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PCM or Bitstream For 2.1 Soundbar

PCM or Bitstream For 2.1 Soundbar

We debate here about what to use: PCM or Bitstream for 2.1 soundbar fixtures. And the discussion is necessary because in our generic Bitstream vs PCM analysis, we did not go into specific multichannel fixtures and that is what readers are asking about. Each audiophile has its own settings and we have to go through them.

If you have a 2.1 soundbar, you should set it to PCM and not Bitstream. With Bitstream transmission, the source device (TV, XBox, etc) will transmit compressed audio to the 2.1 soundbar.

For a 2.1ch soundbar, you can use either PCM or Bitstream without any meaningful difference, unless the soundbar supports Dolby Atmos, wherein it is more convenient to choose the Bitstream format.

The advice from the paragraph above is valid only for 2.1ch soundbars. For 3.1ch and over, Bitstream will be the preferred option instead of PCM. This is because PCM will leave your configuration as if you had only a right and a left channel. Bitstream simply transfers more metadata and in more complex fixtures: 3.1 and over, this is importamt.

PCM or Bitstream For Soundbar: Other Audio Channel Settings

The discussion of Bitstream or PCM for other channel settings in soundbars, such as more complex 3.1 or 7.1 fixtures that we can see in media rooms is studied here.
This subwoofer from Creative fits sweetly into a 2.1 multichannel architecture along with a soundbar. Also Creative has one of the cheapest models that, however, sacrifices connectivity a bit.

HDMI Input Audio Format: Bitstream Or PCM

We have an article explaining that in the HDMI Input Audio Format, you must select Bitstream or PCM. As always in HiFi, the answer is “it depends “, but do not worry because we go through many cases there in that post.

Just take into account that HDMI Input Audio Format is a proprietary technology from Samsung to handle audio signals where there is an architecture of several devices connected through HDMI technology.

If you do not have a Samsung TV, or if you do not have an architectural setup of different external devices wired through HDMI, that article is not interesting for you.

PCM Or Bitstream For The Samsung TV