Blu-Ray with 24/192 output from coax?

Barry Diament -- Sat, 05/30/2009 - 10:14

I've been investigating Blu-Ray as a vehicle for 24/192 stereo audio and so far, all the machines I've found only allow a max of 24/96 from their coax digital outputs.

What I'd like to do is to issue Soundkeeper releases in audio only (or primarily audio) stereo 24/192 on Blu-Ray disks, in the same way we issue 24/96 audio only DVDs (like Classic and Chesky's "DAD"s). The 24/96 disks can be played on almost any ordinary DVD video player and those with coax outputs can feed external DACs. I want to do the same thing with 24/192 on Blu-Ray... if it was possible. So far, I haven't found a machine that will allow this.

Anyone know of a Blu-Ray player that will definitely allow 24/192 stereo from its coax digital output? 

It seems 24/192 is currently limited to HDMI and that suggests a requirement for an AV receiver or HT processor in order to get the 24/192 tracks. I much prefer using a separate DAC, to get maximum performance.

I've heard about Neil Young's new 10 disk Blu-Ray release. Am I to take it that in order to hear how good the 24/192 tracks sound, one must feed the signal into a receiver, HT processor or use the internal DAC of the Blu-Ray player? If true, the way I see it, this is a waste, as the listener is prevented from using the finest DAC(s) possible (which to my ears, do not live in receivers or processors).

Best regards,

One and a half (not verified) -- Sun, 05/31/2009 - 06:16

We won't get that high resolution on coax, only HDMI. Why? Copyright protection. The content is coded and a HDCP handshake between two devices is necessary to release the better stream. So unless there's an overwhelming public need and it doesn't contravene copyright protection, we will be saddled with a lower resolution on coax (or optical).

I don't know of any external DAC (like a Benchmark, Wavelength) that can decode multi channels, (over HDMI) so there's another hurdle (or opportunity). HT receivers can do these feats blindfolded and sadly their digital outs are also restricted to a lower resolution. To achieve 24/192 is easy with Dolby True or DTS master, it's part of the specification, so I don't see why with the right HT receiver you could use the 24/192 directly.


Robert Harley -- Mon, 06/01/2009 - 11:03

My understanding is that consumer-electronics companies cannot provide consumers with access to unencrypted high-resolution bitstreams. Meridian transmits high-res to their digital loudspeakers over coax, but gets around the restrictions by employing a custom encryption system (Meridian High Resolution, or MHR).
Unfortunately, high-end companies will need to offer HDMI interfaces and deal with the technical challenges HDMI presents to good sound.

Barry Diament -- Mon, 06/01/2009 - 16:22

 Hi Robert,
This is indeed what I've been finding.  Once again, it seems, the big companies offer a new medium and proceed immediately to hamstring its performance.
We have smart companies like Reference and Chesky offering 4x files, essentially putting the masters on the buyer's machine, yet other companies are afraid someone will steal the soundtrack to a movie?  Bootleggers don't care about quality.  Only the legitimate customers are being punished.  Shades of the RIAA!
I very much like the album as a vehicle for musical expression and spend much time considering the spacing between tracks when I master.  Often, a slightly shorter or a slightly longer spacing can disrupt the feel and flow of an album.  For this reason, I don't really like the "singles" orientation of current download and files-on-disk schemes, as the playback software then makes for arbitrary spacing between tracks.  I was hoping Blu-Ray might work as a real, high definition medium for music distribution.  But to me that means, the listener with a high quality external DAC can use that if they desire.  Why offer 24/192 and limit the listener to AV receivers and HT processors for the D-A conversion?  
Best regards,

Cemil Gandur -- Thu, 06/04/2009 - 05:51

We have smart companies like Reference and Chesky offering 4x files, essentially putting the masters on the buyer's machine, yet other companies are afraid someone will steal the soundtrack to a movie?  Bootleggers don't care about quality.  Only the legitimate customers are being punished.  Shades of the RIAA!

I can't think of any industry that's been as badly run as the music industry for the last 25 years or so, nor one that has been so blind to anything but its own greed and conceit that it is running itself into oblivion.

Barry Diament -- Thu, 06/04/2009 - 06:01

 Hi Zeb,
For years, I've been saying the music industry's standard operating procedure is to shoot itself in the foot and respond to this by seeking out a bigger gun.
Best regards,

Ivan (not verified) -- Thu, 08/20/2009 - 11:44

     According to Dave Nauber of Classe, if you convert the encrypted data inside the player to PCM it can then be output over HDMI as information(in spite of HDMI limitations).  A competent device, such as the SSP800, with the talent pool behind it in the digital world, should then be able to take advantage of the recordings, whether two or multi-channel...I would hope.

Barry Diament -- Wed, 06/03/2009 - 16:20

Looks like the upcoming Oppo BDP-83 will do 192k from its coax output.
Best regards,

Steve Dollar (not verified) -- Wed, 06/03/2009 - 23:33

True? If so, reason enough to buy one.

Barry Diament -- Thu, 06/04/2009 - 06:00

 Hi Steve,
I am trying to confirm whether this works with Blu-Ray or is limited to DVD-A, which this player does too.
Best regards,

stereodaves -- Sun, 06/14/2009 - 14:12


A very interesting post and idea. It looks to us like you are trying to get the most fidelity out of your recordings. The question we have to wonder, though, is whether it is actually possible to transmit 24/192 for stereo through a single coaxial / optical cable? I believe 24/192 is only possible through the HDMI output of a player, but I could be mistaken. And you are right, A HT receiver with HDMI input would be required to pick up this signal.
We have experimented with this idea of creating discs with higher sampling rates ourselves for quite some time and have come to some conclusions. Before we start, we should like to point out that we are listening to a system with all modified equipment, modified DVD player, Blu-ray player,  modified AVR receiver, modified high current two channel receiver, custom made balanced interconnects, 10 gauge speaker wire with custom extremely accurate single driver speakers and modified subwoofers, which go down to an extremely low frequency. So being modified equipment, this could be the reason why we do not mind at all playing our audio through our modified AVR receiver. We have had customers who stopped playing their “$1000 DACs” because our modified player sounded better to them alone than what their DAC and player combination ever sounded like. We have also made custom balanced cables ( ¼ inch and RCA) for recording engineers and DJs who were amazed at how much extension they got on the upper and lower frequencies and how clean the cables were. But back to the subject at hand.
The first conclusion we have reached is that the high resolution formats (DTS Master in specific) when played through the right player (in our case a modified Samsung BD-P3600), is quite frankly stunning. There are classical concerts on Blu-ray, that really show this off  (The Berlin Concert with Netrebko in particular). The high transfer rate of these formats combined with the 24bit resolution really makes a difference from standard CDs. The one shortcoming we have found, though, is that the vast majority of DTS Master / True Dolby is only output for some reason in 48Khz in multichannel and not the 96khz, which in our opinion, would make a huge difference. Nevertheless, the audio does sound stunning. We attribute this to the extremely high data transfer rate of Blu-ray and the discs actually being played at 24bit.
But alas, we wanted more, and after months of research and experimentation we believe we  have found what we were looking for. And again, this is all based on specific programs and methods used. At first we did try to upsample tracks and put them through the HDMI output at various sample rates of 48khz, 96khz, 192khz and it was interesting to hear the difference in sound but it often turned out to be too soft and lacking immediacy / dynamics. Then we moved on to programs that are available online for sale that enables one to encode their music into MLP or Meridian Lossless Packaging. And yes, this is the same process used by manufacturers of DVD-Audio discs. And yes, you will need a player that decodes DVD-audio. MLP enables a person to encode their wavs basically to the DVD-audio format. With MLP you can get the same data transfer rate, lossless compression, and sampling rates of DVD-Audio (which is 24/192 in two channel and 24/96 in multichannel). We found that just encoding our tracks to MLP made quite a difference even at the same sampling rates. We would attribute this to the possibly higher data transfer rate of DVD-audio, but we are not totally sure. And finally, we found by using better programs to apply  a high resolution process and upsample our tracks to begin with before encoding to MLP, we have gotten remarkable results. We have also done some experimenting in mastering 2 channel into multichannel with some very stunning results as well. Do not believe what people tell you about how all programs are relatively the same in processing audio. We have found this to be patently false. Some programs do a much better job than others at certain processes. When we listen to these upsampled / remastered discs there are layers of music in  the soundstage (much more 3 dimensional and live sounding), fine details make themselves apparent (as they were not at all apparent before), frequency range extends in both heights and depths. We have heard literally bass frequencies that were not apparent before make themselves present. The multichannel tracks we have mastered have been especially rewarding, as it seems there is more separation, better location and a much more three dimensional presentation than we have heard so far with two channel. We have experimented with discs we own for our own enjoyment, both two channel media and multichannel discs and have found that this upsampling process delivers a stunning difference in fidelity and allows one to more fully appreciate thework of not only the artists, but the recording engineers themselves. I  wish you luck in your endeavors and hope some of our ideas / research may be helpful to you.
Sean and Rick
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative

Sean and Rick
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative

Barry Diament -- Sun, 06/14/2009 - 15:32

 Hi Sean and Rick,
It is interesting to hear about your experiments.  Based on my own experience, my goal in this last several weeks was to find if indeed 24/192 can be retrieved from a Blu-Ray disk and sent via coax (i.e. S/PDIF or AES/EBU) to an external DAC of the highest quality.  At this point, with existing players (and perhaps due to HDMI licensing agreements) a 4x (i.e. 192k) coax output does not seem to be a reality.  And, to the point you raised, I'm not even sure coax can carry 24/192 (despite claims in some quarters).  My purpose has been to investigate Blu-Ray as a possible vehicle for stereo PCM at 24/192.
Personally, I'm not really interested in any sort of lossless compression.  While it can be shown the *data* can be bit-identical to the pre-compression source, I am not yet convinced that real-time decoding sounds indistinguishable from the pre-compression original.  Similarly, I have a lot of experience with all sorts of sample rate conversion algorithms and find almost all of them create a brightening and hardening of the sound (when compared to the unconverted original), perhaps due to the generation of spurious harmonics.  The few that create a transparent result all operate offline (i.e. outside of real-time).  Again, my criterion here is not what I "like" the sound of but which sounds the most like the unprocessed original  For this reason, "oversampling" players and DACs are something I personally avoid.  I have yet to hear one that does not sound "broken" compared to the best devices working at the native rate of the source.  Just my perspective.
With the fabulous ULN-8 converters (and mic preamps) in use for my 24/192 work, I am not hearing, for the first time in my experience, recordings that sound not like "good recordings" but like listening directly to the mic feed at the recording sessions.  My hope was that Blu-Ray would provide a means of distributing albums made from these recordings, so folks could hear them as we at Soundkeeper hear them.
Best regards,

ted_b (not verified) -- Sun, 06/14/2009 - 21:51

Three things about this discussion:
1)  A few years ago when I was arguing the side of the MLP copyright protection on DVD-A (i.e you can't get PPCM out via coax) I was proven wrong by the weakest of opponents, a very cheap Samusng DVD-A player (can't even remember the name).  Hell, the user manaul even stated, in broken English, that DVD-A was available via the coax output.  Sure freaking enough, it was sending 96k and 192k out that damn coax (unsure if it was 24 bit though, still am).  Fast forward to today's machines.  Cheap universals like my Oppo 980 (not my other more expensive ones) send up to 192k out the SPDIF output too!  I prove it by setting LPCM for 192k in the Oppo menu, then sending it to a DAC (tested Berkeley Alpha, Weiss Minerva/DAC2, Bryston BDA-1 while I demoed them, for grins and giggles) and sure enough the 192K LED lights up.  It tells me that digital coax is capable of 192k...again, I've NO CLUE if it's down "sampled" (truncated I guess is a better term) to 16 bits, but it sounds great via the above mentioned DACs.
2)  Combine no 1 above with another experiment I did, similar to Sean and Rick.  I took hirez files like the HRX demo disc (24/176k) and various 24/192 files I've downloaded and I decided to try and get them to my 192k-capable DACs (see above) via something other than a computer.  I took these files and authored them/burnt them into a DVD-Audio DVD-R disc via software called DVD-Audio SoLo (it lets you do 5 discs during a no-risk trial version) and, voila, the Oppo 980 sends 176k (HRX) and 192K (Kent Poon Jazz downloads, etc.) authored files to the DACs via good ole' coax out.  I GOTTA believe these are not 16/176 but in fact 24/176 (although the Oppo could still be truncating them).
3) What about the $98 miracle box out on the Net that's been linked in a couple of these discussions already over on CA or Steve's (Hoffman) forum?  It's a "simple" HDMI audio/video splitter that says it takes up to 192k Blu-Ray audio and splits it off HDMi (needs to be decoded in player of course) and sends it to digital coax of this $98 box.!!  Anybody seen it or tried it?
Ted B

Barry Diament -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 06:04

 Hi Ted,
Thanks for your post.  It is interesting to hear of 192 via coax.
Perhaps this suggests there is promise for getting 24/192 out of a Blu-Ray player to an external DAC at some point in the future.
Best regards,

eoms (not verified) -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 10:18

I have the new Oppo Blu-Ray player and cannot get anything above 48k (Neil Young Archives) out via coax to my Berkeley Alpha. Thus purchased one of the HDMI to coax convertors and no luck with that either. At this point I wish I had bought the DVD set. The oppo will put out 96/24 and 192/24 via coax from DVD-A discs

ted_b (not verified) -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 12:07

Hmmm, good point about the DVD set.  Same video, right (not exactly hidef material anyway).  All you lose are the BD Live add-ons he'll be adding to the "timeline" feature?
The HDMi coax splitter you bought..... was it this one:   ?

tkennelly -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 12:17

go to ebay and put in HDMI to Optical toslink coaxial s/pdif convertor. I bought mine from weesolutions on ebay

ted_b (not verified) -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 13:22

Thanks.  The issue was not "where to buy" but if he bought this one (same one you bought so i'll ask same question over again) then can we take it off our list?  He claimed the one he bought does NOT do Blu-Ray audio at 192k to coax.  Thats' the only reason we were inetrested in it; it claims, somewhat vaguely, that it does. 

tkennelly -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 13:29

I understand, but your link did not point to a specific convertor. This is the same convertor discussed on Computer Audiophile but from a different supplier.

tkennelly -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 14:47

According to the convertor supplier

Our HDMI audio converter is an audio format converter to decode from one to the other and it will not do the oversampling or change the sampling rate from its original input.

ted_b (not verified) -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 19:19

Sorry about the link.  Anyway......does your convertor (yes, the same one on CA and the one I intended to link to) take 24/192 Blu-Ray over HDMi and then send it to the coax 24/192??  That's the $64k question.

tkennelly -- Mon, 08/17/2009 - 16:07


numinous -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 15:42

Personally I prefer playing high-rez files on a computer or music server into the Berkeley DAC. So even if you are going to make Bluray discs with high-rez audio, I would still like to see downloadable or DVD-R WAV files made available. Also unlike Bluray, DVD-A, or CD--the nice thing about WAV files is there are no royalties to pay anyone like Sony or Philips, as it is a free standard. So for a number of reasons I believe that high-rez files is the future for high-rez audio. Time will tell of course.

Barry Diament -- Mon, 06/15/2009 - 15:53

Hi numinous,
I'm considering this. 
Meanwhile, I'm gathering information from folks on how they use their servers.
I'd be curious to know what software you use to play back from your server.
Also, does it allow you to set a spacing between tracks (for playback, as opposed to burning a CD-R)?
A lot of folks I've spoken with tell me their software plays all their music gapless.  Some labels are creating their CDs now with the silences, normally between songs, actually appended to the end of song files.  That way, when played in sequence on "gapless" software, the spacing will be that intended by the artist when they assembled the album.
Best regards,

Peter (not verified) -- Thu, 08/20/2009 - 12:53

How about using a HDMI splitter (Gefen EXT-HDMI1.3-142D) with audio option. I have been looking at this to use with a PS3, going into a DAC. The DAC of course, needs to be able to handle 192 KHz through its optical input. (Berkeley or Weiss DAC 2 ?)
The Gefen info reads: "TOSLINK digital audio formats supported:

  • Dolby AC3 2-channel and 5.1-ch digital audio
  • LPCM 2-ch digital audio (32-192 KHz sampling rate)
  • Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-ch digital audio
  • DTS 2-ch and 5.1-ch digital audio"

best regards

The name you used belongs to a registered user. (not verified) -- Thu, 08/20/2009 - 15:26

Exact Audio Copy or EAC as it is known, creates a single WAV file from the contents of CDs that when played back is exactly the same as if you were playing the CD itself. Whatever gaps or lack thereof which exist on the original is duplicated by the EAC software. This is how I'm using my server. The CUE file created by EAC allows the individual tracks of the CD WAV file to be read into my playback software just as a CD would be. I, like you, think that an album of music was created to be heard in its entirety, in the order in which the songs were transferred to the disc or vinyl. Its for that reason that I not only have never downloaded singles, I have never purchased a greatest hits collection. I want to hear the music in the context intended by the artist/engineer.

Jeremy Hunt (not verified) -- Tue, 10/13/2009 - 05:38

The Current Chord Blu CD transport has two Co-ax outputs that send an upsampled 24/176.4 sigmal to the dual inputs of a Chord DAC64/QDB76.
I believe that the Teac Universal SACD/CD/DVD-A transport has the same arrangement but at a hefty price and sends up to 24/192 out via it's SP/DIF coax. It shouldn't be beyond the realms of possability that a Blu-Ray Player can do the same. (The SACD stream can be converted to PCM).

Barry Diament -- Tue, 10/13/2009 - 06:22

 Hi Jeremy,
I have come to think the lack of coax output in general is a condition of the HDMI license.
Personally, I don't like upsampling (i.e. real time sample rate conversion), finding it always exacts a sonic price which I am not willing to pay.
Aside from this, it sounds like the Chord is using some sort of proprietary two cable transmission format for use with their own DAC.
The TEAC doesn't play Blu-Ray disks.  So, there still does not appear to be a way to get native 24/192 from a Blu-Ray disk out to the external DAC of one's choice.
I agree this shouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility.  It is likely a deliberate decision based on the requirements of the HDMI license.
Best regards,

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