Windows - How to properly configure audio for correct HDMI playback ?

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jpsdr Offline
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Question  How to properly configure audio for correct HDMI playback ?
Post: #1
I want to know how to properly configure audio in Windows and XMBC, to have optimal result.

My problem is the following : Audio is send by HDMI to my audio receiver.
On hardware media player, audio channel is set specificaly according the number of audio channels in the audio stream of the file played. If file is 2.0 AAC i see 2 channels PCM on my receiver, if file is 5.1 FLAC i see 6 channels PCM, if audio is AC3 or DTS, bitstream is directly send, and decoded on receiver. This allow DolbySurround effect/decoding for receiver on 2.0 audio streams.

Now, on the PC with XBMC i've built (specificaly for animes),
i've the following problem :
If in the audio Windows configuration i select "7.1 audio system", the receiver always see 7.1 PCM channels, whatever the channels audio are on the played file. This play perfectly fine 5.1 FLAC files, for exemple, but somehow broke 2.0 streams, because for the receiver they are 7.1 (even if most of channels are silent), and prevent the receiver to create Dolby Surround effect, for files where audio is 2.0, and i can't manualy force it. If i configure in the audio Windows configuration "no speaker" or "2 speakers" only, receiver always see only 2 channels. This allow the receiver to create/decode Dolby Surround sound on 2.0 files, but 5.1 files are now not played properly. Actualy, i must change audio settings and reboot Windows if i play 2.0 files or 5.1 files.

So, my question is : What is the correct configuration in both Windows audio
settings and XBMC settings to have proper behavior on HDMI link like i have on hardware media players ?
Wich is : HDMI is set according the number of audio channels in the played file ?

Of course, as it concern only animes, codec audio are 99.9% of the time either FLAC, AAC or OGG. So, audio passthrought of AC3, DTS or other is not relevant for these cases, where audio will always be decoded by XBMC, and send in PCM mode in HDMI.

Thanks.
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bluray Offline
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Post: #2
You might be able to use the latest HDAudio + Eden RC2 for bitstreaming. You can try these options-

1. Make sure that your GPU driver is up to date
2. Make sure to connect your system this way- HTPC-->AVR-->HDTV via two HDMI cables
3. You can configure speaker setup in Windows 7 control panel to "stereo"
4. Download and install HDAudio + Eden RC2
5. You can configure XBMC audio output to the correct speaker configuration- (you can use my screen shot below as a guide)

[Image: w99vlg.jpg]

>Alienware X51- do it all HTPC
>Simplify XBMC configurations
>HOW-TO Bitstreaming using XBMC
I refused to watch movie without bitstreaming HD audio!
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jpsdr Offline
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Post: #3
For 10 bits decoding (as i said, animes) i stay with the bambi73 version for now.
I'm using Windows XP SP3, in case it matters...
As i've explained, pathrought of HD audio is not relevant to my case, i've the feeling (wrong maybe), that it may not solve my problem, as with my actual system i've already tested this configuration : 2 speakers on audio Windows configuration, 7.1 in XBMC, but on audio receiver HDMI input stay on 2.0 mode, even when i play video files with 5.1 FLAC audio.
What the HD Audio part add exactly here ?
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DDDamian Offline
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Post: #4
In your case nothing - Win XP does not support WASAPI which would be required for passthrough, and your files are not DTS-MA/TrueHD anyways.

System: XBMC HTPC with HDMI WASAPI & AudioEngine - Denon AVR-3808CI - Denon DVD-5900 Universal Player - Denon DCM-27 CD-Changer
- Sony BDP-S580 Blu-Ray - X-Box 360 - Android tablet wireless remote - 7.1 Streem/Axiom/Velodyne Surround System
If I have been able to help feel free to add to my reputation +/- below - thanks!
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bluray Offline
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Post: #5
(2012-03-19 20:58)jpsdr Wrote:  As i've explained, pathrought of HD audio is not relevant to my case, i've the feeling (wrong maybe), that it may not solve my problem, as with my actual system i've already tested this configuration : 2 speakers on audio Windows configuration, 7.1 in XBMC, but on audio receiver HDMI input stay on 2.0 mode, even when i play video files with 5.1 FLAC audio.
What the HD Audio part add exactly here ?
Eventhough it is built for bitstreaming HD audio, it'll work with all other audio codecs too. With the XBMC HD audio version, it'll allow you to bitstream all codecs "un-molested" to AVR for decoding and processing. Here is the screen shot of audio settings....

[Image: w99vlg.jpg]


(2012-03-19 21:33)DDDamian Wrote:  In your case nothing - Win XP does not support WASAPI which would be required for passthrough, and your files are not DTS-MA/TrueHD anyways.
Thanks. I didn't know this, because I never use XBMC with XP....

>Alienware X51- do it all HTPC
>Simplify XBMC configurations
>HOW-TO Bitstreaming using XBMC
I refused to watch movie without bitstreaming HD audio!
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-19 21:54 by bluray.)
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jpsdr Offline
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Post: #6
(2012-03-19 21:33)DDDamian Wrote:  In your case nothing - Win XP does not support WASAPI which would be required for passthrough, and your files are not DTS-MA/TrueHD anyways.

So, is there solution to my problem ?
Is it possible to have XBMC behave like HW media player do ? => Have HDMI audio channels the same as the played file ? Or is XBMC unable to behave like this ?
- On Windows XP
- On others Windows ?

Will the new AE engine audio gniff is working on works on Windows XP ? (If it can solve my problem).

Thanks.
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DDDamian Offline
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Post: #7
I believe this was fixed sometime around Eden Beta 1 (don't quote me, but I think it was in the pre-Eden nightlies around November). I believe you're using a special build, so it might need updating by whoever built it to fix the issue for you and still maintain your 10-bit decoding.

The AE branch will work on XP if you set the audio device to a DirectSound device. Not that (although it's not your question, but it popped up) passthrough audio will not work with XP at all, you need at least Vista SP1.

My advice would be to a) see if your anime's work okay on the latest Eden code and if not, b) contact whoever built your special version as politely ask if there's an Eden update available.

System: XBMC HTPC with HDMI WASAPI & AudioEngine - Denon AVR-3808CI - Denon DVD-5900 Universal Player - Denon DCM-27 CD-Changer
- Sony BDP-S580 Blu-Ray - X-Box 360 - Android tablet wireless remote - 7.1 Streem/Axiom/Velodyne Surround System
If I have been able to help feel free to add to my reputation +/- below - thanks!
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jpsdr Offline
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Post: #8
I know 10bits will work when ffmpeg will be updated, it has been clearly stated, it will be after Eden release, so, i'll wait.
The person who built this version unfortunately vanished from the forum a few time after.
The version i used is based on nightlies built of 20111208. Maybe it missed this update from not too much.
But, this mean, if i take either a nightlies now, or the latest RC Eden release, i may test if indeed audio works as i'm expecting. I'll test this WE out of curiusity at least.
AE : You mean the passthrough wich actualy work (on AC3/DTS), will not even work anymore on XP with AE branch ?
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DDDamian Offline
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Post: #9
(2012-03-20 21:27)jpsdr Wrote:  AE : You mean the passthrough wich actualy work (on AC3/DTS), will not even work anymore on XP with AE branch ?

I can't test (using newer versions of Windows) but you can try with the test builds available. If you try with a DirectSound device you would have to set your soundcard for 16bit/48khz and see if you can get it thru the DirectSound layer without alteration. If that doesn't work you can still have XBMC decode AC3/DTS.

System: XBMC HTPC with HDMI WASAPI & AudioEngine - Denon AVR-3808CI - Denon DVD-5900 Universal Player - Denon DCM-27 CD-Changer
- Sony BDP-S580 Blu-Ray - X-Box 360 - Android tablet wireless remote - 7.1 Streem/Axiom/Velodyne Surround System
If I have been able to help feel free to add to my reputation +/- below - thanks!
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jpsdr Offline
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Post: #10
Tested with Eden RC-2 : No change in behavior.

So, my question (and my problems) stay the same :
- How to configure audio both in Windows & XBMC, for having XBMC configuring HDMI audio output on NON passthrough audio (FLAC, AAC, OGG, etc..) according the number of audio channels in the played file.

If XBMC is unable to do this, say it.

Thanks.
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jpsdr Offline
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Post: #11
Having no answer, i sadly have to consider the fact that unfortunately, XBMC is unable to configure properly hdmi output when audio is decoded by it...
What a pity ! Sad
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DDDamian Offline
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Post: #12
Upgrade to Win7 and use Wasapi, not DirectSound.

System: XBMC HTPC with HDMI WASAPI & AudioEngine - Denon AVR-3808CI - Denon DVD-5900 Universal Player - Denon DCM-27 CD-Changer
- Sony BDP-S580 Blu-Ray - X-Box 360 - Android tablet wireless remote - 7.1 Streem/Axiom/Velodyne Surround System
If I have been able to help feel free to add to my reputation +/- below - thanks!
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jpsdr Offline
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Post: #13
Is Wasapi something only on the new AE, or already in xbmc ?
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jpsdr Offline
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Post: #14
Tested Win7, a total nightmare to configure things, because a lot of changes compare to XP !!
Indeed, using wasapi, HDMI is configured according the number of audio channels in played file.
Another suprise : More video mode. Under XP i had 24,50 and 60fps, now i have 23.976, 24, 50, 59.97 and 60 !

Bad surprise was regression with my MPC-HC configuration, wich played properly, without stuttering (or at least, not every second) 23.976,24,25,29.97 and 30fps, and now play properly only 23.976/24fps, 25fps stuter horribly each second and 29.97/30fps is purely not working, despite the fact having properly configured the full screen mode framerate according video fps...
I'll have to wait new ffmpeg/mpc-hc builds until i have again a properly working things.
But i hope with the 10bits patch wich seems very near, not needing mpc-hc anymore...
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Jogee Offline
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Post: #15
jpsdr,

I don't believe your problem is with XBMC itself. For me, XBMC v10.1 and the recently released v11 play 2 channel music files with the proper channel settings to my Yamaha receiver. That is, 2 channel FLAC files are detected as 2 ch PCM by my receiver. I can set the Dolby modes as I want. I have never seen anything I play show more channels than are playing (i.e. no silent channels like you mentioned above). I don't have a multi-channel (more than 2) FLAC file to test, however.

My setup is win7-64bit, XBMC 11 (stable release) directly to my receiver via HDMI, and HDMI to my TV. My windows speaker setup is set to 5.1, and all the sound environment and post processing items in my drivers are turned off. My drivers are up to date (audio and video, as the video driver has the HDMI audio driver) and I've also updated my firmware on my receiver. XBMC is set to hdmi, 5.1, ac3/dts on, and WASAPI.

I think your issue is somewhere else. Either Windows XP, audio drivers, audio settings, or receiver. I would start with the audio settings, especially as you have not said anything about the type of sound card you have, or if you have disabled all the sound processing effects in it. It could very well be the audio card setting a dsp mode that is enabling the multichannel nonesense.

Ciao.
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