Optical audio out - stereo vs digital setting on WD TV Live


#1

Hi everyone,

I’ve trying to find an answer to one question but no luck so I’m trying here.

I use WD TV Live to play FLAC files via optical out to a D/A converter and from there to an amplifier. FLAC files are 2ch 16bit 44.1kHz audio (D/A converter Beresford Caiman is only able to deal with 2ch PCM files). In WD TV Live settings I have for audio output seting as Digital. Hovewer, when I try to play an MKV movie with multi channel audio, all I get out from the D/A converter is cracking sound (and I think that is the way it should be).

Ónce I tried to change audio output  setting of WD TV Live to Stereo - and all of a sudden I get for multi channel MKV nice clear stereo sound. FLAC files work exactly the way they worked before - or I do not hear any differences.

Now - my question is whether with the setting for audio output to Stereo there is some downmixing from 5ch to 2ch and then outputted as 2ch PCM via toslink optical out. Also, is there a difference for FLAC files between Stereo and Digital setting for audio output - I mean whether I get exactly the same signal out of the Optical out? Do I need to change that setting every time I am going to watch movies and play FLAC music? 

I know it is quite a few questions but I am sure someone will have an answer for me.


#2

Welcome to the forums.

I can’t answer for FLAC – I wasn’t even sure the Live supported them – but the assumption you made about putting the Live into Stereo mode is correct.  The Live will then downmix the channels, playing only the stereo outputs (and this can be problems with 5.1 sources, as the center channel for voices can get easily overwhelmed by the music and effects in the other channels).

Ideally you always want to set the Live for “digital” if you want surround sound – the Live passes through both AC3 and DTS 5.1 surround on both the HDMI and optical cable outs (even though the manual says it won’t through HDMI it does do so). 


#3

Interesting.  I was under the belief that the Live always downmixed DTS to stereo.  I should check it out.  Thanks, Mike.


#4

I have noticed exactly the same behaviour.

I bought the live mainly to play flac files via a berisford DAC - I am assuming the output stream is digital as WDTV video/audio setting is digital.

I also play video files via the same method, 2.1 audio setup.

I have found using handbrake to encode MKV files there are two audio output streams (source is 5.1 only)

One plays fine on the WDTV digital setting and one has the hissing (I think passthrough retains 5.1, but the other stream must do the convertion to 2.1).

I am afraid my knowledge of the different codecs is very limited, I am sure there are people who can give a better explanation. 


#5

Thank you, essentialy it does explain the stereo output via optical for multichannel sources. Regarding the quiet center channel - I have heard a plenty of 5.1 movies played through 2/2.1 speaker system (from PC, WD TV Live via HDMI to a TV set / its  speakers) and the spoken voice was always overwhelmed. It is almost a rule to sit at the telly with a remote and just put volume down for each scene with music, effects, blasts etc because it is unbearably noisy. So in one sentence - I have never heard a proper downmix of multichannel to stereo, so it’s not a sole problem of WD TV Live.

One question answer, one to go :smiley: Or, I will keep listening to music the way I have so far, with a Digital setting, and will not risk some sort of signal processing with the Stereo setting.


#6

RichUK plays a lot of audio so perhaps he’ll jump in here and try and answer your FLAC question (and I’m guessing you might also live in the Mother country as he does :>)


#7

In the Mother country?  You don’t mean good ol’ Blighty, do you? Too right, I am from Slovakia:) Lets wait for RichUK then, I am quite interested in whether I have to change Audio settings everytime I want to watch some movie after listening to music.


#8

Unfortuneately I do not play FLAC files and I do not use the TOSLINK output. However I believe that you may have answered your own question.

Quote from your orginal post:

“Once I tried to change audio output  setting of WD TV Live to Stereo - and all of a sudden I get for multi channel MKV nice clear stereo sound. FLAC files work exactly the way they worked before - or I do not hear any differences.”

As it would be a pain to alter from digital to stereo every time you change from music to movies together with your FLAC files being a standard 2ch 16bit 44.1kHz and most importantly you cannot hear any difference then I would leave it at stereo. I searched the net but cannot find any info on what processing the WDTV Live carries out on the stereo output but the important thing is that you cannot hear any difference.


#9

It’s a shame a thread can’t have 2 solutions - big thanks to mkelley who answered substantial part of the my questions!


#10

casper wrote:

It’s a shame a thread can’t have 2 solutions - big thanks to mkelley who answered substantial part of the my questions!

You should have really given Mike the credit by ticking the solved box on his post instead of mine.


#11

Well, that was the intention - I didn’t know you can’t tick two answers. As soon as I ticked the last answer the option disappeared…  Something for the mods - sometimes the question can have 2 answers


#12

You already passed the expiration time for changing solveds, so you can always kudo mkelley by clicking on the star under his username.  And, no, there won’t be any multiple solved’s.  Sorry.