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Help needed: Getting TrueHD and DTS-HD output


Marc_G
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Hi everyone,

 

As I work through my checklist of issues following my home theater refit, I'm coming up on a bit of a pickle.

 

I've got things to the point where all non-HD audio plays fine, and is bitstreamed by the computer, and received intact by the AVR (Denon AVR-S720W). To get here I made sure bitstreaming was set properly in ET, Kodi, and MPC-HC as needed. See pictures of my configurations in this thread:

 

https://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/42997-any-tips-for-getting-audio-to-play-directly-to-the-avr-with-no-processing/

 

I thought I had it all sorted out. But when I switched over to content with TrueHD or DTS-HD audio, my AVR either goes silent, reporting "unknown" signal input, or it sometimes drops back to PCM. In no case does it report TrueHD or DTS-HD input.

 

I followed the chain: Verified that I ripped the HD audio track. Confirmed on my test content by things like MediaInfoGui, the reporting by MPCHC or VLC, and in some cases as well by ET.

 

The computer (Tronsmart Ara X5 plus) includes HD audio in it's specs; no fundamental limitation there.

 

Windows: currently set to 7.1 output. Since I'm seeing issues in all player software, I'm guess something about my windows / control panel / driver settings is at issue. But, the computer knows all about the 7.1 speaker setup I've got and can drive individual speakers in test mode. It's just passing along the HD Audio stream untouched that's the issue.

 

The software (see pics in the thread I refered) are all configured for bitstreaming, to the best of my knowledge. But when I select the HD audio track, I get either nothing, or a PCM signal, or in some cases just a non-HD DD signal.

 

Where do I go from here to sort this out?

 

Thanks!

 

Marc

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clarkss12

There isn't HD Audio bitstreaming support in Windows as far as I know.  On this Tronsmart Ara X5.

Edited by clarkss12
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JeremyFr79

There isn't HD Audio bitstreaming support in Windows as far as I know.  On this Tronsmart Ara X5.

Uh YES there is, I can even stream Atmos and DTS-X from my WIN7 machine.

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JeremyFr79

Hi everyone,

 

As I work through my checklist of issues following my home theater refit, I'm coming up on a bit of a pickle.

 

I've got things to the point where all non-HD audio plays fine, and is bitstreamed by the computer, and received intact by the AVR (Denon AVR-S720W). To get here I made sure bitstreaming was set properly in ET, Kodi, and MPC-HC as needed. See pictures of my configurations in this thread:

 

https://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/42997-any-tips-for-getting-audio-to-play-directly-to-the-avr-with-no-processing/

 

I thought I had it all sorted out. But when I switched over to content with TrueHD or DTS-HD audio, my AVR either goes silent, reporting "unknown" signal input, or it sometimes drops back to PCM. In no case does it report TrueHD or DTS-HD input.

 

I followed the chain: Verified that I ripped the HD audio track. Confirmed on my test content by things like MediaInfoGui, the reporting by MPCHC or VLC, and in some cases as well by ET.

 

The computer (Tronsmart Ara X5 plus) includes HD audio in it's specs; no fundamental limitation there.

 

Windows: currently set to 7.1 output. Since I'm seeing issues in all player software, I'm guess something about my windows / control panel / driver settings is at issue. But, the computer knows all about the 7.1 speaker setup I've got and can drive individual speakers in test mode. It's just passing along the HD Audio stream untouched that's the issue.

 

The software (see pics in the thread I refered) are all configured for bitstreaming, to the best of my knowledge. But when I select the HD audio track, I get either nothing, or a PCM signal, or in some cases just a non-HD DD signal.

 

Where do I go from here to sort this out?

 

Thanks!

 

Marc

Try setting your output for Windows to stereo, 44.1/16 bit, I know it sounds weird but setting Windows itself for multi-channel audio wreaks havoc with bitstreaming.

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Try setting your output for Windows to stereo, 44.1/16 bit, I know it sounds weird but setting Windows itself for multi-channel audio wreaks havoc with bitstreaming.

Tried it just now. No dice. In fact after I set it this way, I couldn't get ET to play at all (on this wimpy Tronsmart box ET is very flaky at best, hence my work with kodi which is robust on this platform).  I also tried playing in MPC HC (no difference from prior to setting to stereo). And in Kodi I would just get DD or Stereo or once in a while PCM depending on what I was doing.

 

In Kodi / settings / system I went in and made sure bitstreaming (pass through) was enabled, and under that all the formats like DTS-HD and TrueHD were selected as available. In the actual playing file I verified bitstreaming was enabled, and toggled through the various audio tracks... generally no problem getting the DD or DTS going but when I had Windows set to stereo/16bit/44,100 I often just got stereo on the AVR despite the settings for bitstreaming.

 

I tried both reasonable audio devices shown (WASAPI HDMI-Denon AVR and Directsound HDMI Denon AVR) with generally the same results.

 

It seems like something is hijacking the bitstreaming... 

 

In Computer\Properties\Device Manager\  there is under sound/audio basically just the Intel SST audio device... and there's also the DEnon AVR too. Should there be something else that maybe needs to be installed there?

 

This is a bit of a stumper. Please continue with suggestions!

 

Marc

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JeremyFr79

Tried it just now. No dice. In fact after I set it this way, I couldn't get ET to play at all (on this wimpy Tronsmart box ET is very flaky at best, hence my work with kodi which is robust on this platform).  I also tried playing in MPC HC (no difference from prior to setting to stereo). And in Kodi I would just get DD or Stereo or once in a while PCM depending on what I was doing.

 

In Kodi / settings / system I went in and made sure bitstreaming (pass through) was enabled, and under that all the formats like DTS-HD and TrueHD were selected as available. In the actual playing file I verified bitstreaming was enabled, and toggled through the various audio tracks... generally no problem getting the DD or DTS going but when I had Windows set to stereo/16bit/44,100 I often just got stereo on the AVR despite the settings for bitstreaming.

 

I tried both reasonable audio devices shown (WASAPI HDMI-Denon AVR and Directsound HDMI Denon AVR) with generally the same results.

 

It seems like something is hijacking the bitstreaming... 

 

In Computer\Properties\Device Manager\  there is under sound/audio basically just the Intel SST audio device... and there's also the DEnon AVR too. Should there be something else that maybe needs to be installed there?

 

This is a bit of a stumper. Please continue with suggestions!

 

Marc

So just to reiterate, you went into the windows sound control panel, and selected your HDMI output and changed it's output to stereo, 16 bit and 44.1?  Try 48khz, I'd also try using LAV codecs (even though most those apps have codecs built in) and make sure it's set to bitstream everything.

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JeremyFr79

Also make sure under advanced properties in your sound control panel for your HDMI out that it's checked to allow applications to take exclusive control.

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So just to reiterate, you went into the windows sound control panel, and selected your HDMI output and changed it's output to stereo, 16 bit and 44.1?  Try 48khz, I'd also try using LAV codecs (even though most those apps have codecs built in) and make sure it's set to bitstream everything.

 

 

Also make sure under advanced properties in your sound control panel for your HDMI out that it's checked to allow applications to take exclusive control.

 

Yes and yes. The only combo I didn't try from what you mentioned was stereo/16 bit/48k (originally it was 7.1/16bit/48k, and I changed it to stereo/16bit/44.1k). Exclusive control enabled.

 

I'm sure there's a secret sauce here, of just exactly the right combo of these settings. 

 

In MPC-HC everything is LAV all the way. There is a setting in Internal Filters \ Audio Switcher for "enable built in audio switcher"  should that be checked (default) or unchecked?

 

I'm still thinking maybe I'm missing something. Like most of my other computers have a device like "Realtek Digital Output" or "Realtek High Def Audio".

 

Online some people say it plays TrueHD / DTS-HD fine, others say it can't stream those and decodes to PCM and the reciever plays them fine (such as this link, see audio section). However, I'm not even proper 7.1 PCM I think from those HD audio tracks.

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clarkss12

If you get your Ara to bitstream HD audio, please share your settings.  I have had my Ara for over a year, and have never gotten my Denon receiver to show HD audio.

 

For a $100 Windows 10 computer, the lack of passing through the HD audio is acceptable to me.  It does pass Dolby and DTS, so I can live with it.  I have other devices connected to the same system and they do pass HD audio.  Honestly though, if I did not see the info on my receiver I could not tell the difference between Dolby, DTS and HD audio.  Of course this may be because  my speakers are nothing special, and my hearing is not that good anyway, since I am 69 years young.

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How is it hooked up? Tron to AVR via hdmi then AVR to TV via HDMI? Where I'm going is ARC does not support HD audio. 

 

Tron to AVR via HDMI, AVR to TV via HDMI. The ARC path is just for the DD feed from things like the Netflix App of the TV. The HD Audio should be just fine from the Tron to the AVR. Should be, being the effective words...

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Yeah you're right these HDMI devices are ridiculously inconsistent. Only other thing I can think of is to try unchecking the appropriate format in the mixing tab of your Lav audio. I'm not sure exactly what it means but it says select the formats you want lav to decode. At on point unchecking that made mine work. I'm not sure if the unchecked box makes it just pass instead of decode or what exactly but easy enough to test.

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Hi guys I'm hot on the trail. Did some tests with my kids' NUC-i3 and just plugged it into the AVR and did no configuration of windows at all. All that was needed to get bitstreaming to work on it was to enable it in MPCHC.

 

58668557ae985_NUCi3_MPCHCedits.jpg

So just checking those bitstreaming boxes was all I had to do on that platform.

 

I went into the audio device properties for the AVR while plugged in with the NUC and saw this:

586685d23e9ad_NUCi3_AudioProperties1.jpg

 

The AVR came up as stereo by default with 16 bit / 48kHz sound.

58668612835a6_NUCi3_AudioProperties2.jpg

 

The thing is, it's a device connected to "Intel Display Audio" while what is installed on my Tronsmart is "Intel SST Audio (WDM)" which doesn't seem capable of passing the HD audio stuff. Several online places indicate the Tronsmart is capable of it so I'm investigating that the default software install missed a piece and that I need to fix it. I will dig some more and report back.

 

Marc

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JeremyFr79

Hi guys I'm hot on the trail. Did some tests with my kids' NUC-i3 and just plugged it into the AVR and did no configuration of windows at all. All that was needed to get bitstreaming to work on it was to enable it in MPCHC.

 

58668557ae985_NUCi3_MPCHCedits.jpg

So just checking those bitstreaming boxes was all I had to do on that platform.

 

I went into the audio device properties for the AVR while plugged in with the NUC and saw this:

586685d23e9ad_NUCi3_AudioProperties1.jpg

 

The AVR came up as stereo by default with 16 bit / 48kHz sound.

58668612835a6_NUCi3_AudioProperties2.jpg

 

The thing is, it's a device connected to "Intel Display Audio" while what is installed on my Tronsmart is "Intel SST Audio (WDM)" which doesn't seem capable of passing the HD audio stuff. Several online places indicate the Tronsmart is capable of it so I'm investigating that the default software install missed a piece and that I need to fix it. I will dig some more and report back.

 

Marc

What I find interesting is that it's detecting the receiver...... on my setup I have an HTPC connected to a Yamaha receiver which then connects to my Vizio Display, and when you look at anything on the PC it shows the display as the connected device not the receiver, and it's always done this even with my old Projector.  I can't say that it's an issue but I find it odd compared to what I've always seen with Windows......

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I went to the Intel driver update page, downloaded their utility, and did a scan. It found a few outdated drivers, which I updated, including the graphics one. Didn't have any effect on the audio stuff though.

 

I need to research a bit more. Sigh.

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I had brief hope of a solution after finding the Tronsmart download page for the device here.

 

There was a package with audio drivers. But on inspection it appears to be the same old 2015 SST Audio drivers it has now. I may remove the driver and do a rediscovery in hopes of seeing something happen.

 

I'm also considering returning the unit. I've sent a note to the seller "Geekbuying" and I've also posted on the (largely useless) Tronsmart forum.

 

Worst case scenario: I move my new home theater server (which is in a standard ATX tower case) into the theater and use it as a display front end as well until I find a better super quiet platform.

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JeremyFr79

I had brief hope of a solution after finding the Tronsmart download page for the device here.

 

There was a package with audio drivers. But on inspection it appears to be the same old 2015 SST Audio drivers it has now. I may remove the driver and do a rediscovery in hopes of seeing something happen.

 

I'm also considering returning the unit. I've sent a note to the seller "Geekbuying" and I've also posted on the (largely useless) Tronsmart forum.

 

Worst case scenario: I move my new home theater server (which is in a standard ATX tower case) into the theater and use it as a display front end as well until I find a better super quiet platform.

there's always the Shield TV, cost a bit more but will do everything you'll ever need.

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Looked it up... seems to be either unavailable or uber expensive.

 

Worst case scenario at this point seems to be return Tronsmart (I get back $106) and spend a bit more for a NUC or some similar box probably at least i3.

 

Haven't given up yet though. Let's see what I hear back from the Amazon vendor (Geekbuying) or on the Tronsmart forum.

 

Since the tronsmart is a bit wimpy for ET, I'm actually kind of liking the prospect of bumping up to a more capable box. But again, haven't given up. Just I'm not assuming this can be fixed.

 

Marc

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clarkss12

Here is an other option that does passthrough HD audio. I don't have one, but seriously thinking getting one.

 

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I'll take a look. But I want my next box to have enough oomph to run Emby Theater properly.

 

In a fit of pique this evening, annoyed by the troubles with the Tronsmart (the HD Audio thing, and the fact that the video is flickery on ET), I grabbed my new i5-6600k based server that I built this week, trotted it downstairs, plugged it into the AVR, and installed Emby Theater.

 

In less than 5 minutes I was getting proper TrueHD, DTS-HD, and no ET flicker (which on the Tronsmart drove me to use Kodi). MPCHC also works fine with the bitstream settings.

 

Unless something remarkable comes back from the Tronsmart folks, that box is going back.  Fortunately my Emby Server box was built with quiet fans, so it can double as server and display unit for the moment, though I do want to eventually take it back into the office and leave a silent box in the home theater.

 

Marc

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