Saturday, March 01, 2008

Sony PlayStation 3 and Blu-ray Audio Codecs

Sony PlayStation 3

$399.99 (40 GB)

The Sony PlayStation 3 is not just a video game console. It's also a stealth Blu-ray disc player. However, it has certain limitations when it comes to playing audio tracks found on Blu-ray discs.

Blu-ray discs' digital audio tracks can be:

  • Linear PCM (LPCM), up to 7.1 channels, not digitally compressed
  • Dolby Digital, up to 5.1 channels, lossy compression
  • Dolby Digital Plus, up to 7.1 channels, lossy compression at higher data rates than Dolby Digital
  • Dolby TrueHD, up to 7.1 channels, lossless compression
  • DTS, up to 5.1 channels, lossy compression
  • DTS-HD High Resolution, up to 7.1 channels, lossy compression at higher data rates than DTS
  • DTS-HD Master Audio, up to 7.1 channels, lossless compression
See Blu-ray Audio Codecs Revisited for more on these possibilities.

(The following information represents what I have been able to glean from sketchy information available online and from the Sony PS3 manual, which can be found here. Anyone who knows more or has better information is invited to post a comment.)

The Sony PlayStation 3 can pass 7.1-channel Linear PCM through, in the exact form in which it is recorded on the disc, to its HDMI output for use by an HDMI-capable AV receiver.

Edit: From this point on in this post, I have edited what I originally posted to correct misinformation in that post. The new text is presented in green. The replaced text is struck through.

It is unable to pass any of the other formats in the above list through as undecoded bitstreams to its HDMI output, even though it is HDMI version 1.3. That is, none of the six Blu-ray audio formats that are digitally compressed can be passed along as is by the PlayStation 3 as bitstreams to be decoded and uncompressed by external gear.

The PS3 can pass through Dolby Digital 5.1-channel audio and DTS 5.1-channel audio as undecoded bitstreams on HDMI. It can also pass through the "core" bitstreams for Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution, and DTS-HD Master Audio. The "core" bitstreams for codecs in the Dolby and DTS "families" are equivalent to Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, respectively. They do not include the "extension" bitstreams which add extra channels and/or more sonic information to the surround channels.

To obtain bitstream outputs for digitally compressed Dolby and DTS codecs you must, in the PS3's BD/DVD Settings menu, select "Bitstream" (rather than "Linear PCM") as the BD/DVD Audio Output Format (HDMI). A similar setting applies to those who are using the Optical Digital output rather than HDMI.



The PS3 can internally decode either Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 to LPCM 5.1 and output the latter on HDMI 1.3.

It can also internally decode Dolby TrueHD 7.1 to LPCM 7.1 and output the latter on HDMI 1.3. And as of the firmware update that Sony released in April 2008, it can do the same with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1.

It can internally decode DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1 or DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 as if it were DTS 5.1. These two formats are This format is recorded on Blu-ray disc in two parts. The "core" part is equivalent to DTS 5.1. The "extension" part contains the extra audio channels, if present, and also additional information making the reproduced sound more full-range and realistic. The PlayStation 3 ignores the "extension" part and decodes only the "core" part to LPCM 5.1, and outputs the latter on HDMI 1.3.

Finally, it can internally decode the Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 "core" (which is equivalent to Dolby Digital 5.1) to LPCM 5.1, and output the latter on HDMI 1.3. The "extension" part unique to Dolby Digital Plus is ignored.


To summarize: HDMI 1.3 digital audio output from the PlayStation 3 can be Linear PCM at up to 7.1 channels if:

  • That is what is recorded on the audio track being played from the disc, or
  • A Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio audio track is being played and converted to LPCM
HDMI 1.3 digital audio output from the PlayStation 3 can be converted to Linear PCM at up to 5.1 channels if:

  • A Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus audio track is being played from the disc, or
  • A DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution, or DTS-HD Master Audio audio track is being played from the disc
In all cases, the HDMI digital audio output of the PlayStation 3 is LPCM. Only the number of channels and the range and quality of the reproduced audio varies, depending on the format of the audio track being played.

In no case can the PlayStation 3 pass through any digitally compressed audio track as an undecoded bitstream for decoding by external gear. (It can pass through LPCM from the disc, but LPCM is uncompressed.)

HDMI 1.3 digital audio output from the PlayStation 3 can be unconverted bitstream output for Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1.

HDMI
1.3 digital audio output from the PlayStation 3 can be bitstream output that has been stripped to the equivalent of Dolby Digital 5.1 for Dolby Digital Plus or Dolby TrueHD. It can be bitstream output that has been stripped to the equivalent of DTS 5.1 for DTS-HD High Resolution or DTS-HD Master Audio. In both cases, the "extension" part of the bitstream is discarded and just the "core" bitstream is output.


In the above, I have been careful to state what the PlayStation 3 can do. What it will do, audio-wise, on its HDMI output depends on the device the PS3's HDMI output is connected to. For instance, if the external device is a TV that cannot handle any more than two channels of LPCM input, the PlayStation 3 will downmix everything to LPCM 2.0 before outputting it. This will happen automatically, since HDMI devices coordinate with one another to find a mutually acceptable format.

By the same token, when the PS3 is connected to a device that is not HDMI 1.3-capable, the connection cannot achieve the increased data rates possible with HDMI 1.3. At lower HDMI 1.2 rates, the LPCM output of the PS3 might be internally downsampled so as to reduce its data rate, and thus its audio quality.

Another caveat has to do with the TOSlink Optical Digital audio output of the PS3, as distinct from its HDMI output. Since the former has a lower maximum data rate than even HDMI 1.2 does, the PS3 might well reduce the LPCM audio output stream for that connection, by limiting the number of channels to two, or by downsampling.


Many PS3 aficionados have asked whether Sony might one day issue a System Software upgrade which will allow the PS3 to pass the various compressed audio formats through as bitstreams to be decoded by external gear. In particular, they'd like the lossless codecs, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, to be optionally treated as bitstreams for external decoding. Of these two lossless codecs, DTS-HD Master Audio is the one most asked about, since Dolby TrueHD is, after all, able to be decoded internally by the PS3 with no loss of information. (Now, as of April 2008, DTS-HD Master Audio can also be decoded by the PS3, but not passed through as a bitstream.)

To date, Sony has not been terribly responsive to these suggestions. Other than confirming that:

  • of the four higher-resolution or lossless audio compression codecs, the only one the PS3 can decode without sacrificing any information is Dolby TrueHD, and
  • of the four higher-resolution or lossless audio compression codecs, the PS3 can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, but not Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD High Resolution
  • the PS3 cannot pass through any codecs as bitstreams rather than LPCM
  • the PS3 can pass through the four advanced audio compression codecs as bitstreams, rather than decoding them to linear PCM, but it can pass them through only in their "core" 5.1-channel, low-bitrate forms
Sony has shown no inclination to give the PS3's Blu-ray users more bitstream options than that. In fact it is not even clear whether the PS3 has the necessary hardware to do so. Even though it implements HDMI 1.3 in hardware, does it do so in a way that would permit it to pass along high-bitrate audio bitstreams if the system software cooperated?

Put another way, is the only thing holding the PS3 back in this regard its firmware, or is the PS3's hardware partly to blame?

No one seems to be able to answer such questions definitively.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

From your article it sounds like, there is no point to use the bitstream output option on the ps3. Is this true? (I just bought the onkyo tx-sr805 which supports TrueHD and DTS-HD)

eric said...

"From your article it sounds like, there is no point to use the bitstream output option on the ps3. Is this true? (I just bought the onkyo tx-sr805 which supports TrueHD and DTS-HD)"

This is my understanding: the PS3 simply does not support bitstream output for digitally compressed audio tracks. I can't find anything at all about a bitstream output option in the PS3 manual. But I don't yet have a PS3, so I can't test it hands on.

(If you have or get a PS3, would you post another comment when you find out whether or not the PS3 actually does output bitstream audio?)

That said, it should be carefully noted that the PS3 does decode TrueHD (but not DTS-HD) audio into Linear PCM for output on HDMI, and your Onkyo TX-SR805 should be able to handle that as input. AFAIK, there is no real advantage to doing the decoding in the AV receiver as opposed to the Blu-ray player, as long as the player decodes the full compressed audio stream for a given codec, including the "extension" pertaining to that codec, and not just the "core" part of the stream.

Anonymous said...

God bless you Eric! Finally a competently and thoroughly written article on the Web about a point near and dear to my heart. I have found the information (or lack thereof) re: my PS3's audio codecs to be the most confusing and hard to find data on the Internet, in magazines, or in my PS3 manual.

I have owned a PS3 for about a year now and have all of the high-end gear that should provide me with the very best in sound... however I have been disappointed that I cannot seem to "feel" the true power of a DTS-HD soundtrack (or even TrueHD or DD+ in some cases)...much of it sounds a bit muted or poorly dispersed throughout my seven speakers. My best experiences have been with movies having a PCM soundtrack option.

I have spoken with Playstation's tech support numerous times and have never reached anyone half as competent in this area as your blog suggests you are.

I love my PS3 and still believe it is the best Blu-Ray on the market but I am disappointed with the audio side of things...I really hope Sony takes this situation seriously and can fix this problem via a software update.

Thanks for confirming much of what I thought was the case.

jpswim427 said...

I just bought the PS3 a couple months ago and had to do a firmware update the other day in order to play back the new No Country For Old Men Blu-Ray disc. However, the firmware update hasn't changed the available audio options listed in the menu.

The first person to comment is asking about something that you may not be aware of so you should tell me what you think about this. In the PS3 system settings menu, under the menu for Blu-Ray disc settings, there are two available options for audio. First, there is the option relative to audio being carried by HDMI, for which you can set the player to: 1) Bitstream, or 2) Linear PCM. There is also a choice to set the player for Bitstream or Linear PCM under the options relative to audio being carried via the Optical Digital cable. However, when you select the Bitstream option under either HDMI or Optical Digital, there is this warning from the player: "If you select [Bitstream], some portions of audio from the BD may not be played." This suggests to me that the Bitstream option for either HDMI or the Optical Digital cable is not ideal and that when it is selected, the player is not sending the compressed coded lossless signal (not that the Optical Cable can carry the full lossless signal anyway). Is this still your impression as well?

eric said...

jpswim247,

You are asking the $64,000 question! Let me start my answer with a big, fat admission: I'm not perfectly sure about all this. One reason I'm unsure is that I don't actually have a PS3. Another is that I don't have an AV receiver that could decode the new advanced audio codecs, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, if fed them by the PS3.

This is my educated guess:

The PS3's Bitstream option for either HDMI or Optical Digital output passes along only the "core" 5.1-channel bitstream for Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution, or DTS-HD Master Audio.

The "extension" bitstream, containing extra channels and/or extra information for the two surround channels in 5.1-channel audio formats, is stripped out. The result is equivalent to Dolby Digital 5.1 for the two advanced Dolby formats, or to DTS 5.1 for the two advanced DTS formats.

When the manual says, "If you select [Bitstream], some portions of audio from the BD may not be played," the portions which are not going to be played correspond to the "extension" information present in the advanced codecs.

So my original post was wrong (and I'm going to edit it accordingly). I suggested the PS3 couldn't produce any bitstream output whatever. Thanks to your comment, I now see that it can in fact produce DD 5.1 or DTS 5.1 bitstream output. It just can't output the various advanced audio bitstreams in all their full glory.

Notice that the PS3 can internally decode all six Dolby and DTS codecs. Except for Dolby TrueHD, the output is "core" 5.1-channel linear PCM. For Dolby TrueHD, it is fully 7.1 channels of linear PCM.

Anonymous said...

Eric,

As an owner of both the PS3 and a new receiver that is capable of outputting both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD soundtracks, I can confirm that your impression is correct. The PS3 cannot pass through anything but the "core" soundtrack for these advanced soundtrack via bitstream.

JPSWIM427 is also correct -- that warning that the unit provides you when you switch to the bitstream setting is Sony acknowledging that you are getting the "core" soundtrack only. The rest of the soundtrack will be lost.

The only luck I've had in getting these new soundtracks to play in all of their HD glory is if the movie has a PCM soundtrack (e.g. "Cars" or "Pirates of the Carribean"). You mention that the PS3 can decode Dolby TrueHD soundtracks and output as PCM...I think you are correct but I find the results vary sometimes depending on the movie (e.g. Spiderman 3 sounds fantastic but I didn't think that "I Am Legend" was as mindblowing as I had thought it would be).

Clearly Sony could do us all a favour and offer a firmware update that allows the output of these new high-def audio codecs via bitstream so we can all enjoy the soundtrack that the filmmakers intended.

eric said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for confirming my impression that the PS3 cannot pass through, as full bitstreams, including both "core" and "extension" information, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution, or DTS-HD Master Audio, which are the four advanced audio compression codecs Blu-ray supports.

It is disappointing to hear that Dolby TrueHD can, depending on the movie, produce disappointing results when internally decoded to linear PCM by the PlayStation 3. That could be the fault of what's on the Blu-ray disc, or it could be the fault of the PS3's decoder, and there's no easy way to know which to blame.

I agree that Sony ought to support full bitstream pass-through for all four codecs in a future firmware update. There is some question, though, whether the PS3 has the necessary hardware to do that. I'm an agnostic on the subject of whether the PS3 indeed has the right hardware, but it does seem to me that supporting pass-through of all codecs in the PS3 would make it harder for buyers to justify spending more for a "regular" Sony Blu-ray player ... since there would then be little the latter could do that the PS3 couldn't! (And the PS3 plays games, too!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this info.
I recently boughts a PS3 to use as a Blu-Ray player, but was dissapointed that the audio output to my Marantz AV receiver via the optical cable when playing 7.1 PCM Blu-Ray discs was only giving 2 chanel PCM sound. I found that by changing the Blu-Ray sound output setting to 'bitstream' instead of 'linear' on the PS3 means that the PS3 now outputs 5.1 Dolby Digital via the optical cable - resulting in very good quality 5.1 sound and saving me about £500+ on a replacement A/V receiver with HDMI inputs. I realise the sound I am hearing is not as good as 7.1 PCM but it's much better than 2 track stereo!

eric said...

Anonymous,

Your disappointment that your new PS3 won't send PCM 7.1-channel audio to your Marantz AV receiver via an optical digital connection (as, I assume, the receiver lacks HDMI inputs) is understandable.

My understanding is that downmixing PCM 7.1 to 2.0 channels for optical digital output is standard practice, owing to bandwidth limitations.

I also am under the impression that there aren't yet all that many Blu-ray discs whose PCM audio tracks exceed 5.1 channels (or does anyone more in the know disagree with that?).

So by choosing the bitstream output option on your PS3 and getting Dolby Digital 5.1 (which I didn't even know was possible when the input audio track is linear PCM), you are probably not losing any actual channels, at least not most of the time. What you are losing is at most the extra resolution of full-fledged linear PCM.

Anonymous said...

Eric,

There are very few Blu-Ray titles with linear PCM 7.1 soundtracks (or DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD for that matter)..."Hairspray" is one of them.

Hopefully more will be on the way in the future.

eric said...

Anonymous,

That "there are very few Blu-Ray titles with linear PCM 7.1 soundtracks (or DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD for that matter)" confirms my own impression. Thanks.

You mentioned "Hairspray" as one of the discs that actually have 7.1-channel sound. A review of that disc can be read here. The title has English DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 7.1 surround sound at 48kHz sampling rate/24-bit resolution. The audio quality is rated at 5 stars (out of 5).

Anonymous said...

Eric,

FYI, Sony just announced a firmware upgrade to the PS3 for DTS-HD Master Audio codec... great news for all of us waiting patiently for the past year!!! It is downloadable as of April 15th, 2008.

eric said...

That's great news, Anonymous. The ability of the PS3 to decode DTS-HD Master Audio will remove what is probably one of the two biggest objections to buying it mainly as a Blu-ray player, the other being the (still not remedied) inability to pass through the so-called optional audio codecs like Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD as bitstreams for decoding externally. The jury is still out on whether that can ever happen via just a firmware upgrade, or whether it would require additional hardware that is not in the PS3.

That said, I think the larger proportion of potential PS3 buyers would be perfectly content with on-board decoding of either TrueHD or Master Audio, whichever is on the disc ... and, of course, there is always the option of using the linear PCM track, if present on the disc. Among those three -- LPCM, TrueHD, Master Audio -- the user is typically going to find at least one which affords great sound from any particular disc title on the PS3, now that Master Audio is covered.

And thanks for posting your comment about the April 15, 2008, release of the Master Audio update! For those of us who owe money to the IRS on that date, it is nice to realize something good can also happen!

Anonymous said...

After downloading the PS3 Firmware update on April 15th which was advertised as supporting DTS-HD Master Audio, I was disappointed that this audio resolution was in fact not supported....in either the bistream or pcm modes.
In otherwords nothing has changed.
I have the latest Marantz 8002 A/V Receiver which supports all the latest lossless audio modes.
Enquiries with Sony have not provided me with a straight answer.
Have you any ideas what the problem could be?

eric said...

To the anonymous commenter who said the April 15, 2008, PS3 firmware update did not actually enable DTS-HD Master Audio:

No, I can't help you. Sorry. But I would like to know exactly how you were able to detect that Master Audio wasn't being supported in either bitstream or PCM mode. That is, what exact steps did you take to find or what was being supported and what wasn't?

Anonymous said...

Following downloading of the new PS3 Firmware update which should support DTS HD Master audio, access was made to the PS3 set up menu to confirm that the new lossles audio was available.

However, the setup menu still shows standard DTS 5.1 audio as being the only DTS audio available, not Master Audio.

Further tests were made by running a DTS Master Audio disc which shows on my Marantz 8002 A/V Receiver's display as standard DTS 5.1 as being the only audio source available.

I also posses a Toshiba HD-DVD player and everytime a DTS Master Audio disc is played, DTS Master Audio is display on the Marantz A/V Receiver.

This not the case when playing a DTS Master Audio discs on the PS3.

Further confirmation that only standard DTS is being played, is by the bit rate which shows 1.5 mbps whilst Master Audio should show a bit rate of about 5.0 mbps.

Another PS3 user has the same problem.

We cannot work it out and as previously stated a straight answer cannot be obtained from Sony.

eric said...

Anonymous,

It is a bummer that you and at least one other user can't get the PS3's new firmware to play DTS-HD Master Audio as advertised.

Visit this thread at AV Forums to commune with others in their experiences with Master Audio in firmware update 2.30 for the PS3.

Many users are reporting they downloaded 2.30 to their PS3 and Master Audio played wonderfully well right away.

Says one, "If you press info when playing back a blu ray you can see the dts HD MA logo in the top right hand corner."

Another says, "As long as you leave the PS3 set to LPCM [linear PCM, rather than bitstream, output] select the DTS-MA track of the disc and that's what your get."

Some users are concerned that the Master Audio tracks they are playing are not actually encoded with the full 24.5 Mbps maximum bitrate that MA is capable of.

A complaint: "So I still have to have my ps3 set to LPCM.. I tried setting it to bitstream so my lovely denon 4308 could decode the DTS-MA soundtrack but all it was receiving was standard DTS. Works fine in LPCM mode with close encounters playing and DTS-MA selected, but it may be considered a bit of a disappointment by those with the hardware to decode the soundtrack in their av amps." It accordingly seems at least one use cannot get bitstream MA output on their PS3. That is, MA (at least for that one user) only works when the PS3 internally decodes it to linear PCM.

There are also complaints that the internal decoding downgrades 7.1-channel MA audio to 5.1-channel. This is attributed to a bug in the 2.30 update. It seems that if the two additional surround channels that turn 5.1 channel sound into 7.1 channel sound are flagged as for "back surround speakers," they are recognized and used, but if they are flagged as for "additional side surround speakers," they are not recognized and used.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a bit off topic Eric but to "Anonymous" who said that their Toshiba HD-DVD player outputs DTS-MA to their receiver, I have a question: how are you doing that?

I have both Toshiba's A-2 and A-30 players and both seem to only output PCM to my receiver (that's all that is shown in the display area of the receiver). I know it is not my receiver (a new Pioneer one) because it DOES show "DTS-MA" on the front display when I play a blu-ray disc on my blu-ray player (a Panasonic BD-30).

It has always frustrated me that I wasn't getting the full soundtracks on my HD-DVD disks.

The audio settings for the HDMI connection offer only "Auto", "PCM" and "Downgraded PCM". I was recommended by Toshiba Tech Support to keep it on "Auto". It is too bad it doesn't have a bitstream output for HDMI.

Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

eric said...

To the "Anonymous" who asked how to get a Toshiba HD DVD player to output DTS-HD Master Audio:

According to the Toshiba HD-A2 manual (pp. 53 and 60), it looks like it can't be done.

Unless you choose "Auto" for Digital Out HDMI -- i.e., if you choose either "PCM" or "Downmixed PCM" -- you get linear PCM in some form.

If you choose "Auto," what you get depends in part on what the A/V receiver can handle. Even then, no bitstream output is provided, other than for Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1.

The advanced codecs from Dolby and DTS -- DD Plus, TrueHD, and DTS-HD -- are always output as PCM. In the case of DTS-HD (i.e., for Master Audio) only the "core" 5.1-channel DTS-equivalent is converted to PCM and output. The extra two channels and the extra audio resolution of MA is ignored.

I know what you asked really is, is there a way around this seeming limitation? The earlier "Anonymous" comment poster seems to have said there is. I hope he's right, and I encourage him to post another comment saying what it is.

Anonymous said...

I have the Toshiba HD-DVD player model XE-1 which does output all the new lossless audio (including DTS-MA) via bistsream using my Marantz A/V receiver model 8002.
Your audio settings should be:

Digital Out SPDIF: Bitsream
Digital Out HDMI: Auto
Digital Direct Audio Mode: On

Make sure have updated to the latest Firmware 2.8/t23t.

eric said...

Anonymous Toshiba HD-DVD player model XE-1 owner,

Thanks for posting your comment. It looks as if your model of Toshiba HD DVD player has more bitstream audio output capabilities than did Toshiba's early models such as the HD-A1, the HD-XA1, and the HD-A2.

I have a half-baked theory about all this:

The main question is: why is it not standard behavior for both Blu-ray and HD DVD players to do bitstream output for all four of the advanced audio codecs, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio?

After all, bitstream output would seem at first glance to be a slam dunk. All you have to do is read in the audio track from the disc and pass it along to the player's HDMI or digital optical output pretty much as is, right? Maybe you have to strip off some kind of digital container or wrapper, but how hard is that?

So why do so many players, such as the PlayStation 3, not support that kind of thing — even if they support HDMI version 1.3 or later, such that the higher bitrates of the advanced codecs can be taken advantage of?

My half-baked guess has to do with the need to piggyback other audio, such as that associated with the use of menus or of special disc features, on top of the audio for the movie itself.

These players, whether Blu-ray or HD DVD, have to deal with various forms of "advanced content," a phrase which signifies a way — different in Blu-ray than in HD DVD, but still comparable in terms of complexity — of letting the player mix more than one standard-content audio (or video) stream together into a single output audio (or video) stream.

That complicates bitstream audio "passthrough" quite a bit. Because of audio stream mixing, it's not really a straight passthrough of DTS-HD MA or whatever.

To mix content streams, HD DVD uses "HDi Interactive," based in part on JavaScript and in part on other geeky stuff. Blu-ray uses "BD-J," which stands for "BD-Java," a version of Java.

Beyond that, I have no idea how it's done. But my guess is that it's partly done in hardware ... i.e., using a dedicated chipset to do the gruntwork of taking apart and putting back together the audio streams.

The chipset approach is probably needed in order to be able to do the fancy stream mixing fast enough — i.e., in real time.

My further guess is that the requisite chipsets weren't built into the early players (including the PS3).

Maybe the chipsets weren't even available at the time these machines were introduced. After all, both camps, HD DVD and Blu-ray, rushed their initial offerings to market much too fast, so as to avoid losing the looming format war for lack of product.

This was particularly true of Blu-ray, which started out well behind HD DVD in terms of what was available when.

We can now say that the PS3, in that it is a stealth Blu-ray player and a game machine, saved Sony's bacon and permitted Blu-ray to overtake and defeat HD DVD.

But it came at the cost (I'm guessing) of not having the necessary chipset to allow audio stream mixing and re-encoding of the result as (say) DTS-HD Master Audio.

DocKen said...

I need a bit of help. I did not realize it, but I just bought an AV receiver that only has HDMI 1.2a and Dolby Digital ES or DTS Neo something..okay, I bought a dinosaur but Im stuck with it, as the supplier (Digital Universe.com--the pirates) would not accept it back without a huge loss..so, now I have my Playstation3 to hook up and I really dont know what my settings should be--bitstream, Linear PCM--which? Does it matter in my system? Please help..you (eric and co.) seem waay more knowledgeable than anyone else out there..thanks.

eric said...

DocKen,

You said:

I need a bit of help. I did not realize it, but I just bought an AV receiver that only has HDMI 1.2a and Dolby Digital ES or DTS Neo something..okay, I bought a dinosaur but Im stuck with it, as the supplier (Digital Universe.com--the pirates) would not accept it back without a huge loss..so, now I have my Playstation3 to hook up and I really dont know what my settings should be--bitstream, Linear PCM--which? Does it matter in my system? Please help..you (eric and co.) seem waay more knowledgeable than anyone else out there..thanks.

1. Make sure you have Sony's latest firmware for the PS3.

2. Use the Linear PCM setting.

3. Select the Linear PCM audio track on the disc. If there isn't one, select either the Dolby TrueHD
or the DTS Master Audio Track, if present. Else, select Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS.

4. Unless the audio track is already Linear PCM to begin with, the PS3 will convert it to Linear PCM and transmit it to your receiver in that form.

5. Your receiver will decode it and use it. You will hear all the channels that were present on the disc.

6. The only thing you are missing is the ability of the newer receivers to themselves decode Dolby TrueHD, etc. -- the "advanced codecs." But the PS3 can't pass those through as unreduced bitstreams anyway, so you are missing nothing!
Your HDMI 1.2a AV receiver will receive whichever audio track

Dre said...

my receiver has Pro Logic llx but no HDMI inputs and I recently discovered that when I connected my PS3 using the AV-MULTI out, I popped in AVP-R on Blu-Ray it decoded it in DTS HD-Master Audio! Dolby True HD, DTS ES-Descreet without the use of HDMI. The Sound is awesome and the bitrates are higher. So is this true converting? remember, Pro Logic llx was used to acheive this.

eric said...

Dre said:

"my receiver has Pro Logic llx but no HDMI inputs and I recently discovered that when I connected my PS3 using the AV-MULTI out, I popped in AVP-R on Blu-Ray it decoded it in DTS HD-Master Audio! Dolby True HD, DTS ES-Descreet without the use of HDMI. The Sound is awesome and the bitrates are higher. So is this true converting? remember, Pro Logic llx was used to acheive this."

I just don't know. For one thing, I don't know what audio gets sent out from the PS3 on the AV-MULTI out. But if Dolby Pro Logic llx in the receiver is involved, I suspect that the multichannel sound you are hearing is derived, not real. Not that it doesn't sound great, just that it is probably not true DTS HD-Master Audio.

Anonymous said...

eric,
i found your page on a google search and after reading message boards on the net for hours, i think i've decided that you are the only person that seems to really know what your talking about in a language i can understand. i just bought a PS3 and i'm attempting to hook it up to my Pioneer VSX-91TXH Elite receiver. The receiver claims to decode Dolby True HD and DTS HD MA but whenever i put a blu-ray in the PS3, i don't get anything but dolby digital or DTS to light up, which leads me to believe i don't have it hooked up correctly. (it's also possible the light on the receiver isn't lighting up because i only have 5.1 speakers, not the additional 2 speakers for 7.1) I have the HDMI from the PS3 going to the receiver HDMI in, and the HDMI out of the receiver goes to one of the HDMI in's of my Pioneer Kuro. I have the PS3 settings you speak of in this post set to "bitstream" rather than "PCM" since from what i can understand that is the way to get the Dolby True HD and DTS HD MA from the PS3 to the receiver. I get that the receiver can do the decoding, but with the new firmware the PS3 does the decoding too? Is "PCM" better than "bitstream"? I'm really confused and i'm hoping you can help me out. I've shelled out a ton of money on some of the best equipment i can afford so i KNOW i have the capabilities to get the best sound possible, i just don't know how to do it.

eric said...

Anonymous, you said:

eric,
i found your page on a google search and after reading message boards on the net for hours, i think i've decided that you are the only person that seems to really know what your talking about in a language i can understand. i just bought a PS3 and i'm attempting to hook it up to my Pioneer VSX-91TXH Elite receiver. The receiver claims to decode Dolby True HD and DTS HD MA but whenever i put a blu-ray in the PS3, i don't get anything but dolby digital or DTS to light up, which leads me to believe i don't have it hooked up correctly. (it's also possible the light on the receiver isn't lighting up because i only have 5.1 speakers, not the additional 2 speakers for 7.1) I have the HDMI from the PS3 going to the receiver HDMI in, and the HDMI out of the receiver goes to one of the HDMI in's of my Pioneer Kuro. I have the PS3 settings you speak of in this post set to "bitstream" rather than "PCM" since from what i can understand that is the way to get the Dolby True HD and DTS HD MA from the PS3 to the receiver. I get that the receiver can do the decoding, but with the new firmware the PS3 does the decoding too? Is "PCM" better than "bitstream"? I'm really confused and i'm hoping you can help me out. I've shelled out a ton of money on some of the best equipment i can afford so i KNOW i have the capabilities to get the best sound possible, i just don't know how to do it.
The PS3 currently can decode either a Dolby TrueHD audio or a DTS-HD Master Audio track on a Blu-ray disc. It converts either type to Linear PCM (LPCM, a.k.a. just plain PCM) with up to 7.1 channels and outputs the result on HDMI. Your receiver can use that PCM input on HDMI to provide you with your best possible aural experience ... but, of course, it would be even better if you added two more speakers so that you would in fact be getting 7.1-channel audio!

The PS3 cannot pass either Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio to a receiver in the form of a bitstream for the receiver itself to decode. The best it can do is pass the "core" of either of those lossless codecs, not the "extension."

The core of Dolby TrueHD is Dolby Digital 5.1. The core of DTS-HD Master Audio is DTS 5.1. Both are lossy, not lossless. Both lack the extra two channels that make 5.1 into 7.1. And both lack the extra aural resolution that comes with higher sampling bitrates.

So you are trying to use bitstream output from your PS3 when you are better off using the PS3's internal decoding to PCM. That is why your receiver at the other end of the HDMI cable is lighting up Dolby Digital or DTS. What it is receiving is the "core" bitstream, lacking much of the information that would be present if you used PCM instead.

The psychology here is tricky. You have a receiver that decodes the two lossless codecs, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA. You naturally want to use those features. You may even believe the receiver would do a better job of decoding than the PS3 would ... but AFAIK that is just not so. The PS3 does the decoding as well as it can possibly be done.

You may ask why the PS3 doesn't allow bitstream output for the lossless codecs. My best guess is that doing that would interfere with the need of a Blu-ray player to piggyback various kinds of user-interface audio on top of the actual audio track from a movie. The PS3 can do this if it decodes the audio to PCM, or if it passes through a "core" bitstream by itself, but not if it passes "extension" bitstreams through as such. That would (I am guessing) require expensive additional chipsets which Sony chose not to incorporate it its product.

Anonymous said...

eric,

so just to get this straight and be sure i'm on the same page as you, i should set the PS3 settings to Linear PCM rather than the Bitstream? if i understand what your saying here, that's how i will get better sound out of the PS3? when i do that, dolby digital and DTS no longer light up at all on my receiver, i only get "PCM" on the LED display. if this is what's best, i believe you i just want to make sure i'm getting the best possible sound for the money i shelled out. I guess the fact that the PS3 doesn't decode Dolby True HD or DTS HD MA correctly is why the receiver lights up PCM instead of Dolby True HD or DTS HD. I don't really hear a difference in sound as i switch back and forth but if you think PCM is better quality than bitstream, i'll take your word for it, you really seem to know your way around this stuff. I'm just trying to make sure i'm using the settings that make my equipment sound it's best. i'd like to add the additional speakers, but from what i can tell, it's a waste of money if the PS3 isn't sending the entire signal to the receiver in the first place. i'd have to buy 2 new speakers AND a new blu-ray player that decodes the Dolby True HD and DTS HD correctly to take advantage of what my receiver is capable of. thanks for the help, i REALLY appreciate your knowledge. i wasted hours searching message boards and got nothing but conflicting opinions and people that don't seem to know what they are talking about. thanks again, mike

eric said...

Mike,

You said:

so just to get this straight and be sure i'm on the same page as you, i should set the PS3 settings to Linear PCM rather than the Bitstream? if i understand what your saying here, that's how i will get better sound out of the PS3? when i do that, dolby digital and DTS no longer light up at all on my receiver, i only get "PCM" on the LED display. if this is what's best, i believe you i just want to make sure i'm getting the best possible sound for the money i shelled out. I guess the fact that the PS3 doesn't decode Dolby True HD or DTS HD MA correctly is why the receiver lights up PCM instead of Dolby True HD or DTS HD. I don't really hear a difference in sound as i switch back and forth but if you think PCM is better quality than bitstream, i'll take your word for it, you really seem to know your way around this stuff. I'm just trying to make sure i'm using the settings that make my equipment sound it's best. i'd like to add the additional speakers, but from what i can tell, it's a waste of money if the PS3 isn't sending the entire signal to the receiver in the first place. i'd have to buy 2 new speakers AND a new blu-ray player that decodes the Dolby True HD and DTS HD correctly to take advantage of what my receiver is capable of. thanks for the help, i REALLY appreciate your knowledge. i wasted hours searching message boards and got nothing but conflicting opinions and people that don't seem to know what they are talking about. thanks again, mike

The PS3 decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio just fine. When it decodes them, it changes them into Linear PCM output on HDMI. Linear PCM has all the audio information in the original audio track. It just is no longer digitally compressed, whether in lossless or lossy fashion. You don't care that it is no longer compressed, though, since HDMI can easily handle the uncompressed (up to) 7.1-channel audio stream.

On a disc, on the other hand, recording the audio streams in compressed form saves space. As long as the codec used for compression is lossless — as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are — no audio quality is lost. When the compressed bitstream is uncompressed and converted into PCM in the PS3, the full audio quality is preserved. You lose nothing ... repeat, nothing ... when you see "PCM" light up on your receiver's display.

In fact, some Blu-ray discs have a PCM track and no Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA track whatsoever, because PCM 7.1 is the ultimate in audio quality on Blu-ray. It just takes up a lot of extra space on the disc.

What the PS3 doesn't do is provide bitstream output for the two lossless audio codecs, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA, without reducing them to their "core" Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 bitstreams, respectively. That does sacrifice audio quality, so you do not ... repeat, do not ... want to use bitstream output from the PS3 to your receiver.

As to whether you are right to resist buying two more speakers: I think that if you really are as concerned as you seem to be about getting the best possible audio out of your PS3, you really ought to invest in the extra speakers. It makes no sense to fuss over whether you ought to use PCM or bitstream output from the PS3 while not seriously considering taking advantage of the extra channels that 7.1-channel audio offers!

Anonymous said...

Eric,

thanks again for all your help last week. you really helped me understand how to properly hook up the PS3 to my audio equipment. i really thought i was pretty good with AV equipment and understanding the correct way to hook things up, but i guess i'm not nearly as smart as i think i am. it was tough for me to understand what the best way to do it was. i WISH it were as easy as just hooking up the HDMI to the receiver and letting the two machines "talk" to one another. anyway, my PS3 is now hooked up correctly and sounds GREAT! i ordered two additional speakers to get the full 7.1 now that i understand outputting as linear PCM will allow the two extra speakers to be utilized. thanks again, and i've bookmarked you site as an excellent source for HD info in the future, mike

Amos said...

It was about time to find a site that explains things so well, so maybe you can answer a question that nobody is addressing, and Pioneer blames on the PS3. Case in point: I have my PS3 connected to my Pioneer elite SC-05 using HDMI 1.3, PCM selected on PS3 for complete sound reproduction of Dolby True HD 192khz 5.1 track on Bluray of Akira. The PS3 shows me it IS 192 khz, but the Pioneer shows it is 96khz PCM, even though it is allegedly capable of receiving the full 192 khz. Who is the culprit here? Why am I not getting the full 192 khz? Pioneer said it was PS3's fault, but as mentioned, the PS3 does show output as 192 khz!
Does anybody know the answer?
Thank you in advance.

Amos.

eric said...

Amos, you asked:

I have my PS3 connected to my Pioneer elite SC-05 using HDMI 1.3, PCM selected on PS3 for complete sound reproduction of Dolby True HD 192khz 5.1 track on Bluray of Akira. The PS3 shows me it IS 192 khz, but the Pioneer shows it is 96khz PCM, even though it is allegedly capable of receiving the full 192 khz. Who is the culprit here? Why am I not getting the full 192 khz? Pioneer said it was PS3's fault, but as mentioned, the PS3 does show output as 192 khz! Does anybody know the answer?******************************

I don't know the answer, but these comments may be of help to you.

First, I question whether your PS3 "does show output as 192 kHz". I wonder if you are getting this from what is shown on the TV at the top of the screen when you hit the Display button on the PS3 remote. If so, then what that line at the top of the screen includes is a description of the input audio track you are playing from the disc, as well as the moment-by-moment bitrate of that input track, in kbps.

So if it says "DTS-HD MA 48kHz" to the left of the bitrate, that's the name of the codec of the input audio track you are using, along with the sampling rate of the input.

If the codec is Linear PCM or LPCM (linear pulse code modulated) -- though LPCM is not strictly speaking a codec, since it is not encoded or compressed -- you'll see that indicated instead of DTS-HD MA, and again the sampling rate will be indicated as a frequency in KHz.

And if the input track is Dolby TrueHD, you will see that indicated instead.

The key thing here is that the audio sampling frequency in kHz that the PS3 reports when Display is active applies to the input from the disc, but not necessarily to the output being put out on HDMI by the PS3!

The output on HDMI is influenced by several factors. In your case, with the Akira disc (review here), I assume you are using the "default Japanese language track [that] is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound." I assume that, because you are not selecting a "bitstream" output from the PS3, the audio output on HDMI is actually linear PCM 5.1-channel, with a conversion taking place in the PS3. The question is what sampling rate is that converted-to-LPCM output, and the answer seems to be 96 kHz, based on what your Pioneer receiver is telling you.

Could the culprit be that you need to (on the PS3) go into Settings-> Sound Settings-> Audio Options and manually put a check mark by the "Linear PCM 5.1 Ch. 192 kHz" audio format option? (See this page in the online PS3 User Guide.)

Now, here's where things get conceptually tricky.

You may have, during initial setup of the PS3, used the Auto setup option for HDMI, rather than Manual. For some reason, although Auto setup is supposed to pick up all the audio output sample rates your receiver is compatible with, for linear PCM and the various audio codecs on HDMI, maybe it didn't pick up on the 192 kHz capability for LPCM. Manually putting a check mark by "Linear PCM 5.1 Ch. 192 kHz" may cure your problem.

What about if it doesn't?

At that point, I don't really know what to tell you. There are a number of possibilities. One is that you need to do something special to set up your Pioneer receiver to accept LPCM 5.1 at 192 kHz. I really can't help you there, since I don't have a Pioneer Elite receiver.

Another possibility is that, for reasons unknown, your Pioneer and your PS3 are negotiating a reduced sampling frequency of 96 kHz. One of the supposedly cool things about HDMI is that the source device and the receiving device are capable of doing a negotiation to see what is the best frequency (among other variables, such as number of channels) both can handle. I don't really know how this negotiation takes place, but if the Pioneer needs to have its settings tweaked so that 192-kHz sampling can happen, until you do the tweaking the negotiation will settle on 96 kHz instead.

Finally, another possibility (though I consider it a remote one) is that you ought to try a different, or better, HDMI cable.

If these comments don't help you and you would like me to try again, please let me know.

Amos said...

Hi Eric:

So I found out the culprit is Pioneer. This is the deal: for some reason Pioneer decided that their HDMI will only reproduce up to 96KHZ, and that includes ALL models! That's right: because the seller at Best Buy lied to me, I am stuck with a useless $1000 receiver. Isn't that nice? I will try to return it, but I am way past the 30 days so I have a feeling it will be of no use.

Funny thing is if the PS3 would have the multi channel connections for PCM, that the Pioneer does read up to 192khz.

Thanks again for your help. At least this proved my incompetence was only to believe the seller. And yes, in case you ask why didn't I research before I bought it? I did. And NOWHERE does it mention the problem. I happen to find it in tiny letters on a foot note on page 38 of the book! The representative had to admit to it when I read it to him (remember I mentioned he said problem was the PS3?) I guess the folks at Pioneer are not very honest either.

Just in case I am lucky, what receiver do you recommend that does repoduce 192khz on HDMI?

Thanks again for all your help.

Amos

eric said...

Amos,

You said:

So I found out the culprit is Pioneer. This is the deal: for some reason Pioneer decided that their HDMI will only reproduce up to 96KHZ, and that includes ALL models! That's right: because the seller at Best Buy lied to me, I am stuck with a useless $1000 receiver. Isn't that nice? I will try to return it, but I am way past the 30 days so I have a feeling it will be of no use.

Funny thing is if the PS3 would have the multi channel connections for PCM, that the Pioneer does read up to 192khz.

Thanks again for your help. At least this proved my incompetence was only to believe the seller. And yes, in case you ask why didn't I research before I bought it? I did. And NOWHERE does it mention the problem. I happen to find it in tiny letters on a foot note on page 38 of the book! The representative had to admit to it when I read it to him (remember I mentioned he said problem was the PS3?) I guess the folks at Pioneer are not very honest either.

Just in case I am lucky, what receiver do you recommend that does repoduce 192khz on HDMI?
The footnote you mentioned reads:

This receiver can only play back Dolby Digital, PCM (32 kHz to 192 kHz), DTS (including DTS 96 kHz / 24 bit) and WMA9 Pro digital signal
formats. The compatible signals via the HDMI terminals are: Dolby Digital, DTS, WMA 9 Pro, PCM (32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 88.2 kHz and 96 kHz
sampling frequencies), Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-EXPRESS, DTS-HD Master Audio, SACD and DVD Audio (including 192 kHz). With other digital signal formats, set to ANALOG (the MULTI CH IN, TUNER and PHONO).
I admit that I find that a bit hard to interpret.

It seems to say in the first sentence that the Pioneer Elite SC-05 handles PCM 32-kHz to 192-kHz digital signal formats (among others).

In the second sentence it seems to say that PCM over HDMI tops out at the 96-kHz sampling frequency -- i.e., 192-kHz PCM sampling is not supported on HDMI input.

Then in the final sentence it says, "With other digital signal formats, set to ANALOG (the MULTI CH IN, TUNER and PHONO)." Implication: if your digital source (in this case, the "Akira" Blu-ray disc being played in the PS3) has a sampling rate of 192 kHz, you can't use PCM over HDMI at full sampling resolution. It has to be downsampled to 96 kHz, or it has to be output over 6-channel analog (MULTI CH IN) connections, something the PS3 lacks.

For kibitzers: the "Akira" disc's 192-kHz Dolby TrueHD Audio Japanese audio track -- the audio track on that disc that has the highest-resolution audio -- is actually not PCM; it is Dolby TrueHD that is converted in the PS3 to PCM, since the PS3 is unable to pass through Dolby TrueHD bitstreams from Blu-ray discs "as is" for a receiver to decode them.

In theory, having the PS3 decode 192-kHz Dolby TrueHD to 192-kHz linear PCM for transmission over HDMI would sacrifice no audio quality whatever. But, Amos has learned, the Pioneer Elite SC-05 receiver cannot accept 192-kHz linear PCM digital signals over HDMI. Taking advantage of one of the intrinsic features of HDMI, the receiver is negotiating with the PS3 and telling it to use 96-kHz PCM instead. Result: the PS3 downsamples 192 kHz to 96 kHz by discarding every other sample in the decoded input stream.

Amos, I'm sorry, but I don't know which (if any) A/V receivers actually handle 192-kHz PCM over HDMI. This looks like something that may have to wait for future generations of receivers to be remedied. My guess is that there are not currently available the chipsets necessary to accomplish this function, since it is definitely a function that nominally a full-featured HDMI 1.3 input is supposed to be compatible with.

Amos said...

Hi Eric:

You are very astute. The interpertation you had off the Pioneer notes is exactly the one I had, and I am sure they intended it that way.

Regardless, you mention no amplifier at this moment will do what I want, and I will not buy another bluray player with 8 pcm hookups, and hdmi/pcm cables do not exist, (which the amplifier does acommodate), so I guess I will have to eat it! It is a shame, this amplifier, regardless of this issue, is actually very good. I just expected, at that price, to have it all.

So I have a last question for you. This is an issue that I guess has as many opinions as there are people, so I would like to know your opinion. How much different is to our ears to hear the film in 192khz as oposed to 96khz? I have read the ears will not be able to tell the difference since the 192khz is too high,, yet I also read it is sampling, so the result is the same as seeing 480p as opposed to 480i: half the image, or in our case, half the sound. Which one is truth? Am I missing that much by hearing it in 96khz instead of 192khz?

Thank you again for all your help and expertice.

Amos

eric said...

Amos,

You said ...

you mention no amplifier at this moment will do what I want, and I will not buy another bluray player with 8 pcm hookups, and hdmi/pcm cables do not exist, (which the amplifier does acommodate), so I guess I will have to eat it! It is a shame, this amplifier, regardless of this issue, is actually very good. I just expected, at that price, to have it all.

So I have a last question for you. This is an issue that I guess has as many opinions as there are people, so I would like to know your opinion. How much different is to our ears to hear the film in 192khz as oposed to 96khz? I have read the ears will not be able to tell the difference since the 192khz is too high,, yet I also read it is sampling, so the result is the same as seeing 480p as opposed to 480i: half the image, or in our case, half the sound. Which one is truth? Am I missing that much by hearing it in 96khz instead of 192khz?

*********

Sorry, but I'm the wrong one to ask. I have a hearing loss in the upper frequencies of human hearing, and there is no chance that I could tell the difference between 96-kHz and 192-kHz sampling.

Normal human hearing tops out at 20,000 Hz (Hertz, or cycles per second), though that figure comes down with age. Digital sampling, for technical reasons, needs to be done at a frequency that is at least a little bit more than twice the highest frequency in the signal being sampled, so audio should be sampled at something above above 40 kHz.

According to this subtopic in Wikipedia, "When it is necessary to capture audio covering the entire 20–20,000 Hz range of human hearing, such as when recording music or many types of acoustic events, audio waveforms are typically sampled at 44.1 kHz (CD), 48 kHz (professional audio), or 96kHz. The approximately double-rate requirement is a consequence of the Nyquist theorem."

The Nyquist theorem is the one that says the sampling rate must more than double the top frequency in the signal being sampled.

The article continues, "There has been an industry trend towards sampling rates well beyond the basic requirements; 96 kHz and even 192 kHz are available. This is in contrast with laboratory experiments, which have failed to show that ultrasonic frequencies are audible to human observers ... "

Check out this article as well. It suggests 96-kHz sampling may be an improvement over 48-kHz. But, then again, it may not.

There is also some reason to believe that sampling at high "ultrasonic" frequencies is desirable in intermediate signal processing, prior to the final digital-to-analog conversion that produces a continuous electrical signal and thus a waveform for your home speakers.

By the time that signal is being generated, it is my guess that downsampling 192 kHz to 96 kHz (as done in your hookup) makes no detectable difference to what you hear. As long as your Pioneer Elite receiver's internal digital filtering is state-of-the-art -- and I assume it is -- none of the artifacts talked about in the second article I mentioned above should be in evidence.

So, yes, it is a bummer that the Pioneer Elite SC-05 receiver doesn't accept 192-kHz PCM over HDMI, and also that Pioneer buries that information in a hard-to-interpret footnote on page 38 of the manual. On the other hand, research on the Web convinces me, and might convince you as well, that you don't really need 192-kHz PCM over HDMI.

Amos said...

Hi Eric:

Again, thanks for a very thorough answer. After reading it and the links (and more) you sent me, my conclusion is that the reason they keep on doubling the sampling rate is to make sure the final sound is as close to the original as possible, even if that means creating fake "bridges". In my opinion, as close to an original analog sound as possible :-)

You may be right that considering all the bells and whistles that the Pioneer Receiver has, it probably does enough of a good job with the 96khz sampling rate. One of the things I concluded from the articles is that all variables need to fit, so if you have a great system to "decode", it could do as good a job with 96 as with 192, since the only differnce seems to be that the 192 has twice the same information as the 96. In other words, the higher the sampling, the more chances of getting it right!. I realized this is not about higher or lower frequencies as much as about reproducing all of them legitimately, with no distortion, or better said, no changes from the original.

I do have a very discerning ear. I tested a long time ago the same DVD on my Pioneer Elite player and then the PS3, using on both same toslink bitstream cable, receiver amplifier, etc. As good as the DVD player is, the PS3 gave me better separation and "sweetness" of sound. I also a very long time ago copied a cd to a reel to reel, and to my surprise, the reel to reel copy had fuller and better sound than the cd (this is an early "squeaky" one, before they improved them.) What I am trying to say here is that the system that better emulates analog is the one that will sound better to our ears.

The Pioneer SC-05 has a lot of extras that from what I read in the links you sent me, do very similar of what sampling at a higher rate is supposd to do, so you may be right, that it may not make a difference as far as the 192 and 96 in my case. I guess I will know for sure if I live long enough to compare them one day.

One note regarding the second link you sent me. He uses film as a comparison. He is unfortunately not an expert with film, since technically film does not run at 24 frames per second, as he states. Funny enough, his example works even better if he would use the reality, which is we see each frame twice, (the blade that is attached to the intermitent has two parts, and it does a complete turn for every frame, so in actuality, we see 48 frames per second.)

Thank you so much for the wealth of information and help you have given me. It is highly appreciated.

Amos

eric said...

Amos,

This is in response to your previous comment, which I will not quote in its entirety.

First, thank you for your input and all your kind praise.

Second, I think you are absolutely right in saying that the object of the digital-audio game is to reconstruct the original analog signal as faithfully as possible.

Given all the steps that take place in the "digital domain" that bridges between the original analog sound waves and those coming from your speakers, it is important at each step along the way to avoid as much as possible adding artifacts.

I have done just enough research into digital signal processing (DSP) to know it is something of a "black art."

For instance, getting a digital filter circuit to suppress unwanted frequencies -- such as those above the upper limit of human hearing, in that they may have appeared spuriously at earlier stages of digital signal processing -- can impose its own trade-offs in terms of adding signal distortion.

In addition, the reconstructed-from-digital analog wave will necessarily have some "quantization" error, making what ought to be a smooth waveform into one that has tiny stair steps.

A lot of the inherent distortion and quantization error (but not necessarily all) is going to show up as spurious high-frequency components in the signal. All waveforms can theoretically be decomposed into a set of superimposed sine waves -- the so-called Fourier Transform. Quantization error in particular will add a high-frequency sine wave (of hopefully low amplitude) to the mix.

In theory, as long as that spurious waveform is of high enough frequency and/or tiny enough amplitude, it will make no perceptible difference.

But spurious waves can interact with waves present in the music itself, "beating" with them or creating "intermodulation distortion." Two waves that intermodulate create extra waves at the sum and difference of the two original frequencies. Depending on the specific frequencies involved, these sum and difference waves can be audible and create unnatural sounding output.

The sum and difference waves can sometimes be filtered, using digital filters ... but, again, digital filters are prone to adding their own artifacts.

One of the reasons 96-kHz sampling is said to improve upon 48-kHz sampling is that quantization error is smaller, since the spurious "stair steps" are smaller. Thus there is less "false" information in the digitized signal to propagate through the signal chain as distortion. The same logic may extend to the difference between 96-kHz and 192-kHz sampling.

But by the time the PS3 downsamples 192 kHz to 96 kHz and sends it out to the receiver over HDMI, the signal chain is virtually complete, and there is little opportunity to create new artifacts, assuming the receiver is state-of-the-art in terms of its digital signal processing.

So I doubt if even sensitive ears such as your own could tell the difference if the receiver magically became able to receive 192 kHz over HDMI.

Amos said...

Hi Eric:

Thanks very much for the last bit. It added to my understanding of this whole subject. I still believe, even with all it's small faults, the PS3 is really an amazing machine, and in my opinion, very good value for what one gets!

Thanks again for your very welcomed expertise and time!

Amos

lost said...

Thank you for all of the info here. I have a question along similar lines regarding audio codecs and the PS3 from videos. I have lots and lots (more than 100) of (I'm told) PS3 compliant 720p and 1080p videos that are H.264 AAC 5.1ch .MP4, and I do not have a receiver that can decode the 5.1 ch AAC so the video plays without sound, though I'm told the PS3 will play these videos by many others, but that it will downmix the 5.1ch to 2ch. I'm just not sure how - what setting or how to have it hooked up.

eric said...

Hi, Lost,

You said:

I have a question ... regarding audio codecs and the PS3 from videos. I have lots and lots (more than 100) of (I'm told) PS3 compliant 720p and 1080p videos that are H.264 AAC 5.1ch .MP4, and I do not have a receiver that can decode the 5.1 ch AAC so the video plays without sound, though I'm told the PS3 will play these videos by many others, but that it will downmix the 5.1ch to 2ch. I'm just not sure how - what setting or how to have it hooked up.

.
.
.

I have tried to research your problem, but I find little about it on the Web that I understand fully. Here is a reference that may help you: http://www.digital-digest.com/articles/PS3_H.264_Conversion_Guide_page1.html.

This is the first page of a multi-page conversion guide for h.264 on the PS3. It says at one point, "There are actually three methods to get H.264 playback going on the PS3. One is to use MP4, but this means its limited to AAC audio and that unless you have an AAC decoding receiver, you will not get 5.1 audio. The second method first makes a MKV (instead of MP4) file with AC3 (instead of AAC) 5.1 audio, and then using the mkv2vob utility to convert that to a VOB file. This strange VOB file (normally they have MPEG-2 video, not H.264 video) will actually play on the PS3, and the advantage is that it can have AC3 or even DTS 5.1 audio and so you get to enjoy 5.1 audio easily. Unfortunately, this type of video file will not allowing seeking. The third method uses newly available tools to create a M2TS transport stream, which will allow AC3 5.1 audio and seeking (but only forward seeking, apparently). The instructions are common for all 3 methods until a certain point the guide (which will contain more information on the 3 methods), where you will then have to choose one of the methods."

Again, I don't fully comprehend all of this, but it sounds as if the first of the three options is what you have already run into: you don't have an AAC-decoding receiver, so all you can expect is that the 5.1 channels in the AAC audio would be down-mixed to 2.0 channels of linear PCM audio by the PS3 and output as such.

The second and third options seem to require you to process and/or convert the files you presently have so that they will give you 5.1 channels of output from the PS3.

The second option has you use MeGUI software to convert your present file into a VOB file, in which you "can have AC3 [which is another name for Dolby Digital] or even DTS 5.1 audio and so you get to enjoy 5.1 audio easily."

The third option has you use MeGUI to make a M2TS transport stream container file with AC3 5.1 audio.

I deduce from all of this that you are right: the PS3 cannot itself play back AAC 5.1ch in all its glory. It can send bitstream AAC 5.1ch to an external receiver for decoding there, but that's not what you need. So I recommend you investigate the two other options further in the multi-conversion guide. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Great post!! Congrats Eric.

One thing is not clear for me though... I understood there are to options: ps3 can decode or ps3 can pass the content as is thru, right ?

Is it correct to say that when decoding on ps3 it outputs always as PCM and when it pass thru as is it's bitstreamed?
Tks

eric said...

Anonymous,

You said:

One thing is not clear for me though... I understood there are to options: ps3 can decode or ps3 can pass the content as is thru, right ?

Is it correct to say that when decoding on ps3 it outputs always as PCM and when it pass thru as is it's bitstreamed?


That is correct. When the PS3 "decodes" an audio track, the result on its HDMI output is linear PCM. The receiving gear at the other end of the HDMI cable will "handshake" with the PS3 to determine how many channels it is capable of accepting, however, and the linear PCM output of the PS3 may accordingly be reduced in its number of channels, say from 7.1 to 5.1 or from 5.1 to 2.0. The audio information in the discarded channels will be injected into the channels that are actually present in an intelligent way, and will not simply be lost.

When the PS3 "passes through" an audio track, the result is that the original audio bitstream from the disc is sent out over HDMI unchanged. A decoder must be present in the receiving gear for the particular codec in question -- for example, DTS-HD Master Audio. Admittedly, I have not tried this, since I don't have external gear with various built-in decoders, but I am given to understand that many A/V receivers can handshake with the PS3 over HDMI and tell it what decoders are available.

I have been asked many times which is better: to have the PS3 do the decoding or to do the decoding in an A/V receiver. My belief is that it makes zero difference, since the decoders do exactly the same thing! True, if you buy an expensive receiver with various built-in decoders, it is psychologically unsatisfying to let the PS3 do all the decoding internally to itself. You may want to believe that the receiver "does a better job," and if you think you can hear an improvement, more power to you!

bruddahc said...

Got to this blog by googling ps3 audio. I have an older a/v receiver, a sony str de835 circa around 2000 got on craigslist. Got a ps3 last christmas and have hooked it up with the digital optical cable for the audio and an hdmi for the video directly to my sony lcd tv which is vintage 2009. No audio problems playing standard dvds on the ps3. When I started playing bluray recently, was not getting the dolby digital decoding through the receiver, it was reading out pcm 48khz on the display, and it appears that only left and right channel speakers and sub were emitting sound, no sounds from surround speakers. The ps3 customer support guy on the phone focused on the sound settings. I suggested looking at the BD audio settings under video settings but he blew it off. An audio guy I know suggested going to BD audio and trying bit stream. That did the trick and now it reads out on the receiver it decodes now in DD and DTS. But shouldn't have taken two days to figure out but I'm glad. I don't totally understand all the blog comments but I will have to review it more later. My question is, whats the difference between bit stream mix and bit stream direct? Both settings seem to work on my system, but the direct setting triggers and message that not all audio may be heard so I am leaving it with bit stream mix. Does anybody know what the difference is?

bruddahc said...

As a follow up to my post, not sure if older ps3 units have an option on bit stream settings (mix vs. direct) but maybe the newer ps3 now are upgraded to provide that option. Still don't know what the difference is between the two. But the comments seem to say that given the newer receivers, its probably better to opt for the pcm linear settings. My sony receiver is from 1999 or 2000 and only has optical as an option, no hdmi inputs.

eric said...

bruddahc,

This is complex stuff, no?

Apparently, for Blu-ray discs (or BDs) there are — under the PS3's Video Settings/BD Audio Output Format (Optical Digital) — three audio output options from the PS3 when using an optical digital audio output connection to a receiver.

These three options have to do only with playing Dolby Digital (DD) or DTS audio tracks recorded on the disc. So if you're playing (say) a Dolby TrueHD audio track from a BD, these settings would not come into play, since Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital are two different kinds of audio track. LIkewise, if you're playing a DTS-HD Master Audio track (which is not the same as a plain vanilla DTS track) or a Linear PCM audio track, these options make no difference.

The three options are:

(1) Bitstream (Direct) - the original DD or DTS audio track is output, "as is," as a "bitstream." Your receiver would then receive and decode the DD/DTS audio track.

(2) Bitstream (Mix) - allows the button sounds and other user-interface sounds generated by the PS3 to be mixed in with the original DD or DTS audio track and output as a DD or DTS bitstream for decoding by the receiver. I gather this mixing of two sources of audio information works properly with some receivers and not others, which is why the PS3 gives you a warning, "Some portions of the audio content may not be output," when you choose this option.

(3) Linear PCM - converts the original DD or DTS audio track to linear PCM, and outputs it that way, which is what you might want to do if your receiver did not have the ability to decode DD or DTS.

It looks like you initially had the Linear PCM option set on your PS3, and for some reason you got no sound from the surround speakers.

I can't be sure about this, but I imagine the PS3 either could not or would not include the surround information as separate channels when it decoded a DD/DTS track into Linear PCM. Perhaps the surround channels' information was being mixed into the front channels under the assumption that you don't actually have surround speakers. Changing certain other settings on the PS3 might have fixed that, I don't know. Or, omission of the surround information might have been done to reduce the bandwidth for the relatively slow (compared with HDMI) optical digital connection.

Anyway, my suggestion is that you continue to use either Bitstream (Mix) or Bitstream (Direct). I'd try Bitstream (Mix) first, so you have a chance to hear all the user-interface sounds. But if you can't hear them, you don't want to hear them, or you encounter other problems, switch to Bitstream (Direct).

bruddahc said...

Eric,
Great insight into the workings of the ps3 audio systems, your right it is complicated stuff, at least for me and I thought I knew a fair amount about home theatre.

I have the ps3 on bitstream mix, the direct setting prompted the message I talked about that some audio can't be played so will leave it on mix. I don't play a lot of games so the button sound you refer to I am assuming is from games that may be in bluray format.

On another related subject, in sound settings options, since I have it set to optical, I have certain options that the ps3 says you can select an output format supported by the tv or av amplifier (receiver) in use. It says the system will automatically adjust the output to match the selected format. There are 5 boxes I have as options to check off, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, AAC (what does this output do?), Linear PCM 2 ch. 88.2khz and Linear PCM 2 ch. 176.4khz. There are also settings that appear to be preset and I can't uncheck them, Linear PCM 2 ch. 44.1khz and 48khz. These may be defaults for certain formats when I am using the optical cable? Question, should I just have all the formats checked off and have the system auto select? If so, will the disk I am playing determine which format the ps3 will output? Are there any occasions where a bluray disk or regular dvd has both DD and DTS soundtracks? If so, which one takes priority? Sorry for all the questions but your a great help. Guess until I get a newer av receiver that has hdmi, I'm likely limited to DD and DTS sound decoding, which is the limitation of the optical cable connection. I've posted similar questions on the blu-ray.com's site forum but have not heard back. Thanks. bruddahc

eric said...

bruddahc,

I believe you may have gotten switched around in your thinking about the two settings Bitstream (Direct) and Bitstream (Mix). It is, I believe, Bitstream (Mix) that warns, "Some portions of the audio content may not be output," when you choose this setting. This is because it is Bitstream (Mix) that mixes user-interface sounds such as button presses into sound coming from the recorded audio bitstream that is being played. When sent via an optical digital audio connection to a receiver, the receiver may (I am assuming) fail to be able to render all the audio content that it ought to render.

You are using Bitstream (Mix), you say, and the results please you, so I'd say you should just keep on doing that. If you ever are doing anything with your PS3 that involves having it generate user-interface audio sounds — they are typically absent if you are just playing a Blu-ray — then you should be able to hear those sounds as well.

You have asked about the sound setting options. I gather you are referring to Settings > Sound Settings > Audio Output Settings. (For future reference, those are documented here.)

You are using a Digital Out (Optical) connector between your PS3 and your receiver, and these settings accordingly include a range of audio output formats, as you have indicated:

• Dolby Digital 5.1 Ch.
• DTS 5.1 Ch.
• AAC
.
.
.
• Linear PCM 2 ch. 88.2khz
• Linear PCM 2 ch. 176.4khz
• Linear PCM 2 ch. 44.1khz
• Linear PCM 2 ch. 48khz

These represent a list of the various digital audio encoding formats that the PS3 is capable of accepting in input video and audio media (such as Blu-rays, DVDs, CDs, game discs, etc.) and files (such as you might present to it on a homemade disc, via a network connection to the Internet, on a USB "thumb drive," etc.). The PS3 (depending on the settings you make in Settings > Sound Settings > Audio Output Settings and elsewhere in the Settings menus) can pass these audio inputs through as bitstreams to be decoded by your receiver ... if the receiver has an appropriate decoder onboard, that is.

Some of the Linear PCM audio formats can't be unchecked because all receivers can handle them, inasmuch as they are not really encoded in the first place.

As for the other formats, you need to make sure none are checked unless your receiver can handle them. I gather your receiver can decode only Dolby Digital 5.1 Ch. and DTS 5.1 Ch. — in addition to handling Linear PCM, of course — so you should leave those two checked and uncheck all the others.

AAC refers to "Advanced Audio Coding," which is used in many kinds of commercially available music downloads. Music from Apple's iTunes Store uses AAC ... but it is unfortunately in a special AAC format that (AFAIK) the PS3 can't deal with. AAC is often used for the audio tracks contained within videos the PS3 can play, and within video games, I assume, but (AFAIK) it is never found on Blu-rays, because it was unaccountably left out of the official Blu-ray standard. If on your PS3 you play an AAC audio track with AAC unchecked in the Settings > Sound Settings > Audio Output Settings, the audio will be converted by the PS3 to Linear PCM and sent to your receiver that way. (Now you see why the Linear PCM options can't be unchecked!)

You can find out more about the PS3's supported audio formats here and here.

bruddahc said...

Eric,
Thanks for the clarification except I checked again and I'm getting that message that some audio can't be heard from the Bitstream Direct setting, not Mix. Seems my bluray disk emit good sound either way so I'm not going to worry about it. I also read in the link you provided that if you want audio output from the receiver and the tv at the same time, you need to set it to multi-audio output. However, it get a message that indicates that audio that is output to thte digital out (optical) connector will be restricted as follows: Linear PCM 88.2/176.4khz > Linear PCM 44.1/48khz. Furthermore, audio that is output to connectors other than the Digital Out (Optical) connector is downscaled to 2 ch. Does this mean my sound through my receiver will likely be 2 channel which was the problem I was having before switching the Video settings > bluray audio to bitstream? If so, I'm inclined to leave the audio multi-output alone and leave it in the off position.

As for the sound settings > audio output, I'll just have the DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1 checked off and the others unchecked? I'll likely be using my ps3 mainly for dvd and bluray movies and occasionally some gaming. If I want to play a cd or something I burned, should I then go ahead and check the other boxes or will the ps3 automatically be able to output that audio? Much appreciation for the insight Eric. bruddahc

eric said...

bruddahc,

I'm not real sure how to answer your latest questions. Given that you're using HDMI to connect the PS3 to your TV and a digital optical cable from the PS3 to your receiver, you have a situation I can't duplicate here at my house. I'll have to rely on my interpretation of the official PS3 Usr Guide's Audio Output Settings page here.

It says:

"If you change the audio output settings -- from the default setting, which is to output [Linear PCM 2 Ch. audio] -- the system will no longer be able to output audio from multiple output connectors at the same time. For example, if your system is connected to a TV via an HDMI cable and to an audio device via a digital optical cable and you switch to [Digital Out (Optical)] under [Audio Output Settings], audio will no longer be output from the TV. To output audio from the TV, switch the setting to [HDMI], or select (Settings) > (Sound Settings) > [Audio Multi-Output] and set the option to [On]."

So, yes, if you ever want sound to come out of the TV's speakers at any time in the future, you'll need to set (Settings) > (Sound Settings) > [Audio Multi-Output] to [On]. But if you never want to use the TV's speakers, then set it to [Off].

Now, about those restrictions you mentioned: I assume they apply only if you turn the [Audio Multi-Output] setting to [On]. If you do so, then the Linear PCM audio output sent by the PS3 to its optical digital output connection will have its so-called "sampling rate" lowered, assuming it starts out at a higher number, to either 44.1kHz or 48kHz. Meanwhile, the HDMI connection to the TV will get Linear PCM output limited to 2 Ch., since presumably the TV has only that many speakers anyway. I assume the PS3 does this to avoid having to internally process the audio data at too-high bitrates, given that two separate processing paths are being used.

Your original question was about how you were not getting sound from your surrounds when playing Blu-rays. Did you have [Audio Multi-Output] set to [On] at that time? That may explain the problem.

Anyway, if you have now achieved a combination of settings that works for you at this point, I would leave them alone for now. You may also want to write them all down somewhere for future reference.

Best,
Eric

bruddahc said...

Eric,
To answer your last question, don't think the multi audio out settings was the reason I wasn't getting surround sound in the rear speakers, it was probably because I hadn't switched the BD audio output settings to Bitstream and that seemed to solve the problem. One think I did notice was that while playing the bluray movie "Secretariat" my receiver display seemed to show DTS sound being processed but the disk itself only had the Dolby Digital emblem on it. Thought that was kind of strange. Do most dvds and blurays contain either DD or DTS soundtracks but not both? If so, then the selection of the audio output would be automatic I would think. I also noticed that when the audio connection is set to HDMI, the ps3 gives the option of having the sound output selected either automatically or manually. No such option seems exists for the optical digital cable connection.

And getting back to the sound settings that can be checked off. If I'm using my ps3 mostly for dvd and bluray movies, I should have both Dolby Digital and DTS boxes checked. But if I need to play other media, I should have the other Linear PCM options checked as well? If these options are available to be checked, should I assume the receiver can process these outputs? I assume that if the receiver couldn't handle them, they wouldn't be an option to check off. Thanks again Eric, great info. I haven't had much time lately to watch blurays so will probably learn more when I do have time to play around with things. bruddahc

eric said...

bruddahc,

I'm afraid you have really exceeded my level of certainty here, so take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt ... I assume that if you are using the optical digital output and have both DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1 checked as audio output formats, the PS3 will output whichever of the two is present on the disc. If both are on the disc — I believe that that situation sometimes does happen, but if it does occur then both logos would be on the packaging — then frankly I don't know how the PS3 would choose which one of the two to play by default. However, I assume you can use the PS3's interactive controls to play the other track if you so choose.

As for the "Secretariat" Blu-ray, according to this page at Blu-ray-com, it does not have either a DTS 5.1 English audio track or a DD 5.1 English audio track! The only English-language audio track is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. True, DD 5.1 tracks exist in French and Spanish, but if your PS3 is set to use English audio tracks, then I assume it is smart enough to pare the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track down to plain DTS 5.1 and output that format to your receiver. It is fairly straightforward to reduce DTS MA 5.1 to DTS 5.1.

As for being ready for other possible audio formats on other media, the general rule is: Don't check a format off if your receiver can't decode it! My assumption is that if you try to play an audio format that isn't checked off, the PS3 will try to pare it down to one that is checked off, for example, DTS Master Audio 5.1 to DTS 5.1.

But if the "pare it down" scenario doesn't make sense, i.e., the input audio format is not a cousin of DD 5.1/DTS 5.1, I assume the PS3 would decode the audio input format internally and output it as Linear PCM on the optical digital output.

The result on the optical digital output of that kind of internally decoded audio is apparently limited to 2 Ch. audio, not matter how many channels are present on the input. I assume the sampling rate that is going to be output in that scenario would be strictly limited to one of the ___kHz rates that you can't uncheck in the audio output formats list.

But I think you are incorrect to assume that if the receiver couldn't handle a format, there wouldn't be an option to check off that format. The PS3 can't interrogate your receiver to see what formats it can handle. If you try to have the PS3 send it a bitstream that makes no sense to it, then I'm guessing you would hear nothing at all. There are also apparently situations in which only some of the audio channels would be heard, while others wouldn't. I'm not smart enough to guess what situations might provoke that result.

I do know that if you got a receiver with HDMI, then the receiver could tell the PS3 what capabilities it had and what it lacked. You could pretty much "set it and forget it." I believe, by the way, that many experts prefer to tell the PS3 to output Linear PCM over HDMI, not bitstream audio. That is, to have the PS3 internally decode the bitstreams. It is generally understood that the PS3 does an identical job to what the receiver could do ... so why pay for an ultra-expensive receiver to duplicate that functionality? Of course, you will get an argument on that subject from those who think the receiver does a better job ...

bruddahc said...

Eric,
That clears up my questions regarding the "Secretariat" soundtracks. Interesting it only has only the English track in DTS True HD. That may explain the DTS icon lit up in my receiver. I'll just keep those two primary boxes checked, the DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1. You indicate that as a general rule, don't have other boxes checked unless you know your can decode it. I'm just not sure of all the formats the receiver can or cannot decode. I know it can decode DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1 because those emblems are on the receiver. The other LPCM formats with the various khz rates I'm not so sure about. Would that be something referenced in the receiver's manual? Maybe I should check it. Thanks again.

bruddahc

eric said...

bruddahc,

Your receiver's manual might or might not mention LPCM formats above and beyond 44.1 kHz 2 Ch. and 48 kHz 2 Ch., which are the two LPCM options the PS3 keeps checkmarked by default for optical digital output, and which can't be unchecked. If your manual doesn't tell you that your receiver can handle 2 Ch. LPCM at 88.2 kHz or 176.4 kHz, then I would definitely leave those options unchecked on the PS3. Since your receiver can't handle AAC, leave that option unchecked as well, with only DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1 checked as bitstream outputs.

Best,
Eric

uno said...

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