How to rip for home theater experience

Discussion of advanced MakeMKV functionality, expert mode, conversion profiles
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bercaw
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:46 am

How to rip for home theater experience

Post by bercaw » Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:37 pm

Hi,

No matter how hard I try, I can't figure out how to rip my BD to get both home theater sound for at home & decent sound for watching on the road. In my mind, that means I want to retain the original audio type & quality of the BD/DVD, with no compression or conversion (I don't care about file size), and also have a copy of the audio file for my devices. I've been able to get decent sound for my devices, but when I watch my movies at home the majority of the time my receiver shows all my audio tracks as 2.0 PCM & they play at a lower volume, or the audio goes in & out.

I'm ripping my BD/DVD collection using the Pioneer BDR-XD05S. My Plex server is running on a QNAP NAS TVS-471 with upgraded RAM & CPU, and I'm streaming with the Plex Player included in my Tivo Bolt, which is connected to my Anthem MRX 520. I'm setup for surround sound, with in-ceiling speakers & two subs, but continue to feel like my audio is sub par. Is there a chance my issue is with my equipment?

Am I chasing a dream by expecting my receiver to show the native audio format instead of 2.0 PCM?

Below is the best profile I've been able to cobble together. What I think it's doing is converting the multi-channel audio tracks to FLAC, which should play as surround sound at home & transcode to device-friendly on the road.

Code: Select all

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<profile>
    <!-- profile name -->
    <name lang="eng">best-yet</name>

    <!-- Common MKV flags -->
    <mkvSettings 
        ignoreForcedSubtitlesFlag="false"
        useISO639Type2T="false"
    />

    <!-- Settings overridable in preferences -->
    <profileSettings
        app_DefaultSelectionString="-sel:all,+sel:(eng|nolang),-sel:(havemulti|havelossless),+sel:lossless,-sel:special,+sel:mvcvideo"
    />

   <!-- Output formats currently supported by MakeMKV -->
   <!-- Direct Copy -->
    <outputSettings name="copy" outputFormat="directCopy">
        <description lang="eng">Copy track as is</description>
    </outputSettings>

   <!-- PCM Output -->
    <outputSettings name="lpcm" outputFormat="LPCM-raw">
        <description lang="eng">Save as raw LPCM</description>
    </outputSettings>

   <!-- FLAC Encoding -->
    <outputSettings name="flac-fast" outputFormat="FLAC">
        <description lang="eng">Save as FLAC (fast compression)	</description>
        <extraArgs>-compression_level 5</extraArgs>
    </outputSettings>

    <outputSettings name="flac-best" outputFormat="FLAC">
        <description lang="eng">Save as FLAC (best compression)	</description>
        <extraArgs>-compression_level 12</extraArgs>
    </outputSettings>

    <outputSettings name="flac-placebo" outputFormat="FLAC">
        <description lang="eng">Save as FLAC (placebo 	compression)</description>
        <extraArgs>-compression_level 12 -lpc_coeff_precision 15 	-lpc_passes 8 -lpc_type 3</extraArgs>
    </outputSettings>

    <!-- Default rule - copy as is -->
    <trackSettings input="default">
        <output outputSettingsName="copy" 
                defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString">
        </output>
    </trackSettings>

    <!-- Save DTS-HD as FLAC -->
    <trackSettings input="DTSHD-stereo">
        <output outputSettingsName="copy"
                defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString,-sel:all">
        </output>
        <output outputSettingsName="flac-best"
                defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString">
        </output>
    </trackSettings>
    <trackSettings input="DTSHD-multi">
        <output outputSettingsName="copy"
                defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString,-sel:all">
        </output>
        <output outputSettingsName="flac-best"
                defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString">
        </output>
    </trackSettings>

    <!-- Save LPCM as raw LPCM -->
    <trackSettings input="LPCM-stereo">
        <output outputSettingsName="lpcm"
                defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString">
        </output>
    </trackSettings>

    <trackSettings input="LPCM-multi">
        <output outputSettingsName="lpcm"
                defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString">
        </output>
    </trackSettings>

    <!-- Lossless Audio -->
    <trackSettings input="TRUEHD-stereo">
        <output outputSettingsName="copy"
            defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString"></output>
    </trackSettings>
    <trackSettings input="TRUEHD-multi">
        <output outputSettingsName="copy"
            defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString"></output>
    </trackSettings>
    <trackSettings input="MLP-stereo">
        <output outputSettingsName="copy"
            defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString"></output>
    </trackSettings>
    <trackSettings input="MLP-multi">
        <output outputSettingsName="copy"
            defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString"></output>
    </trackSettings>
    <trackSettings input="DTSHDMA-stereo">
        <output outputSettingsName="copy"
            defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString"></output>
    </trackSettings>
    <trackSettings input="DTSHDMA-multi">
        <output outputSettingsName="copy"
            defaultSelection="$app_DefaultSelectionString"></output>
    </trackSettings>

</profile>
Any help &/or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks everyone!

T'hain Esh Kelch
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:59 am

Re: How to rip for home theater experience

Post by T'hain Esh Kelch » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:16 am

Have you checked to see if your Plex server is converting your audio?

Woodstock
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:21 pm

Re: How to rip for home theater experience

Post by Woodstock » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:57 pm

What is the audio format on the BD itself? If the BD has PCM audio, that's what will normally show up in the MKV file, unless you ask MakeMKV to convert it to FLAC.
How to aid in finding the answer to your problem: https://www.makemkv.com/faq/item/8

bercaw
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:46 am

Re: How to rip for home theater experience

Post by bercaw » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:19 pm

I appreciate both responses. After thinking about it some more, I decided to change my approach to the problem by establishing a benchmark. I tested out a bunch of discs (mix of blu-ray & DVD) with the following approach:

1. I played each disc with my Oppo 103D & compared each of the audio options listed on the disc menu to the audio formats from my Anthem MRX520 - this way I could see which formats my Anthem was converting, if any.

2. Next, I ripped each disc using the Default profile & the custom profile I'm currently testing out & compared the audio formats listed in the Plex Player on my Tivo audio formats listed on the disc - this way I could verify that audio formats were coming through

3. Lastly, I compared the audio formats coming from my Anthem MRX520 when I played the movies with my Plex Player - this way I could see which formats my Anthem was converting, if any.

From my testing, the PCM conversions are happening in step 3. My theory is that the issue is either with the Plex Player app in Tivo or with my QNAP. My reasoning is that since the audio listed in the Plex Player matches the audio from the disc, I know the issue isn't with the ripping process. And since my Anthem is able to play all the formats, so the issue isn't with the Anthem.

My Tivo & QNAP are both hard wired to the same network & I have my transcoding set to "hurt my CPU". I continue to be baffled.

Woodstock
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:21 pm

Re: How to rip for home theater experience

Post by Woodstock » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:20 pm

The biggest question is what Plex is doing. As you know, it will respond to the capabilities listed in the client software on each player, so if the player says "PCM" is its preferred format, that is what it will received, after translation by Plex. If it says "DTS", Plex will send through DTS.

Can your players access the files directly, not via Plex? I believe the Oppo can do SMB access, as well as DLNA and Plex. SMB access will send the raw file to the Oppo, so it would only see what is in the MKV file.

My normal profile is "rip all audio and subtitle tracks, regardless of language", and then sort things our later.
How to aid in finding the answer to your problem: https://www.makemkv.com/faq/item/8

napper1237
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:32 am

Re: How to rip for home theater experience

Post by napper1237 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:06 am

Hi

I have just sorted this problem on a qnap where I'm using the hdmi out and HD station.

Search out father mande's plex oht qpkg

You'll need to set the audio to pass through on both the nas AND plex oht and not use any pulse settings in the audio output device for plex.
Your av receiver may also need setting up to receive the audio like this.

If you don't use the hdmi out from the nas you are then contending with the kernel version of your Android or external streamer which could mean you're not passing all the audio or even decoding properly if you're letting the box do it.
With the Android boxes you're best off running libre elec and kodi krypton which is combo known to work when decoding atmos and TrueHD.
Personally the hdmi solution with plex oht has worked out by far the best. Might need to move your nas though eh.

fizban11
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:52 pm

Re: How to rip for home theater experience

Post by fizban11 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:21 am

Woodstock wrote:The biggest question is what Plex is doing. As you know, it will respond to the capabilities listed in the client software on each player, so if the player says "PCM" is its preferred format, that is what it will received, after translation by Plex. If it says "DTS", Plex will send through DTS.
I have an open item that is similar on PLEX Forums, https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/30480 ... wer#latest. I just want to throw this out there and see if there is a problem with MakeMKV and LPCM tracks. For info, I rip using MakeMKV as a direct copy. I don't remux the files in H.265 or try to compress in any way to save space. I actually care more about the audio being accurate.

I have an NVShield running through a Marantz AV8802A. I noticed that LPCM titles have a significantly reduced volume level. Is this normal or not? I have PLEX set for passthrough, and I have no problems with any HD audio soudtrack (Dolby TrueHD/ATMOS or DTS-HD MA/X) for any other titles ripped with MakeMKV and played through PLEX.

I decided to measure with a decibel meter at the MLP after making sure that Audessey was being applied for the LPCM track on my Marantz AV8802A. Nothing fancy, but I checked multiple titles that I had listed as LPCM. It turns out I am NOT imagining it. Out of the movies I have on PLEX that are LPCM, I noted only one title, The Fifth Element, that had both an HD soundtrack and LPCM that allowed me to switch back and forth. Using the same passage of the first 5 minutes of The Fifth Element, on average the LPCM track was 8-10dB lower than the Dolby TrueHD and peaks were 6-8dB lower when played through PLEX. After I broke out the disc and played it directly, the LPCM readings were 5dB higher on average and 8dB higher on peaks than the TrueHD soundtrack. That's a huge swing of -13dB or so average and -18db peak for what I measured.

To further illustrate, I played the HP3 title Prisoner of Azkaban on Blu-ray and it is noticeably louder as LPCM through the Panasonic BD player than the PLEX stream. I measured with the amp volume set at 60.0 to keep it a constant. Again, I can only compare between the LPCM audio track of the PLEX rip and the disc, as there is NO HD audio track on the disc.

HP3 PLEX stream, first 1:25 seconds:
Avg: 47dB
Peak: 70dB

HP3 Blu-Ray disc, first 1:25 seconds
Avg: 53dB
Peak 84dB

That's a -6dB drop from the disc on average and a -14dB drop of peaks. Seriously, that's a LOT of audio being down-graded!

What I received back from a PLEX employee was this, "Interesting, we don't touch the LPCM data only Android does." AND "The Android OS handles the PCM output, it could be possible that it's manipulating it lower for some reason but I'm not sure why it would do that. It could also be that your AVR is handling bitstreamed compressed audio better than PCM and boosting the volume." So, PLEX doesn't think it's not their fault and must be an Android issue. I just want to rule out MakeMKV as the culprit. Has anyone got a BDR of a movie with an LPCM track and sees the same thing through KODI or some other movie server as compared to the BDR?

Woodstock
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:21 pm

Re: How to rip for home theater experience

Post by Woodstock » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:43 am

MakeMKV will process LPCM out "raw", although it can also be configured to convert it to AC3, I believe. "Believe", because I have not tested that; As I said earlier, I just rip the tracks as-is, to be dealt with later.

Nozomi publishes a number of anime BD titles in 24-bit LPCM, and that's what handbrake sees when I hand off the MKVs generated from those titles. Of course, handbrake doesn't OUTPUT LPCM, but it does read it.
How to aid in finding the answer to your problem: https://www.makemkv.com/faq/item/8

fizban11
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:52 pm

Re: How to rip for home theater experience

Post by fizban11 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:08 pm

Woodstock wrote:MakeMKV will process LPCM out "raw", although it can also be configured to convert it to AC3, I believe. "Believe", because I have not tested that; As I said earlier, I just rip the tracks as-is, to be dealt with later.

Nozomi publishes a number of anime BD titles in 24-bit LPCM, and that's what handbrake sees when I hand off the MKVs generated from those titles. Of course, handbrake doesn't OUTPUT LPCM, but it does read it.
Sorry so late in getting back. The last few weeks were hectic. Thanks for the info. I figured that MakeMKV would just process raw and not mess with the gain level. But, I had to put it out there. Since I know the discs themselves play fine, then my Pre-Pro is not the guilty party. I can only assume that PLEX is doing something to the gain. Although, PLEX did immediately place the PCM output on Nvidia, so who knows.

electron286
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:12 pm

Re: How to rip for home theater experience

Post by electron286 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:41 pm

Differing Audio Levels with varying Digital formats?

This is a topic that is re-occurring on EVERY digital platform it seems.

This is simplified, but helps to diagram what is often happening with many systems that exhibit different volume levels when switching between various DIGITAL formats. No it is NOT complete, but more to help everyone better understand the basics of what may be happening, and the reasons for it.

The volume differences MAINLY occur based on how the Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) is set up to operate. Since 16 bit, and 24 bit audio by definition set a ZERO point to equal NO SOUND, or DIGITAL SILENCE, and you have Either 16 or 24 bits to reach the MAXIMUM audio level, you have a higher resolution between audio level steps (volume if you will, of the audio). The MAXIMUM value may or may NOT be same output voltage a the end of the ANALOGUE conversion if using 16 bit vs 24 bit.

IF the maximum output voltage of a DAC is say 1 volt, regardless of it being a 16 or 24 bit DAC, then the converted audio would then be scaled to the normalized 1 volt PEAK output at a MAXIMUM recorded level. Switching between TWO different DACs, one 16 bit, and one 24 bit, set up in this manner would produce NO actual difference in volume when switching between them, while playing audio files that are identical with the audio PEAKS reaching of both the 16 and 24 bit files reaching the MAXIMUM NON-CLIPPING digital value. Each DAC would then provide exactly the 1 volt MAX analogue audio level.

There are DACs that are however used for BOTH 16 and 24 bit conversions. A basic conversion would just typically use 24 bit DACs for both the 16 and 24 bit conversion. Unless some digital shifting occurs PRIOR to sending the digital code to these DACs, the minimum level for a 16 bit and 24 bit digital SILENCE would be the same, absence of sound. The volume, and analogue voltage, of the output of the DAC would increase the same amount for each digital bit value of increase regardless of if the digital data is 16 bit audio or 24 bit audio. With a 16-bit digital audio source, in this example, the upper 8 bits of the 24 bit DAC, never change from the ZERO state, it just never "counts" that high since the digital stream is limited to 16 bits. If the DAC is designed so reach the 1 VOLT value as we discussed earlier when the FULL value of a 16-bit audio source is reached, then this would be exactly the same volume output as we saw with the prior examples of separate 16 bit and 24 bit DACs that are scaled to reach a maximum of 1 volt. WHEN PLAYING THE SAME 16 bit DIGITAL FILE as used previously. If you play the 24 bit file from above however, the maximum output would be well over 1 volt, and the overall volume of the output would also be significantly louder. If the volume was to be reduced at the amplifier for the playback of the 24 bit file from above to match the volume of the 16 bit file from above we would reduce the volume of the 24 bit converted file by a whopping 48 dB! Yes, there are PROFESSIONAL DACs that work JUST like this. But consumers would not be very happy with that.

Consumer digital shifting - More often for consumer equipment, a 24 bit DAC when playing 16 bit audio files, actually SHIFTS the digital data up to use the higher bits of the DAC and FREEZES or LATCHES the lower bit to not allow them to change when playing 16 bit audio. If the 24 bit DAC shifts the 16 bit data to the upper 16 bits, the MAXIMUM volume would be the same when playing the 16 or 24 bit files from above. They would sound the SAME, (except as you hopefully can start to see, very quite portions of the recorded audio would still be able to be heard on the 24 bit audio file, where they would have been lost to the DIGITAL SILENCE on the 16 bit file.) To get more advantage however from the 24 bit capabilities, often the 16 bit audio is shifted up only 7 bits, instead of 8, leaving the top bit of the 24 bits idle when playing 16 bit audio, which give a little more "head room" on the analogue circuitry than would be available when playing a maximized 24 bit audio file. This would make playback of the 16 bit file quieter by 6 dB compared with the 24 bit file.

There are other tricks various audio equipment has used over the years, including changing the gain on POST DAC buffer amplifiers depending on the bit depth being converted, as well as some older equipment actually using MULTIPLE DACs for the different conversions.

Another thing to note, when combining a multi-channel source down to fewer channels, the overall volume needs to be reduced to prevent digital clipping, (this is often done by default digitally with most conversion utilities). Think about speakers in a room. If each speaker volume was set to run just up to, but not into clipping distortion, each time a speaker is removed the overall volume would decrease, but each speaker would still be producing the MAXIMUM volume it was capable of without distortion.

This latter multi channel conversion of volume will sometimes be the most noticeable if encoding files for playback on some systems, but may not be noticed at all when played back on other systems, again depending on how the playback software and hardware treats the playback of STEREO versus 5.1 audio going into 2 or 5.1 audio channels, for just a couple of examples.

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