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How do I get Plasma TV Speakers to play through Onkyo 7.1 Receiver?

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#1 of 8 OFFLINE   Jack Sampson

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Posted September 04 2009 - 01:38 AM

Ok I have a panasonic 50" Plasma, PS3, Onkyo 7.1 Surround Sound, and Cable/DVR box. All are connected and work. The TV has 2 hdmi outs: 1 goes from the tv to the dvr, the other goes from the tv to ps3. The ps3 and the dvr both use digital audio going into the onkyo receiver. When I watch regular tv shows I can get sound from the tv speakers and the surround sound. When I watch dvd's from the ps3 I only get sound from the surround sound receiver. How can I get the sound to also come out of the plasma speakers? Thanks.

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted September 04 2009 - 02:24 AM

First, just for clarification - the HDMI ports on the TV are inputs, not outputs.  The HDMI out from the DVR goes to the HDMI in on the TV, as does the HDMI out on the PS3.

It sounds like your DVR is able to pass audio through it's HDMI out and the digital audio out at the same time.  Unfortunately, my understanding is that the PS3 can only have one digital audio output active at one time - either HDMI or digital audio out.  You could try using the L/R stereo RCA jacks from the PS3 to the TV instead.  You probably won't have to change anything in the PS3 settings, since the way you describe things now, the digital audio out is already the active one.

I'm assuming you want audio coming from the TV speakers so that you can watch movies without having to use the receiver, correct?  There really should be no reason to want sound coming from the surround speakers and the TV at the same time.

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#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Jack Sampson

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Posted September 04 2009 - 03:50 AM

Thanks for the reply Jason. Actually I do want to have the audio coming out of the tv and the surround at the same time. It seems the center speaker does not provide enough volume. I have to turn up the receiver volume too high and the neighbors complain. I am trying to get the voice audio louder. The background music and bass overpowers it. Is there something else you can suggest?

#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted September 04 2009 - 04:20 AM

I think you'd have better results by trying to calibrate the speaker levels using your receiver, rather than using the TV speakers to "supplement" the center channel.

The beauty of a surround receiver is that it is capable of splitting different parts of the audio signal to separate channels.  As you noted, the center channel is a particularly important channel as it typically contains most of the dialog.  Your TV doesn't have this capability - at best it has two speakers (stereo) and it simply takes whatever signal is sent to it and splits it down the middle (so to speak).

If you were to compare the sound coming out of your TV speakers to the sound coming out of your receiver's center channel, they would NOT be the same.  The TV speakers would produce a combination of left, center, right, and possibly even the surround channels, too.  When you add this on top of the center channel audio from the receiver, you're simply mudding up the sound, rather than amplifying the center channel audio.

Your best bet is to try turning off the TV audio, and instead tweaking the audio settings from your reciever's setup menu.  Which Onkyo receiver do you have?  Many of the recent Onkyo models have an Audyssey set-up utility that includes a microphone that you plug into the receiver so that it can automatically set the levels of each speaker to a uniform volume. If you've already done this and still feel the center channel is too soft, you should be able to easily bump the center volume up a few notches, and/or reduce the volume of the Left/Right front speakers.

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#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted September 04 2009 - 04:29 AM

As Robert explained so well, there is absolutely no reason to play the TV speakers along with the surround system.  Calibrate the system as Robert suggests; it is the single biggest step you can make for quality sound.  I've said it before - I'd rather have a properly calibrated HTiB than a non-calibrated system costing 10 times more.

#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted September 04 2009 - 04:45 AM

With rare exceptions the built-in speakers in TVs can't be connected to an external amplifier and couldn't handle the signal if they were.  (My JVC set does have a clearly-labled RCA connector marked "Center Channel", but I've never tried to use it.) If you like you can certainly have the TV speakers going at the same time as the Onkyo, but chances are, that's about it.  (Also the result would not be very pleasing to the ear, since there is no way your plasma's built-in speakers are timbre-matched to your front left and right speakers.  So every time the sound pans from left to right in a film, the music, voice, sound effects, etc. are going to change noticeably in tone as they pass from the left to the center to the right speaker.)  

Your other options are 1) To use the "late night" setting, which reduces the dynamic range of the other speakers to tame loud explosions and the like while keeping dialogue loud enough to hear (sadly this only works on multichannel digital sources, so your SD TV channels that come through in analog stereo will be as loud as ever.)  2)  To calibrate the system so that the center channel speaker is set slightly louder relative to the other speakers and thus louder at any given dial position.  Not the ideal solution, but as an apartment-dweller I've found this to be the best compromise for my own viewing. 



#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Ed Moxley

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Posted September 04 2009 - 06:16 AM

If after calibrating the speakers, you still aren't happy, you can disable the center in the receiver's setup menus, and it will create a "phantom center", which will be a lot better than using the tv speakers.

As was said.............the tv speakers play everything, not just the center channel signal. Plus, the tv's speakers don't come close to timbre matching the front left and right speakers. If you're going to use tv speakers, you don't need the surround receiver. Using the tv speakers pretty much makes the surround receiver worthless...............

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#8 of 8 OFFLINE   David Willow

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Posted September 04 2009 - 10:47 AM

In addition to the great advice you've been given by others, I will add that it may be a challenge to sync the receiver with the TV speakers.  While playing sound through both, there could be a very slight delay with one that will cause an echo like sound.  This is very common since the receiver adds additional processing that the TV does not.  We don't notice it with the TV speakers off since it so slight (the lip sync is "close enough").

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