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    Lossless TrueHD Atmos Just Got Much Easier

     

     

    Audio: Listen to this article.

     

     

    When I started on this immersive audio journey, it wasn't possible to decode lossless TrueHD Atmos music on a computer. A processor with HDMI was required. Then I started using the Dolby Reference Player to decode the files, but the entire process was still less than simple. Now, it's possible to extract lossless TrueHD Atmos music into 7.1.4, and other channel configurations, WAV files for playback with any application that supports the high channel count. I play them through Audirvana and JRiver Media Center with ease, and even on my Aurender ACS10 using its Ravenna output. 

     

    This latest breakthrough came about because of the dedicated work of Garry at the QuadraphonicQuad forum. I tried to figure this out shortly after getting the Dolby Reference Player, using all the documented command line switches and some educated guesses. Nothing I tried worked. Garry found an undocumented way to make this happen, and it's all above board. No hacks necessary and no need to worry about the Dolby software police knocking on one's door.

     

    Garry's Music Media Helper application has been indispensable thus far, when working with TrueHD Atmos files. Now, it's THE tool and it opens up a world of possibilities. Previously I hesitated to push my methods on "normal" people because the process is a bit arduous. Now, everyone can do this, as the process is beyond reasonable. It's simple.

     


    Previously 

     

    Prior to the newest version of Music Media Helper, my process for obtaining TrueHD Atmos as WAV files was lengthy, but worth it. 

     

    1. Rip the Blu-ray with MakeMKV or download the MKV
    2. Create a cue sheet for the album using Music Media Helper's Chapter Editor
    3. Extract individual MKA files from the MKV and tag them using Music Media Helper
    4. Extract TrueHD files from the MKV and MKA using MKVcleaver
    5. Rename the TrueHD files to .mlp
    6. Play / decode the album mlp file through the Dolby Reference Player through Blackhole and capture it in Audacity as a 12 channel (7.1.4) file. This is a realtime process that takes as long as the currently playing album. 
    7. Export the 12 channel file as a w64 file because it's too large for regular WAV
    8. Using the cue sheet created earlier, split the w64 file into individual tracks as WAV files using XLD.

     

    That's a streamlined version of the process. Little issues pop up here and there, but again, it was absolutely worth it. 

     


    Now

     

    Using Music Media Helper version 6.3.14 the new process of extracting TrueHD Atmos WAV files for playback in any application that supports the channel count is as follows. Note: The Dolby Reference Player is still reqquired, but is only used by MMH.

     

     

    1. Rip the Blu-ray with MakeMKV or download the MKV
    2. Use Music Media Helper to extract and tag WAV files from the MKV.


    Seriously, thanks to Garry, that's it! Here are some addition details and screenshots. 

     

     

     

    With an MKV in hand (on disk), open Music Media Helper's MMH Atmos Helper, and click Decode Atmos.

    MMH Atmos Helper 01.png

     

     

    The follow screen pops up. Select Open MKV/MLP/M4A File(s)

    MMH Atmos Helper 02.png

     

     

    Select your channel layout. In my case, I have a 7.1.4 system (link).

    MMH Atmos Helper 03.png

     

     

    Use Multichannel Interleaved WAV. That measn all the channels will be ina single file for playback. 

     

    The Apply Channel Gain can be set to 1.0 to leave the output unchanged. This is a multiplier, so 1.0 means no multiplication.

    MMH Atmos Helper 04.png

     

     

    When the extraction is done, the files look like this.

     

    MMH Atmos Helper 05.png

     

     

    Using Music Media Helper's Tag & Rename Media Files function, to do exactly that. 

     

    MMH Atmos Helper 06.png MMH Atmos Helper 07.png

     

    MMH Atmos Helper 08.png MMH Atmos Helper 09.png

     

    MMH Atmos Helper 10.png MMH Atmos Helper 11.png

     

     

     

    When done, the files are tagged and renamed, and ready for one's favorite multichannel music playback application. 

     

    MMH Atmos Helper 12.png

     

     

     

    Note: Using a powerful computer is recommended. Here's a screenshot of my CAPS Twenty's CPU utilization while the extraction is running. 

     

    MMH CPU.png

     

     

     

     

    Wrap Up

     

    Once again, a huge thank you to Garry for working through this and offering it to everyone free of charge. This is a game changer. Getting lossless TrueHD Atmos files is now easier than ripping SACDs and nearly as easy as ripping straight Redbook CDs. 

     

    If you're reading this and thinking what's the big deal, no worries. I don't blame you. Just imagine if getting CD quality music back in 2007 involved the arduous process I described above, prior to this latest breakthrough. Not many people would've been excited to jump into the music server or computer audio game. Playing the CD wouldn've been just fine. 

     

    Perhaps now more applications and music servers will support multichannel playback with channel counts higher than eight. Rememebr when playing DSD was esoteric and helper applications were requried and most apps didn't support it? Sounds similar doesn't it :~)

     

    Anyway, time to listen to some glorious lossless TrueHD Atmos!

     

     

     

     

     

     




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    Why is the Dolby Reference Player still required?  What is it doing?

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    Just now, mlknez1 said:

    Why is the Dolby Reference Player still required?  What is it doing?

    It's the only way to decode TrueHD Atmos. MMH uses it int he background.

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    Chris,

    Great update, and thanks for giving Garry his props.  He's amazing with this stuff.

     

    Question: what happens when you choose a layout that is greater (or less) than the source layout (i.e choosing 9.1.6 on a 7.1.4 recording; or choosing 5.1 on a 7.1.4 recording).  Does the latter have a fold-down done, and where are the rules of the fold-down happening?  Does the former simply have silent wide channels?

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    I may be overlooking it, but is there a link to download this software?  Looking forward to giving it a try :)

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    4 minutes ago, ted_b said:

    Chris,

    Great update, and thanks for giving Garry his props.  He's amazing with this stuff.

     

    Question: what happens when you choose a layout that is greater (or less) than the source layout (i.e choosing 9.1.6 on a 7.1.4 recording; or choosing 5.1 on a 7.1.4 recording).  Does the latter have a fold-down done, and where are the rules of the fold-down happening?  Does the former simply have silent wide channels?

     

    With Atmos there is no source or destination format. The decoder uses the speakers selction and creates the mix, exactly as it does using the decoder in a processor.  If sound is in the side channels in the original mix, but the playback is on a 5.1.4 system, the side channel sound is place on the side by using the front and rear channels, the same way items are placed between the front two channels in stereo.

     

     

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    17 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    @jrobbins50 you need to tell Garry to add 5.1.2 :~)

    Oh my goodness, this would be a substantial time savings.  Yes, as you know, I do Dolby Atmos in 5.1.2 (which thus allows use of Roon for playback) and that isn't on Garry's list in the MMH update.  How do I contact him, Chris?

     

    Also, I have MMH on my PC and the DRP on my Mac.  I don't recall, but will the DRP run on PC, as I assume the Mac alone doesn't have the horsepower for the decoding?  JCR

     

    Update:  Nevermind the question on DRP for PC.  I note that I already have it installed on my CAPS20 server (I just haven't used it there), so all I need is MMH on the server, and Garry to update for 5.1.2.  :)

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    7 minutes ago, jrobbins50 said:

    Oh my goodness, this would be a substantial time savings.  Yes, as you know, I do Dolby Atmos in 5.1.2 (which thus allows use of Roon for playback) and that isn't on Garry's list in the MMH update.  How do I contact him, Chris?

     

    Also, I have MMH on my PC and the DRP on my Mac.  I don't recall, but will the DRP run on PC, as I assume the Mac alone doesn't have the horsepower for the decoding?  JCR

    Just install DRP on your PC, then you're good. You don't even touch it. 

     

    I'll tell Garry about your needs :~)

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    21 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    That product cleverly uses terms, but only supports lossy Dolby Digital Plus. 

     

    It says, "True Dolby Atmos with only a PC" but doesn't decode TrueHD.

    Thanks!

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    18 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Just install DRP on your PC, then you're good. You don't even touch it. 

     

    I'll tell Garry about your needs :~)

    Yes, I realize now that he is Homer, the moderator, at QuadraphonicQuad.  Whilst I've read that blog for many years, and have an account there, it was only my first posting to ask for 5.1.2, and I see that you beat me to it!

     

    Thanks.  JCR

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    I'm really curious where Atmos, in the home, will be in a decade.

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    4 minutes ago, loop7 said:

    I'm really curious where Atmos, in the home, will be in a decade.

    It has been around for a decade now. 

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    2 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    I don’t understand the question. 


    Will Tidal stream through this solution will full Atmos (NOT HD - I'm aware)?

    I'm asking because I'm tired of buying disks, only to find out that the mix is crap.

     

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    11 minutes ago, DigiPete said:

    Will Tidal stream through this solution will full Atmos (NOT HD - I'm aware)?

    Short answer is no. So far only Apple Music on macOS can do such.

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    On 1/20/2023 at 12:13 AM, The Computer Audiophile said:

    It's the only way to decode TrueHD Atmos. MMH uses it int he background.

    Wow this is incredible! Just decoded an album to 7.1.4 wav then playback from HQPlayer the SQ is waaaay better than via virtual interface. Greatly appreciated Gary!

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    11 hours ago, DigiPete said:


    Will Tidal stream through this solution will full Atmos (NOT HD - I'm aware)?

    I'm asking because I'm tired of buying disks, only to find out that the mix is crap.

     

    Perhaps your answer is to listen to the Atmos mix via Apple Spacial Music streaming first, to hear it even though in lossy format. If you like it and there is a disc to purchase with the TrueHD lossless Atmos version on it, you can then buy with greater confidence as to what the mix is. JCR 

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    On 1/21/2023 at 8:07 PM, El Guapo said:

    Short answer is no. So far only Apple Music on macOS can do such.

    I'm confused by this.  What can you do in Apple Music on the MAC? 

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    3 minutes ago, ted_b said:

    I'm confused by this.  What can you do in Apple Music on the MAC? 

    Play Atmos and output to DAC. All the other apps only play Atmos on mobile apps. 

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    ? If I have my projector on I play Atmos directly via the ATV4K box (and onscreen GUI).  Not a mobile app (although I can do same, without projector, using my iPhone as remote).  I'm not sure, again, what you mean.  Sorry for being dense.

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