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Author Topic: DTS HD and mac mini  (Read 13787 times)

cuciu76

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DTS HD and mac mini
« on: February 28, 2014, 06:03:35 pm »

Hi, i'm planning to buy a new mac mini and jriver as media center. I'd like to know if jriver and the Mac mini can manage dts hd audio files of br rip. I need a something like passthrought function because my amplifier can decode dts hd format audio.
tks

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glynor

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2014, 06:14:56 pm »

The Mac version of MC is audio only, and will likely remain that way throughout MC19.

The Windows version of MC can handle DTS-MA decoding with a little elbow grease.  If you have HDMI out, and you prefer, it can also bitstream it and let your receiver decode it.  That kind of passthrough is called Bitstreaming.

I'd guess that bitstreaming of audio-only DTS-MA files is not supported on the Mac version currently (since none of the video stuff is enabled, and that's a video option in the Windows version), but I don't know, and don't have any with which to check.

You can run the Windows version on your Mac Mini either via Boot Camp or Parallels Desktop.  Both work very well.  VMWare Fusion probably also works, though in last year's version, I had some trouble with video playback performance in Fusion.  I haven't tried the new one yet, but I have and use MC in Parallels on my Mini and my Macbook Pro basically every day, and it works very well.
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cuciu76

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2014, 12:13:23 am »

Tks for answering. Do u use parallels desktop olso for video and can u manage dts hd without problem?
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6233638

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2014, 06:07:19 am »

If you are buying the Mac Mini for Media Center and want to use it for video playback, I would recommend installing Windows on it (not through some virtualization software like Parallels) and using the Windows version of Media Center.
 
You could always buy a compact PC like an Intel NUC instead, but I see the appeal of the Mac Mini hardware - it's a lot nicer looking than most small form-factor PCs.
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glynor

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2014, 12:24:15 pm »

If you are buying the Mac Mini for Media Center and want to use it for video playback, I would recommend installing Windows on it (not through some virtualization software like Parallels) and using the Windows version of Media Center.

I don't know.  I like OSX, and it actually works decently well on a large screen.  Some of the features are nice (like Air Display, for example) and it can be pretty handy.  MC runs well in Parallels, so long as your host machine has plenty of CPU and RAM to give it.

I have the best quad-core CPU in a Mac Mini you can currently buy, and 16GB of RAM.  I run MC in Parallels Desktop 9 with a Windows 8.1 VM that hosts MC19.  It has 2 CPU cores assigned and 6GB of RAM.  It works pretty brilliantly.  I do, however, run the VM in fullscreen mode, not the "Unity" mode (or Coherence, I don't remember which one is Parallels and which one is vmware's version of that mode).  This works quite nicely with OSX's Mission Control and Fullscreen handling.  I can just hold Control and hit the Arrow keys to flip from OSX to Windows and back again.

If you have a weaker host machine, it might not work as well.  However, I also get acceptable performance on my Sandy Bridge Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM.  On that one I use a Windows 7 VM (it is bound to my work domain so I can't migrate it to Windows 8.1), and only gets 4GB of RAM.  It still runs perfectly well for MC.
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glynor

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2014, 12:24:28 pm »

Tks for answering. Do u use parallels desktop olso for video and can u manage dts hd without problem?

I can test it for you with my Laptop.  My Mini isn't anywhere near a receiver that can do HDMI audio.
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Acrid Avid

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2014, 11:15:30 pm »

I have the same question.  My last mac mini from 2010 bit the dust recently and I am debating buying a new mac mini vs building a PC based HTPC (maybe buying one from Assassin HTPC or something).  The inability to bitsteam HD audio for movies from the mac mini has been a frustrating limitation for me.  If MC has the ability to decode the HD audio into something that the mac mini or macbook pro can pass to my receiver over HDMI without losing any quality, maybe I'll end up with another mac mini or just bring my macbook pro into the living room to use it as a HTPC.

If anyone has a way of testing whether or not a mac mini or macbook pro can decode and then pass dts-hd audio over HDMI (either in boot camp or virtualization over VMware), please let us know.

Thanks
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glynor

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2014, 11:27:17 pm »

I tested it tonight finally.

Good news.  It works pretty darn well.  The details:

Options > Audio > Audio Device: Parallels Audio Device (WASAPI)
Device Options:
Open device for exclusive access: Enabled
Disable event style: Enabled (Note: This is non-default and required or Exclusive Mode doesn't work properly.)
Maximize device volume during playback: Enabled (I prefer to use this with Internal volume control)

Options > Audio > Settings> Bitstreaming: None.

MC's Volume control set to Internal.

DTS-MA works flawlessly with my Sandy Bridge Macbook Pro connected to my Yamaha AVR via a MiniDP > HDMI adapter.  The only thing that does NOT work is Bitstreaming.  That's not a big issue, though, as MC can handle decoding perfectly well, so long as you get the dtsdecoderdll.dll and put it in your Windows' System32 or SysWOW64 directory.

I was very excited to see that I could get Exclusive Mode working, as long as you switch it to Push mode, instead of Event-Style.  Bummed about bitstreaming a little, but I actually don't use this, as MC is a great decoder and it is nice to have full access to the DSP options when needed.
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Acrid Avid

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 09:33:39 pm »

Glynor,

Thanks for taking the time to test and post details. 

This is indeed exciting news (at least to me).  I've read literally hundreds of posts debating macs vs pcs for HTPC.  And one of the biggest arguments against macs is the inability to play dts-hd or other high def movie audio.  If MC is a way around this, than that is great news. 

As an aside, and I really don't hope this comes across as disrespectful--because you've already earned mine 100 times over from your detailed and thorough posts elsewhere--but how can you tell you are really getting full dts-hd and not just the dts portion of the sound.  I've largely been dependent on looking at the display on my receiver to know.  And if you aren't bit streaming to the receiver, is there a way to tell how much audio data is really being sent?

Finally, since I use vmware instead of parallels, I'm guessing that what you have done should also be achievable from a boot camp version of windows 7 (and possibly via vmware).  Thoughts?

Thanks again.
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glynor

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2014, 10:59:02 pm »

As an aside, and I really don't hope this comes across as disrespectful--because you've already earned mine 100 times over from your detailed and thorough posts elsewhere--but how can you tell you are really getting full dts-hd and not just the dts portion of the sound.  I've largely been dependent on looking at the display on my receiver to know.  And if you aren't bit streaming to the receiver, is there a way to tell how much audio data is really being sent?

MC's Audio Path tells you what format it is decoding.  Just like the pretty light on your receiver.

I'm too lazy to hook up a recorder to my HDMI output and record it to verify (with a contrived source for which I have the original PCM) that it matches bitperfectly, but people have done such crazy things with MC in the past (I'm not sure it was done with HDMI ever, but I know people did it with SPDIF before).  Plus, you know, I don't care because it sounds good, and I DO use the DSP options and am not going for "purity" or whatever.  You could, though, if you're a nutter.

But, if you want the pretty light, MC has em, and you can nerd-right-out if you want to:

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glynor

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2014, 11:03:23 pm »

Finally, since I use vmware instead of parallels, I'm guessing that what you have done should also be achievable from a boot camp version of windows 7 (and possibly via vmware).  Thoughts?

Thanks again.

Absolutely.  Under BootCamp I bet bitstreaming would work fine too, though I've removed my bootcamp partitions because Parallels works so well.  Bitstreaming is overrated, though, I've slowly become more and more convinced.  You lose all of the handy things (like VideoClock) that MC can do for you, and really just gain a pretty light.

I can't comment on vmware fusion's support for WASAPI exclusive output.  Parallels 8 didn't work right, and you had to use DirectSound (shudder).
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Acrid Avid

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Re: DTS HD and mac mini
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2014, 12:59:07 am »

Glynor,

Thanks so much for your detailed replies.  I truly appreciate them.

Cheers
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