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Best way to set up audio


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#1 of 6 ksb41

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Posted May 31 2011 - 03:47 AM

I am about to set up a home theater system. My question is; is it better to route the sound from my stb dvr, blu-ray dvd and old vcr thru the hdtv and then into the receiver/amplifier via a toslink cable, or should I route each unit individually into the receiver/amplifier.  Obviously, the first option will be easier from an operating point of view, but I am concerned about audio degradation.



#2 of 6 Al.Anderson

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Posted May 31 2011 - 05:17 AM

It's not so much a question of circuitry degradation (which is what I think you're worried about), you lose basically no sound quality in today's circuitry.


The problem is that almost all TVs only pass surround sound out through the digital-out for their tuner signal.  So if the signal is being processed through the tuner, the correct surround signal is passed; otherwise, it only passes stereo.  (There are 
occasionally rumors that some TV passes all signals, but we don't have a list of these TVs.)  Most of us route everything through their receiver.



#3 of 6 ksb41

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Posted May 31 2011 - 06:10 AM

Thanks. I assume if I use the HDMI inputs, (there are 3 on the tv set)  the audio output via toslink to the receiver/amplifier will but fully passed thru, but if I use the component or composite hdtv inputs with analog sound inputs, I MAY get only stereo unless I go directly to receiver with the analog signal. I am trying to minimize having to switch the receiver each time I switch the tv input source.



#4 of 6 Hicks

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Posted May 31 2011 - 06:50 AM

If everything is going through the receiver and then just one HDMI out to the TV then you do have to switch receiver inputs, but you don't have to switch the TV inputs.


Personally I think that this solution is just as easy as going through the TV and you will be guaranteed that the receiver will pass everything in surround (or whatever the native source format is) regardless of whether you use analog or digital inputs.


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#5 of 6 David Willow

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Posted May 31 2011 - 07:21 AM

Thanks. I assume if I use the HDMI inputs, (there are 3 on the tv set)  the audio output via toslink to the receiver/amplifier will but fully passed thru, but if I use the component or composite hdtv inputs with analog sound inputs, I MAY get only stereo unless I go directly to receiver with the analog signal. I am trying to minimize having to switch the receiver each time I switch the tv input source.

No, it doesn't work that way. You would most likely get only stereo in this setup. I would say there's no MAY about it. :D Going through the receiver is usually the best route. For 'operating' ease of use, get a universal remote. With a decent one like (any) Harmony, once it is setup it will automate just about everything.

#6 of 6 Jason Charlton

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Posted May 31 2011 - 07:40 AM


Originally Posted by ksb41 

Obviously, the first option will be easier from an operating point of view...


This is a very common misconception for folks that are new to the concept of an A/V (Audio/Video) Receiver.


I'm sure you would agree that the simplest setup is one where only one device needs to be switched when going from one source to another.  The question then becomes, which device?  The TV or the Receiver?


Since just about everyone who gets a receiver has had to live without one up until that point, it makes perfect sense that they would view the TV as the brains behind their system - after all, that's what they've done until now, simply added devices to available inputs on the TV (and shopped for TVs based on how many inputs they had).


Truth be told, however, while TVs are great at handling the video side of "A/V", they were never designed to fully support the audio side.  There are tons of various audio formats - some analog, some digital.  Some two-channel, some 6 or even 8 channel.  Some encoded with Dolby codecs, others with DTS codecs.  Since adding full support for all of these variables can be expensive, virtually ALL modern televisions (as a failsafe) downmix any and all audio from external sources to simple 2.0 stereo (after all, that's all they really need since all TVs include crummy stereo speakers).


So, using the TV as your switcher, sacrifices all the high-quality digital surround sound audio that your peripheral devices support.


Logically, then, the best place to perform the switching becomes the A/V Receiver.  Doing so preserves the full quality of all your digital (and analog) sources.  The video signal is either passed through unaffected, or in some cases, converted from analog to digital - further simplifying the hookup, as you only need a single video cable for everything (even VHS, and your old Nintendo game systems).


Every device you connect to your system, therefore, can be seen on your awesome TV and heard through your awesome speakers.  You only need to turn the TV on and off - something that can easily be programmed into 99% of the "universal" remotes out there.


Things only start to get complicated when you want it "both" ways - with or without the receiver - to which we most often ask, "Why?"  It's more complicated to connect and operate, and the audio quality is worse.  There's no practical reason for using the TV the way you "used" to.



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