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Blu-ray, TV, intergrated amp - very confusing sound


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#1 of 6 twilightround

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Posted March 24 2011 - 02:44 AM

I just hooked up a home theater system and have a problem with the sound from the TV and the speakers.  Maybe "home theater" is too grand a description, so I'll tell you what it is and then what the problem is.

I have a new Sansung blu-ray, a new Samsung 3D TV, a 3D high def cable box, and a traditional but high-end stereo system.  The stereo system includes two big Snell III speakers, a Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) integrated tube type preamp and amplifier, a Apple TV for wireless transmission of music from my computer, and a DAC from ps audio to connect the Apple to the BAT.

The Blu-ray is connected to the TV by HDMI cable, and to the BAT by audio (analog) cable.


The cable box is connected the same way - to the TV by HDMI, to the  BAT by audio (analog) cable.


All of these connections are among those recommended by the respective manuals.


When I hooked up the Samsung stuff, I found that I could not get the audio from the TV (when playing from the Blu-ray or from the cable box) to sync with the audio through the stereo system.  The timing is slightly off, as if there were a echo, or the whole thing was taking place in a hugh stone cathedral.

There is a menu on the TV that will take my to a screen from which I can adjust a delay in the audio from the TV, but doing so does not cure the problem.


I know that I can play the audio either through the TV and not through the stereo, or through the stereo and not through the TV, but I would like to be able to use both.


I called Samsung's "customer service" people twice and was told by two different Samsung people that the signal travels faster through the HDMI cable than through the audio cable.  My understanding is that the electrons involved travel close to the speed of light in each case, and that Samsung's explanation is either (1) a totally cynical attempt to hoodwink a customer into believing that he can not do what the Samsung manual says he can do, or (2) an honest communication of an astounding ignorance.


I'm hoping that someone on this site will know more about this than Samsung and may be able to help.



#2 of 6 Jason Charlton

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Posted March 24 2011 - 02:57 AM

Let me be sure I understand correctly - are you saying you're using the TV's speakers at the same time as your other speakers?  If this is the case, I would ask why?  Most of us disable the TV speakers completely and rely solely on the much better external speakers.


If that is not the case, and your problem is really an issue of audio/video sync, then there may be some other workarounds to try:


Have you tried disabling any picture "enhancements" on the Samsung display?  Turn off any sort of frame interpolation ("Smooth" mode or equivalent), or if your TV has a "gaming" mode, perhaps give that a try, as that mode generally has any additional image processing disabled in the interest of maintaining sync.


You may also want to go into the setup menus of your Blu-Ray and other devices and set the audio output format to stereo (or whatever options you have that are not bitstream surround encoded).  This will have your BR player do the conversion from multichannel to stereo rather than your TV and may help keep things in better sync.


Edit: In re-reading your post, I'm not crystal clear on how things are currently connected.  Are you running the analog audio connections from each source to your BAT, or are you using the audio out from the TV to the BAT (with the TV getting the audio via HDMI)?


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#3 of 6 twilightround

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Posted March 24 2011 - 01:35 PM

Thank you for the suggestions.  I did try the gaming mode, and thought the sync was a little better, but still not good enough.  There is still an echo or reverberation using the cable box when both the TV and the BAT are putting out audio.  There is even more of an echo when using the Blu-ray.


I am indeed running the analog audio from the cable box to the BAT and from the Blu-ray to the BAT.  I'm running an optical cable from my Apple TV to the DAC and then from the DAC to the BAT.  I also have the Apple TV connected to the TV, but only for video via component cables, so it is not connected to the TV speakers.


I haven't been able to solve the problem, so will probably just use the BAT for audio, disabling the TV speakers, or muting them.  There are some complications - not a big deal, just complications.  My wife is a bit of a news junkie, so the TV is on for many hours a day.  Using the BAT means running it all the time (tubes) or going through several steps to switch from it to the TV.   Also, it means using one more remote, as I would have to switch the input on the BAT every time I go from cable box to Blu-ray to Apple TV to DVD (which I use to show paintings on the TV when it is not otherwise in use).  In the past, I've just used the BAT when the sound was important.


I am  going to try hooking the Blu-ray to the DAC via optical cable and then to the BAT to see if that makes any difference, because I'm curious.  The trouble with that for an actual solution to anything is that it means I will have to run from the Apple TV to the BAT by audio cable, because there is only one optical input to the DAC.  That means that for music I will be using the digital to audio converter that is in the Apple TV, which is no where near as good as the converter in the ps audio DAC.  The only other digital input to the DAC is a coaxial cable, and neither the Blu-ray nor the Apple TV has coax digital out.


It just seems really odd to me that the connections I have made are not compatible, because they are the connections shown in the manuals.  


#4 of 6 twilightround

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Posted March 25 2011 - 03:46 AM

Jason,


I have a possible solution and I'm interested in whether you think it would work.


The Samsung TV has two audio out possibilities.  One is analog cable, one is digital (optical cable).


I have both the cable box and the Blu-ray connected to the TV by HDMI, so that instead of going directly from those components to my amplifier by analog cable, I could take the audio from the TV to the BAT.  I could do that by analog cable.  But the analog route would mean I would be using the DAC in the TV, which is not close to the quality of the ps audio DAC.  So I would prefer to use the digital optical and convert it to analog through the ps audio DAC and then send it to the BAT.  The problem is there is only one optical input on the ps audio DAC and I'm using it for the Apple TV, which is my main music source in this room.

The ps audio DAC does have a coax digital input however.  I looked around and found I could buy an optical to coax converter for about $12 (both digital).  I don't know the quality.  If it works without degrading the signal, I could go from the TV to the DAC by optical/coax, then to the BAT, which would send it through the much higher quality ps audio DAC to the BAT.


What do you think?



#5 of 6 Jason Charlton

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Posted March 25 2011 - 04:12 AM

Hard to say for sure - I would think it might help, but probably not eliminate your problem altogether.


The main issue here is all the "steps" the signal is going through from source to your ears.  Each step involves processing, and some of the signal is subject to more processing than others, hence the out is of sync audio from the TV and from your external speakers.


Again - I have to reiterate that a setup that involves audio coming from the TV speakers at the same time as your external speakers is likely to be nearly impossible to do without there being some sync issues.  It's just not something that is typically done.


This may be a situation where a dedicated two-channel music listening system that uses your tube-based hardware and a separate multichannel system for listening to TV and movies is your best bet (if using the tube system all the time is troubling to you - sorry, my knowledge of that stuff is virtually nil).


Sorry I can't be of more help.


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#6 of 6 twilightround

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Posted March 25 2011 - 04:24 AM

Jason,


Thanks again.  You're probably right about by-passing the TV audio.






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