Connections and decoding - still learning

burdette Posts: 1,194
Nuts and bolts here.... as an oldie to audio but a newbie to HT, I'm still learning about DVDs and DD and even Pro Logic.

I have my DVD player hooked up to my DD receiver using the digital output and the video out. Pop in a DVD with 5.1 audio and everything works great.. receiver recognizes the audio, switches into DD5.1, I'm happy.

Realized from reading today (and obviously I'm not alone given that several sites specifically address this issue, including Dolby) that just because a DVD says "Dolby Digital" on the back does NOT mean that it is in 5.1. Last night I about went nuts trying to figure out why A Bridge Too Far wasn't switching into 5.1, why I had to switch the player to PCM, and why (Duh!) I was getting sound out of only the two mains... my confusion makes sense NOW given that I thought it was 5.1, but last night my logic failed me miserably and I completely missed the "looks like a duck, quacks like a duck" angle.

So, first question(s), do you have a separate hookup for non 5.1 DVDs, such as using the analog, or do you go in and switch the DVD player's digital output? I have six channel out and six channel in... should I set the player's decoder to PL, connect those outs to my receiver's ins to use for Pro Logic, but use the digital out/in for 5.1 DVDs?? That assumes the pure digital out isn't affected by the settings of the player's own decoder.. a question I'm still unsure of...

A Bridge Too Far locked up last night about two seconds into ANY track when I was trying to play it back 5.1, but all my *real* 5.1 movies would play just fine. Switched the player to PCM and the movie played... does that interpretation make sense?? (I tried so many things last night, I know *something* I did finally got it to play!)

Finally... assuming I want to use the digital out/in for all DVDs... do I most likely have to go in and change the settings for the player's digital output from one movie to the next depending on the encoding, including a change from DD to DTS? I have the Apex AD800. If this is true, it would explain why the one DTS encoded DVD I've played didn't play back in DTS but rather in 5.1 (because I hadn't changed the player's setting to DTS and instead it was still on 5.1).

My gut feeling is that my equipment is working fine and that my various problems can be traced to wrong settings due to incomplete knowledge. I realize MOST movies (new) will be 5.1... and of all the problems I *thought* I was having lately.. I think they can all be traced back to (1) the fact that I didn't know that Dolby Digital on the back didn't mean 5.1 and that (2) I didn't know that the digital stream needed to be manually set depending on the encoding. Looking back, I suppose I just assumed that the digital stream included all the audio information and the *receiver* automatically selected....

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.. uh, I mean, because I'm still learning... my only "digital" audio up to this point was CDs, and my player is so old it doesn't even have a digital ouput.

Thanks for the info.
Post edited by burdette on


  • burdette
    burdette Posts: 1,194
    edited July 2002
    Thanks for the replies... I know that was a long post, but in the end I think I *just* about have everything figured out to get this thing DONE.

    My ONLY other question is this... as far as you know (given that different companies could do things differently I suppose), should a DVD player's digital output be affected by the onboard decoder, or does the onboard decoder only affect the signal going to the six analog outputs?? In other words, if I put in a DVD that has DD5.1, could I get that digital signal out of the digital input and at the same time put a ProLogic signal on the analog outs?

    I'm asking because I'm not sure my wife is going to want to mess with changing the DVD player settings.. but it would be easy to tell her to use Vid2 (digital) for 5.1 DVDs and Vid1 (and let the receiver go into PL) for others. She can run the receiver just fine, but might balk at getting into Setup on the DVD player.

    Thanks for the responses. I feel much better now about the problems I was having...
  • GuitarheadCA
    GuitarheadCA Posts: 400
    edited July 2002
    Okay, I'll take a stab at some of your questions.

    First, Six channel in's and out's. You should only need to use them if you are listening to SACD or DVD audio. Dolby Digital and DTS should both be able to be sent via the digital output.

    Next, You mentioned your reciever being set to DTS or 5.1. Well DTS IS 5.1. DTS and Dolby Digital both use the same hardware, only DTS is said to sound a little better since it uses less compression. in short, They are both 5.1 formats.

    Your right, it's possible for a Dolby Digital movie not to be 5.1. especially alot of older movies have a digital 2 channel audio mix. This is likely why your reciever would decode it as PCM. If you look on the back of the DVD, almost all of them will post the sound format and how many channels it has. Usually it's either two, two and a sub, or Five and a sub. To my knowledge, DTS is always 5.1.

    So, if your dvd doesn't have a 5.1 channel mix, I would still use the digital out (it should work) and use Pro Logic on the reciever (not the player).

    Also, Check in the menu of the actual DVD, many give you audio options like being able to swith between different soundtracks.

    Hope all this helps, Just ask if you have more questions.
  • HBombToo
    HBombToo Posts: 5,256
    edited July 2002
    is your audio from your dvd to the receiver hooked up with tos link? " Fiber Optic "... If so you should be fine whether its PCM or DD. Again, on the dvd you have to select the decoder you want... meaning dts or dd and your receiver should automatically sense which 1 its receiving then you'll be fine.