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Thread: Audio drop-outs/glitches on Star Wars Complete Saga Blu-ray set?

  1. #1
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    Default Audio drop-outs/glitches on Star Wars Complete Saga Blu-ray set?

    While viewing the new "Star Wars: The Complete Saga" set on Blu-ray Disc, I noticed some audio glitches in a few places, that occurred only on certain A/V receivers. Specifically, some high frequency "hash" during the opening scene to "Star Wars: A New Hope" (does not always reproduce) and some additional glitches in the stream at 36:55 into the same film. There may be other issues but these ones were obvious and the second one is consistently reproducible.

    At 36:55 into Star Wars: Episode IV (end of chapter 15/beginning of chapter 16), during the transition between scenes, as the Star Destroyer approaches the Death Star, I heard a quick boost in volume, followed by a brief audio drop-out. Other users have reported persistent audio drop-outs in "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" on certain hardware as well. This may be related.

    Upon testing multiple brand players (OPPO, Sony, Panasonic), it does not appear to be a player problem. The problem only occurs with certain receivers, when streaming the DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 track over HDMI using the player's BITSTREAM output option.

    As a work-around, switching the Blu-ray players to PCM decoding seems to eliminate the problem. In this situation, the player decodes the DTS-HD MA track to multi-channel PCM and the receivers do not seem to have any problem with the decoded PCM track. The audio glitch does not occur on all hardware, and we are investigating to see if we can identify the culprit. It is unclear at this point whether this is a software problem (a problem in the stream itself), or a hardware problem with select DTS-HD Master Audio decoders.

    Please post here your hardware (player and receiver) and let us know if you are seeing similar audio problems on this boxed set or even if you are not! Chapter/time details and film title would be helpful for reproduction purposes.

    It seems that the DTS-HD Master Audio stream is causing problems in some decoders but we don't have any details as to why. Our writer Chris Chiarella did not experience this problem as he viewed the set on a Sony PS3 set to internally decode the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack to PCM. This delivers the full uncompressed PCM multi-channel soundtrack to the receiver. But others with a PS3 "slim" (which does offer bitstreaming of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA soundtracks) have reported hearing the problem on certain receivers.

    Also, Chris tested two other players (Samsung and Sony) and was not able to reproduce the problem on his Onkyo receiver

    Player/receiver details:

    RECEIVERS and PRE/PROs which exhibit the "bad behavior:"

    • Pioneer VSX-91TX, VSX-92TXH, VSX-94TXH, SC-09 (fix available from Pioneer, see UPDATE from PIONEER below for details)
    • Yamaha Aventage RX-A2000 (may be fixed with newer firmware)
    • Denon models: AVR2808, AVR3310, AVR889, AVR1909, AVR890, AVR990, AVR4810CI (fix available from Denon - see UPDATE FROM DENON below for details)


    RECEIVERS THAT ARE CONFIRMED TO *NOT* HAVE THIS PROBLEM:*

    • Integra DTC-9.8 preamp/processor
    • Onkyo TX-SR605, TX-SR606

    ONKYO/Integra "DTS Bomb" Resurfaces

    *We are hearing from some Onkyo receiver owners that fast forwarding, rewinding or using the Chapters menu to access scenes can lead to the dreaded "DTS Bomb" - a loud noise in all speakers. An issue similar to this was acknowledged and fixed by Onkyo in the x05 and early x06 series of receivers several years ago, but even users who have applied that DSP fix are reporting this problem. Affected receivers may include the TX-SR705, TX-SR805, TX-SR806, TX-NR3008 and other models in the x05, x06 and x07 lines.

    A potential reproduction of the DTS-HD "bomb" issue on Onkyo receivers follows, although I tested this on a TX-SR605 receiver and on an Integra DTC-9.8 pre/pro both with factory base level firmware and was not able to get it to fail:

    * Access the "Search... Scenes" menu on "Star Wars: Episode IV (A New Hope)", select "Millenium Falcon" scene, hit OK (make sure your volume is very LOW when doing this test - damage to speakers/amp is possible if levels are too high).

    PLAYER-SPECIFIC PROBLEMS

    Although less common than the audio glitches, some player owners are reporting video glitches, stuttering or drop-outs in the video stream on these discs. So far we have heard about these specifically on the Panasonic DMP-BD30 and DMP-BD50, DMP-BD35/DMP-BD55 and the Pioneer BDP-320 (other players may be affected). Panasonic has reproduced the issue and is working on delivering a fix. Affected owners should contact Panasonic support in their local countries to be notified when a fix is available. Owners of OPPO Blu-ray players have also reported a problem where the rear channel is missing (the sixth channel in the 6.1 mix) when setting their players to PCM output mode. OPPO has apparently acknowledged the issue and is working on a fix.

    We will keep this first post updated with results/feedback.

    Additional information is available in the Star Wars audio thread on AVS Forum.

    UPDATE from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and LucasFilm, Ltd. (9/21):
    Our contacts at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and LucasFilm, Ltd. have looked into the issue and have deemed this to be hardware-related. And I quote:

    "Should you encounter audio drop outs or an audio playback anomaly within your center surround speaker channel, simply switch your Blu-ray Disc player Audio Output setting from Bitstream to PCM, or consult your AV Receiver manufacturer for further assistance."

    UPDATE from DENON (9/22):
    Denon has reproduced the issue on an AVR-2308CI. According to Denon, the problem is not actually new as it occurred previously on "The Golden Compass" Blu-ray, which also features a DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 soundtrack. Owners of network-connected AVRs should update their receiver's firmware to the latest release and this should solve the problem. For those receivers without a network connection, you will need to bring or ship your receiver to an authorized Denon service center. Affected customers should call their local Denon service organization to arrange for service (Tel: 201-762-6665 in the US). Those with RS232 ports on their receivers might be interested in reading this thread on avsforum.

    UPDATE from PIONEER (10/4)
    Pioneer has reproduced and acknowledged the issues and confirmed that this is a known issue with the VSX-91TX, VSX-92TXH, VSX-94TXH and SC-09. They have a firmware update to correct this issue and recommend that affected owners call Pioneer's Contact Center at 800-421-1404 (in the US) for instructions on how to get this update.

    UPDATE from PANASONIC (10/7)
    Firmware upgrades to improve playability of the "Star Wars" boxed set on specific 2007/2008 model year players will be available on or near the following dates:
    • DMP-BD30 - 10/17
    • DMP-BD35/DMP-BDBD55 - 10/17
    • DMP-BD50 - 11/21


    -CB
    Chris Boylan
    Editor in Chief
    Big Picture Big Sound

  2. #2
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    Others are reporting similar audio glitches in "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" but they appear to be more widespread and pervasive with frequent drop-outs. Also, at least one user on another forum reported that these glitches are occurring on a Sony PS3 connected via HDMI/bitstream to a Denon receiver. So this does not appear to be player- or brand-specific. But it's important to note that it does not occur on all players or receivers. We will post more when we know more.

    I have also reached out to a Panasonic engineer and to Lucasfilm to see if they can reproduce this in their own QA labs.

    -CB
    Chris Boylan
    Editor in Chief
    Big Picture Big Sound

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    To those who are suggesting that a recall is in order (PM, e-mail and facebook), let me be clear here that we don't yet know whether this is a problem with the software (the actual stream on the discs themselves) or the hardware (The DTS-HD MA decoders in select receivers or players). It's possible that the discs offer an entirely valid DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, but some decoders (which may be out of spec?) choke on it anyway.

    I am reminded about a similar issue that occured in the early days of Blu-ray. There was a very early batch of Dolby Digital decoder chips used in A/V receivers in the early days of DVD. These particular receivers were never tested to decode Dolby Digital at rates above 448 KBPS (which was the DD encoding limit on DVD). When Blu-ray came out, the Dolby Digital companion tracks on Dolby TrueHD titles were all encoded at 640 KBPS and this caused these early receivers made by Sony, JVC -- even high-end maker B&K (among others) -- to choke on these Dolby Digital 640 KBPS soundtracks. Most owners still have no idea WTF happened and either switched over to analog or transcoded to DTS (if their player has this option) or switched to PCM output to workaround the problem. 640K encoding/decoding was always part of the Dolby Digital spec but it wasn't seen in the real world until Blu-ray (and HD DVD) came out.

    It's possible this "Star Wars" issue is similar: valid stream, but one that hasn't been seen before and may cause some receivers/decoders to choke. The "Star Wars" DTS-HD MA track is the fairly uncommon DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 format, which is found on less than 1% of Blu-ray titles (fewer than 50 titles). But we have seen similar soundtracks (like "Lord of the Rings") come out on Blu-ray with DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 soundtracks without these issues.

    But really, all this is speculation until we can find a pattern. So we'd encourage all owners to post their gear here on the forum and let us know whether they see/hear the problem or not.

    I plan to do some of my own follow-up testing as I do have a few different players on hand (but only a couple of receivers).

    -CB
    Chris Boylan
    Editor in Chief
    Big Picture Big Sound

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    I'm aware of these concerns, and I should point out that after my review (on a first-gen, fully updated PS3) I tested Disc Four, A NEW HOPE on both a Sony BDP-S360 Blu-ray Player and a Samsung BD-C6900, still with my Onkyo TX-SR606 receiver, and I did NOT encounter these audio problems. I found playback to be rather sluggish on the Samsung deck, but no issues specific to these audio drop-outs.

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    Thanks for the post, Chris. So it looks like the Onkyo TX-SR606 receiver is clean from any player (or at least from the three you tested). In some other forums (HDJ, AVS, HTF), I've seen owners reporting the audio problem on OPPO players, too, but only in bitstream mode, and so far only to select Denon and Pioneer receivers. Will try to get more model details for this thread.

    -CB
    Chris Boylan
    Editor in Chief
    Big Picture Big Sound

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    Default Star Wars drop outs

    Oppo 93 BD Star Wars has drop outs in the reported discs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsoko2 View Post
    Oppo 93 BD Star Wars has drop outs in the reported discs.
    Thanks for the post. What receiver are you using? It seems that the player is not really to blame here, but the receiver or preamp/processor may be as that is doing the decoding of the audio stream. Please reply with brand and model number. We will pass along this information to LucasFilm.

    You may be able to work around the problem by setting your player's HDMI digital output to PCM (instead of bitstream). I've tried this on a couple of players and it works around the problem on affected receivers. Try this in your set-up menu and see if that scene on Episode IV sounds any different (Chapter 16 - time code 36:55).

    -CB
    Chris Boylan
    Editor in Chief
    Big Picture Big Sound

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiarella View Post
    ...with my Onkyo TX-SR606 receiver, and I did NOT encounter these audio problems.
    Just tested on an even earlier Onkyo receiver (TX-SR605) using a Panasonic DMP-BD60 player. No problems at all in bitstream mode.

    I also tested a Sony BDP-S470 with that problematic Pioneer receiver (VSX-94TXH) and it fails the same way the Panasonic did. Looks like it has little or nothing to do with the players, but is an issue with select receivers. Setting the player to PCM output instead works around the problem.

    -CB
    Chris Boylan
    Editor in Chief
    Big Picture Big Sound

  9. #9

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    I watched all 6 star wars movies using my oppo 93 player. I am bitstreaming with the ht-rc270 receiver. no sound drop out problems.

    Jacob

  10. #10
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    Default Dropouts

    Many dropouts on Yamaha Aventage RX-A2000, Samsung player on Bitstream. Did not happen on PS3 set to PCM. Will set Samsung to PCM and try again. I'll repost tomorrow with results.

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