Can You Get Atmos Sound Using an Analog Link Between a BD Player and AVR?

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Q Over the years, I’ve discovered that sound and vision are two distinct camps in the home theater realm, and it’s best to keep them separated due to constantly changing video formats. That’s why I’ve held off from upgrading to an A/V receiver with HDMI, choosing instead to retain my 15-year-old Yamaha RX-V659 for audio duty and let a disc player handle video. For example, connecting my current Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player via its 7.1-channel analog output to the Yamaha AVR’s multichannel analog input lets me hear lossless soundtracks on Blu-ray, while an HDMI connection made directly from the player to my TV handles high-def video.

To continue this trend (A/V separation) in the 4K era, I am planning an upgrade to Panasonic’s DP-UB9000’s Ultra HD Blu-ray player. My thought is that it will bring me completely up to date with all current A/V formats, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio, and 4K/HDR video. Here’s my question: Can I can connect the DP-UB9000’s 7.1 analog output to the Yamaha AVR (just like I currently do with my Oppo player) and hear Atmos/DTS:X? I know the player’s coaxial and optical digital ports only support output of compressed 5.1 soundtracks, so I doubt they would help here, right? —Rick Poage, Fairfax, VA

A I see the wisdom in your preference for keeping audio and video separated over the years and through format changes, but I’m afraid that strategy may have finally reached a dead-end. Why? Ultra HD Blu-ray players like Panasonic’s DP-UB9000 do not feature built-in decoding for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks, but instead use an HDMI connection to pass them on in bitstream format for external decoding in an A/V receiver or preamp/processor. And you’re right about the player’s coaxial and optical digital ports not being of any help since both are only capable of passing standard compressed multichannel Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams to your receiver (which lacks Atmos and DTS:X decoding capability anyway).

Even if you’re not ready to upgrade your receiver, it’s still a good idea to grab an Ultra HD Blu-ray player while they are still being manufactured. And the DP-UB9000 is the only current player option that offers a 7.1-channel analog output, a feature that will let you continue to use it with your current Yamaha as you save up for a new AVR — a necessity if you want to experience immersive, object-based surround sound formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in your home theater. And since Atmos and DTS:X on Ultra HD Blu-ray disc are extensions based on a “core” Dolby True HD or DTS-HD Master Audio track, soundtracks in the latter formats can be passed from the player to your Yamaha’s multichannel analog input.

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ScreenSizeMatters's picture

I just don't get it! Like the previous questioner, I have a, "separates" home theatre system: separate amplifiers for all channels. Mine is driven by a Panasonic '9000 4K player with its analog outputs. Although this works great for disks, I still need to decode the lossless Dolby Surround & DTX that comes from streamers like Disney+, etc. How is it you can buy a an inexpensive receiver for $400 that can process all of the surround formats, but a REAL stand alone decoder (not the cheap $50 ones from China that can't do uncompressed surround sound) like an Anthem cost $3500+? Why can't someone make the decoder section of these inexpensive receivers with analog outputs and sell it for $100?