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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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    23 minutes ago, ted_b said:

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

    Apple Music on macOS we can:

    Atmos contents send to virtual interface like BlackHole 16ch or Merging's VAD for triggering DD+ decoder based on the speaker setup (from 5.1.2 to 9.1.6) in Audio MIDI Setup. Decoded multichannel PCM can send to DACs directly, pass-thru to recording software like Audacity, or send to convolution engine for DRC/DSP then output to the DACs.

     

    I always send Apple Music Atmos to HQPlayer Embedded for DRC / upsampling to 12ch DSD256:

    250153644_Image2023-1-9at12_33PM.thumb.jpg.efc51f93b51ca65a22e9078d01b3bd1d.jpg

     

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    2 minutes ago, ted_b said:

    ? 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.

    Apple Music is the only app for desktops that plays Atmos.

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    1 minute ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Apple Music is the only app for desktops that plays Atmos.

    I have no issue with Apple Music; I use it.  I am asking what is unique about it on the MAC platform.  @El Guapodescribed what he is doing, so I assume that this work flow is only available on the Apple Music app on MAC, not Apple Music on, say, Windows or elsewhere?

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    1 hour ago, ted_b said:

    I have no issue with Apple Music; I use it.  I am asking what is unique about it on the MAC platform.  @El Guapodescribed what he is doing, so I assume that this work flow is only available on the Apple Music app on MAC, not Apple Music on, say, Windows or elsewhere?

     

    Apple Music only plays Atmos on Mac. The new WIndows version of the app can see the Atmos content but can't play it. 

     

    I route it through Hang Loose Convolver for 65,000 tap convolution, then on to my Merging DAC. 

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    For those few examples that could be included in all four tiers, could you rate an Atmos mix from:

    - compressed DD+ version on Apple Music

    - upsampled above example, via Mac and work flow, to your DAC

    - TrueHD version

    - raw DXD version

     

    I don't care, use a 1-100 rating.  Nothing serious here, but would be great to understand nuances vs striking differences. 🙂

     

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    2 minutes ago, ted_b said:

    For those few examples that could be included in all four tiers, could you rate an Atmos mix from:

    - compressed DD+ version on Apple Music

    - upsampled above example, via Mac and work flow, to your DAC

    - TrueHD version

    - raw DXD version

     

    I don't care, use a 1-100 rating.  Nothing serious here, but would be great to understand nuances vs striking differences. 🙂

     

    Nothing comes closed to a DXD 12 channel album. I don’t think it’s all about the fact that it’s DXD, but the fact that it isn’t “encoded” is huge. There are no changes to the audio. 
     

    TrueHD is still fantastic and better than DD+ of course. I’ve yet to run it through HQP though. Guapo can comment on that. 

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    6 hours ago, ted_b said:

    For those few examples that could be included in all four tiers, could you rate an Atmos mix from:

    - compressed DD+ version on Apple Music

    - upsampled above example, via Mac and work flow, to your DAC

    - TrueHD version

    - raw DXD version

     

    I don't care, use a 1-100 rating.  Nothing serious here, but would be great to understand nuances vs striking differences. 🙂

    My 2-cent-level quick conclusions:

    • DD+ Atmos on Apple Music or downloadable .mp4:
      • DRC off / upsampling off: 50
      • DRC on / upsampling off: 75
      • DRC on / upsampling on: 78
    • TrueHD Atmos from Blu-ray or downloadable .mkv:
      • DRC off / upsampling off: 70
      • DRC on / upsampling off: 80
      • DRC on / upsampling on: 82
    • Raw DXD
      • DRC off / upsampling off: 85
      • DRC on / upsampling off: 95
      • DRC on / upsampling on: 100

     

    DRC is crucial especially for compressed contents. Will get very big improvement after done proper DRC.

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    What DRC do you do, and where, HQP?

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    35 minutes ago, ted_b said:

    What DRC do you do, and where, HQP?

    I use Audiolense XO for producing mono wav FIR filters or .cfg+wav. Use HQPlayer's matrix pipelines mainly. Sometimes I watch TV app contents I use HLC for better lip-syncing.

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    12 hours ago, El Guapo said:

    I use Audiolense XO for producing mono wav FIR filters or .cfg+wav. Use HQPlayer's matrix pipelines mainly. Sometimes I watch TV app contents I use HLC for better lip-syncing.

    You should share your HQP settings, as I know Jussi has offered his thoughts as to the best settings for lossy Atmos over Apple Music, @El Guapo!  
     

    I put traditional discrete 5.1 MCH ahead of lossy Atmos and on par with TrueHD.  A good example for me is Rocket Man by Elton John. Whilst I admire the lossy Atmos mix, the 5.1 lossless DSD mix is very good and just sounds better to me. JCR 

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    12 hours ago, jrobbins50 said:

    You should share your HQP settings

    My HQPlayer settings for immersive contents (no specific settings for lossless or lossy):

    • FIR filters: 64/352.8, 524K taps per channel, mono wav filters. Set bass management except main L, R. Total 21 pipelines so far. Will expand to 9.2.4 so it'll become 41 pipelines after get my 2nd DA8P (on order now 😁).
    • HQPlayer's filter / modulator combo, first 2 combos must run on HQPe server which specced i9-12900K with 3080Ti GPU:
      • Best: 1x ext3 / Nx ext2 + ASDM5ECv2 -> 12ch DSD256. But hurts utility bill... consumes more than 600 watts of power (sustained).
      • 2nd best: 1x mqa/mp3-mp / Nx gauss-hires-mp + ASDM5EC -> 12ch DSD256. Roughly 400 watts sustained.
      • For everyday: 1x ext3 / Nx ext2 + NS1 -> 12ch DXD. This combo can run on my Mac mini m1 to save some energy. 😅

     

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    I have been using DVD Audio Extractor to rip Stereo/5.1/ATMOS tracks directly into my library. Looking at the cumbersome method(s) described above (with the MKV step) I am wondering if I did this wrong.

     

    image.thumb.png.cb2433419df42ca78c8812ddddd6148f.png

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    5 minutes ago, Frans Keylard said:

    I have been using DVD Audio Extractor to rip Stereo/5.1/ATMOS tracks directly into my library. Looking at the cumbersome method(s) described above (with the MKV step) I am wondering if I did this wrong.

     

    image.thumb.png.cb2433419df42ca78c8812ddddd6148f.png

    You’ve only got 8 channels. 

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    18 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    You’ve only got 8 channels. 

    And I’m not sure that those eight channels correspond to Dolby Atmos 5.1.2. I made the same early mistake as well, thinking that such a rip would pull the Atmos metadata. I am nowadays believing that it does not, with DVDAE. JCR 

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    4 minutes ago, jrobbins50 said:

    And I’m not sure that those eight channels correspond to Dolby Atmos 5.1.2. I made the same early mistake as well, thinking that such a rip would pull the Atmos metadata. I am nowadays believing that it does not, with DVDAE. JCR 

    If they do correspond to 5.1.2, it would be by miracle only. The extraction tool has no clue about the speaker layout, and the height channels are in metadata. the extraction is likely a 7.1 FLAC extraction. 

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

     

    Does JRIVER support 7.1.4?

    How to set it? I have 29.0.87.

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