audio receiver shows "Dolby Digital", but no sound comes out. I don't watch the channel that much so I never really paid any attention to it, but there have been times when it looks as though something good is on, but I can't hear it. Tonight, I decided to call DirecTV and work out the problem. The tech support guy wasn't much of a help, but while I was on the phone with him, I figured out how to deal with this problem. I'm not sure if this is a problem that is unique to UHD, the HR10-250, or a combination of the two, but it seems that the DirecTV receiver thinks it's receiving a Dolby Digital signal and it really isn't. I had to press the "DirecTV" button to bring up the "DirecTV Central" on screen menu, then select "Messages and Settings", then Audio. At this point, I switched it from "Dolby Digital" to "Standard Audio" and then went back to Live TV where the sound was now audible. I understand that this isn't the greatest solution, but on the rare occaision that I want to watch something on channel 74, it'll work. The bad part of this is that it then turns off Dolby Digital for all of the other channels that are broadcasting Dolby Digital signal. So, one then has to repeat the steps above to turn Dolby Digital back on.
     
  16. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    that's exactly what i was saying, BadGuy.

    i then put my audio receiver on DTS, which is a hell of a lot better than stereo. ;)
     
  17. Magnet

    Magnet New Member

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    Oct 13, 2002
    Fremont, CA.
    I'm having what seems to be the same symptom; center (dialog) channel drop outs. But instead of UHD, I'm noticing it mostly from a local OTA PBS station (KQED SF CA).

    The PBS music show Sound Stage in particular has caught my attention. Two recently broadcast episodes have done this (Lindsey Buckingham and Ringo Starr).

    The effect is somewhat subtle; everything is fine at times, lots of sounds being output from all channels. Other times, the LR and surround channels are active, but nothing from the Center. And it's definitely related to the programming.

    In the case of the Lindsey Buckingham broadcast, when the songs are being performed the sound mix is perfect. But when he's introducing a song, speaking into the same microphone, his voice (or anything else that might be in the center channel) is nearly inaudible. As this is recorded on the HD dTivo, I can confirm that the symptom always occurs in the same scenes.

    I've been trying to get to the bottom of this for a few weeks without any luck, yet. I've seen a few posts from others mentioning similar problems, but I've found nothing conclusive. I've tried adjusting the HD dTivo's settings to not use DD as suggested earlier, but it hasn't corrected the symptom (at least on a program that was originally recorded in DD)

    Looking back to when I first started noticing the symptom, I'm sure it's happened on other shows, and other channels including DTV channels (vs. OTA). But it's exception, not the rule.

    I know there's a reason - there always is. But so far I'm stumped. :confused: :(

    Is it something the broadcasters are causing? Is it the way my setup's configured? Do I have a defective piece of equipment?

    Can anyone suggest an effective path to solve this mystery?
     
  18. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    "I've tried adjusting the HD dTivo's settings to not use DD as suggested earlier, but it hasn't corrected the symptom (at least on a program that was originally recorded in DD)"

    i think this is what will tell us if you have the same problem or something else.

    i'll be back soon after checking it on my system, Magnet.
     
  19. joetoronto

    joetoronto HR10-250 Lover

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    ok, when i play a recorded movie that WAS recorded in DD, everything is of course fine.

    when i play a recorded movie that WASN'T recorded in DD but is flagged as being in DD, all i get is my subs rumbling slightly. it's exactly the same sound as i just got watching a commercial on the super bowl pregame show.

    when i play the same movie (casino from UHD) with the sound on the tivo set to stereo, it's fine, DTS kicks in.

    it looks like you have a whole different problem, magnet, and i have no idea what it is.

    sorry.
     
  20. Budget_HT

    Budget_HT Heavy User (of TiVo)

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    Jan 2, 2001
    Renton, WA
    joetoronto,

    I am confused about what you are calling "DTS." I thought DTS was a pure digital 5.1 channel audio capability similar to Dolby Digital 5.1, sometimes available as one of the audio playback options on some commercial DVDs.

    My frustrating experiences with audio from HD channels include the following scenarios:

    1. True 5.1 channel audio broadcast as DD 5.1. Works great, sounds right ...

    2. 2-channel audio broadcast as DD 5.1 (without the Dolby surround flag). Plays in plain stereo unless I manually invoke the Dolby Pro Logic II decoder in my A/V receiver. Then, most play in DPL II surround, with L + C + R + surrounds. My A/V receiver sends very low frequencies to the subwoofer (because I have optioned the A/V receiver to do so). But this is NOT the same as a true LFE ".1" channel provided with true DD 5.1.

    3. 2-channel audio broadcast as DD 2.0 (without the Dolby surround flag). Behaves the same as item 2 above.

    4. 2-channel audio broadcast as DD 2.0 WITH the Dolby surround flag turned on (part of PSIP data on OTA broadcasts). Automatically invokes Dolby Pro Logic II decoder in my A/V receiver, sounding like the manually-invoked equivalent described in items 2 & 3 above. The key here is the AUTOMATIC control of the DPL II decoder, meaning the user need not do anything to get the best available audio.

    In the 2-channel scenarios, I have heard (as others have mentioned here) some very low volume or missing center channel (or dialog) at times. It sounds similar to a stereo source with some portions mixed equally to both channels to give a center channel effect, but where somehow the left and right channels are out of phase, causing the material mixed to both channels to nearly cancel/null itself out.

    Some HD channels here always broadcast in DD 5.1, regardless of the source audio being DD 5.1 or stereo, with or without the surround flag turned on.

    Some HD channels switch at times between broadcasting DD 5.1 and DD 2.0 with the surround flag (for non-DD 5.1 material). I believe this to be the best combination.

    One HD channel always broadcasts DD 5.1, but seems to properly map whatever source is available to the correct channels delivered in DD 5.1. For example, stereo sources with matrixed Dolby surround play properly without using the DPL II decoder in my A/V receiver.

    Our PBS channel has chosen to not deliver true DD 5.1 audio, even though they broadcast DD 5.1 (which is as described in item 2 above).

    Bottom Line:

    Audio associated with HD broadcasts is not consistent and often leaves the user in the position of manually overriding default settings in their A/V receiver to get the best available audio.

    Regarding the HR10-250 HD TiVo, I have one of them connected HDMI to my HDTV and also optically to my A/V receiver. If the TiVo audio option is set to record/play DD 5.1, everything is fine via the optical output and my A/V receiver. But the TV audio only works on non-DD (5.1 or 2.0--doesn't matter) channels, such as SD satellite channels. This could be unique to my combination of the HD TiVo and my specific HDTV (Vizio L32 32" LCD).
     

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