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Article: How To Decode and Play Dolby TrueHD Atmos on Windows and macOS


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10 minutes ago, ted_b said:

This is very, very cool.  I bet some enterprising programmer could create a whole GUI application set that mimics a high-end pre/pro (like my Lyngdorf MP-40 that is brand new and unboxed currently!  Hmmm....).  Video switching,  HDMI inputs for the ATV4Ks and Nividia Shields of the world.   Net/net, this takes building an HTPC to new heights (pun intended). 🙂

I agree Ted! It isn't for everybody, but it's for a lot of people who've been searching for a solution for a decade. 

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4 minutes ago, ted_b said:

I wonder what is involved to synch up two consumer dacs (say exaSound's 8 channel and a 2 channel for a 5.1.4 setup) outside of Merging.

 

Not sure, but it would be fun to try. There are many more 8 channel DACs on the market than 9+ channel DACs. 

 

If you can make them appear as a single device, you should be good. It's easier because the TrueHD content is almost always the same 48k sample rate. I've yet to see TrueHD Atmos anything other than 48k. 

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Okay, how does the 7.1.4 Abbey Road sound?

Is it a gimmick, or something you'll really want to listen to?

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protectors +>Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Strip/Protection>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three BXT (on their own electric circuit) >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three BXT

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

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I can say that I’ve heard Abbey Road now in 5.1 through the Dolby Reference Player and it is definitely lossless sounding as compared to Apple Music Atmos. I’m still working on getting the DRP to pass through HQP for convolution and volume control. It’s an issue to get it to work with my Okto dac8pro. 
 

@ted_b, I wonder if the old miniDSP device that combined multiple 2-channel DACs to act as a single MCH DAC could be deployed to combine, for example, two Okto DACs into a 16 channel DAC. I sold my miniDSP device and so don’t have it around to test. JCR 

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1 hour ago, jrobbins50 said:

@ted_b, I wonder if the old miniDSP device that combined multiple 2-channel DACs to act as a single MCH DAC could be deployed to combine, for example, two Okto DACs into a 16 channel DAC. I sold my miniDSP device and so don’t have it around to test. JCR 

Not Ted but it may be possible to synch multiple DAC8 Pros by themselves by using the one of the outputs of the 1st DAC8 as a synch source to one of the inputs on the 2nd DAC8 which will get you 15 channels.  Daisy-chain more and get 7 per DAC.   Alternatively, you can use the U-DIO as just a synch source to each of the DAC8s.

 

In all cases, the DAC8s have to be in USB/AES mode and everything has to be at 24/48 since the Oktos require the same bitrate/depth on in and out in this mode.  No upsampling or downsampling, at least in theory.

 

The bigger issue is having a way to send/distribute the channels to the DACs.  In MAC, it is easy as MiDi setup lets you create virtual outputs from multiple real ones.  In WinWorld, you may have to used something like ASIO4ALL. 

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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5 hours ago, firedog said:

Okay, how does the 7.1.4 Abbey Road sound?

Is it a gimmick, or something you'll really want to listen to?

 

First a a few reference points. I've been listening to the Beatles since I bought a 45rpm 7 inch "I want to hold your hand" when it first came out (not continuously) I've never heard any of their recordings I would call audiophile and some absolutely sucked, like the MoFi vinyl box set. Listening to the Apple Atmos mix has been a revelation. More full bodied, better fidelity than any other version I've heard. That said, I certainly haven't heard them all but definitely something you want to sit and listen to for the music and fidelity, not the effects.  It is not gimmicky except the final little ditty where they pan the vocal from far right around the front of the room to far left  Some of it is stunning. "Come Together" as you've never heard it.

 

I would love to hear the lossless version, I may buy the disc but they are at least $75 on Discogs at the moment for the 2019 set which is what the Apple mix is.  Perhaps we need another thread to discuss the software (music) side of this.

 

Apple TV >> Trinnov AL16 >>> 9.3.6

 

see my system at Audiogon  https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/768

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kal Rubinson said:

Not Ted but it may be possible to synch multiple DAC8 Pros by themselves by using the one of the outputs of the 1st DAC8 as a synch source to one of the inputs on the 2nd DAC8 which will get you 15 channels.  Daisy-chain more and get 7 per DAC.   Alternatively, you can use the U-DIO as just a synch source to each of the DAC8s.

 

In all cases, the DAC8s have to be in USB/AES mode and everything has to be at 24/48 since the Oktos require the same bitrate/depth on in and out in this mode.  No upsampling or downsampling, at least in theory.

 

The bigger issue is having a way to send/distribute the channels to the DACs.  In MAC, it is easy as MiDi setup lets you create virtual outputs from multiple real ones.  In WinWorld, you may have to used something like ASIO4ALL. 

Hello, @Kal Rubinson. Thanks for jumping in. Makes sense. Of course, 15 DAC channels would get Atmos 9.1.4, which would be interesting. Given the dearth to date of TrueHD music material, I’m not ready to invest in the additional DAC, amps and speakers to go there yet — I’d just like to get it running 5.1.2 on my existing setup at 24/48 through HQP and let it upscale to DSD64 for the Okto (my server just can’t seem to quite handle MCH DSD128).

 

My holdup is that while I have succeeded at passing the Dolby Reference Player output to the Lynx mixer (I have an AES16e card in the server), I can’t get that to next pass off to HQP — even though I use the Lynx ASIO input on HQP for 2-channel material (digitizing vinyl to apply convolution and upscaling).  ASIO4all does not work for this in the Okto, even with trying the VB virtual audio cable for loopback. You don’t know your way around the Lynx mixer software perchance?  I believe it is some setting issue but I don’t know how to resolve it. I do have a note into Lynx technical support. JCR 

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Just now, jrobbins50 said:

Hello, @Kal Rubinson. Thanks for jumping in. Makes sense. Of course, 15 DAC channels would get Atmos 9.1.4, which would be interesting. Given the dearth to date of TrueHD music material, I’m not ready to invest in the additional DAC, amps and speakers to go there yet — I’d just like to get it running 5.1.2 on my existing setup at 24/48 through HQP and let it upscale to DSD64 for the Okto (my server just can’t seem to quite handle MCH DSD128).

 

My holdup is that while I have succeeded at passing the Dolby Reference Player output to the Lynx mixer (I have an AES16e card in the server), I can’t get that to next pass off to HQP — even though I use the Lynx ASIO input on HQP for 2-channel material (digitizing vinyl to apply convolution and upscaling).  ASIO4all does not work for this in the Okto, even with trying the VB virtual audio cable for loopback. You don’t know your way around the Lynx mixer software perchance?  I believe it is some setting issue but I don’t know how to resolve it. I do have a note into Lynx technical support. JCR 

I haven't used Lynx Mixer for years :~)

 

Does HQP see any channels from the Reference Player, through the Lynx Mixer?

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2 hours ago, jrobbins50 said:

Sorry for multiple notes,  but I assume the play lines need to output to the record lines at the top, which will then output to HQP. It’s the linking that I don’t know how to do. 

On a Mac it’s quite straightforward. Just install BlackHole 16ch version then point DRP output to BlackHole. 
In HQPD set BlackHole as input then done. But if you want to use HQPe as the DSP engine, you need to run an NAA daemon on Mac and modify hqplayerd.xml for such input. 
I’ll post the xml line later (driving now).

A85CE216-7C09-410E-98A6-0DA437F08D8F.thumb.jpeg.7b16ede1c26ebd444a66939b6a75fd94.jpeg

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10 minutes ago, El Guapo said:

On a Mac it’s quite straightforward. Just install BlackHole 16ch version then point DRP output to BlackHole. 
In HQPD set BlackHole as input then done. But if you want to use HQPe as the DSP engine, you need to run an NAA daemon on Mac and modify hqplayerd.xml for such input. 
I’ll post the xml line later (driving now).

A85CE216-7C09-410E-98A6-0DA437F08D8F.thumb.jpeg.7b16ede1c26ebd444a66939b6a75fd94.jpeg

 

He needs blackhole for Windows. 

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@El Guapo, glad you are part of this discussion.  I have the DRP up and running and am trying to get a 5.1.2 setup with sound coming out.  The variations I have tried -- none of which produce any output to the Okto dac8pro -- are:

1.  Output the DRP to my Lynx AES16e soundcard, internally via the Lynx Mixer.  This appears as an 8 channel input to the DRP and as an 8 channel input backend in HQP as ASIO Lynx.

 

2. Output the DRP to VAC (calling itself "speakers").  This appears as an 8 channel input backend in HQP as a WASAPI choice.

 

3. Output the DRP to VAC via ASIO4all.  ASIO4all is then selected as the output in DRP (16 channels available).  The VAC is selected as the in and out inside of the ASIO4all app.  This appears as an 8 channel input backend in HQP under ASIO as ASIO4all, of course.

 

I've tried VB as well, to no avail.  And I've tried Windows Sound with and without Exclusive Mode.

 

I've attached a bunch of screenshots so you can see my various settings.  I'm open to ideas.  I will advise that I can regularly stream digitized vinyl through my Benchmark ADC1 to a physical XLR input on the AES16e soundcard in my server, and that output is recognized by HQP by selecting ASIO Lynx as the input backend.  To make it work, however, I have to start a 24/192 playback stream in HQP -- so there's not more than a second of latency against real-time, which for listening to vinyl works just fine.  This is why I have been thinking that ASIO Lynx has to be the answer, but I just can't resolve it.

 

Your thoughts would definitely be appreciated.  Thanks.  JCR

Lynx HQP ASIO Lynx Settings.JPG

Lynx Mixer.JPG

VAC HQP ASIO Lynx Settings.JPG

VAC HQP ASIO4all Settings.JPG

VAC HQP WASAPI Settings.JPG

VAC Playback Windows Sound 1.JPG

VAC Playback Windows Sound 2.JPG

VAC Playback Windows Sound 3.JPG

VAC Record Windows Sound 1.JPG

VAC Record Windows Sound 2.JPG

VAC ASIO4all.JPG

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3 minutes ago, jrobbins50 said:

@El Guapo, glad you are part of this discussion.  I have the DRP up and running and am trying to get a 5.1.2 setup with sound coming out.  The variations I have tried -- none of which produce any output to the Okto dac8pro -- are:

1831816543_VACASIO4all.JPG.d326c34cd3354cb83e2e5875e501da3f.JPG

1.  Output the DRP to my Lynx AES16e soundcard, internally via the Lynx Mixer.  This appears as an 8 channel input to the DRP and as an 8 channel input backend in HQP as ASIO Lynx.

 

2. Output the DRP to VAC (calling itself "speakers").  This appears as an 8 channel input backend in HQP as a WASAPI choice.

 

3. Output the DRP to VAC via ASIO4all.  ASIO4all is then selected as the output in DRP (16 channels available).  The VAC is selected as the in and out inside of the ASIO4all app.  This appears as an 8 channel input backend in HQP under ASIO as ASIO4all, of course.

 

I've tried VB as well, to no avail.  And I've tried Windows Sound with and without Exclusive Mode.

 

I've attached a bunch of screenshots so you can see my various settings.  I'm open to ideas.  I will advise that I can regularly stream digitized vinyl through my Benchmark ADC1 to a physical XLR input on the AES16e soundcard in my server, and that output is recognized by HQP by selecting ASIO Lynx as the input backend.  To make it work, however, I have to start a 24/192 playback stream in HQP -- so there's not more than a second of latency against real-time, which for listening to vinyl works just fine.  This is why I have been thinking that ASIO Lynx has to be the answer, but I just can't resolve it.

 

Your thoughts would definitely be appreciated.  Thanks.  JCR

Lynx HQP ASIO Lynx Settings.JPG

Lynx Mixer.JPG

VAC HQP ASIO Lynx Settings.JPG

VAC HQP ASIO4all Settings.JPG

VAC HQP WASAPI Settings.JPG

VAC Playback Windows Sound 1.JPG

VAC Playback Windows Sound 2.JPG

VAC Playback Windows Sound 3.JPG

VAC Record Windows Sound 1.JPG

VAC Record Windows Sound 2.JPG

 

In HQP did you start playing something like this, but 8 channels?

 

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 3.11.14 PM.png

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And wait. It gets stranger yet. Two additional discoveries. 
 

1. The Lynx Mixer has an advanced adapter setting that was set for Device Channel Mode — 2 channel. I set to 8 channel, saved and rebooted the server as indicated.
 

2. HQP is showing only 2 channel options for the streaming playback. I edited the “2” on the 48000/2 and lo and behold, you can see in the screenshot that HQP is playing 48000/32 and upscaling to 8 channel DSD64. 
 

And with all of this, still no sound, other than the click through the DAC when starting and stopping the HQP playback streaming. 
 

Still not there!  JCR 

7E4F1BAC-8412-4D40-A33E-E3E83BB847D8.jpeg

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@The Computer Audiophile, @El Guapo First of all, very good job getting this to work. It's been much wanted for a long time.

 

But of course, a couple of questions first..😉

 

1. The process you describe after you extracted the mkv with makemkv, I understand you split the mkv file to get separate mka audiofiles for easier access to the individual songs. Yes, I would do the same with my concert and pure audio blurays. But in the case of a movie mkv, what would the process look like then? I assume the original ripped mkv is enough for Dolby Reference Player to play, or am I wrong?

 

2. As the DRP is required to decode the Atmos-tracks, what would the playback chain look like if the source is a movie-mkv..? You open the file in DRP to decode the Atmos-tracks, but what about the video..??  

 

Again, great work so far!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, retro said:

@The Computer Audiophile, @El Guapo First of all, very good job getting this to work. It's been much wanted for a long time.

 

But of course, a couple of questions first..😉

 

1. The process you describe after you extracted the mkv with makemkv, I understand you split the mkv file to get separate mka audiofiles for easier access to the individual songs. Yes, I would do the same with my concert and pure audio blurays. But in the case of a movie mkv, what would the process look like then? I assume the original ripped mkv is enough for Dolby Reference Player to play, or am I wrong?

 

2. As the DRP is required to decode the Atmos-tracks, what would the playback chain look like if the source is a movie-mkv..? You open the file in DRP to decode the Atmos-tracks, but what about the video..??  

 

Again, great work so far!

 

 

Hi Retro, I'm glad you're as excited about this as we are. This is really something, and it's only going to get better. I was playing around with the command line interface of the Dolby Reference Player, and think ease of use can be taken to another level. But anyway, I'll leave it to @El Guapo to talk about video. He has video working in his system. You need to convert to M2TS files because the Dolby Reference Player only accepts a few file formats.

 

 

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5 hours ago, jrobbins50 said:

I use the 2 channel 192000 version of that with ASIO Lynx as the HQP backend for my vinyl listening.

Let’s go back to origin...😅 

Please set your system back to the vinyl setting. Could you hear 2ch PCM audio from DRP thru Lynx directly without HQPlayer?

If 2ch is okay, then expend it to 8ch PCM without HQPlayer? Guapo

 

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