Why doesn't the TrueHD logo appear on my receiver?

Why doesn’t the TrueHD logo appear on my receiver?

I hear this question a lot so I thought I would address it. “Why doesn’t my receiver say I’m listening to my TrueHD/DTS:HD soundtrack?”

tech-helpThere are a couple of reasons this happens. The first is that you may need to select the high-definition track on the Blu-ray Disc for it to use that track. I don’t know why some movies don’t have the high-res track selected default, but they do this sometimes. This is especially confusing of Dolby TrueHD. For example: The Dark Knight has a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, but the default soundtrack is Dolby DIgital. TrueHD on Blu-ray Disc must feature a standard Dolby Digital core soundtrack. What this means is it will output a normal AC3 5.1 soundtrack if the receiver does not support advanced codecs. This is done automatically. So why did Warner not just include one Dolby TrueHD track as default? A mystery.

Another reason may be the high-res track is a multi-channel LPCM soundtrack. An example is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. These multi-channel PCM soundtracks are never the default soundtrack. Why? Because most legacy receivers and no TV (that I know of) accepts multi-channel LPCM audio. What you would end up with is the left and right channels only, which means you wouldn’t have anything in the voice channel. The default track is usually an AC3 (Dolby Digital) soundtrack.

A lot of the people who ask this have a Playstation 3. The PS3 decodes TrueHD and DTS:HD on board and outputs multi-channel LPCM audio to the receiver. Just read the last paragraph to understand why this could be a problem. But there’s more. Newer receivers do accept muti-channel LPCM audio, and this will appear as “PCM” on the receiver’s display (some say “Multi PCM”). What it basically boils down to is the receiver will only display what it is currently decoding or processing on its front panel. It doesn’t know what the Blu-ray player or PS3 is decoding, it only knows it it recieveing Multi-channel LPCM audio.

How can you make sure your receiver displays the advanced codec logo? Make sure your player can output bitstream audio over HDMI. Your receiver should also have the ability to decode the advanced codecs. Most of the new players do output bitstream audio, but they also decode onboard. You will have to change your settings on the player to enable bitstream output. Check your owner’s manual for details. But do keep in mind that regardless of the logo on the front of your receiver, if you have selected the high-res track and your player decodes it you can rest assured you are listening to the high-res track.

But there is one more wrinkle. I’ve heard some people say their receiver displays the Dolby Pro Logic IIx logo. Why would this happen? A couple paragraphs up I explain that multi-channel LPCM audio into a receiver that doesn’t accept this format will only have left and right channels. Dolby Pro Logic creates a surround-sound effect from stereo sources. This logo would appear if you had stereo LPCM audio entering the receiver. Check your player output settings and make sure it is outputting multi-channel LPCM audio. Check your receiver’s manual to make sure it receivers multi-channel LPCM audio. (Sometimes LPCM is called “PCM”.)

I hope this helps. If you have any questions about specific models refer to your owner’s manual. If you need any more help just let me know.

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

View all posts by Steven Kippel →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *