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  #1  
Old 01-03-2022, 03:29 PM
djh108 djh108 is offline
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Default Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

Hi all,

I'm an audio engineer making the switch to an atmos-capable mix system this year, will be Using Dolby Production Suite. At the studio, my Metric Halo uln-8 3D will be the centerpiece interface. But want a home rig too and want to avoid having to rely only on headphone simulation (and in case it is relevant, I also do video editing, so the setup needs to accommodate that as well). I'm still learning about related topics so I may be missing things that "I don't know that I don't know". Thanks in advance for the advice -

The Goal

Ideally, the home rig would need to be multi-functional to make it all worth the fuss:
  • Able to be used as a normal home entertainment system: TV + atmos
  • My MacBook pro could be patched into the setup where TV becomes external monitor, and atmos + normal stereo monitoring could be done
  • The TV will need to receive an HDR signal from premiere pro. My understanding is this can work out-of-the-box without an additional card with recent adobe updates. And Pro Tools doesn't necessarily need to be getting an HDR signal, in that case the display can just be an external monitor.
  • Would like to avoid using a conventional audio interface because I don't want the TV-to-speaker routing to be dependant on the presence of my laptop. Rather, I'd like the laptop to be able to patch into some sort of AVR (or comparable solution).
  • Would be great if I could have a single HDMI out from the laptop that sends audio and video.
  • Bear in mind this is a secondary system, so it doesn't have to be the greatest monitoring in the world. And I'm open to a range of possibilities depending on cost/benefit.
  • But my hope, and gut-feeling, is that I could get the bones of something put together that could be farily servicable, esp as a secondary system, without breaking the bank...


The Quagmires and Questions
  • Using a typical consumer AVR seems to be not a great idea BC it rules out using powered monitors, those devices are mostly all amped set to power passive speakers. That said, I actually don't know how much of an issue it would be...perhaps there is some sort of gain staging that could be done to make things work out reasonably well? Or an AVR with bypassable amps? Never tried anything like this (and am embarrassingly ignorant about gain staging OTB)...
  • Presumably, I'd need to output HDMI from the MacBook, but I also don't know how pro tools will respond to the audio engine being set to an HDMI enabled dock.
  • I also don't know how the avid video engine may or may not play into all this.
  • And I'm not clear about what sort of signal pro tools and the Atmos Production Suite outputs (not dove in there yet)...is it a standard, readable atmos signal?
  • I'm also not totally clear about how the atmos encoding/decoding process works in a typical consumer AV chain. Is it possible for a smart TV to be calibrated internally, and then send a decoded signal via HDMI? Idea here would be to maybe just some sort of hdmi-to-mixer-to-powered speakers kind of chain? I'm getting an LG TV...is there an LG "App for That", lol...


The Basic Plan Thus Far
  • I've got an LG 55" C1 TV on the way.
  • Leaning toward a simple 5.1.2 setup - at least to start - using budget-y powered studio monitors (probably Kali's).
  • At first glance, this AT-300 - 16 CHANNEL PRE-PRO AV Processor seems like it might work as the main hub: analog outs would work for the powered monitors, has atmos decoding and room calibration on board, and could also receive a signal from the laptop
  • To get the signal from the laptop, I;m not sure. I have OWC docks and dongles already with HDMI 2.0, but may there's another better way....obviously, something that doesn't upset pro tools is the goal.

Looking forward to learning more, thank you.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2022, 04:33 PM
its2loud its2loud is online now
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Default Re: Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

Congrats on your dive into Atmos.

A couple of things you should know.

DAPS does not output an encoded Atmos signal directly (live). You will need at minimum 11 discreet channels for 7.1.4 Atmos.

This can be done by either a hardware interface device with dedicated outputs to speakers or through Dante to a dedicated converter to go from Dante to Speakers.

A consumer A/V receiver will not work for this method.

However, you can make an MP4 export from the DAPS that will be an encoded Atmos mix which you can play back through various devices (such as Apple TV) which is hooked up to your A/V Receiver.

If you want to do any live mixing or monitoring from DAPS through your home theater Atmos speakers, you will need to have some way to route the 11 channels of audio into you speaker amps.
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2022, 10:29 AM
djh108 djh108 is offline
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Default Re: Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

Quote:
Originally Posted by its2loud View Post
Congrats on your dive into Atmos.

A couple of things you should know.

DAPS does not output an encoded Atmos signal directly (live). You will need at minimum 11 discreet channels for 7.1.4 Atmos.

This can be done by either a hardware interface device with dedicated outputs to speakers or through Dante to a dedicated converter to go from Dante to Speakers.

A consumer A/V receiver will not work for this method.

However, you can make an MP4 export from the DAPS that will be an encoded Atmos mix which you can play back through various devices (such as Apple TV) which is hooked up to your A/V Receiver.

If you want to do any live mixing or monitoring from DAPS through your home theater Atmos speakers, you will need to have some way to route the 11 channels of audio into you speaker amps.
Thanks so much. Reading this and looking further is beginning to clarify a few things. But am I understanding this correctly?:

- Using Dolby audio bridge as the playback engine will essentially encode the mix session and then output a (live) decoded, multichannel (non atmos) signal. 7.1.4 is the minimal supported decoded option. Yes?

- The audio bridge attaches itself to core audio, so you’d need to output (at least) 11 discreet channels directly from core audio. Yes?

Assuming I’m correct so far, and setting aside speaker calibration for a moment, one thing I’m weirdly unclear about is how to output from core audio a multichannel stream. I’ve just never really done it (always used interfaces). I have a metric halo uln 8 at the studio which can receive core audio paths like that. And I’m vaguely aware of other software solutions that can virtually route signals to interfaces. But in this scenario, my ideal would be to output as directly as possible from the computer. Can a normal hdmi connection do that? Like, thunderbolt to hdmi converter kinda thing?

Next step would be to find a device that could receive my TVs hdmi signal for audio various types of streams (like a typical modern receiver), but also be able to receive my computers 11 channel signal, however I manage to get it there, and then route those channels appropriately.

I THINK the device I linked in my initial post may be able to pull this trick off. Thumb typing right now and can’t reference it, but seems like there ought to be able to be a simple way to output 11 channels of core audio to it (hdmi? I think it also had an optical in? Can’t remember…). Next step would be to be sure the device itself is capable of a manual configuration, but surely it is…

Am I missing anything here?

Last edited by djh108; 01-06-2022 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Typos/clarity
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  #4  
Old 01-06-2022, 02:29 PM
epm epm is offline
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Default Re: Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

Unfortunately, as far as I know, there's not really a simple, budget friendly way to do what you want.

The AT-300 will take an atmos (or any) stream from a consumer device and output it analog to your speakers. However, there's no way that i know of to get the multichannel 7.1.4 out of DAPS into the AT-300, I don't think you can get more than 8 channels of PCM audio over HDMI out of Pro Tools, and i've never been able to get more than 2. So you'd need a totally separate monitoring path to listen to atmos, which negates the benefits of having the room calibration and volume control all built into the AT-300.

You'd need either a home theater processor that would take a straight analog in speaker to speaker passthrough, or a way to encode an atmos stream over HDMI in realtime (which there isn't any). Otherwise the setup would need at minimum an audio interface with enough analog outputs to drive your atmos system, and enough analog inputs to take signal from the home theater processor and pass through to your speakers for the consumer playback.

edit: I Would love to be proven wrong, cause i'd love to have this type of setup at home too!
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  #5  
Old 01-06-2022, 06:26 PM
djh108 djh108 is offline
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Default Re: Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

Quote:
Originally Posted by epm View Post
Unfortunately, as far as I know, there's not really a simple, budget friendly way to do what you want.

The AT-300 will take an atmos (or any) stream from a consumer device and output it analog to your speakers. However, there's no way that i know of to get the multichannel 7.1.4 out of DAPS into the AT-300, I don't think you can get more than 8 channels of PCM audio over HDMI out of Pro Tools, and i've never been able to get more than 2. So you'd need a totally separate monitoring path to listen to atmos, which negates the benefits of having the room calibration and volume control all built into the AT-300.

You'd need either a home theater processor that would take a straight analog in speaker to speaker passthrough, or a way to encode an atmos stream over HDMI in realtime (which there isn't any). Otherwise the setup would need at minimum an audio interface with enough analog outputs to drive your atmos system, and enough analog inputs to take signal from the home theater processor and pass through to your speakers for the consumer playback.

edit: I Would love to be proven wrong, cause i'd love to have this type of setup at home too!
Thanks for replaying. Hmm. Well there’s some details in what you’re writing here I’m not crystal clear about. And if I were already neck deep in DAPS I’d probably be clearer (I’ve not even bought it yet, but for various reasons, now is the time I need to be dealing with the home theater setup, so trying to integrate my goal if possible). And bear in mind I only undertand object based mixing conceptually, I’ve yet to engage in a real world workflow.

That being said, here’s where I’m getting hung up, maybe you can help me undertand…and just to keep it simpler, let’s limit the discussion to 7.1.4…

Obviously, for any setup, one needs to arrive at analogue monitoring paths, sourced from DAPS, or one couldn’t monitor (short of a rendered headphone mix). So at some point in the processing chain, DAPS is obviously able to output the 11 discrete paths needed for a 7.1.4 setup. Right? I mean, I understand that looping into another machine with the mastering suite is another potential configuration, but without that arrangement, there’s clearly some sort of real time rendering with DAPS that can produce those paths. Granted the details of that chain works I’m fuzzy about...

There were two setups I read about. Maybe I misunderstood, but my understanding was this:

1) one involved setting up inserts on the tracks…Dolby plugins that acted as sends and returns to/from DAPS to do the real time rendering. And then the daw outputs could be sent “conventionally” through one’s interface to their 7.1.4 monitors, as protools had received the decoded streams via the inserts.

2) the other mentioned using the audio bridge. And in that case, it said audio bridge is the playback engine (not an interface), which sends stuff straight to daps. but in daps core audio should be selected to be used in its rendering process. Then, presumably, core audio becomes the source for analogue monitoring.

Assuming I’ve got that right, what that sounds like to me is that your macs core audio is sitting there with a decoded 7.1.4 mix reading to be sent…somewhere. How could it not? It’s the whole point, is it not? If core audio wasn’t capable of sending such a multichannel, why would the audio bridge be designed to use it in the first place? Or am I’m missing something?

So then wouldn’t it just be a matter of figuring out what sort of dongle or dock to use to output the core audio 7.1.4 signal? And obviously said signal would have to be compatible with ones unit, the at-300 being in question at the moment, but seems like even a simple mixer with d/a conversion could work (granted part of my goal here is to avoid a discrete system that TV audio is not looped into).

Or is there some other detail about the path from daps to monitoring I’m not understanding? In the case of using the audio bridge, Are the output paths from daps limited to some sort of specific protocol?

Or are they as it seems, mappable to conventional core audio paths? And if so, why could you just output a 7.1.4 signal from the Mac/core audio over hdmi?

I was also just reading about this Dante Virtual Soundcard. Can DAPS outputs be mapped to a Dante network? Seems like then you could just run a network cable to the avs with an hdmi or optical converter. Or heck, maybe you could output straight to an hdmi cable from the Dante network?

Idk. These are all protocols I’m not super familiar with. But surely there’s some way to do this?
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  #6  
Old 01-06-2022, 06:43 PM
its2loud its2loud is online now
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Default Re: Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

I'm just going to be straight forward and say this so i hope it doesn't offend you.

You're overthinking this. It's understandable since Dobly Atmos can be a daunting thing. You're trying to kill two birds with one stone. Utilize your home theater and also have a Dolby Atmos mixing setup. I get it.

Here are the short answers to some of your questions.

Question "And if so, why could you just output a 7.1.4 signal from the Mac/core audio over hdmi?"
Answer - No. HDMI is limited to up to 8 channels of one-bit DSD audio. Or can transmit and receive and encoded Dolby Digital bit stream.

The Renderer does not output a Dolby Digital encoded signal.

Question "Are the output paths from daps limited to some sort of specific protocol?"

Answer "No, there is no protocol. It's a per channel discreet output. If your interface only has two channels then Dolby Renderer can only physically output two channels.

Moving on to DVS.
You're on the right track here.

Dolby Renderer can use DVS as its "virtual interface" for outputs (with latency). This would give you enough channels to send to your speakers.

However, you either need,
A. Dante enabled speakers
or
B. A Dante converter of some sort to change the Dante signal to analog or digital. There are plenty of these on the market.

Once you get the signal converted to either analog or digital, then you need to send that to either your speakers directly or to an Amp powering all the speakers.

Unless your AV received has PRE AMP inputs and can route 12 channels of audio discreetly to each speaker, you're going to need another way.

I've recommended to someone else trying to do this to use a switching device before the speakers. an A/B input switch. It's on a thread here somewhere.

If you're stuck on the idea that you can just use HDMI to get signal from the Renderer to your speakers you're going to be stuck for a while.
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  #7  
Old 01-06-2022, 07:29 PM
djh108 djh108 is offline
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Default Re: Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

Quote:
Originally Posted by its2loud View Post
I'm just going to be straight forward and say this so i hope it doesn't offend you.

You're overthinking this. It's understandable since Dobly Atmos can be a daunting thing. You're trying to kill two birds with one stone. Utilize your home theater and also have a Dolby Atmos mixing setup. I get it.

Here are the short answers to some of your questions.

Question "And if so, why could you just output a 7.1.4 signal from the Mac/core audio over hdmi?"
Answer - No. HDMI is limited to up to 8 channels of one-bit DSD audio. Or can transmit and receive and encoded Dolby Digital bit stream.

The Renderer does not output a Dolby Digital encoded signal.

Question "Are the output paths from daps limited to some sort of specific protocol?"

Answer "No, there is no protocol. It's a per channel discreet output. If your interface only has two channels then Dolby Renderer can only physically output two channels.

Moving on to DVS.
You're on the right track here.

Dolby Renderer can use DVS as its "virtual interface" for outputs (with latency). This would give you enough channels to send to your speakers.

However, you either need,
A. Dante enabled speakers
or
B. A Dante converter of some sort to change the Dante signal to analog or digital. There are plenty of these on the market.

Once you get the signal converted to either analog or digital, then you need to send that to either your speakers directly or to an Amp powering all the speakers.

Unless your AV received has PRE AMP inputs and can route 12 channels of audio discreetly to each speaker, you're going to need another way.

I've recommended to someone else trying to do this to use a switching device before the speakers. an A/B input switch. It's on a thread here somewhere.

If you're stuck on the idea that you can just use HDMI to get signal from the Renderer to your speakers you're going to be stuck for a while.

No offense taken, this is great. I’m sure I’m overthinking it…or rather I’ve just not been sure about HOW to think about it, so this is clarifying and I appreciate the answers. I’m not at all stuck on hdmi, I just don’t know the ins and outs of how hdmi works, so this is great to learn so now I can rule it out…

Understood on every other point. It’s a simple matter of having 12 outputs, no special protocol.

The receiver in question is a pre/pro, meaning it’s preamps only. And has 14 xlr outs. So covered there.

So assuming I can get it a digital signal to it, I should be good. It has 2 coaxial and 2 optical inputs. A quick google I learned a single coaxial hand only transmit 6 channels, and I presume these inputs can’t be summed into one profile.

BUT, looking closer at the manual….there’s a usb input for “PC audio”….the manual is scant on details, but that sure sounds promising. I’m going to talk to the distributor and see what else I can learn.


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Old 01-06-2022, 07:39 PM
its2loud its2loud is online now
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Default Re: Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

"Understood on every other point. It’s a simple matter of having 12 outputs, no special protocol."

Not quite. You need 12 discreet inputs as well.

The receiver in question is a pre/pro, meaning it’s preamps only. And has 14 xlr outs. So covered there.

So are your speakers powered? Are you using amps?

"It has 2 coaxial and 2 optical inputs. A quick google I learned a single coaxial hand only transmit 6 channels, and I presume these inputs can’t be summed into one profile."

I wouldn't assume this. These are mostly likely switchable, not combinable.

"there’s a usb input for “PC audio”….the manual is scant on details, but that sure sounds promising"

That has some interesting potential but more info is needed. Sometimes that's just a two channel throughput
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Old 01-06-2022, 07:45 PM
djh108 djh108 is offline
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Default Re: Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

Quote:
Originally Posted by its2loud View Post
"Understood on every other point. It’s a simple matter of having 12 outputs, no special protocol."

Not quite. You need 12 discreet inputs as well.

The receiver in question is a pre/pro, meaning it’s preamps only. And has 14 xlr outs. So covered there.

So are your speakers powered? Are you using amps?

"It has 2 coaxial and 2 optical inputs. A quick google I learned a single coaxial hand only transmit 6 channels, and I presume these inputs can’t be summed into one profile."

I wouldn't assume this. These are mostly likely switchable, not combinable.

"there’s a usb input for “PC audio”….the manual is scant on details, but that sure sounds promising"

That has some interesting potential but more info is needed. Sometimes that's just a two channel throughput

Understood I need 12 discreet inputs, that’s what I was getting at (without directly saying) in terms of getting a digital signal there. I’d have to go back and look at the analog input options, but it didn’t seem like that was gonna work at first glance.

I think we’re saying the same thing about the digital inputs. When I say I assume they can’t be summed, I mean I assume that can’t be combined...rather switched between, as you say.

Yes, I had the same concern about the usb in.


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Old 01-06-2022, 08:06 PM
djh108 djh108 is offline
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Default Re: Looping PT+Atmos Suite into consumer Home Theater

Quote:
Originally Posted by its2loud View Post
"Understood on every other point. It’s a simple matter of having 12 outputs, no special protocol."

Not quite. You need 12 discreet inputs as well.

The receiver in question is a pre/pro, meaning it’s preamps only. And has 14 xlr outs. So covered there.

So are your speakers powered? Are you using amps?

"It has 2 coaxial and 2 optical inputs. A quick google I learned a single coaxial hand only transmit 6 channels, and I presume these inputs can’t be summed into one profile."

I wouldn't assume this. These are mostly likely switchable, not combinable.

"there’s a usb input for “PC audio”….the manual is scant on details, but that sure sounds promising"

That has some interesting potential but more info is needed. Sometimes that's just a two channel throughput

Oh and to answer your other question, yes I’m using powered speakers. That’s what led me to the pre pro option in the first place. The main point of confusion for me was understanding what kind of signal I’d be able to send from the computer, and what sort of connection would be able to support it.

And secondarily, if pro tools was gonna react weird to anything, specifically what sort of playback engine I’d end up needing to use. But using audio bridge has assuaged some of those concerns.

But in terms of hdmi, are you sure your info is up to date?

https://www.audioholics.com/audio-video-cables/hdmi-2.1“Thanks to the vastly increased bandwidth of HDMI 2.1, eARC can handle 32 channels of uncompressed audio…”

The device is earc capable…


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