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Spero30's avatar
Spero30
New Contributor
5 years ago
Solved

What is "Expert Mode" audio output on the Contour 2?

What is "Expert Mode" audio output on the Contour 2? I've been using 5.1, but I have an Atmos soundbar so instead of continuing to use my Samsung Tv's TV ARC, I hooked my box directly into my Sony HT-Z9F. I had recently done this with my Apple TV when I found out the ARC didn't support Atmos and got a noticable difference, but that was playing Atmos films.

I swear I here a slight difference with the Cox Cable movie channels, but unlike the Apple TV it is minimal and I'm unsure if it's worth keeping the setting or it could ACTUALLY end up being a DETRIMENT further down the line with certain channels and shows. Can someone explain to me the differences between the 2 audio modes? To be clear both work, but Expert mode truly better - Might it it have SOME benefit to an Atmos system? Or could it come back to bite me by automatically switching to a LESSER audio format?

  • My take...

    Auto Detect:  HDMI output based on the capabilities of your connected audio system
    Expert Mode:  The best available Dolby sound will be passed through to your audio system.  Not compatible with...blah, blah, blah.

    There are key words in each description.  Auto Detect states, "...based on the capabilities..." and Expert Mode states, "...passed through..."

    With Auto Detect, Contour will negotiate with your audio device for the best format from within the range of 2-channel Stereo to Dolby Digital 5.1.  This range is basically the standards for cable TV.

    With Expert Mode, Contour will disable negotiation and just pass through the audio data to your audio device.  Your audio device will then decode and separate the audio channels.  I think the "minimal" difference you hear is between Contour and Sony processing the audio.

    To clarify your question, are you asking if Expert Mode could automatically switch to a LESSER audio format?  I wouldn't think so.

    First, we're talking about cable TV.  The most advanced audio from regular TV programs would be DD5.1.  Sony can handle DD5.1, so I wouldn't think your sound bar would dumb down from DD5.1.

    Second, because your sound bar can process Atmos, it has a more advanced audio chipset than Contour; in addition, because your sound bar is designed solely for audio, it has a better audio chipset than Contour.  Meaning, there would be no lesser audio format for your sound bar.

    I would leave it on Expert Mode; however, if you experience issues with audio-video sync, I'd switch to Auto Detect for Contour to set the timing.

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  • Bruce's avatar
    Bruce
    Honored Contributor III

    My take...

    Auto Detect:  HDMI output based on the capabilities of your connected audio system
    Expert Mode:  The best available Dolby sound will be passed through to your audio system.  Not compatible with...blah, blah, blah.

    There are key words in each description.  Auto Detect states, "...based on the capabilities..." and Expert Mode states, "...passed through..."

    With Auto Detect, Contour will negotiate with your audio device for the best format from within the range of 2-channel Stereo to Dolby Digital 5.1.  This range is basically the standards for cable TV.

    With Expert Mode, Contour will disable negotiation and just pass through the audio data to your audio device.  Your audio device will then decode and separate the audio channels.  I think the "minimal" difference you hear is between Contour and Sony processing the audio.

    To clarify your question, are you asking if Expert Mode could automatically switch to a LESSER audio format?  I wouldn't think so.

    First, we're talking about cable TV.  The most advanced audio from regular TV programs would be DD5.1.  Sony can handle DD5.1, so I wouldn't think your sound bar would dumb down from DD5.1.

    Second, because your sound bar can process Atmos, it has a more advanced audio chipset than Contour; in addition, because your sound bar is designed solely for audio, it has a better audio chipset than Contour.  Meaning, there would be no lesser audio format for your sound bar.

    I would leave it on Expert Mode; however, if you experience issues with audio-video sync, I'd switch to Auto Detect for Contour to set the timing.

    • Spero30's avatar
      Spero30
      New Contributor

      Nice explanation! Thanks! I'll keep it in Expert Mode for the slight boost unless I hear any dips in quality. My Atmos sounbar does upconvert 5.1 to "Atmos" (in the same way a 4K TV upconverts 1080p into "4K") and...Ya I'd rather have the the high end soundbar handling the audio decoding than the cable box...

      Thanks again. Feel like I should've remembered about the bar being better at decoding since I'm such an audiophile lol.

      • Bruce's avatar
        Bruce
        Honored Contributor III

        I wouldn't say it upconverts audio because Atmos requires additional, discreet channels for the ceiling-mounted or ceiling-facing speakers.  That's like saying a TV can upconvert HD content to UHD.  It's can't happen because the additional 6.22 megapixels of UHD wouldn't exist in an HD format.

        For example, a 5.1.2 system would have the traditional 5 channels, 1 low-frequency channel and 2 height channels.  A 5.1.4 system would have 4 height channels.  I wouldn't think regular TV programs are encoded with these additional channels.

        Some sound bars can simulate Atmos with up-firing speakers or use a technique known as Virtualized Dolby Atmos for an effect.  Atmos can be tricky to implement because everything in your daisy-chain of components must support it.

  • Spero30's avatar
    Spero30
    New Contributor

    After using it for a while I find auto 5.1 (Auto) is indeed sending only basic 5.1 while Expert mode is still 5.1, but it's still allowing my bar to use sone of it's boosts. That means on MY soundbar the subwoofer bass is slightly tighter and the rear channel surround speakers don't have any sound pollution from the front channels (becuase they have seperate levels I can set on the bar), and MOST INPORTANTLY, and the one thing that's easy to notice, is how the vocal (center) channel is allowing for much clearer speech (Though it's not as noticable for stereo only sources). So while most of the stuff is the same, that clearer voice on most programs is a big plus.