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Thread: German radio migrating to AAC on 19.2E

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    German radio migrating to AAC on 19.2E

    An upheaval in German public radio on 19.2E is taking place this month, with a move from mp2 and AC3 encoding to a new transponder with AAC-HE encoding (although the relevant web pages call it AAC-LC). With the accompanying reduction in bit rates (from 320 Kbit/s to 160 or 256 kbit/s for stereo, and -- by the look of it -- 448 kbit/s to 320 kbit/s for surround), the change will free a transponder for other uses. The old services are to be discontinued on July 20.

    However, I'm wondering what's going to happen to the surround sound (5.0 and 5.1) broadcasts from these stations. Because of Covid, there aren't many of them just at the moment, but one was carried yesterday afternoon by BR-Klassik -- a station which for some years has provided AC3 and mp2 streams in parallel, even when in plain stereo. However, when I checked its new transponder, I found that both audio streams were in stereo only -- though one was at 160 kbit/s and the other at 320 kbit/s.

    Could this be because the engineers hadn't finished plugging up the network? Or is it more likely that not all DVB receivers can process multichannel AAC? Since the only surround transmissions I've met up to now have been in AC3 or AC-3+, I've no way of telling. But the surround-sound broadcasts from Germany are a stunning experience, and I would rather not lose them.
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    Multichannel AAC is a problem for a lot of STBs - I don't think I've had one that can play it. Its a pity because it should be higher quality than AC3. I would choose 2 channel Mpeg over 6 channel AC3 given the choice.
    Zgemma H7S running OpenVIX 5.4, Darkmotor, Triax TD110 dish, Inverto Black Ultra dual lnb
    LG 50UM7450 4K TV, Pioneer VSX-534 AVR , LG UBK80 4K Bluray & a Playstation 4.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronand View Post
    I would choose 2 channel Mpeg over 6 channel AC3 given the choice.
    Up to now, we have had that choice with German radio. Myself, I've no complaints about 5.0 sound at 448 kbit/s (which is more than the BBC offers, even on TV). And they certainly know how to do a music balance over there.
    GigaBlue UHD Quad 4K (Unicable + multiswitch DiSEqC 1.1/1.0 system); Octagon SF4008; Vu+ Solo4K; Edision OS mio 4K; Inverto Multibox SAT>IP; Wavefrontier toroidal dish

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    I've at last got found a solution to this problem, using a GigaBlue UHD Quad 4K. In its Video & Audio Settings menu, AAC Downmix must be set to Passthrough -- but in addition, PCM Multichannel must be set to Yes. If you then tune to BR-Klassik (12265 MHz H, 19.2E) and use the Audio button on the remote control to select AAC-HE Surround, you should hear the test stream, a recording of Beethoven's Leonora No 3 overture in 5.0 sound on a loop -- either that or an actual broadcast.

    The two other receivers I've been able to try don't do this. My Vu+ Solo 4K has a shorter Video & Audio Settings menu which does not in include the PCM Multichannel setting. Its Audio button brings up the AAC-HE Surround stream option, but selecting it produces only silence. On the Octagon SF4008, the Video & Audio Settings menu is even shorter -- it does not have an AAC setting, although the receiver happily plays the AAC stereo sound on French TV channels and Hungarian radio. If I select the AAC-HE Surround stream on BR-Klassik, it plays, but only as a stereo mixdown.

    All these receivers are running OpenVIX v5.4.016.

    Presumably there are other receivers which can play AAC surround correctly, but I can see no obvious way of knowing which.
    GigaBlue UHD Quad 4K (Unicable + multiswitch DiSEqC 1.1/1.0 system); Octagon SF4008; Vu+ Solo4K; Edision OS mio 4K; Inverto Multibox SAT>IP; Wavefrontier toroidal dish

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcy View Post
    I've at last got found a solution to this problem, using a GigaBlue UHD Quad 4K. In its Video & Audio Settings menu, AAC Downmix must be set to Passthrough -- but in addition, PCM Multichannel must be set to Yes. If you then tune to BR-Klassik (12265 MHz H, 19.2E) and use the Audio button on the remote control to select AAC-HE Surround, you should hear the test stream, a recording of Beethoven's Leonora No 3 overture in 5.0 sound on a loop -- either that or an actual broadcast.

    The two other receivers I've been able to try don't do this. My Vu+ Solo 4K has a shorter Video & Audio Settings menu which does not in include the PCM Multichannel setting. Its Audio button brings up the AAC-HE Surround stream option, but selecting it produces only silence. On the Octagon SF4008, the Video & Audio Settings menu is even shorter -- it does not have an AAC setting, although the receiver happily plays the AAC stereo sound on French TV channels and Hungarian radio. If I select the AAC-HE Surround stream on BR-Klassik, it plays, but only as a stereo mixdown.

    All these receivers are running OpenVIX v5.4.016.

    Presumably there are other receivers which can play AAC surround correctly, but I can see no obvious way of knowing which.
    I have no issue playing this service on my Zgemma receivers as well the Giga4K. Interestingly, the h9combo offers HE-stereo and HE- surround
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    Quote Originally Posted by twol View Post
    I have no issue playing this service on my Zgemma receivers as well the Giga4K. Interestingly, the h9combo offers HE-stereo and HE- surround
    That's useful information -- thank you. However, it's puzzling that all these receivers report the audio mode as AAC-HE when the ARD sources say it's AAC-LC.
    https://www.br.de/unternehmen/inhalt...tellit100.html
    GigaBlue UHD Quad 4K (Unicable + multiswitch DiSEqC 1.1/1.0 system); Octagon SF4008; Vu+ Solo4K; Edision OS mio 4K; Inverto Multibox SAT>IP; Wavefrontier toroidal dish

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    Thanks for the notice of the transponder change. I manually searched for the new transponder and could update my favourites. As I have no surround but downmix AAC I get my 2-channel stereo sound.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcy View Post
    I've at last got found a solution to this problem, using a GigaBlue UHD Quad 4K. In its Video & Audio Settings menu, AAC Downmix must be set to Passthrough -- but in addition, PCM Multichannel must be set to Yes. If you then tune to BR-Klassik (12265 MHz H, 19.2E) and use the Audio button on the remote control to select AAC-HE Surround, you should hear the test stream, a recording of Beethoven's Leonora No 3 overture in 5.0 sound on a loop -- either that or an actual broadcast.

    The two other receivers I've been able to try don't do this. My Vu+ Solo 4K has a shorter Video & Audio Settings menu which does not in include the PCM Multichannel setting. Its Audio button brings up the AAC-HE Surround stream option, but selecting it produces only silence. On the Octagon SF4008, the Video & Audio Settings menu is even shorter -- it does not have an AAC setting, although the receiver happily plays the AAC stereo sound on French TV channels and Hungarian radio. If I select the AAC-HE Surround stream on BR-Klassik, it plays, but only as a stereo mixdown.

    All these receivers are running OpenVIX v5.4.016.

    Presumably there are other receivers which can play AAC surround correctly, but I can see no obvious way of knowing which.
    Check you have the latest build loaded on the boxes where PCM Multichannel is missing as it was only fixed recently. But anyway some boxes don't have that option in the drivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcy View Post
    That's useful information -- thank you. However, it's puzzling that all these receivers report the audio mode as AAC-HE when the ARD sources say it's AAC-LC.
    Maybe the labelling just lumps it all together.
    AIUI an AAC-HE decoder will happily decode an AAC-LC stream. That certainly how it used to be anyway, but there does seem to be more variations on AAC now than there used to be.
    Zgemma H7S 2x28.2E, 1xFreeview

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcy View Post
    Up to now, we have had that choice with German radio. Myself, I've no complaints about 5.0 sound at 448 kbit/s (which is more than the BBC offers, even on TV). And they certainly know how to do a music balance over there.
    I've watched films on BBC1 HD where the sound was 5.1 channel AAC at about 320kb/s.
    Zgemma H7S 2x28.2E, 1xFreeview

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    Quote Originally Posted by BefuddledBrian View Post
    I've watched films on BBC1 HD where the sound was 5.1 channel AAC at about 320kb/s.
    Freeview uses AAC for HD channels, Freesat uses AC3.
    GB Quad Plus, Mut@nt HD51, AX HD61, 80cm dish and Supreme Dark motor. Sony STR-DN 1060, Sony UHP-H1 Bluray, Odroid N2+ (CoreElec), Monitor Audio Bronze 5.1 speakers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huevos View Post
    Check you have the latest build loaded on the boxes where PCM Multichannel is missing as it was only fixed recently. But anyway some boxes don't have that option in the drivers.
    My AX61 does not have the PCM multichannel option, but my old GB Quad+ does. Most AV surround amps will not decode an AAC stream if passed through from the box, so you need a PCM option (or downmix) if you wish to listen such a setup.
    GB Quad Plus, Mut@nt HD51, AX HD61, 80cm dish and Supreme Dark motor. Sony STR-DN 1060, Sony UHP-H1 Bluray, Odroid N2+ (CoreElec), Monitor Audio Bronze 5.1 speakers

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