Secrets Q & A

DTS Master Audio: Question About Output Formats

Question
Need help understanding DTS Master Audio. I have a Samsung BD-F5900 Blu-ray player attached to a Yamaha RX-V475 via HDMI. I have the audio on the Blu-ray player set to output unprocessed bitstream but when I play a movie, the receiver only displays DTS and not DTS MA. Is this because the receiver is only 5.1 channel and am I really getting the full lossless audio provided by DTS MA? Aside from the extra channel audio, should I set the player to output PCM and will I be getting higher audio by setting it to PCM?

- K. Mastrogiovanni
Galt, CA

Answer
According to Yamaha's specifications, the RX-V475 has codec support up to DTS-HD, not DTS-HD Master Audio, which explains what you are seeing on the front panel. DTS-HD is a family of codecs, with DTS-HD Master Audio being one of them.

You are not actually hearing the uncompressed audio, rather you are hearing the core DTS bitrate extracted from the DTS-HD MA track.

Our standard recommendation for Blu-ray vs. AVR/Processor setup is to configure the player for PCM output, even if the AVR or processor supports the full gamut of codecs. Our main reason is that there is no down side to having the player decode the audio (unpacking audio is not a variable), and certain features actually require it do so (anything which calls for audio to be mixed from two separate tracks, many Picture-in-Picture implementations for example). In your case setting the player as such will also mitigate the limitation of your receiver: the track will be unpacked by the player and uncompressed PCM stems will be sent to your receiver (while its possible a very early Blu-ray player would, like your receiver, lack today's the full complement of codecs, any contemporary model should be devoid of such a limitation).