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Discussion Starter #1
I recently bought a Pioneer surround sound system and followed all the initial setup procedures OK. When I play a movie encoded with dolby 5.1 I don't seem to hear true surround sound. There is sound from the rear speakers but there is no effect of something coming from behind and going away. I was playing Top Gun but all the sound seems to be coming mostly from the front speakers and woofer with some noise from the rear. The initial sound test showed all speakers were working properly. Do I need a special disc to "test" for surround sound effects? Thanks
 

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How is your "player" hooked up to your Pioneer? I assume you are using digital - COAX or optical link. I would also look at the setup of your Pioneer to ensure you have selected digital audio, etc.
 

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Here's the FAQ on DD5.1 audio. Perhaps this will help you sort out your issue.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=17870

As mentioned above, you need a digital audio connection and you also need to set the DVD player properly to bitstream, not PCM, etc. I assume you're talking about a HTiB system? What's the model number? If it is an HTiB, then there is no connection, however, sometimes people invoke the incorrect surround sound mode in the HTiB itself. The AVR/HTiB systems often have many different surround sound modes, with there typically only being one "correct" mode for each type of input format. For example many people invoke "5Ch stereo" or something similar and that mode should really only be used for music.

Also, on the DVD itself, there are often several different audio tracks. You need to select the correct one at the menu for the disc - usually under audio options. Some disks may default to DD2.0 or may have DTS on them instead of DD5.1, etc. Often you can cycle through the various audio tracks by repeatedly pressing a button on the remote labelled "audio". Some AVRs/HTiBs also display the incoming signal via a "display" button (or similar).

As if that's not enough, the speakers need to be balanced for volume output. This is typically done in a number of ways depending on the AVR/HTiB:

- using the internal test tones and a mic
- using the internal test tones and an SPL meter
- using the internal test tones and your ears.
- using a test DVD (like AVIA) and an SPL meter, and/or your ears.


Here's a post useful for those new to this - FAQs, Search Tips, Optimization, etc:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=57741
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Larry: My player is connected using an HDMI cable. I was told that this is the best connection for HD. Are you suggesting I should also use an optical cable as well? My hd cable box and my Sony Playstation 3 both have optical outputs, and my receiver has two optical inputs. thanks
 

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My player is connected using an HDMI cable.
Is the player connected directly to the AVR via HDMI? What's the make/model of the DVD player? Is it the PS3? If it is the PS3, are you playing a Blu-ray disc? What's the make/model of the AVR? Is the setting in the player bitstream or raw or PCM? What's the incoming signal on the AVR - usually displayed on the front panel or via an "info" screen available in the user menu for the AVR?

What happens when you put the disc into the PS3 - do you get the correct surround sound? Is it the older fat PS3 or the new slim PS3? If you press the "display" button on the PS3 remote/menu, what comes up on the screen for the audio format?

Check out the following FAQ on AVRs - see the part near the end on HDMI/HD audio.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=76082

Please answer all of our questions. Without accurate, detailed information, we cannot help you properly.
 

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Try playing a newer movie.The audio track for Top Gun is a little dated.
 

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Hold on a sec, it sounds like it is working just fine , try going into your settings on your AVR and turn the volume up on the rear speakers , and/or adjust the distance depending on your AVR.Try this before anything else, let us know if it works!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
57: Yes, the player is connected directly to the AVR via an HDMI cable. The HD stb is also connected in the same way. The AVR is connected to the tv with an HDMI cable as well. These are the only connections.
Right now I am playing Transformers 2, non blu-ray for test purposes. I tried turning up the volume for the surround speakers and I am getting sound from these as I would expect. I am looking at the screen of the AVR and it displays "PCM" as well as showing all speakers activated. I selected "auto" as the input so the AVR will read the input signal and play the appropriate format. I don't know what bitstream or raw means so I can't answer that.
This is the newer "slim" PS3 maching and when playing this movie, I do seem to be getting the correct surround sound. When I press the "display" button I get Dolby 5.1 ch 48 Khz 448kbps Mpeg2 4.2Mbps(this number changes).
I realize most of the audio comes from the front centre, l & R speakers and, I suppose, only that audio designated for the surround speakers is heard there. Thanks again to all for your help, if I need to do something else please let me know.

Sorry the model of the AVR is a Pioneer VSX-925.
 

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When I press the "display" button I get Dolby 5.1 ch
Then you have Dolby 5.1 :)
 

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1. The AVR handles HDMI audio and can also decode the new HD audio formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA.

2. The PS3 slim can bitstream these HD audio formats to the AVR and the AVR can then decode these formats. But you need to set the PS3 to bitstream and HDMI, not PCM, otherwise the decoding is done in the PS3 (which is not a real problem, but the bitstream option is usually preferred because the AVR is usually better at decoding and then you also have confirmation of what's coming to the AVR on the AVR screen).

3. When the slim PS3 is set up properly, the AVR should then display the incoming format on the display, be it DD5.1, Dolby TrueHD, etc.

4. There are many user settings in the PS3 for audio and you need to go through them all and set them correctly. I believe the important setting is actually under "video" and not audio, but can't remember off the top of my head.

This was covered in the FAQ in post 5.

5. In order to see Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA on the front of the AVR, obviously you need to play a Blu-ray disc that has one of these formats. Most BDs have one or the other, but not always.

6. Make sure you run MCACC with the mic on the AVR to properly balance the speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
57: Thanks for all the great and usefull information. It really helps. I didn't realize all the settings to be checked on the PS3 therefore I plan to go through the settings to be sure the device is working effectively.

Thanks again, I think all your advice will help me enjoy the system much more.
 
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