Solving the 5.1, DTS issues with the Playbar


This thread is specifically for those who are trying to understand the Playbars 5.1 and DTS issues.

As most of you know the Playbar does not convert DTS signal. It also will only convert 2.0 to SIMULATED PCM 5.1 signal. If you can live with the simulated signal, then you are ahead of the game. IF you want PURE unadulterated 5.1 from your DirecTV or Cable, you WILL most likely have to buy a switch like this one. http://www.monoprice.com/products/7974
Or a Bluray converter like this one.
http://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-103/

MOST tvs will not convert true 5.1. There are some on this thread that say they do, but most dont. I found this out the hard way by buying one of Samsungs highest end tv's, only to find out that 2.0 is all im ever gunna get.
A $75 switch is a bargain IMO to have such sound to the Playbar the way it is intended. IF you want 1080p up convert video and and 5.1 audio, then a simular Bluray like the Oppo is for you.

Concerning movies that are only on DTS:
Oppo can convert the DTS signal to PCM 5.1 as well. I do not know about the Switch, because I do not have one.

206 replies

Userlevel 1
How exactly do you get the 5.1 sound from the Oppo-103 unit. I put in a blu-ray in today with the "bit stream" setup, but no sound came out.

Note: I have the toslink going from the Oppo player to my SONOS play bar.

Thanks for your help!
Audio output. PCM192 for those movies that dont have a 5.1 DD option.
Userlevel 2
Hi Racin,

great hint but unfortunately this is not a solution (Oppo player), but a very expensive work-around for Sonos' design flaw.

The only real solution can come from Sonos with new firmware and added DTS support.

Let's hope they will add it asap, although it will cost them some $ they thought was easily saved by their strange decision.

It's still hard to swallow for me. A high class, very expensive surround system that is indeed capable of great sound quality was deliberately declined to reduce some $ in production.

How expensive can a DTS licence be? Even my 90 Euro LG BD player has it! Amazon lists a 84 Euro Philips receiver with DTS Support, also a 100 Euro Sony receiver, capable of DTS support.

And our 700 Euro playbar can't do it? Come on, Sonos...
Userlevel 1
Audio output. PCM192 for those movies that dont have a 5.1 DD option.

Thanks.

The sound is clearly inferior with PCM192. For those that have been questioning SONOS about the lack of DTS are spot on.

A $2k setup should offer more IMHO.
[QUOTE=655321;193973]Hi Racin,

great hint but unfortunately this is not a solution (Oppo player), but a very expensive work-around for Sonos' design flaw.

The only real solution can come from Sonos with new firmware and added DTS .



I knew when buying the sonos what its flaws were. IMO the Oppo and sonos together are the answer. Is it a perfect system? No. But with the oppo, its as near perfect as can be.
When and if sonos adds the DTS, I'l be even happier. Until then, I'l try to help any way I can those who need it.
Userlevel 2
I concidered buying the Oppo player, but it's too expensive, unfortunately. My LG player was only 90 Euros and it's pretty good and quiet and sports a toslink output.

I am using Apple Tv more and more but am concerned that Apple might one day switch from DD 5.1 to DTS which brings us playbar 5.1 users to the same problems we are facing today 😞
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Concerning movies that are only on DTS:
Oppo can convert the DTS signal to PCM 5.1 as well.


Did anyone tested this? I'm confused regarding the technical details of the optical output:
Coaxial/Optical Audio: Dolby Digital, DTS, up to 2ch/192kHz PCM.


PCM 5.1 is only supported for HDMI:
HDMI Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio, up to 7.1ch/192kHz PCM, up to 5.1ch DSD.


And because the playbar lacks of HDMI it will never support DTS-HD Master Audio (uncompressed) as Toslink does not support enough bandwidth for 5.1:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOSLINK
that can decode two channels of uncompressed lossless PCM audio or compressed 5.1/7.1 surround sound such as Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. But, TOSLINK does not have the capacity to carry the uncompressed data in the lossless formats of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio – as HDMI does.


The only option would be DTS-HD High Resolution Audio (compressed) and of course the usual DTS Core that is included in both standards. But is the Oppo really able to send the DTS Core as PCM 5.1 through optical audio?

I don't think that this is possible. I think it can only send the DTS core and again there we have the problem that the playbar lacks DTS support. The only option would be a converter/blu ray player that is able to convert the dts core to dd. But I can't find such a product so it seems not to be available.
Agree. I will never buy the playbar until they release a version 2 with hdmi and all these issues are fixed. Sonos is supposed to be simple and just plain work. Needing all these switches and not being able to play certain media at the highest level is a deal breaker for me. It is ashame because I have the sub already and would drop another $700 if they just got the playbar right, not sure who in sonos screwed up this decision but wow. (Along with the recent matte black sub fiasco for some, seems they need to find some clear direction/leadership within the company)
Userlevel 1
Agree. I will never buy the playbar until they release a version 2 with hdmi and all these issues are fixed.

But then it'll need to switch video, otherwise you'll need two hdmi outputs on your sources (one for video, one for audio) and Sonos have said that they're never going to getting into the video market.
Userlevel 4
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I don't think a video processor is needed as it should only passthrough the video signal and use the audio return channel (ARC):
http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/arc.aspx

So multiple hdmi inputs with one master out would be fine. Of course with auto detection to avoid using the sonos controller to switch the input (only optional).

Or we hope that the bandwidth of toslink will be raised in the near future ;)

But independent of that, the DTS-HD High Resolution Audio (at least the DTS Core) should be supported by now as it is supported by Toslink (and should be enough for 90% of all customers) so please vote:
https://ask.sonos.com/sonos/topics/please_add_support_for_dts_for_the_sonos_playbar
I know I've said this before but I find it astounding they did not go down this route. Having multiple HDMI inputs with video pass-through via a single HDMI to your TV would have addressed all these problems and enabled support for all audio standards (if they chose to).

This would've made the playbar a stellar product. As it stands, it's a product which confuses many who buy it and even for those who do get it work, it only does half a job (no DTS, DTS-HD, etc...) and requires an external piece of kit to make it work better.

I'll stick with my receiver and Harmony remote, thanks very much.
Userlevel 1
I don't think a video processor is needed

I didn't saying video processing though, I said switching. I can't find the quote now but I'm pretty sure it mentioned they didn't want to be having anything to do with video at all.
I didn't saying video processing though, I said switching. I can't find the quote now but I'm pretty sure it mentioned they didn't want to be having anything to do with video at all.

And that, IMHO, is where they've gone wrong! I cannot think of a single sensible downside (e.g. ignoring them wanting to do HDMI or not, the cost of implementing HDMI, licensing codecs, etc.) of them having 4+ HDMI in, 1 HDMI monitor out rather than the crazy toslink-only "solution" they've chosen.
Whatever the solution is, that is their job to figure it out and provide what the customer wants. It's my job to pay $700 and have an easy product to install and enjoy, just like the rest of sonos. I am no technical expert but will continue to hold off on buying the playbar until there is a solution. In the meantime I am enjoying the rest of my set up but it would be so sweet to add the playbar at some point.

And that, IMHO, is where they've gone wrong! I cannot think of a single sensible downside (e.g. ignoring them wanting to do HDMI or not, the cost of implementing HDMI, licensing codecs, etc.) of them having 4+ HDMI in, 1 HDMI monitor out rather than the crazy toslink-only "solution" they've chosen.
Userlevel 2
My LG BDPlayer started to have some problems so I gave the PS3 a shot. Bought the 500gb model (with spinning hard disk drive) and returned it immediately. It was way to loud for movie watching. But I made an interessting discovery.

The PS3 is able (probably like the Opo player) to output any format (like DTS, DTS-HD etc.) in discrete DD 5.1 over toslink!

I was so exited about that, and the resulting great sound quality, that I gave it another chance by ordering the 12gb model (with non-spinning ssd drive).

The 12gig PS3 is much quieter and I also bought 4 vibration absorbers, made of rubber. It's now nearly as quiet as a good stand-alone bluray player.

But the sound. Whoa. I watched some bluray movies with it. Skyfall, The Hobbit, Tron Legacy. All in DTS, converted to DD 5.1 by the PS3. It sounds perfectly!

I compared the quality of the sound with my James Bond movie Casino Royale from 2007 (DD5.1 only) with the new version of the movie from my anniversary box (DTS only) and they both sound equally great on the sonos 5.1 through the playstation!

Then I compared again through HDMI/TV/Stereo upmixed by Sonos. The sound quality is way way worse!

@all the people using the Sonos 5.1 setup with only upmixed stereo - you don't know what you are missing!! The setup is capable of sooo much more!

I can't understand why Sonos doesn't fix this probem asap.

The controller says it plays DD5.1 with every stuff I throw at it with the PS3. So no more silence with my bluray disks :)

It's of course just a dirty workaround for the missing DTS, but for the moment I think its pretty much perfect.... until apple, netflix and all the others start to stream in DTS, of course.
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The PS3 is able (probably like the Opo player) to output any format (like DTS, DTS-HD etc.) in discrete DD 5.1 over toslink!

But the sound. Whoa. I watched some bluray movies with it. Skyfall, The Hobbit, Tron Legacy. All in DTS, converted to DD 5.1 by the PS3. It sounds perfectly!


What is this magic PS3 audio settings? I can't seem to find it. My PS3 has Bitstream or PCM as an audio output option for the bluray player and the controller shows Stereo when set to PCM. The bitstream option produces silence.

Thanks.
Userlevel 2
Hi,

try this:

Sound Settings -> optical output -> from the selectable formats only chose "Dolby Digital 5.1", unselect everything else (the grey ones can't be unselected, that's ok)

(I have Audio Multi-Output set to "off", but that probably doesn't matter )

Video Settings -> BD Audio output format (optical digital) -> Bitstream (Mix)



With these settings I get wonderful DD5.1 from every BluRay 🙂

What do you think? You can check the output within the Sonos Controller app under "Settings".
Hi, this is my first post on they forum, and have been interested to see this thread re the playstation.
I also discovered this option in the ps3 settings and have been enjoying full dd5.1 from dts only discs. Even though this works very well, Sonos should listen to the frustrations of many new customers and implement dts as a firmware upgrade quickly, before they lose a lot of customers and potential revenue.

@all the people using the Sonos 5.1 setup with only upmixed stereo - you don't know what you are missing!! The setup is capable of sooo much more!


@all the people who aren't able to listen to the original DTS-HD sound track from blu-rays with the playbar, you don't know what you're missing... 😛
Userlevel 2
Hi Andy,

you're right, of course. But nonetheless, I think the difference from upmixed stereo by sonos, or dolby prologic in the past to discrete 6 channel sound like dolby digital 5.1 is tremendous.

I am sure there is also an improvement from DD5.1 to DTS or DTS-HD. But honestly, with my last setup (Denon receiver + fully wired Canton 5.1 set) I was never able to tell the difference between dd 5.1 and dts.

So my guess here is that upmixed stereo -> dd 5.1 is like a 6 to 10 improvement, while dd 5.1 -> dts(hd) is maybe a 10 to 11 or 12 improvement and some people like me even can't tell the difference.

But hey, I am pretty happy with the sonos system now that it is tweaked to support it's full capability 😃
Hi Andy,

you're right, of course. But nonetheless, I think the difference from upmixed stereo by sonos, or dolby prologic in the past to discrete 6 channel sound like dolby digital 5.1 is tremendous.

I am sure there is also an improvement from DD5.1 to DTS or DTS-HD. But honestly, with my last setup (Denon receiver + fully wired Canton 5.1 set) I was never able to tell the difference between dd 5.1 and dts.

So my guess here is that upmixed stereo -> dd 5.1 is like a 6 to 10 improvement, while dd 5.1 -> dts(hd) is maybe a 10 to 11 or 12 improvement and some people like me even can't tell the difference.

But hey, I am pretty happy with the sonos system now that it is tweaked to support it's full capability :D


You aren't alone. In double blind listening tests where the soundtracks are known to be from the same masters (I believe the Lethal Weapon series DVDs were used), the findings were that DD 5.1 was indistiguishable from DTS. Like much in the audio world, many DTS mixes are "cooked" to sound "better", usually by just bumping the volume, some with entirely new mixes. Especially true for films by Steven Speilberg, who just happens to own a stake in DTS (I know you are as shocked as I am to hear that ;)).
Userlevel 2
That's exactly what I thought. It's louder but not different.

...and for the Spielberg thing... that's not possible. Not in our perfect world! 😃
Userlevel 2
Hi, this link doesn't work anymore

'IF you want PURE unadulterated 5.1 from your DirecTV or Cable, you WILL most likely have to buy a switch like this one. monoprice.com/products/7974

Anyone have the product name and model number?

Thank you.

-- Ed
Userlevel 4
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Hi,

try this:

Sound Settings -> optical output -> from the selectable formats only chose "Dolby Digital 5.1", unselect everything else (the grey ones can't be unselected, that's ok)

(I have Audio Multi-Output set to "off", but that probably doesn't matter )

Video Settings -> BD Audio output format (optical digital) -> Bitstream (Mix)



With these settings I get wonderful DD5.1 from every BluRay 🙂

What do you think? You can check the output within the Sonos Controller app under "Settings".


Did you verify that it is DD5.1? I think it will fallback to LPCM but this would be a ok, too.
http://www.engadget.com/2009/04/21/hd-101-how-to-use-dolby-truehd-and-dts-hd-with-your-ps3/
Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD MA and the PS3
It is helpful to think of Dolby True HD and DTS-HD MA as "zipped" versions of the audio tracks that allows the Blu-ray disc to store more data (useful when space has to be reserved for other stuff -- like video, for example). Just like zip files, when you decode the Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD MA tracks, you get an identical copy of the original audio -- this is why it's called "lossless." On Blu-ray discs, the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA codecs can bundle up to eight channels of lossless audio information, each channel with up to 24-bits resolution at a 96kHz sampling rate, commonly referred to as "24/96." However, the PS3 cannot send these formats over HDMI for decoding in your receiver.

First, the good news. What the PS3 can do is decode (unzip) the Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD MA lossless audio and send it to your receiver as a multichannel linear PCM (LPCM) stream, which just about any modern receiver can decode. The LPCM audio is identical to the Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD MA original format, so no quality is lost.

Now, the bad news. An annoying side effect of sending the "unzipped" LPCM rather than the "zipped" Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD MA is that the receiver's Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD MA indicator will not light up because it's not decoding Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD MA -- the PS3 already did the decoding. Instead, the receiver will (correctly) indicate that it is receiving a LPCM signal.


In 2008 it seems not to be available:
http://forums.highdefdigest.com/blu-ray-hardware-general-discussion/60733-ps3-sound-down-converting.html

Maybe a later firmware release of the ps3 made it possible, but I can't find any information regarding that.
Hi, this link doesn't work anymore

'IF you want PURE unadulterated 5.1 from your DirecTV or Cable, you WILL most likely have to buy a switch like this one. monoprice.com/products/7974

Anyone have the product name and model number?

Thank you.

-- Ed


http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=7974&seq=1&format=2

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