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Bar 48: Dolby Digital Plus support?


KevinB
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Two weeks ago I purchased a new 2019 Samsung Q70R TV and the Klipsch BAR 48 with Surround 3 speakers. Both devices claim to support Dolby Digital Plus.

 

The soundbar is connected to the TV via HDMI-4 which is the HDMI (ARC) connection. The TV recognizes the BAR 48 and the TV sound settings allow me to choose "Receiver HDMI" to direct sound output to the soundbar.

 

The TV also has "Expert Settings" where I can specify the Audio Output Format. The default format is "PCM" but if the source uses Dolby Digital I have the option of selecting "Dolby Digital" or "Dolby Digital+".

 

When I choose Dolby Digital I can hear surround sound (more on this below). When I choose Dolby Digital+ the sound stops and the soundbar goes comatose. Selecting Dolby Digital does not restore the sound. To get things working again I must:

  • Remove power from the soundbar.
  • Disconnect the HDMI cable.
  • Restore power to the soundbar and turn it on.
  • Reconnect the HDMI cable and allow the TV to rediscover the device.

The latest BAR 48 firmware Version: v83 v23 Released: 12/13/2019 does not resolve this issue.

 

So why is Dolby Digital Plus important to me?

  • Dolby Digital uses a lossy compression algorithm and supports a maximum bitrate of 640 Kbps.
  • Dolby Digital Plus also uses a lossy compression algorithm but one that is much more efficient. It supports a maximum bitrate of 6 Mbps and can provide almost CD quality audio.
  • Dolby Digital does not imply surround sound: It supports 1, 2, 4, and 5.1 discreet channels over HDMI or digital (optical) connections.
  • Dolby Digital Plus supports 8-channel (7.1) audio and can down-mix side and rear channels to create 5.1 surround sound when equipment doesn't support 7.1. Dolby Digital + requires an HDMI connection.

 

To experience surround sound from the Bar 48, several conditions must be met. The User Manual, of course, explains none of this.

  1. The Surround 3 speakers have to be connected and working and the volume has to be at a sufficient level to hear them. The Surround 3 speaker volume can be adjusted but the manual included with my soundbar doesn't explain how to do this. Even when the volume of both Surround 3 speakers is at maximum, sound from the speakers is barely audible. Firmware v83 v23 does help considerably. 
  2. The ((SUR)) indicator on the Bar 48 must be on, indicating that sound is being directed to all the appropriate speakers.
  3. The Dolby Digital indicator on the Bar 48 must be on, indicating that multi-channel audio might be delivered to the device.
  4. The audio content must contain audio assigned to all the appropriate channels in order to experience surround sound.

 

I have a case opened with Samsung for this issue but before they will escalate it they want proof that the fault does not lie with the soundbar. Is anybody using a Dolby Digital Plus source with the BAR 48 and, if so, are you experiencing any issues? If it is working as it should, would you care to share the make and model of the device you are using?

Edited by KevinB
Correct Firmware version
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