Low-latency receiver

unhappy_mage

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005
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I'm interested in buying an HDMI-capable receiver for the purpose of playing video games. I have a projector which exhibits near-zero input lag, but the Pioneer VSX-1021K that I'm using adds something like 40ms of latency to audio signals that come through it, even in "direct" mode. Which AVR can I buy that will accept video+audio over HDMI, amplify the sound (2.1 is fine), and send on the video signal to the projector with minimal lag?

I used to have an Onkyo TX-SR606 which was much better, but the HDMI inputs on it died, and Onkyo support was unhelpful in getting it fixed (and from Amazon sellers, it looks like other people had this problem). So I'd rather not buy another Onkyo.
 

unhappy_mage

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005
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Last night I tried just about every combination of options on the Pioneer receiver, and I still get a minimum of ~65ms of latency in every setting, as determined by using the Rock Band 3 calibrator. I'm going to borrow my brother's receiver, a Sony STR-DG910, and see if it behaves better; that model is available for about $160 online.
 

e2g

Limp Gawd
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Nov 6, 2007
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472
I wish these guys would focus more on quality parts for sound and video reproduction rather than Airplay this, and Bluetooth that. Even the GUI sometimes is lacking (I have heard good things about Pioneer's GUI).

No good input from me, but I guess I somewhat share your pain.
 

TESLA

Gawd
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Aug 4, 2005
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Additions to the HDMI specification, video processing chips, network and steaming capability, multiple zone support, room correction, etc., will all contribute to a delay.

Unfortunately for gaming situations, for most receivers and processors, even the high end ones, latency is not a concern. In fact, with most receivers I have worked with, audio latency is generally purposefully introduced to keep the audio in sync with the video.

Try to look for receivers with HDMI pass-through only capability. This does not always mean that the receiver simply has a video direct mode, but rather, if latency is a huge concern, you don't want the receiver doing anything with the HDMI signal other than reading the audio stream.

Purely audio receivers with no video processing and straight HDMI pass-through are, oddly enough, difficult to find, but these would represent your best chance at low latency.

Secondly, turn off room correction. Room correction will almost always intentionally introduce small amounts of latency, even in addition to the latency added by processing. Now, for me, room correction is a major part of what makes a receiver a receiver, otherwise its just an HDMI decoder, so you will be losing out, in my opinion, but the fact remains that if you want to eliminate as much latency as possible. This may be a good place to start.

Also, and this relates to a bit of what I said up top, make sure that you turn off any delay features. Again, many receivers will have these options available to sync audio with video. Note, however, that these are here for a reason, you may experience sync issues if you nix this altogether.

As for direct mode, be sure to note that if a receiver is given a 5.1 or 7.1 signal, especially encoded signals, then it may (and in the case of encoded signals will) need to do processing to output a 2-channel signal, even in direct mode. Ideally, if you want 2-channel out, then pass it 2-channel PCM with no encoding.

Lastly, and also in regards to direct mode, direct mode means different things to different receivers. If you want to purchase a receiver for its direct mode, find the manual for any potential purchase online and read up on what this means for that specific product. Sometimes direct will be 1:1, but not always.
 

Bighitter

[H]ard|Gawd
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Why not run HDMI straight to the projector and a separate audio feed? There are devices out there that will strip analog audio from HDMI and then pass the HDMI on to the display.
 

unhappy_mage

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005
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Additions to the HDMI specification, video processing chips, network and steaming capability, multiple zone support, room correction, etc., will all contribute to a delay.
Yep. I've tried turning off all of these things that I could find on the Yamaha receiver, to no avail.
Try to look for receivers with HDMI pass-through only capability. This does not always mean that the receiver simply has a video direct mode, but rather, if latency is a huge concern, you don't want the receiver doing anything with the HDMI signal other than reading the audio stream.

Purely audio receivers with no video processing and straight HDMI pass-through are, oddly enough, difficult to find, but these would represent your best chance at low latency.
I will look for "pass-through" when searching for a device. Between that and analog upconversion, it's a pretty narrow market :(
As for direct mode, be sure to note that if a receiver is given a 5.1 or 7.1 signal, especially encoded signals, then it may (and in the case of encoded signals will) need to do processing to output a 2-channel signal, even in direct mode. Ideally, if you want 2-channel out, then pass it 2-channel PCM with no encoding.
I think RB3 sends stereo PCM audio. I'll check on this if I remember later.
Lastly, and also in regards to direct mode, direct mode means different things to different receivers. If you want to purchase a receiver for its direct mode, find the manual for any potential purchase online and read up on what this means for that specific product. Sometimes direct will be 1:1, but not always.
Yeah, I would probably have looked for a different model if I had done more research, but this was on a deal-a-day site, and it's great for watching movies and such. I'm just not going to buy another one of the same model to play games.
Why not run HDMI straight to the projector and a separate audio feed? There are devices out there that will strip analog audio from HDMI and then pass the HDMI on to the display.
I'd rather avoid analog audio if I can. That would mean I need a 360, an audio stripper, an HDMI switch, and an amplifier to fit in with my other components. If I can find a receiver that will behave itself, it'd be just the 360 and the receiver added.
 

xavierq

Gawd
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Jul 27, 2000
Messages
562
If you were on a PS3 you could use the SPDIF but I believe the 360 only has HDMI or analog. There's probably some kind of inline adapter that will give you two html feeds out, one with audio and one with video, so it's not really an additional component, just a glorified Y adapter.

As far as switching, does your projector support multiple inputs? If so, you'd use the source there as your switch.

EDIT:
Searching on google for an HDMI audio splitter found these $100 devices to do it, which is insane. Searching for a Y adapter found something for a couple bucks that just mirrors your entire signal into to outputs, and you can just ignore the fact that they both hold both signals:

http://www.amazon.com/HDMI-Y-Splitter-Adapter-Cable-Female/dp/B0047BNRJ4

No idea if this degrades the signal or not.
 

thegrinch

Limp Gawd
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Jul 31, 2005
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209
What model 360 do you have? If it's the non-slim one, you used to be able to buy the official HDMI kit which came with an HDMI cable AND (the most important piece) the dongle that attached to the old output port that contains SPDIF and analog connections.

I used to run HDMI video to my TV and use this dongle to connect the optical to the AVR. I'm not sure if this is available on slim models or not...

Edit - this thing:
http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Xbo...G4LW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1335544498&sr=8-2
 

unhappy_mage

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005
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As far as switching, does your projector support multiple inputs? If so, you'd use the source there as your switch.
If I use the projector as a video switch, then I have to switch audio independently, and run N sets of cables up to the projector. Ick.
EDIT:
Searching on google for an HDMI audio splitter found these $100 devices to do it, which is insane. Searching for a Y adapter found something for a couple bucks that just mirrors your entire signal into to outputs, and you can just ignore the fact that they both hold both signals:

http://www.amazon.com/HDMI-Y-Splitter-Adapter-Cable-Female/dp/B0047BNRJ4

No idea if this degrades the signal or not.
I can't see spending $100 for a splitter when a full receiver that decodes audio, and switches video and audio, is only $200 or so.
What model 360 do you have? If it's the non-slim one, you used to be able to buy the official HDMI kit which came with an HDMI cable AND (the most important piece) the dongle that attached to the old output port that contains SPDIF and analog connections.
It's a slim. I understand you can hack up the cable so it works, but I'd rather not do that if I can avoid it.
I used to run HDMI video to my TV and use this dongle to connect the optical to the AVR. I'm not sure if this is available on slim models or not...

Edit - this thing:
http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Xbo...G4LW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1335544498&sr=8-2
Yeah, I saw that adapter. Like I said, I'd rather not run analog audio if I don't have to, but this might turn out to be the best solution.
 

thegrinch

Limp Gawd
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Jul 31, 2005
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209
Just checked my slim and it has a built-in optical port. Maybe I'm not understanding something - how is the optical port "analog" audio? You shoud still get 5.1 from the port...
 

YeuEmMaiMai

Fully [H]
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Jun 11, 2004
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29,860
You are not going to find any receiver with low lag. The reason is that with HDMI you cannot just "strip" the audio out. The receiver receives the HDMI output from the PC/Console and then processes the audio and then creates a NEW HDMI signal that is sent out to the TV. This adds lag. Even HDMI passthrough adds lag when the receiver is off as it too has to take the signal in and then transmit a new one to the TV....

PS3 and 360 both support optical out (360 uses adapter) and you can pass audio that way. Limitation of Optical is you cannot pass anything higher than 5.1

SPDIF and OPTICAL are digital audio streams.....
 
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