Future Firmware Updates - Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Atmos

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    Tony W. - Product Support Manager

    Never say never but it is as much a hardware limitation as well. For example, there simply aren't enough speakers (never mind angled correctly) to decode ATMOS in a PULSE SOUNDBAR (but hear that NAD Electronics makes a pretty good 7.2.4 AVR).

    That being said, as always, we have passed this feedback along for future consideration.

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    Nick Hartley

    Absolutely - I understand about needing 7.1 with the 2 up-angled speakers to play dolby atmos.

    My question is more about decoding and downmixing. Similarly to how the bar currently decodes regular Dolby Digital 5.1 and downmixes to our current 2.1 setup with the soundbar 2i and subwoofer, ideally it would be able to also decode and downmix the fuller-res Dolby Digital Plus signals. It seems feasible because all that's needed for the bar to receive the signals is the HDMI 2.1 and eARC capability, unless I'm missing something.

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    Tony W. - Product Support Manager

    It does that already as part of the Dolby Spec. to be Dolby Certified. It decodes but doesn't quite downmix, it plays the channels it can. I may be oversimplifying this but Dolby provides multiple streams to decode and we pick the Dolby certified stream that matches our capability based on a few criteria, of which the number of speakers available is a big one. So when I take a Dolby Stream off a SOUNDBAR vs in a Home Theatre Group (SOUNDBAR, 2 FLEXes and a SUB), I get the same audio, just distributed differently to fill the room. 

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    Diego S

    Hi Tony,

    I recently purchased a Soundbar to complete my bluesound setup. I am planning to buy a new TV.  I will only use the Soundbar as 2.0. Will HDMI 2.1/eARC provide any benefits vs Optical?  I see Nick's comment about disabling Atmos and eARC in a C9. According to the specs, the soundbar only decodes Dolby Digital. Is there something I am missing? How do I get the soundbar to play higher quality movie streams? Thank you.

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    Nick Hartley

    Hey Diego,

    I appreciate your comment. I wanted to give a follow up to my original post and share some positive updates.

    I would definitely recommend using HDMI 2.1 over Optical. Even for transmitting normal Dolby 5.1, you'll get a better signal compared to optical. I've had issues as well with Optical, where the signal gets unreliable and you have to unplug/replug the cable. I've also noticed that with eARC enabled, there are noticeable improvements to the overall sound, mostly in terms of what sounds like a wider sound stage, and better separation between channels, even with something like uncompressed Stereo from an Xbox One.

    Also - and this is the interesting part - I can send Dolby Atmos signals to my TV now and my TV will convert that into a readable Dolby signal on the soundbar side. This wasn't possible when I wrote my first note.

    Now the conversion of Dolby Atmos to an interpretable signal to the soundbar will depend on the TV (or amplifier) you use. The C9 does a great job with this (and is my favorite in the 4k OLED market currently).

    Best,

    Nick

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  • Hi Diego 

    The current SOUNDBAR we are shipping includes an HDMI at 2.0 - this will be perfectly fine for your needs as will optical. It will decode DOLBY fine and can be paired with a POWERNODE or a pair of PULSE FLEXes for a Home Theatre Group. If Atmos 5.1.2 (or higher configurations) are important, consider a full AV Receiver system from our good friends at NAD Electronics as the New T778 and the existing T758v3 and T777v3 are BluOS enabled and will work with your existing Bluesound System.

    Personally, I am simply using a SOUNDBAR and a pair of FLEXes and that meets my needs fine.

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    Diego S

    Hi Nick and Tony,

    Thank you for your responses.

    Nick, the C9 and X950G/X950H are in my shortlist. Samsung is resisting eARC and I never managed to get its HDMI-CEC/ARC to work. Do you know what the C9 is converting the Atmos signal into? 

    Tony, my issue is that Dolby Digital is a low bitrate codec. It does not sound better than an MP3. I would like to get a higher bitrate signal to this powerful Soundbar. I bought it thinking I could get high quality sound without a receiver. I do have a NAD M10... it is nice.

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    Nick Hartley

    Hey again,

    So the C9 when inputted with Dolby Atmos is still sending a Dolby compatible signal to the soundbar. The app shows the Dolby emblem. I don’t know if this is downmixed atmos or a conversion to regular Dolby. Regardless, it still sounds really good. I think the biggest component to think through with your device setup is what the “middle man” is going to connect your source to the soundbar. I’m very happy with the capabilities of the C9.

    Also, in the next month, the C9 is going to rollout support for multichannel PCM which is a fully uncompressed multichannel format. I’m optimistic about it as a medium for sending the highest quality mix of signals to the soundbar.

    Best,

    Nick

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    Tony W. - Product Support Manager

    Hi Nick

    Think of DOLBY as a staged output - DOLBY decode will work on multiple levels - it does not downsample to a lowest common denominator as much as it dynamically expands to the greatest ability the device can decode at. I hope that explains it better.

    You do not lose audio quality - you gain it as the hardware increases it's ability to decode.

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    Diego S

    Nick,

    I totally agree. I saw the multichannel PCM update coming to the C9. If it works, the decision is made :)

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    Nick Hartley

    Hi Diego,

    Quick update: LG rolled out the LPCM update this past month for the C9. It’s working great – I’m currently sending 7.1 uncompressed pcm from my game system through the tv and everything is working as expected.

    Best,

    Nick

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    Diego S

    Hi Nick,

     

    Thanks for the update. At the end, I went down the Sony route with an X900H which supports HDMI 2.1. I only had it up for a week but I can confirm that ARC/EARC works with the Soundbar. The TV has an option to do audio passthrough and this works well with Dolby up to True HD but fails with DTS Master Audio. I do not think the Soundbar decodes this format. In PCM mode, the TV seems to decode all formats including Dolby and DTS and sends PCM to the Soundbar. I am not sure how many channels yet but there is sound. All tests have been through the TV Apps (eg. Plex). I still need to test an external source.

    I am experiencing a few strange situations that I still need to iron out. In some cases the TV Audio/HDMI ARC is sent to all the speakers in the house. Also my phone is constantly notifying that Bluesound/HDMI ARC/unknown is playing which is quite annoying. HDMI ARC also shows up in the NAD M10 screen. Do you experience the same/Is there a way to make the HDMI ARC input less intrusive?

    Diego.-

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    Jonas

    Hi Nick,

    Could you possibly screenshot how you've set everything up to work? I tried to use the PCM setting in my LG C9 with HDMI eARC and I'm still getting cracking/popping after a period of time. I'm not using the soundbar but the following:

    • Bluesound Powernode 2i
    • 2x Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i
    • Bowers & Wilkins 606 with the Sub

    I'm getting the same issues with my Apple TV and on the internal apps on my LG C9.

    I have the latest firmware on my C9 but I would highly appreciate a step-by-step for how you got it to work since the audio system is basically un-usable as it stands :)

    Apprecaite any input! 

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