Testing the Sony BDP-300 Audio - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:31 AM
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Default Testing the Sony BDP-300 Audio

I just sat down for the last 3 hours and ran many different BD movies through this player. In order to compare the 5.1 Analog outputs (6 Channel Direct) to the HDMI-PCM 5.1 output of the player, I watched 4 different movies. These movies entail...

1. Blood and Chocolate - DD. U-PCM
2. Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2- DD, U-PCM
3. Ghost Rider - DTHD, U-PCM

1. I was actually impressed by this movie, even though I was expecting something a little closer to Underworld. However, this is about soundtracks, and not Picture. I hooked up my Harman Kardon AVR347 Receiver up with HDMI-PCM 5.1, and 6 Channel Direct. While I did get decent sound on HDMI-PCM 5.1 with DD, the U-PCM Soundtrack was significantly better. Much clearer and more defined. After switchin this movie over to the 6 Channel Direct, my sound was even more defined and channels seemed to separate a lot more smoothly. In the gunfight scene at the end, I heard the bullets hitting the walls behind me with distinct "spat" noise, instead of a "clink" that I got with DD.

2. Both of these movies are pretty close as far as clarity on the soundtrack. Same thing though... better definition with the 6 channel direct than with the HDMI-PCM 5.1. Sound was much clearer and more defined.

3. Alright, now this is the one I really needed to try. First with the uncompressed soundtrack. And again, 6 channel direct won that battle. So, now I move on to the DTHD soundtrack. Over the HDMI-PCM 5.1, It sounded a lot like a DTS soundtrack. Over the 6 channel direct, the DTHD sounded identical to the U-PCM soundtrack. And this is where I spent the most time on this little test. Back and forth for almost an hour. Trying to hear anything that was different. Nothing.

So my conclusion on this test is. With the Sony BDP-S300, use the 6 Channel Pre-Outs, connected to your receivers 6 channel inputs. Use the HDMI for picture. Utilize the DTHD or the 5.1 Uncompressed, they sound the same on Ghost Rider (Why a BD would need both DTHD and U-PCM is beyond me... I don't get it.) And while this player may not send a decent DTHD via HDMI, it certainly does over the 6 Channel Direct Analog.

As I get more movies in my collection, I will definitely post about the differences between DTHD and U-PCM, if I hear any.

My only gripe with this player is Load times. Boot up takes 15-20 seconds, loading a BD or DVD -can- take up to 20 seconds. And BD Java takes 30-50 seconds for loading. After the load, it's seamless. Use this time to make popcorn.
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Old 07-24-2007, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Shibblet View Post
I just sat down for the last 3 hours and ran many different BD movies through this player...

Great Info.

How did you have the Sony configured? I've read that you should get better results with HDMI, (bass management, speaker distance, etc) and PCM instead of Auto.
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Old 07-24-2007, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JayMan007 View Post
Great Info.

How did you have the Sony configured? I've read that you should get better results with HDMI, (bass management, speaker distance, etc) and PCM instead of Auto.
I did use HDMI set to PCM for this test. However, what I think it is doing, is downconverting the PCM 5.1 / DTHD to standard Dolby Digital then converting it back to PCM and shooting it over the HDMI. In every trial, the HDMI PCM sounded more like DTS than Lossless.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Shibblet View Post
I did use HDMI set to PCM for this test. However, what I think it is doing, is downconverting the PCM 5.1 / DTHD to standard Dolby Digital then converting it back to PCM and shooting it over the HDMI. In every trial, the HDMI PCM sounded more like DTS than Lossless.
That is wierd...
According to the 300 manual (pg 48), -for what it's worth- it sounds like what happens to DTHD when set to Auto. LPCM shouldn't change if Auto or PCM.

Hope you can figure it out.
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JayMan007 View Post
That is wierd...
According to the 300 manual (pg 48), -for what it's worth- it sounds like what happens to DTHD when set to Auto. LPCM shouldn't change if Auto or PCM.

Hope you can figure it out.
Yeah, I checked. HDMI is set to PCM. Maybe my Receiver processes the analog inputs better than it processes the digital PCM. But if that's the case, the processing was WAY better. I might do some other tests tonight. Ideally, I'd like to use the HDMI, but sound for sound... I just can't pull away from the 6 Channel Direct.
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:12 AM
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I did stumble across something on my next little testing session.

I dropped Ghost Rider in again, for purposes of PCM vs. DTHD. HDMI PCM, once configured correctly, did sound exceptional on both PCM and DTHD. The 6 Channel Direct still sounded better on both audio tracks. So it must be my receiver.

However my little stumble... DTHD, being compressed, uses a lower bitrate, which allows DTHD to have a soundtrack with a larger sampling rate. Instead of 16-bit 48khz PCM sound, the DTHD was 20-bit 48khz. So technically speaking the DTHD soundtrack is better.

I will attest that I could tell no noticeable difference between these two tracks.
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Shibblet View Post
However my little stumble... DTHD, being compressed, uses a lower bitrate, which allows DTHD to have a soundtrack with a larger sampling rate. Instead of 16-bit 48khz PCM sound, the DTHD was 20-bit 48khz. So technically speaking the DTHD soundtrack is better.

I will attest that I could tell no noticeable difference between these two tracks.
Thats cool...

Does it show up as 16/48kHz & 20/48kHz on your receiver?

-One other thought with HDMI vs. 6-ch Analog, could your receiver be in a night mode, or something since it is a digital input? - The Analog input may bypass all processing.

If thats the case, I may pick up a S301 at Costco and connect to my old Denon via 6.1 analog and not have to worry with an AVR upgrade.
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Old 07-27-2007, 01:44 PM
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This thread doesn't make a whole lot of sense. First off, the BDP-S300 does not decode TrueHD. So yes, it downgrades a TrueHD track to standard Dolby Digital quality. Your comparison here has nothing to do with the quality of the tracks on the disc or the two audio formats themselves, but just with the S300's inability to decode TrueHD.

The first post in the thread has a whole lot of confusion between the terms DD, PCM, HDMI, and "uncompressed", and to be honest I'm not really sure what was being compared to what.

If you select the PCM track on the disc and then listen to it over HDMI vs. over 6-channel analog, you're comparing the quality of the DACs in your receiver (when using HDMI) vs. the DACs in the player (when using analog). If you think the analog sounds better, that would mean that the player has better DACs than your receiver. If that's the case, you might consider upgrading your receiver. Frankly, I've found the DACs in the S300 to be pretty mediocre. Even the Samsung BD-P1000 (which I didn't much care for either) sounded better.
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
This thread doesn't make a whole lot of sense. First off, the BDP-S300 does not decode TrueHD. So yes, it downgrades a TrueHD track to standard Dolby Digital quality. Your comparison here has nothing to do with the quality of the tracks on the disc or the two audio formats themselves, but just with the S300's inability to decode TrueHD.
I don't know if I believe that... The manual says that it does decode TrueHD, and I can literally tell no difference between TrueHD and PCM. Regardless of how it was hooked up. So in other words, If I am hearing full PCM, then I am hearing full DTHD.

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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
The first post in the thread has a whole lot of confusion between the terms DD, PCM, HDMI, and "uncompressed", and to be honest I'm not really sure what was being compared to what.
Might have been a little hard to understand.

Basically HDMI-5.1 is an HDMI Connection.
6 Channel Direct was connected from the Pre-Outs on the back of the player to the 6 Channel Inputs on the back of the receiver.

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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
If you select the PCM track on the disc and then listen to it over HDMI vs. over 6-channel analog, you're comparing the quality of the DACs in your receiver (when using HDMI) vs. the DACs in the player (when using analog). If you think the analog sounds better, that would mean that the player has better DACs than your receiver. If that's the case, you might consider upgrading your receiver. Frankly, I've found the DACs in the S300 to be pretty mediocre. Even the Samsung BD-P1000 (which I didn't much care for either) sounded better.
Which was the whole purpose of this test. I even stated that my receiver might be processing the analog sound better than the PCM digital. I might have to go back to the test again.
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Old 07-27-2007, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Shibblet View Post
I don't know if I believe that... The manual says that it does decode TrueHD,
This has been covered in-depth elsewhere. The manual does not actually claim to decode TrueHD, but is misleadingly worded so that you might assume that. It has been confirmed that it does not decode TrueHD. When selecting the TrueHD track, the S300 only outputs standard Dolby Digital.

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and I can literally tell no difference between TrueHD and PCM. Regardless of how it was hooked up. So in other words, If I am hearing full PCM, then I am hearing full DTHD.
This is the subject of a much longer discussion, which would include many factors such as whether you have high enough quality speakers that are capable of resolving the nuances of a lossless/uncompressed track, whether there really is any audible difference between a high bit-rate lossy track and a lossless/uncompressed one (especially when it comes to movie soundtracks vs pure music), and the influence of placebo effect on the human sense of hearing and memory.

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Which was the whole purpose of this test. I even stated that my receiver might be processing the analog sound better than the PCM digital. I might have to go back to the test again.
If you're using analog, the player is doing all the processing. Your receiver is just acting as an amplifier. When using digital, the receiver both processes and amplifies the signal.

You also didn't state what receiver you have.
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