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Audio & HT Related Updates/Articles/Notes/Tips - xlr8yourmac.com

Mac Mini/AVR Video Dropouts | Set Up OS X Surround Sound | SVS Bash Amp Fail/Test
  • Go to the Latest News and Updates Post (May 15th)
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    iPod Classic Flash Storage Upgrades and iPod Battery Replacements
    Convert iPod Classic HDD to Flash Storage. Dual SD Card Slot Adapter $55!

  • Apple Audio/Video Setup Guides for iTunes, Airplay, Apple TV, Displays, More:
    See Topic-based info at page of How-To Guides/Info for new Mac/OS X/iOS Users
  • Set Up OS X to Output 5.1/7.1 Surround Sound via HDMI to a Receiver or HDTV.
    With general OS X Audio/Multichannel setup info & notes on Mac HDMI to AVR/HDTV config.
  • Tips for fixing HDCP Errors playing iTunes HD Content with Notes, Causes & Tips that have helped in the past. (An HDCP compliant display is required of course - some are not.)
  • How to Combine multiple Mac audio interfaces by creating an Aggregate Device.
  • Room EQ Wizard (REW) software is free & has a Mac OS X version (but uses Java Runtime).
  • HomePod Setup, Usage, Tips and Troubleshooting Articles
    Long list of Apple support articles for HomePod. (Setup, Settings, Troubleshooting, more.)
    News, Tips and Updates: (firmware updates are USA region unless noted otherwise.)

  • (May 15, 2018) Firmware Updates for 2015-2017 Yamaha Aventage Receivers & CX-A5100
    Available via network update check or the Yamaha US site download pages below.
    All the models below have a v2.56 Firmware Update with these changes:
      1. To be compatible with MusicCast 2018 models
      2. Stability Improvement There's a related MusicCast controller app update below.


  • (May 12, 2018) LG UP870/875 4K/UHD Player Firmware Update
    Available via the player's update check. New firmware version BD38.819.80420.C. In "Software Info" menu it's listed as BD.38819.80420.C, and also lists "Servo Ver: UP17SON0017" - the same servo version as before. As usual, no info on changes/fixes and no firmware download on LG support page. This $25 Walmart sale UP870 in January has been quiet (knock on wood) and so far reliable. Checked the menus after the update - still no way to disable HDMI Control (CEC), but not an issue for me (I don't use ARC).


  • (May 10, 2017) Yamaha AV Controller iOS App v5.01 (2nd update in 3 days)
    - v5.01 lists "bug fixes". May 7th v5.00 listed these changes:
    • Compatibility with 2018 Network AVRs
      for 2018 AVRs, added these features
        - Input / Scene icon Edit function
        - List browse function
        - Web manual link
    • UI Design Improvement
    • Change Design of App icon
    • Optimized for iPhone X screen
    • Functionality improvement
    Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.


  • (May 7th, 2018) Yamaha MusicCast Controller (US) iOS App v2.40 (iOS 9.0 or later)
       - Compatible with new 2018 MusicCast models
       - Added the room hide/unhide option


  • (Apr 25, 2018) Samsung UBD-K8500 4K/UHD Player Firmware v1015.0
    (Costco sold this model as the UBD-K85C with HDMI cable included.)
    No info on changes/fixes but owners report 1015 available via in-player update check.
    v1015.0 firmware download at UBD-K8500 support page (US) "downloads" section.
    (Below is info on the previous v1014.0 firmware update.)
    Here's info on 1014.0 firmware fixes from a Samsung forum post:
      - Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 4K Disc Issue Fixed
      - No Text to Speech sound when TTS is enabled after a Factory Reset issue fixed
      - Fox Disc Audio Issue fixed
    Apparently the 1014.0 update does not fix the issue of only PCM audio from the player (no bitstream/Atmos) when used with 2017 LG TVs (B7/C7/E7/G7) after LG's Firmware update for TrueHD TV support, when using dual HDMI cable setup (video to TV, audio to receiver) from the K8500. (Rumored to be EDID issue with LG TV after update, and/or related to K8500 HDMI ports not 'discrete' when using split Video and Audio HDMI connections.)


  • (Apr. 3, 2018) Download of iTunes 12.6.4 with Built-In App Store
    (iTunes version updated to 12.6.4, was 12.6.3. Update allows syncing of iOS 11.3 devices.)
    - For those that want to use the last iTunes version with built-in App store, this Apple article on deploying apps in a business environment with iTunes includes links to download iTunes 12.6.4 for Mac and PC (64-bit or 32-bit).


  • IT UHD Dolby Vision Chapter 1 & 2 Blacked Out (with older TV firmware)
    Saw a web post that the 4K disc 'IT' when playing in Dolby Vision showed Chapter 1 and 2 as almost a totally black screen (Chapter 3 OK) from an Oppo 203/LG C6 OLED TV owner. Later confirmed with an LG UP970 player (latest firmware) and LG C6/E6 with older firmware 04.30.95. Updating the TV to current firmware 05.30.25 solved the problem. (Any firmware later than 04.30.95 may have fixed this. 05.30.25 for C6/E6 released on March 16th, to fix a different issue.)


  • (Apr. 2, 2018) Oppo Digital says "Farewell", will stop manufacturing new products.
       Includes a FAQ on support, firmware updates, warranty and repairs.


  • (Mar. 29, 2018) iTunes 12.7.4 released. Here's the release notes:
    "iTunes now includes a new music video experience for Apple Music. Find what's new and popular in Music Videos within Browse, and play videos back-to-back with exclusive music video playlists."
    iTunes 12.7.4 includes security fixes for Windows version. Available via software update (for compatible OS's) or download at apple.com/itunes/download/. (See system requirements on linked page.) If you want the last iTunes version with built-in App store, see above.


  • (Mar 27, 2018) iOS GarageBand v2.3.3 (iOS 11.0 or later)
    • New downloadable "Toy Box" sound pack with free educational sound effects, including animals, vehicles, and counting to ten in different languages
    • Adds Modern Wah guitar stompbox effect
    • Provides stability improvements and bug fixes
    • Use facial expressions and the TrueDepth camera for hands-free control over musical effects like guitar wah and synth parameters**
    ** Requires iPhone X. GarageBand uses ARKit face tracking features to translate your facial expressions into instrument effect controls. Your face information is processed on device, and only music is captured during your performance.


  • Question for owners of LG 55E6 (or 65E6) OLED HDTV (Compensation Cycle Time)
    Looking for feedback from any LG 2016 E6 owners willing to check their CC times. (A 55E6 sample shows much shorter CC times than normal, based on other 2016 and 2015 OLED models tested.) Details on this page.


  • (Mar 3rd, 2018) OPPO UDP-203/205 MediaControl iOS App v1.1.2 (iOS 8 or later).
       - Bug fixes and improvements.


  • (Mar 2nd, 2018) OPPO UDP-203/205 4K UHD Player Firmware UDP20X-56-0224.
      Note: For players with firmware 42-0329 or earlier, install firmware UDP20X-45-0605 first.
      (Once installed, you can't revert to a previous firmware version.)
      (Changes compared to previous official UDP20X-54-1127 release)
    1. Added four HDR to SDR modes to improve HDR to SDR conversion. (see below)
    2. Added a "Media Info Lookup" setting under Network Setup. This setting allows the user to toggle media file metadata retrieval on and off.
    3. Added support for slow motion playback in A-B repeat mode.
    4. Added a detailed info page for the HDMI In source.
    5. Improved HDMI In compatibility with HTPCs.
    6. Resolved a playback issue with UHD title "Blade Runner 2049".
    7. Resolved a color shift issue in the 21:9 Aspect Ratio mode.
    8. General fixes and disc compatibility improvements based on recent and upcoming UHD Blu-ray releases as well as user-submitted samples.
    (Same change list as previous beta, but said to have other fixes.)

    Here's info on the 4 HDR -> SDR Modes (thanks "Doc Holiday")

    1. Mode 1: Optimized to preserve the most highlight details.
    2. Mode 2: Optimized to preserve a balance between highlight and shadow details.
    3. Mode 3: Optimized to preserve a balance between mid-tone and highlight details.
    4. Mode 4: Optimized to preserve the most shadow details.
    There's a new HDR Off mode (with choice of BT2020 or rec 709 color gamut). If you were using HDR Strip Metadata before to get SDR with BT2020, try HDR Off (BT2020) option.
    (Note: Some displays and projectors do not handle BT2020 properly in an SDR stream, showing much lower color saturation with SDR BT2020 modes than HDR mode.)


  • (Mar 1, 2018) Logic Pro X 10.4.1 (OS X v10.12 or later)
      See the release notes for a very long list of Improvements.


  • (Feb 28th, 2018) Philips BDP7502, 7302 4K UHD Player Dolby Vision Firmware Update
    Available via the player's update check. (Like LG, the Philips support page doesn't have firmware downloads.) Reportedly firmware version is 1.15.01. As with other current Dolby Vision 4K UHD Players (LG 970, Oppo 203/205), this update does not support Sony's "low latency" profile Dolby Vision enabled TVs. (See earlier notes on Sony TV Dolby Vision Update below.)
    FYI: An owner said to set HDR to "Auto", which will output HDR-10 or Dolby Vision, depending on content. (Dolby Vision requires a compatible TV of course.) If HDR is set to "Dolby Vision", apparently it will force Dolby Vision mode on HDR-10 content, but won't have dynamic metadata of course and may not work well for some content. (And reportedly this update did not fix the frame skipping every couple minutes with 3D blu-rays.)


  • LG UP970 4K UHD Player Dolby Vision Firmware Updates
    (April 17th, 2018 - FW BD.39338.80329.C. No change info. Servo still UP17SON0017.)
    (March 6th, 2018 - FW BD.39338.80220.C. No change info. Servo still UP17SON0017.)
    LG UP970 Dolby Vision Firmware Update available via the player's update check, at least in some areas. (There have never been any firmware update downloads at LG's support page for the UP970.) First report said Feb. 8th Dolby Vision enabled firmware was version BD.39338.80207.C. ("Servo Ver: UP17SON0017", same as UP870 below) And that Netflix App still always in Dolby Vision mode, just like the Feb. 5th release. As noted earlier, the Feb. 5th update (quickly pulled) locked the player to region A regardless of original region code. (See below for version info of previous 2 DV updates.) Like all DV Disc players to date, this update does not support Sony's "low latency" profile Dolby Vision enabled TVs.
      Some US owners say the new update isn't appearing (yet). Maybe LG is just slow to roll out the update in the US. (A few days later more said it was appearing finally, so the following area code change should not be required anymore.) A UP970 owner in Norway said changing the Area Code setting from US to NO (Norway) and rechecking for update worked. Here's info on changing the area code, based on the UP970 PDF user manual page 25 (my $25 UP870 has same setting options).
      Changing the Area Code (Country/Location)
    • Area Code is in Settings, LOCK menu.
    • You must set a password to change settings (any 4 numbers).
    • Select Area Code (Country) and use Up/Down Arrows on remote to change to NO
    • After changing area code, check for updates again (OTHERS -> Software menu)
    • After firmware update/reboot - you have to setup the player again (as if new)
    • After setup is complete, the Area Code should be back to US (or whatever is correct)
      (page 53 of PDF user manual has a list of codes for all countries)
    A US owner later replied the above tip also worked for him (he had previous Feb. 5th DV firmware, and wasn't seeing the new update until changing the Area Code.) Apparently updating with Area Code set to NO (Norway) doesn't make it region B. (US region is A. 4K Discs are region-free, but some blu-rays (and DVDs) are region locked.) I don't own a UP970, but haven't heard of anyone saying the above trick to get the new Feb. 8th update changed the region code afterwards.

    Early reports with Feb. 5th DV release said it did not work with Sony TV's "low latency" Dolby Vison. (Both UP970 Netflix App DV movie and Dolby Vision discs tested.)
    (Feb 5th release (worldwide region A lock) was version BD.39338.80123.C. The original (also quickly pulled) August 2017 DV release was version BD.37767.70811.C.)

    BTW: Most AVRs aren't Dolby Vision compatible. If yours isn't, use the UHD Player's main HDMI port cable direct to the DV TV and the player's 2nd HDMI connection to the AVR for Audio.


  • (Feb 6th, 2018) Yamaha MusicCast Controller (US) iOS App v2.60 (iOS 9.0 or later)
       - MusicCast products can be controlled by voice using Alexa-enabled decices.


  • (Jan. 31, 2018) $25 LG UP870 4K/UHD Player in some Walmarts (very YMMV)
    Saw web posts earlier this month about the LG UP870 4K/UHD (HDR-10, 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/CD) Player in stores at some Walmarts ringing up $49, or $25 in some cases. (This is a bare-bones player - single HDMI 2.0a, no Dolby Vision, no Apps, no WiFi. Ethernet (for firmware updates only), USB and Optical Audio port. PDF user manual, specs, etc are here.) Walmart's Web page shows 'see price in cart' at post time, but again reports say the $25 price was in stores with stock. (And I'm surprised it hasn't already been changed - but it was still that price as of Jan. 31st at a local Walmart.) LG's UP870 page shows $199.99 MSRP (?? wow, thought it was $99.xx at retailers before. The higher end UP970 has often been $150 in stores.) Today while shopping there asked a clerk to check stock in the back. (None on the shelf, but brickseek showed 5 in stock @$25.) Initial clerk comment was they were all gone (BF sale?), but agreed to check the back stockroom - and found 2. Price check showed $25, bought one. Again YMMV as by now many stores may be OOS (saw some reports of scalpers taking all stock at some locations).

    This UP870 (September 2017 build) sample shipped with firmware BD37.226.70710.C, updated to BD37.226.80117.C via Ethernet. In "Software Info" menu it's listed as BD.37226.80117.C, and also lists "Servo Ver: UP17SON0017". As usual, no info on changes/fixes and no firmware download on LG support page. UP870 seems quiet so far, and a steal at $25. Remote has only 1 battery, IR signal seems weak. No way to disable HDMI Control (CEC), although I don't use it so not an issue personally. (To date, only the Last Jedi 4K disc made any noticeable vibration - in main disc menu primarily.)

    BTW: If you don't already have premium certified (18Gbps) HDMI cables, Walmart's (certified) Blackweb cables (under $10/6ft) tested OK with UHD/60P HDR playback. (I have 2 from the under $6 BF sale.) They also had longer lengths (including a 50ft with amplifier for appx $35 IIRC), but I've only used the 6ft. (Not used it myself, but there's a free HDMI Premium Cable Authentication iOS App to verify the code on the box label.)
      Remember 4K/60Hz (or 50Hz) 4:4:4 is only supported at 8-Bit in HDMI 2.0x. HDR10 is 10-bit, Dolby Vision is 12-bit, so if playing 4K/60P HDR (10/12-Bit) content try 4:2:2 or auto on your player. (For LG UP870/970, use YCbCr in HDMI settings, not RGB.) Most UHD/HDR discs however are 24P. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is the only UHD HDR 60P disc I know of to date, and it played flawlessly with the premium certified 6ft Blackweb 4k HDMI cable.


  • (Jan. 25, 2018) Sony STR-DN1080 AVR Firmware Update version M41.R.0377
      Info from the download page for firmware M41.R.0377:
      - Improves system stability
    (Previous firmware M41.R.0374 from 9/27/2017 added Dolby Vision Pass Through.)


  • (Jan. 23, 2018) iTunes 12.7.3 added support for HomePod. Here's the release notes:
    "iTunes is now designed to work with HomePod. Use the improved AirPlay menu to easily choose HomePod and control what plays next with your Apple Music subscription."
    iTunes 12.7.3 includes security fixes for Windows version. Available via software update (for compatible OS's) or download at apple.com/itunes/download/. (See system requirements on linked page.) If you want the last iTunes version with built-in App store, see above.


  • (Jan. 23, 2018) SVS Subwoofer Control iOS App v1.3.31 (iOS 8.0 or later).
       - Improves performance and fixes minor bugs.


  • (Jan. 16, 2018) Dolby Vision Firmware Updates for Sony A1E OLEDs, Z9D LCDs & Others
    (A later March 20th .0082NAA FW lists Performance/PS4 Pro/Amazon Prime Video fixes.
    Some Z9D/940E/930E/A1E owners reported screen 'blinking' (blanking) after this update.
    )
    Search by model number at Sony US support page. Update available for XBR-65Z9D/75Z9D/100Z9D, XBR-55A1E/65A1E/77A1E, 55X930E, 65X930E, 75X940E.
      (Info on Jan. 2018 DV Update)
      - Improves general performance of the TV
      - Adds support for Dolby Vision™ content
      (XBR-55A1E/-65A1E/-77A1E, XBR-55X930E, XBR-65X930E, & XBR-75X940E only)
      (Although Z9D series not listed, the DV update was available.)
      Note: Some connected devices may also need an update to support Dolby Vision.
    They later added this Dolby Vision Support note dated Jan. 24th.
    "In January, 2018, we released a software update to enable Dolby Vision on select TV models (series: Z9D, A1E, X930E, X940E). After the TV receives the software update, devices with Dolby Vision playback (such as streaming media players and UHD Blu-Ray players) that are connected to the TV by HDMI will also require a software update to support Dolby Vision playback from the device. For more information on the timing of a software update for your device, please contact the player device manufacturer.
    Note: You can enjoy watching Dolby Vision content via the TV's streaming apps."
    (original comments before the above was posted follow.)
    Owner reports say Dolby Vision doesn't work via HDMI - only internal (streaming) Apps.
    Reportedly due to the TV firmware using a different DV profile ("low latency", meaning the player does more processing), and that DV players would need an update (for profile support) to be compatible. (A CS reply estimates a Mediatek/Oppo firmware update release for the DV Profile changes and certification could take months.) How many player mfr's will even bother if it's only Sony TVs that need low-latency support? However reducing the TV processor's DV workload could mean more TV mfrs may add Dolby Vision support. (But can every DV player's processor adequately handle the extra work? Not all players are as powerful as the 4K Apple TV.)
    (Update: tvOS 11.3 for Apple TV 4K works with Sony's Dolby Vision profile.)
      I'm not surprised if they're trying to take the Dolby Vision processing load off the TV. I've seen a 2016 LG OLED TV show a noticeable UI speed drop during DV disc playback, and I've seen complaints about Sony's Android TV performance (in general) before. (I suspect that's why they didn't use the same profile that LG/Vizio/TCL does.)
      Sony did announce a new UBP-X700 4K UHD Player with DV support promised via a firmware update in Summer 2018. (BestBuy now lists the X700 in stock at $249.99 - no Dolby Vision mention and specs show 3.1lbs - 5+lbs less than the 2017 X800.) At least that player should work with the Sony DV TVs, but I understand Sony owners being disappointed after waiting a year for DV and no support for current DV external players (Oppo, Apple TV 4K) that work with other DV TVs (LG, Vizio, TCL).
    (And hopefully AVRs that pass Dolby Vision currently won't need an update for this.)
    A Dolby Vision fix many have wanted is for raised black levels at times. Dolby reportedly has fixed the cause and providing TV mfrs with updated DV firmware. (That fix shouldn't be limited to the profile Sony's using.)


  • Yamaha YSP-2700 Digital Sound Projector Firmware Update v2.03 (download page)
    - adds support for Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma.

  • Yamaha YAS-706 Soundbar Firmware Update V2.02 (download page)
    - adds support for Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma.

  • Yamaha US Updates page has Dec. 21st/26th dated firmware for many other receivers/pre-pro to add support for new APIs for Spotify. (Dec. 13th AVR Dolby Vision/HLG updates noted below)


  • (Dec 13, 2017) Firmware Updates for 2015-2017 Yamaha Aventage Receivers & CX-A5100
    HLG & Dolby Vision firmware updates for select 2016/2017 Aventage AVRs and CX-A5100.
      Download Pages for Firmware Updates
    • 2016 RX-A1060/RX-A2060/RX-A3060/RX-V1081/RX-V2081/RX-V3081
      USA Yamaha Updates page with v1.32 update
      ("Support for Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma and Stability Improvement.")

    • 2017 RX-A1070/RX-A2070/RX-A3070/RX-V1083/RX-V2083/RX-V3083
      USA Yamaha Updates page with V1.09 update
      ("Support for Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma and Stability Improvement.")

    • 2015 CX-A5100 Pre-Pro USA Yamaha Updates page with v2.11 update
      ("Support for Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma and Stability Improvement.")

    • 2015 RX-A1050/RX-A2050/RX-A3050/RX-V1079/RX-V2079/RX-V3079
      USA Yamaha Updates page with v2.11 update ("Stability Improvement").
      (Despite not being listed, some say HLG pass through works. Shame they didn't add Dolby Vison to the 2015 Aventage models, at least the flagship 3050. IMO it was possible.)
    (Note ATMOS 'info' no longer shows Number of Input Channels (only '-----'), DTS:X still does.
    Maybe a correction, since ATMOS is Object based and isn't limited to 7:x:4 channels.
    )

    There are firmware updates for other models also. Check Receiver for update notice.
    The A760 & up, A670 & up got DV & HLG update, but A660 just "stability improvement".
    Here's a list of USA Yamaha A/V Firmware Upates by date - all models.


  • (Dec. 1, 2017) SVS Subwoofer Control iOS App v1.3.29 (iOS 8.0 or later).
       Upgrades to enhance performance, fix minor bugs and adds the following:
    • Makes the app compatible with iOS11
    • Now works with new SB-4000, PB-4000 and PC-4000 subwoofers.


  • Sony UBP-X800 4K UHD Player User Notes/Tips (updated) - "Doc Holiday" sent notes and tips on the Sony UBP-X800. (Bought from Bestbuy when on sale for $149.99 in Nov.)
    "Picked up a Sony UBD-X800 locally and so far impressed at the value (for $149.99). Feels like a much higher quality build than the LG UP970 player I was also looking at. If LG hadn't pulled the Dolby Vision update I may have tried the LG (at $199.99 sale price), but seeing a lot of complaints on drive noise with some UHD discs (not all) and no word when the DV update would be re-released, I decided on the Sony. (Update - On Feb. 8th, 2018 LG released UP970 DV firmware update.) Was also considering the Philips BDP7502 since it's supposed to get a DV update eventually, but not able to find one locally and heard of some 3D playback issues but that might just be a firmware issue. (Update - On Feb 28th, 2018, Philips released BDP7502/7302 DV firmware update.)
       The X800 is fast to load discs, but not quite as fast as the Oppo 203 (which has Dolby Vision, but no apps) but for $150 locally (easy return if necessary) - well worth it. Had to update the X800 firmware via USB (link below), as it had problems contacting the 'provisioning server' with my Ethernet connection. (The firmware update solved the problem with the network update check in the player.)
       My UBP-X800 settings are Quick Start off, BD Internet connection off, Digital Audio Output "auto", BD Audio Mix "off", (Audio) DSEE HX "off", Audio DRC "off", No Network access/remote start/mirroring & no streaming/apps used.
       The X800 feels very solid (8+ lbs) and seems very quiet so far. It also supports Bluetooth Audio and plays SA-CD, DVD-Audio and 3D Blu-ray discs. (Also has Netflix 4K HDR and Youtube 4K HDR support - Amazon 4K but not HDR.) I've had good luck with Sony players in the past (other than an S7200 that STILL doesn't have a firmware update to fix Atmos intro lockup (requiring unplugging the player) with the early seasons of Game of Thrones). I will let you know if I see any X800 problems with discs.
    -Doc
    Update: No issues playing 100GB discs of Westworld S1 4K, Mad Max Fury Road 4K, Pacific Rim 4k, Interstellar 4K, - no freezes/stutters on layer change of those 100GB discs. Also played Blade Runner 4K, Dunkirk 4K, Batman Begins 4K, The Dark Knight Rises 4K and Batman Begins 4K discs OK. Often used for back to back blu-ray movies.
    Update 2 Saw hangs (player still responds to remote - but movie froze) at appx 1hr 42min into The Dark Knight 4K and at 1hr 58min of Blade Runner 2049 4K (same freeze time seen with an Oppo 203 and LG UP870) - both times stopped playback, ejected disc and wiped it off (some tiny dust particles) and (automatic) resumed playback OK. Both times reversing to before the previous time to see if it was repeatable. I need to start cleaning all 4K discs before playing to see if that really is a factor. (It has helped for some, but not all cases but is the first thing to try. Some think a residue from disc mfg is to blame.) Some owners (of various brands) have had repeat 4K disc problems, in some cases even after disc replacements. (I've seen other owners of Blade Runner 2049 report freezes at appx 1:58:21 or so, one even with a replacement disc.)"
    (FYI: Oppo's FW Update listed a fix for Blade Runner 2049, but not sure it solves the problem above for everyone.)

  • Any Audio dropouts playing Dunkirk?
    (Saw 2 X800 owners report audio dropouts during loud effects (like explosions) in Dunkirk. Since some graphs show the movie's audio has clipping, my first thought was to check the player's Audio DRC (Dynamic Range Control) setting, but someone later said turning off BD Audio Mix solved the dropouts. Audio Mix off is typically step 1 in player setup for receiver users so the player bitstreams audio to the Receiver for decoding DTS/Dolby/Atmos, instead of the player sending PCM audio. It's on by default, typically used for button sounds and things like optional commentary during playback. Turning BD AUDIO MIX OFF has solved many X800 Audio problems. It should have been off by default IMO.)

    I didn't notice any audio dropouts with Dunkirk (4K UHD or Blu-ray), and yes, Audio DRC has been off since day 1. (Also BD Mix off, as I noted in settings above.) Wish Nolan would have 'allowed' Atmos or DTS:X on his discs, but I guess clipped 5.1 was "director's intent" again, lol.
    (Ironically, I noticed some Nolan 4K disc Intros (like WB Logo) had Atmos audio.)

  • Any issues with using HDMI 2 (audio only) port?
    (An older Integra Pre-Amp user said he's tried 2 X800s but can't get Audio playback from HDMI 2. (I assume using a known good HDMI cable - verify that first.) Tried System Settings > HDMI Audio Output set to HDMI2 and "Auto". ("Auto" is nice if sometimes you want to leave the AVR off and just use the TV speakers. Otherwise "Auto" should detect an AVR (on) connection with HDMI2 and use it instead.) I'd also set System Settings > HDMI control OFF (all devices). Of course AVR's input set to the port that X800's HDMI2 is connected to. Power up TV first, then AVR (verify input set correctly), then player.)
    Update - Another older model Integra (DTR-9.3) user reported same issue when Integra has HDMI connection to the Projector. (Disconnecting cable from Integra to Projector solves it - or use an HDMI switch on that connection. Same issue seen with some other older receivers when used for audio only connection from player and player video connection to a display.) Possible HDMI Control issue - awaiting reply to see if disabling HDMI Control (CEC) helps.

    No problems with using the X800's HDMI 2 (Audio only port) connected to my Yamaha RX-A3050, with HDMI 1 going to the TV HDMI port (set to UHD of course). The X800 player has HDMI Audio Output set to "Auto", and verified HDMI control is off (on everything). I originally was using a single cable setup, but later switched to separate Audio to AVR and Video to TV. HDMI audio "Auto" setting works fine for me.
    Hope you have a Merry Christmas. Stop by over the holidays and I'll demo all the Nolan 4K disks - Dark Knight Trilogy, Interstellar, Prestige, Dunkirk, Inception. Long story on them (some raised black levels), but no regrets except for busted cases and scratched/stacked discs."

  • Thanks, Doc. I have an old Sony S1000ES that still works but slooow. A few discs (w/Java?) take several minutes to load. (Some take so long many think the player is frozen.) Knock on wood the CX960 changer still works, but wish I had a spare read head for it.
    IIRC, some LG 970 owners said Passengers 4K and one of the Planet Earth II 4K discs were noisy examples. Check any noisy discs for balance - rough spots/bumps on the outer edge of disc (some used a white eraser on them) and off-center labels. (My "Flight of the Phoenix" blu-ray has a visibly off-center label - sounds like a buzz saw.)


  • (Nov. 9th, 2017) Sony STR-ZA3100ES AVR Firmware Upgrade version 1.024
      Info from the download page for firmware v1.024:
      - Adds support for Dolby Vision pass through
    (There may be other Sony AVR models with DV pass through firmware update.)


  • (Nov 1st, 2017) Logic Remote for iPad v1.3.3 Update:
       - Updated for Super Retina display on iPhone X
       - Provides stability improvements and bug fixes
       - Touch Instrument controls now available on iPhone,
         including guitar, bass, drums, and chord strips


  • (Oct 16, 2017) Yamaha MusicCast Controller (US) iOS App v2.41 (iOS 9.0 or later)
       - Bug Fixes
    And here's the changes from the Oct. 4th v2.40 Update:
       Overall stability & latency between devices improved and new functions now available.
       - Playback seek function for music stored on your smartphone or tablet.
       - Share personalized room photos, room presets and appearance settings
        with other smartphones and tablets.


  • (Oct. 10, 2017) Panasonic Blu-ray Remote 2012 App v2.1.0 "Update for iOS 11". This is a Remote control app for Panasonic DMP-BDT120, DMP-BDT220, DMP-BDT221, DMP-BDT320, DMP-BDT321, DMP-BDT500 and DMP-BBT01 models.


  • (Oct 4, 2017) Firmware Update for 2015-2017 Yamaha Aventage Receivers & CX-A5100
    (See above for later Firmware. Info below for reference, later fw replaced these versions.):
      Info on Updates
    • 2015 RX-A1050/RX-A2050/RX-A3050/RX-V1079/RX-V2079/RX-V3079 v2.10
      ("Stability Improvement")

    • 2016 RX-A1060/RX-A2060/RX-A3060/RX-V1081/RX-V2081/RX-V3081 v1.31
      ("Support for TIDAL / DEEZER & Stability improvement")

    • 2017 RX-A1070/RX-A2070/RX-A3070/RX-V1083/RX-V2083/RX-V3083 v1.07
      ("Stability improvement")

    • 2015 CX-A5100 Pre-Pro v2.10
      ("Support for TIDAL / DEEZER & Stability improvement")
    BTW: I don't use Tidal but saw posts that you access it via Yamaha's MusicCast app.


  • (Sep 26, 2017) Sony UBP-X800, UX80 (US) Firmware Update M36.R.0178 (153.54 MB):
      (changes over previous M36.R.0175)
    1. Improves the compatibility of Ultra HD Blu-ray
    2. Improves the stability of network services


  • (Sept. 4, 2017) Samsung UBD-K8500 4K/UHD Player Firmware 1012.1
    No change notes on support page but a user said this update fixed a problem with DTS Video files (like mkv) playing without audio. Available via in-player update or download at UBD-K8500 support page (US) "downloads" section. Here's their page on How to update firmware.
    Update - here's v1012.1 firmware change notes from a Samsung forum post:
      1. Reduce Auto Power Off time to 15 min.
      2. Voice guide bug fix.
      3. USB Storage NTFS compatibility with Windows 10.
    (BTW: They also note CinemaNow ended support of their app for all devices on Aug. 31st.)


  • (Aug, 31 2017) Apple MainStage 3.3.2 Update (OS X 10.11 or later, 64-bit CPU).
    For list of changes, see release notes.


  • (June 5, 2017) OS X GarageBand v10.2 (OS X 10.11 or later)
       - New modern design with improved ease of use
       - Adds Touch Bar support to quickly navigate your project & perform instruments
       - 3 new Drummers who play percussion in the styles of Pop, Songwriter, and Latin
       - Remotely add new tracks to your project using GarageBand on your iPhone or iPad
       - New Drummer loops that can be customized with performance controls


  • (Mar 27, 2017) Yamaha AV Controller iOS App v4.60 lists these changes:
    • Compatibility with 2017 network AVRs
    • UI Design Improvement
    • Change of compatible OS (now iOS 9.0 or higher)
    • DSP Surround Decoder Switch in DSP menu
      (Compatible for 2011 network AVRs or later)
    • Functionality improvement
    You can now cycle thru the Surround Decoder's DSP modes option by tapping the icon.
    The "Remote" button is now at top of Options screen (vs bottom).


  • (Mar 27, 2017) Logic Remote for iPad v1.3.2 Update:
       - Adds ability to use Lightning to USB Cable for wired connection to Mac**
       - Numerous additional stability improvements and bug fixes
       - Restores option to connect your iOS device using a computer-to-computer
        Wi-Fi network created on your Mac*
       *Requires macOS 10.12.4 and iOS 10.3 or later
       **Requires macOS 10.12.4, iTunes 12.6, and iOS 10.3 or later


  • (Mar. 18, 2017) SVS PB16/SB16 Subwoofer Control iOS App v1.3.22 (iOS 8.0 or later).
       SVS has added new functionality to its 16-Ultra subwoofer control and DSP app.
    • Added "Screen Lock" feature to System Settings. User can lock the subwoofer front display buttons so no adjustments can be made by accidental button presses on the subwoofer.
    • Added SVS Product Registration Link to Contact SVS Support page. Users can access registration page, confirm warranty, expedite service requests and receive news & updates.
    • Updated Subwoofer Display Timeout default to "Off" on the System Settings page.
    • Added confirmation screen when "Factory Reset" is chosen.
    • Numerous bug fixes and minor updates for better stability.


  • (Nov 2016) 30 Days of Free Grateful Dead MP3 Downloads (dead.net official site)
    "Each day in November we will be giving away a high-quality 320Kbps MP3 download. That's 30 days of unreleased Grateful Dead tracks from the vault, selected by Dead archivist and producer David Lemieux!"
    (As of Dec. 1st, page now has all 30 downloads. Cover Art link in the sidebar.)


  • Yamaha RX-A1050/A2050/A3050, RX-V1079/V2079/V3079 Firmware Update 1.81
    (See above for later FW update. The v1.81 FW D/L page dated July 28, 2016 now removed.)
    Here's the list of changes in the v1.81 firmware update:

      This firmware includes
    1. HDMI connectivity improvement with certain Ultra HD Blu-ray player
    2. Fixing sound cut-off issue of playing back certain Blu-ray discs
    3. MusicCast Link function improvement
    4. Playback improvement in Neural:X mode
    5. DTS Mode (See Info in DTS PDF. Notes below)
    6. Other functionality improvement
    The D/L page has "Additional information about DTS-HD and DTS:X playback" (PDF) with info on new DTS Mode Options in the Advanced Setup menu. DTS Mode 1 (default/normal) and a Mode 2 that should fix the issue with some older blu-ray players not bitstreaming DTS movies with DTS:X updated receivers. (See article from March here on this issue with previous firmware. It's a DTS-related EDID fix IIRC.)
    How to Change the Advanced Setup to DTS Mode 2 IF you have an Affected Player
    (The Default DTS Mode is 1 - no need to change it if your player bitstreams DTS OK)
    With AVR off, Advanced Setup is done by holding the "Straight" button under the front cover, then push 'main zone'/power button. Advanced setup info shows only on the AVR display - see manual for details. Using the "Program" horizontal rocker switch, the DTS Mode option is just after the 4K Mode option. Pressing "Straight" button changes the Mode setting. (Wish the new DTS Modes was an option setting for an Input instead. That way you could set Mode 2 just for the input of an affected player instead of a global setting. If not, at least have it an option in the normal (on screen) setup options.) No info yet if mode 2 has any downside for players that were not affected by the DTS bitstreaming issue, but if not why have 2 modes? (I read a post on the fix in a Denon update but it didn't mention an options setting.)

    Yamaha CX-A5100 Pre-Pro Firmware Update v1.82
    (See
    above for later firmware. The v1.82 FW D/L page now removed.)
    There was also a v1.82 firmware update for the CX-A5100 that has the same change list as AVR's v1.81 above.

    Yamaha RX-A1060/2060/3060, RX-V1081/2081/3081 Firmware Update Version 1.11
    (See above for later firmware. Firmware v1.11 D/L page now removed.)
    Firmware v1.11 changes are a subset of the 1.81 update for 2015 models:
      This firmware includes
    1. DTS Mode (see related DTS PDF on D/L page)
    2. Playback improvement in Neural:X mode
    3. Other functionality improvement
    See above notes on the new DTS Modes if you have an affected Blu-Ray player.

    Other Yamaha Receiver Firmware Updates - including Napster/Rhapsody fixes:
    In addition to the above 2015/2016 model updates, there are also firmware updates posted July 28th, 2016 for some earlier Yamaha Receiver models (2010 to 2014 Aventage Ax000, Ax010, Ax020, Ax030, Ax040, and perhaps others) that include Napster/Rhapsody updates required to continue using the service. Although you can use the receiver's network update, I prefer using the download updaters installed via (FAT formatted) USB flash drive. Download pages can be found by visiting the Yamaha Support site for your country and search for your model number. (Here's the USA Yamaha support site downloads page.)
    For some models there are other fixes included, related to using the Yamaha AV Controller app, blu-ray audio dropouts (x040 series) and/or network fixes. (If anyone finds this update helps with the repeated HDMI video dropouts with Macs some reported in the past, let me know. A Mac Mini OS X 10.11.6 Yamaha RX-A2040 owner said firmware 1.91 may have solved it.)


  • (June 28, 2016) Yamaha AV Controller iOS App (iOS 6 or later) v4.50 lists these changes:
    • Compatibility with 2016 network AVR & Blu-ray player models
    • Functionality Improvement
    For DTS:X compatible receivers, this version added "DTS Dialog Control" setting (+/-). See earlier notes about this optional feature. I'd hoped this would be a standard feature of all DTS:X movies, but to date I don't think any have that option (object) in the encode.
    (For Yamaha BD-A1010 owners, see this note on player settings for using AV Controller app.)

  • (April 2016) Samsung UBD-K8500 UHD Player Troubleshooting Tips, HDR Tricks
    (Now moved to a separate page.)


  • Some Older Sony Blu-Ray Players can't Bitstream DTS to DTS:X Receivers (fixed)
    See
    this article. Includes notes on v1.77 DTS:X firmware updated RX-A3050 tests with several Blu-Ray Players for this bug, with info affected models tested so far. Also includes other notes on DTS:X. (Updated to note later firmware from Denon and Yamaha that includes a fix.)


  • Yamaha RX-A1050/A2050/A3050, RX-V1079/V2079/V3079 DTS:X Firmware Update 1.77
    (See above for later firmware update)
    Firmware v1.77 was posted March 30, 2016. (D/L removed after later updates released.)
    Here's the list of new features/changes in the v1.77 firmware update:

      This firmware includes
    1. The latest multi dimensional surround sound DTS:X playback
      DTS:X decode
      Neural:X upmixing processing
      DTS Dialogue Control (* see my note below)
    2. HDR (High Dynamic Range) pass through and GUI overlay
    3. Connectivity improvement with Rhapsody/Napster service, and some STBs/TVs via HDMI.
    4. MusicCast functionality improvement
      i. Search function for vTuner
      ii. Sort function for "Favorites"
      iii. "Recents" feature to display recently listened 40 songs
      iv. Audio sync of its external inputs with other MusicCast models in MusicCast Link mode. Some conditions may apply.
      v. Speed Boost in Link Control (suitable for wired connection)
    5. Fixing network initial setup issue when using WiFi WEP security method
    The Yamaha Support/DLs page for these models has a link to "Additional Information about DTS:X™" with info on settings, requirements and usage.
    (There was also a v1.77 DTS:X firmware update for the CX-A5100 Pre-Pro.)

       * About DTS Dialog Control Feature: When DTS:X was first announced, I was excited to see the "Dialog Control" feature, where dialog level could be adjusted separately. (Not just boosting the center channel or a frequency range (e.g. standard 'dialog level' adjust), but the actual movie's dialog.) However it turns out that the DTS Dialog Control adjustment option is only enabled IF the DTS:X disc was encoded with that feature. To date, it seems no DTS:X movie discs have been released with that option. Hopefully mixers will include that in at least some future DTS:X movies as it's one advantage they have over Dolby Atmos. (Atmos has gotten a much better start with far more (and better) titles released so far.)


  • (Jan 2016) Tips for Repeated Mac Mini HDMI Blackouts with some Yamaha Receivers includes notes and tips on OS X and HDMI Receiver settings, reminder on OS X HDCP tips, my tests with 2012 Mac Mini with Yamaha RX-A3050, RX-A2000 and more. Also includes a FYI on Mac problem reports from some Marantz and Denon receiver owners. (If anyone finds a later firmware that that helps, sent a note. I could not replicate the problem with a 2012 mini running OS X 10.9.5 and Yamaha RX-A2000 or A3050.)

  • FYI on Network Firmware Updates for Yamaha RX-Ax050 Receivers (2015 models)
    Just a note/warning to owners of the latest Yamaha x050 AVRs (RX-A1050/2050/3050) that there's been several reports of firmware update failures using a WiFi internet connection for the network update. (My guess is during the update process the wifi dropped out.) A couple RX-A3050 users reported that they were able to power off/back on and complete the update using a Wired Ethernet connection, however one owner said his A3050 was bricked and required service by Yamaha.
    (If you're using a WiFi AVR network connection and switch to Ethernet, make sure you change the AVR's Network Settings to Wired. Then turn the AVR Off and back On, and confirm the AVR Network settings shows Wired is configured.)
     
      Here's Yamaha's instructions on updating the firmware. Follow the steps to select the update method - USB is Default, Network is other option. And again, if using Network option it's highly recommended to use an Ethernet connection, not WiFi. (If distance to the router is a problem, and you can't/don't want to move the AVR temporarily, then buy a long Ethernet cable. It's worth having even if only used temporarily for cases like this.) And if possible, have the AVR and Modem/Router on an UPS just in case of a power dropout.

  • (Aug 25, 2015) Samsung BD-F7500 Firmware Update v1021.0. (Likely other F series blu-ray players also have an update.) As before, no info on what's changed/fixed in v1021 firmware.
    BTW: A reader said he returned his F series Samsung Blu-Ray player after finding out you can't use any Apps (even non-Samsung apps) unless you agree to ALL of Samsung's terms of use, including their 'Recommendation' feature. (Monitoring your usage to 'recommend' similar movies, apps, etc.) Despite the fact allowing the recommendation "feature" is a separate checkbox, if you don't agree to allow/accept both - you can't use any apps on the player. (You can't even view the apps screen without accepting all the terms of use prompts.) Personally I'd prefer a 'dumb' blu-ray player without any of that 'smart'/apps' baggage. (And ditto for TVs.)

  • Spectre Blu-Ray won't play in Sony BDP-S1000ES
    Wonder if anyone else with a Sony BDP-S1000ES has problems playing the Spectre Blu-Ray Disc, which will not play in mine. It tries to load for several seconds and then displays "cannot play" or "invalid disc". Disc is new, clean and without scratches and player has a flash drive inserted, BDLive access disabled. Spectre disc does have off-center label (worst case I've ever seen) but plays ok in a Sony BDP-S7200 and Samsung F7500 blu-ray player. The S1000ES has the last firmware update (014) installed. (No updates for it in years.) Curious if any other S1000 owner sees this or if the drive/laser is failing. (IIRC, same optical module used in the Sony 400 disc changers which have had similar problems over time.)

  • Tip for Snowpiercer Blu-Ray Disc in Sony BDP-S1000ES
    Just a FYI to other owners of a Sony BDP-S1000ES having problems playing the Snowpiercer blu-ray disc. It appears to hang/freeze after seeing the Weinstein logo - no time shown on the Sony player and no buttons work (FF, Menu, etc). After remembering a similar problem with a different player and disc (Great Gatsby in a Panasonic player, fixed in 1.63 firmware), I decided to just wait several minutes and the Snowpiercer main menu finally appeared. (IIRC it was almost 5 minutes.) I'd twice given up and powered off the Sony, verified disc was clean/undamaged (worked in other players), cleared Flash storage, already had BD Live disabled, firmware was up-to-date - v014. (BTW: I later tested The Great Gatsby blu-ray disc in the S1000ES and it played without any long start delay.)

  • Reader Tip for owners of Samsung HW-H750 soundbar that can't connect to app after recent firmware (auto) update (1114.7) - reset the soundbar by powering on, holding remote's Repeat button until "INIT" appears on display. Then try connecting again after HW-H750 power up.

  • Tip for Removing a 'Stuck' Subwoofer Plate Amp:
    Had an question from a SVS sub owner regarding my older post on SVS Ultra Bash amp repairs ask how to remove the subwoofer's plate amplifier as even with the mounting screws removed it would not budge. I've added tips I've used for 'stuck' plate amps to the Amp failure/repair page.

  • (Minor) Blu-Ray Disc Scratch Repair:
    Had a friend upset over damage on a blu-ray disc from "possibly the worst disc package he's ever seen" ('Black Sails' season 1) - an extremely tight cardboard sleeve fit. (I'd have used an exacto knife to extend the radius of the 'opening' perhaps but too late.) The first disc removed had over a dozen scratches/scuffs near the hub (straight out) and two long diagonal scratches across the disc, with one scratch having a long 'zig-zag' (Z) pattern. I've seen deeper scratches but can't say as I've ever seen that many on a 'new' (removed once) disc. (Granted I did not see how carefully it was removed but from the looks of it there may have been some grit in the package/surface during original insertion - although these were so tight I wonder if the cardboard was sealed after placing the discs inside - I'm not kidding.)
      Since these were not my discs (and being a blu-ray) I didn't want to try the (cheap) disc spinner/'buffer wheel' I had used on some of my badly scratched DVDs in the past. (Or the 'plastic polish' compound I'd used on some HD-DVD 'fogged' discs.) But I remembered an old tip on using (spray) Furniture Polish and had an old can of "Behold" on hand to try - it helped. Before using the polish, at appx 40min in you'd see the video pause/jump ahead a few seconds (and trying to rewind back past that point would hang). No glitches seen after applying the spray polish. Hopefully it lasts awhile but easy to apply again.

  • (Dec 1, 2014) Multiple Subwoofers: Benefits and Setup - a Q&A with Harman's Todd Welti (Principal Engineer in Acoustics) and Kevin Voecks (Manager of Product Development). (Here's a page with Harman White Papers on Audio setup, design and science.)

  • (Nov 26/29th, 2014) Oppo has posted OPPO BDP-80 Firmware Update BDP80-26-1020 and BDP-83 Firmware Update BDP83-60-1110 (also for BDP-83 Special Edition) to fix the "Wrong Disc" error/eject problem with X-Men: Days of Future Past blu-ray. Info on the problem per Oppo:
    "This is caused by the new "BD+" protocol (or Digital Rights Protection system) applied to this title which requires longer decryption time than the value allowed by the player. This firmware adjusted the decryption time and resolved this issue."
    Never owned an Oppo but Kudos to them for continuing support for older models to fix this.
    (BTW: Saw a later Oppo post saying that only the BDP-10x series players support seamless branching, and may be a factor in audio dropouts with some discs used with BDP-9x and earlier player models. Also said seamless branching was required to fully support Dolby Atmos.)

  • (Oct. 14, 2014) Oppo BDP-83 problems with X-Men Days of Future Past Blu-Ray:
    Several reports that the X-Men DoFP Blu-ray disc (just released) wouldn't load - BDP-83 displays "Wrong Disc" and tray ejects. A reader said his BDP-83 was using the latest firmware from March 2012, so he reported the problem to Oppo. (Update: Fixed in new OPPO BDP-83 FW Update.)
       The Days of Future Past 3D disc played OK in Samsung BD-F7500 (FW v1017.0) and the 2D disc worked in a (2009) Sony BDP-S1000ES with last FW 14 update from 2012. A later report said no issues with DoFP disc in an Oppo BDP-93, so later models (103/105) may be OK also.
    (Update: Also saw a report on DoFP Disc errors in an LG BD611 with up-to-date firmware.)

  • (Oct. 3, 2014) Criterion blog post on Exchanging Defective Discs includes an address to send your disc(s) for replacement, although some owners have reported playback problems with other titles of that era (2009-2010) so YMMV. (Problem is reportedly due to a specific mfg plant?) Owners of now defective OOP titles are concerned if replacements will be available. "Bronzing" often present on affected discs, but not always. Problems ranged from total inability to play to freezes at later points in playback.

  • (Aug 19, 2014) Glad to see Onkyo announce a Repair Program for Audio/Network Connection failures in some 2009-2012 mfg Receivers. This hopefully covers the (sometimes repeat) "HDMI board" Failures. (Previously in some cases they did out of warranty repairs per some owner reports.) This may make my rarely used Onkyo TX-NR3007 worth something now.

  • (June 16, 2014) Sad to hear Audio Engineer Tom Nousaine passed away. He was a true pioneer in subwoofer testing (and audio myth busting) in the 90's and many benefited from his work. An archive of over 30 of his articles (in PDF format) are at his website: www.nousaine.com.

  • (Apr 29, 2014) Info/History on Steve Jobs' Stereo System Components

  • (Apr 8, 2014) For SACD fans, a reader sent a link to a Super Audio CD reference site SA-CD.net that also covers Blu-Ray audio.

  • (Feb 23, 2014) Subwoofer Experts Explain Their Designs (SVS, HSU, PSA, Velodyne, Axiom)

  • (Feb 21, 2014) Parametric EQ and streaming audio on iOS: What's the hold-up? (EDN)

  • This isn't news to most readers but AH has a recap/repeat on Truth vs Hype about Expensive HDMI Cables that has a LOL comment ("I was going to buy a new car, but I bought an HDMI cable instead") below a table on insanely expensive ($1000+ per Meter) HDMI cables. But we all know that you can get quality HDMI cables for under $10 (even HDMI 2.0 certified) and even the typical 'Brand Name' HDMI cables are often overpriced and over-hyped in stores. But for even more laughs, read the review comments on a $500+ USB cable in EDN's USB cables and Audio: Can You Hear the Difference? (Also check out the related links (i.e. cable 'break-in' - I'm not kidding) at the bottom of the article.)

  • Settings Tip for Using iPad/iPhone Remote Control App for Yamaha BD-A1010 BD Player:
    I've seen several posts from owners of the Yamaha BD-A1010 universal/blu-ray player frustrated that their iPad/iPhone (or Android) using the free Yamaha AV Controller app could not "find" the Yamaha BD-A1010 on their network. (Despite some reports, the iOS AV Controller still works with Firmware 1.7712 in a BD-A1010 here.) The Yamaha BD-A1010 *must* have the player's Network Control option set to Yes. (See manual page 33.)
      This might get overlooked since some Yamaha A/V Receivers (like my RX-A2000) -do not- require any Network/Standby setting to be enabled for the Remote App to work, but the BD-A1010 (and perhaps other players) require Network Control to be enabled. (The RX-A2000 was powered on using the standard remote (IR) since Network standby was set to OFF.) Both BD-A1010 & RX-A2000 were connected via Ethernet to an Apple 802.11n Base's Ethernet hub. (Personally I don't leave Network Control/Standby (or any 'fast start') settings enabled as I don't like having rarely used devices like this in (basically) sleep mode. However if you don't leave it enabled, every time you turn on the BD-A1010 you'd have to enable it for the network Remote App to work.)

  • No HDMI Audio after Wake from Sleep in OS X Mavericks: Tested for this reported problem here with my Mac Mini running OS X 10.9. Rather than rebooting I found another way to restore HDMI audio. Updated with later tests (OK). (Also retested ok with OS X 10.9.4.)

  • Yamaha BD-A1010 (Blu-Ray Player) Firmware Update v1.7712 at USA downloads page
    Nov 2013 Update says "Continuing YouTube service after YouTube SSL Certificate change".

  • (Nov 25, 2013) Panasonic DMP-BDT220/320/321/500/BBT01 Firmware v1.63
    Linked page has (PC) self-extracting .exe D/L or Update via Network Update check.
    (The US DMP-BDT320, BDT500 & BBT01 Firmware page shows v1.63, but download link is still v1.53 as of Aug 2015.)
    V1.63's changes only say "Playability of Blu-ray Disc".
    I generally avoid installing updates right away but did test with a BDT500 model and found the 1.63 firmware fixed a 4-5 minute delay playing Great Gatsby (2013) Blu-Ray with firmware 1.53.
      BTW: After seeing a BDT220 owner problem report w/1.63 firmware, I verified that all Homeland Season 1 Blu-Rays played OK in my Panasonic BDT500 w/1.63 firmware. (He said Homeland S1 discs weren't recognized in a v1.63 updated BDT220 but worked in another BDT220 w/1.53 FW.)
    I also saw 1 report of problems playing Star Trek Into Darkness 3D disc with Panasonic BDT500 firmware 1.63 but I had no problems with a v1.63 firmware BDT500 playing that 3D disc.
    (FYI: Later heard that v1.63 disables analog video out for BDT-500 during BR/AACS playback.)

  • Fundamentals of USB Audio (EDN)
  • USB audio: Asynchronous is the only choice for compromise-free audio (EDN)
  • Mixing - Headphones, loudspeakers...and subjectivity (EDN)

  • OS X 10.8.5: No Audio after Wake from Sleep - Notes from our page on OS X 10.8.5 update Problems & Tips. [Fixes included in Supplemental Update for OS X 10.8.5.]

  • Active noise cancellation: Trends, concepts, & technical challenges (EDN)
  • Loudspeaker operation: The superiority of current drive over voltage drive (EDN)
  • 555-based class-D headphone driver makes great practice amp (EDN)

  • The Great Gatsby Freezes in Panasonic Blu-Ray Player (Tip) [FW 1.53]
    A reader said he returned "The Great Gatsby" (2013) Blu-Ray Disc twice for replacements, but it still would not play in his Panasonic bluray player. (Disc had no scratches or damage.) The Great Gatsby 3D Blu-Ray played fine in both Panasonic BDT500 and 320, but the (2D) Blu-Ray disc seemed to freeze the Panasonic players - display showed 00:00:00, no response to remote or buttons on player. I asked if the player firmware was up-to-date (v1.53 as of 9/18/2013) and if he tried all the usual tips (disable BDLive, with/without SDcard inserted, reformat card/clear stored data, disconnect power from player/reset, etc) - no help. The same disc played OK even in older Sony (S1000) & Yamaha (A1010) players.
       After searching I found a similar note from another Panasonic player owner and asked he wait 4-5 minutes for the disc to load. (Despite player being unresponsive, just wait.) That worked. Not exactly sure why, but that disc (and perhaps some others) takes a lot longer to start in some Panasonic players. (So long I suspect others may do as he did - cycle power/pull the plug and/or return the disc.) Maybe Panasonic can address this in a future firmware update. (I assume something to do with DRM/java but that's just a guess.)
    [Update (11/25/2013): Test with a BDT500 showed this issue was fixed in Firmware Update 1.63.]

    Flashing Older Firmware in Yamaha Aventage Receiver:
    I've not done this personally (not had a need to so far), but an owner of a Yamaha RX-V1067 (EU version of (US) RX-A1000) reported that he had very low LFE output after updating to firmware v3.43 (not had that problem w/3.43 on my A2000) and was able to backflash to 3.20 firmware by using this procedure:

      BackFlashing Yamaha Aventage AVR Firmware (YMMV)
    • Disconnect AC Power from Receiver (suggest using Switched Outlet strip)
    • Insert a USB Flash drive with previous Firmware (FAT format w/rom file only)
    • While holding down "Pure Direct" Button, Switch AC power On

    I would only try this in dire cases as it may not work with all models/all previous firmware versions. (IIRC, some firmware updates only update specific portions/functions of the rom and you may end up with an unusable mismatch - although my D/Ls of v3.20, v3.34 and v3.43 are the same size (and should be cumulative up to the downloaded version.) Maybe this service flash method does a complete copy w/o any section/version checks.) Not sure why he used v3.20 instead of the previous 3.34 version but maybe he didn't have v3.34 on hand.

  • (Bitstreaming) Dolby True-HD Audio Drop Outs (again):
    As reported previously, there's been more reports of audio dropouts with another recent Dolby TrueHD Blu-Ray - this time Monsters Inc. (and 'Monsters University'). (Same Dolby TrueHD audio dropout issue previously reported with other recent TrueHD releases like Total Recall (2012), Brave, Finding Nemo, etc. although not everyone had the problem.) And the same workaround/fix - change the Blu-Ray player from Bitstream to PCM audio output. As before however, no issues seen (heard) with bitstreaming these titles with the only setup I have access to - a Panasonic DMP-BDT500 (w/v1.53 firmware) with HDMI 1 (video) direct to an HDTV and HDMI 2 (audio) to a Yamaha RX-A2000 (firmware 3.34) receiver. Zero dropouts with this setup and Monsters Inc 7.1 audio selected, player set to bitstream. (BDLive always disabled.) Ditto (no issue) with TrueHD audio on Total Recall (2012), Brave, etc. (BTW: I have to say the audio and video of the new Monsters Inc 3D release was some of the best I've ever experienced. Outstanding.)
       I've not tested using a single HDMI connection (both A/V to AVR, then out to TV) but have seen some dropout reports from others using Dual HDMI output player setups including Sony S790 and Oppo BDP-103 owners. (And one Oppo BDP-103 owner said he had audio dropouts bitstreaming Monster Inc's 5.1 audio.) I later saw an Oppo quote that it's related to seamless branching.
       Normally with any disc playback issues you'd blame the player/firmware (or new DRM), but I felt the AVR used is a primary factor since with bitstreaming the AVR does the audio decoding. (Unless they player is improperly bitstreaming data.) Using the workaround PCM setting has the Player doing the decode. (However I did see a post from an Onkyo 709 owner saying his Oppo BDP-83 had dropouts (Total Recall 2012), but a Panasonic BDT-110 didn't with the same receiver.) Wish I had a Sony S790 or Oppo to test with my AVR to see if a player change (only) mattered here.
       Despite the focus on firmware updates/bugfixes for players/AVRs, some felt a change in Dolby's TrueHD encoding is the real culprit. (Originally I'd wondered if the playback problems were related to another new spin on DRM, but audio dropouts can also be caused by a player's lack of support for seamless branching.)
       Although many think a replacement disc may help, usually it doesn't. Official (studio/mfr) disc replacement programs in general are rare but have happened at times for some common playback problems. One example was over some Dredd discs that wouldn't play. (I'm not referring to cases of "disc rot", as there has been replacement offers from some studios for that in the past.) There were rumors of redone Total Recall 2012 discs (later disputed) and some have repeatedly swapped blu-rays at retail over TrueHD dropout problems - usually with no change.

  • HD-DVD Disc "Rot" notes / Tip for Cleaning Discs (HD/DVD/BR/CD):
    (FYI: See later post above on some Criterion discs failing and replacements)
    After getting a recent heads up from a reader with an HD-DVD Collection about playback problems with several of his HD-DVD discs (most Warner Bros he said - google HD-DVD disc rot for owner posts), I checked my HD-DVDs (16 movies + U2 Rattle and Hum) from 2007 (IIRC, shortly before HD-DVD production was halted) to see if any were now bad.
       These HD-DVD cases had not opened for at least 3 or 4 years I think, and some I had never used/touched at all. (5 were part of a free bundle with the Toshiba A20 player I bought back then.) I noticed about 1/3 of the HD-DVD discs had areas of (white/milky) clouding on the back side - some worse than others - one looked like there had been some sort of condensation present (i.e. looked like a long drip line down the disc). Most however just had odd shaped areas of white/milky clouding that would not wipe off with water (or the usual fogging by breathing on them) using a microfiber cloth.
       The worst examples I had were the Bladerunner 5 disc set and the Matrix Ultimate collection. (I should have done the trade-in to Blu-Ray offered years ago but didn't.) So I dusted off/hooked up my Toshiba HD-A20 (w/last firmware update) and tested them. Although some reported cases of discs not recognized at all, most reports cited freezing/lockups part way through the movie (some say at layer change?) so the best test is a complete playback, not just seeing if it plays to the menu, jumping to specific scenes/chapters etc. Here's a summary of what I found in my collection:

    • I tested several of the worst (clouding) examples (and discs I liked most - Blade Runner disc 1, Matrix 1, FMJ) in the Toshiba A20 and they played all the way through. (I'd forgotten how good they looked.) I separated out all discs that showed any clouding at all and will test them as time allows. (This was before using the plastic polish.)

    • It may not be related, but I also noticed that -all- of the HD-DVD cases that had glossy interiors had a layer of some sort of film/fogging on them. (As if the plastic had outgassed over time, or was it just related to mfg plastic mold release?) A couple cases had a matte/pebble-like finish inside (i.e. Unforgiven) and were still pristine. The heavily clouded discs were all from the cases with glossy interiors btw.

    • Some think the problem with HD-DVD disc 'rot' was from a specific batch or mfr. (Google 'hd-dvd rot cinram' and you'll see some hits, including one on LaserDisc rot.) I wasn't able to tell if any of mine were made by cinram but did notice two different disc types: all silver on the back and others with a white center ring. (The worst clouding examples were the white ring disc type.)

    • (Cloudy) Disc Cleaning Tip: One tip I saw for cleaning the discs to remove the milky clouding was using plastic polish. I remembered years ago (2005 or so) I'd bought some "Meguiar's Scratch-X" (fine scratch and swirl remover) to polish haze out of an old mustang's plastic speedometer lens. (Never tried the later Scratch-X "2.0".)
         I used a small amount of it on the discs (worst examples first), just lightly rubbing it with a finger around the back of the disc. Waited a few seconds and buffed it off with just toilet paper. Bingo - all the clouding was gone. (I was impressed at how well the Scratch-X worked for this, but I have not tried it for scratches on discs, and only would if any were bad enough to affect playback.)

    This isn't a new problem and I suspect few even have these now but for anyone with a HD-DVD disc rot problem that cleaning doesn't fix, a thread at AVForums titled Warner Brothers HD-DVD's Disk Rot has some posts (i.e. April 2012) with WB contact info to try and get replacements (or swaps for BR), not always possible - YMMV. This is a long post (and maybe should have been put on a separate page) but perhaps the cleaning tip may be useful for owners of other Discs (CD/DVD/BR).

  • (Feb 6, 2013) FYI on Dredd Blu-Ray Disc Problems:
    For anyone that had playback problems with their disc, a reader sent a link to a BestBuy Forum post on Dredd Blu-Ray Disc problems that has a Feb 6th, 2013 post from BB that says they (finally) have been able to confirm there were some bad discs:

    "I have received a final update from our business team as well as the vendor, and I wanted to make sure to pass this on to all of you. After all of their research, they have been able to isolate this problem to a specific number of copies of this movie. Due to the number of affected discs, customers are being asked to contact Lionsgate directly with any issues. They can be reached at 1-877-230-2756 or by emailing lionsgateshop@orderassistance.com."


  • (Dec 19, 2012) Lots of reports of (TrueHD) Audio dropouts with the (2012) Total Recall blu-ray. (A workaround cited is switching the BR player to output PCM vs Bitstream.) Many reports from Oppo owners as well as Sony (including latest 590, 790 models) and perhaps other models/brands. I suspect it might be related to another spin on DRM and may require yet another firmware update to players (or AVRs). Some are calling for the studio to exchange/replace discs (w/fix) but I doubt that will happen. Since it's not a universal issue with all players, I suspect it's player related (firmware/chipset, lack of seamless branching support).

  • Test Report: SVS PC-13 Ultra Subwoofer
    (Assuming the amp's port tune option was set to match the port plug config (?), their 16Hz tune +/-3dB results look suspect. (It's only 1Hz lower than the 20Hz Tune results.) But the common (on both 16Hz & 20Hz graphs) peak/hump centered around 45Hz is a factor. I'd expect a flatter resonse in that area than their results when done outdoors. (Typical test environment, done to rule out any room effects.) Despite comments they followed SVS (Ed's) suggestions, perhaps test mic location may have affected FR results. (Driver on bottom and ports on top both contribute.)
      I own an older (pre-Sledge amp) PC13 Ultra bought used and needing a Bash amp repair. Absolutely no regrets and it's performed great in my room(s). (Actually better than the box in my rooms.) I prefer the cylinder as it's easier to move (easy to get access to Amp/settings vs box) and despite the box having perhaps a couple db more at the bottom end, no complaints on performance.

  • Tips on SVS Ultra 750W Bash Subwoofer AMP Failures (+ Checks Before you Buy)
      Due to length/images, moved to a separate page.

  • Sony BDP-S790 (Case Design/Drive Noise) vs Panasonic DMP-BDT500

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