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How to listen to 5.1 PCM?
20 November 2018
A Beginning
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
20 November 2018
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Hi, Just got the fairly expensive 50th Edition White Album solely for the 5.1 bluray mix but when I listen to it through my 7.1 Onkyo theater system, I don’t hear much in the way of separate sounds coming from the 5 speakers (left/right front, left/right rear and center). I was expecting maybe drums moreso to the front right, bass moreso to the front left and .1 (subwoofer), lead vocals more to the back/left, etc but it just sounds like another stereo mix. Very disappointing so far. Is there a special setting I need to choose on my Onkyo? There are many settings available but I just don’t notice much separation. Oh yeah, the disc is in my PlayStation 3, then into the Onkyo. I know my system works as I play surround sound bluray movies and can clearly hear separate sounds in the 7 speakers (Atmos) on lots of bluray movies but only hearing stereo so far with the Beatles 5.1. If they didn’t really separate things significantly when creating this 5.1, then why did they bother to do it at all?. If the separation isn’t obvious, I’ll return it to Amazon in a heartbeat as the cost is way up there for just another stereo mix.


I have my own home recording studio and can make 5.1 mixes with each instrument/voice panned wherever I want it and was looking for this type of immersion into the center listening position. Almost like Yoko must have heard things as she seemed to always be there in the middle!


Hopefully someone can help me figure this out. I have already started my return on Amazon but would prefer keeping it and hearing from a central location. That would be very cool and round, round, round…two-virgins

20 November 2018
A Beginning
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
20 November 2018
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

OK, nobody is responding so I tried again and found the magical? settings. On the TV screen, at the bottom of the track listings are 3 audio playback options, PCM Stereo and 2 different 5.1 options. When these are selected (highlighted) you can hear more separation but not much as I don’t think they went far enough with separating things. Also I’m not sure if the bluray tells the PS3 to tell the Onkyo which setting to use. There are 6 “Dolby” surround choices but none of them say “5.1”. Hmm..just tried one setting on the Onkyo simply called “multichannel” that sounds fairly spread out. I’ve looked thru the big booklet that comes with the 6 CDs and can’t find any info on getting the most out of the 5.1. Thanx for nothing.


Wild Honey Pie so far has the most separation but that’s kind of a throw away song. Most of the songs seem to just have a different ratio of sounds in each speaker and not what I had expected. I hear some pumping and unnatural separations. Like I think I hear the opening hi-hat on Guitar Weeps moving from speaker to speaker am I supposed to imagine I’m spinning in the middle of the band? I don’t think so. Happiness has a lot of percussion and vocals separated but doesn’t sound natural. Martha sounds pretty good, vocals up front and orchestra behind. My family is going to bed so I’ll have to continue later. So far, not very impressed they separated things enough or logically. Wish they released stems and let each listener do their own mix. The technology has been here to do this for about 15 years. I’m pretty sure that will be the next release of the White Album and may be my next purchase as I’m thinking of returning this as defective/miss represented. I’ll give it a few more listens before I return it and maybe I’ll love it upon future listening sessions. Piggies has some nice separation but the folks want go bed……….

30 November 2018
London Palladium
Forum Posts: 181
Member Since:
14 March 2016
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There are way to many settings on players and amplifiers that need to agree to get the proper sound from what the disc has to offer on it.  I am glad you got something to work though.

Giles Martin, as far back as the 1+ set, wasn’t going for big separation in his surround mixes.  That is just his take on it and how he chooses to mix the songs.  He has never indicated that we will get vocals, drums and/or guitars in discrete channels from him.

"No Beatles collection is too big or age restricted!"

5 December 2018
In my tree.
The Star-Club
Forum Posts: 66
Member Since:
5 July 2015
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I just saw your post and I’m not sure any of us can give you a clear, concise answer without knowing your exact setup.  I think you may be a little confused on some of the terminology as well.

What I can offer is that the PS3 will decode and send your receiver the individual streams (PCM) which your receiver should then output to each speaker.  Ideally, you want your receiver (not the PS3) to do the decoding since that it was it was made for.  I would recommend playing the Blu-ray disc from another player, if possible.

If you are indeed getting the multi-channel mix to play correctly, and you simply don’t like it, well that’s a different story completely.  I would still keep the set since it’s simply incredible.  Plus the Blu-ray has the mono mix and you only need 1 speaker for that one!  Good luck.

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