Receiver audio configuration question!

Retsam

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Ok. So I could use some help by someone experienced.

I kind of like being able to just turn my receiver on to hear sound output from it regardless of source used.

So instead of lets say connecting multiple HDMI/etc connections to the receiver and then switching the receiver source every time(a pain in the ass), I decided to do the opposite of connecting all devices to the TV instead and then use the digital optical audio output from the back of the TV to the receiver. This way I can switch between my cable box, blu-ray player and computer TV-out and not have to worry about changing the source on receiver every time.....

My question is, was this a good idea and am I affecting sound quality in any way shape or form by doing this versus connecting to my receiver first? I wouldnt think so but I wanted to get some input. Any drawbacks to this?

Thanks!
 

toast0

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So... in a perfect world, you would just connect everything (including video) to your receiver and switch sources on the receiver and not on the TV; I'm guessing there's some reason that you're not doing that, so you have to switch in two places... more info there would be helpful, although there are plenty of valid reasons; but if you only have to switch in one place, I don't see a big difference between switching on the tv and switching on the receiver?

There are two main issues with passing everything through the tv's optical out. A lot of TVs won't pass through anything but stereo audio from any source other than the built in tuner; so all your surround sound information could be gone. A second issue is that the SPDIF protocol doesn't have enough bandwidth to do lossless 5.1, so if your tv is able to pass through the surround sound, you're not going to get lossless audio; in practice, most people can't hear the difference between lossless audio and the lossy codecs at standard Blu-Ray bitrates, but it probably turns on a cool blue light on your receiver.
 

Procyon12

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if your devices and receiver have hdmi-cec it will switch automatically.

regardless, if you do it the 'normal' way, you never have to switch inputs on your tv. so either way you only have to hit one input button. how is switching the source on the receiver more of a pain than switching the source on the tv?
 

Retsam

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So... in a perfect world, you would just connect everything (including video) to your receiver and switch sources on the receiver and not on the TV; I'm guessing there's some reason that you're not doing that, so you have to switch in two places... more info there would be helpful, although there are plenty of valid reasons; but if you only have to switch in one place, I don't see a big difference between switching on the tv and switching on the receiver?

There are two main issues with passing everything through the tv's optical out. A lot of TVs won't pass through anything but stereo audio from any source other than the built in tuner; so all your surround sound information could be gone. A second issue is that the SPDIF protocol doesn't have enough bandwidth to do lossless 5.1, so if your tv is able to pass through the surround sound, you're not going to get lossless audio; in practice, most people can't hear the difference between lossless audio and the lossy codecs at standard Blu-Ray bitrates, but it probably turns on a cool blue light on your receiver.
Just for a little more info, this is a brand new receiver I got for Christmas. My parents found an open box pioneer elite vsx-50 for $200 at Bestbuy of all places. I have literally like less than an hour of experience with it.

No, what I was saying is id rather switching sources on the TV and not the receiver. Essentially im just trying to minimize how many remotes and steps are needed when changing sources. Its pretty quick doing it with my TV remote so, id rather do that step.

Ok, thats kind of what I wanted to know. I wasnt sure if the sound that comes from the TV via optical audio would lose information or not... How would I find out if the audio coming from the TV optical out is only stereo or not?


if your devices and receiver have hdmi-cec it will switch automatically.

regardless, if you do it the 'normal' way, you never have to switch inputs on your tv. so either way you only have to hit one input button. how is switching the source on the receiver more of a pain than switching the source on the tv?

My previous receiver was, very very old.

So youre saying you dont normally have to switch inputs on the TV either? How do you manage that? All I am trying to do essentially is minimize the amount of remote controls and steps needed when switching between TV, blu-ray player, and tv-out from computer. Ill have to look into ways to have it set up to automatically switch, I wasnt aware it could do that. As far as I know, theres no way a TV is going to automatically switch to lets say, TV-output from the current source.


Thanks for the help guys.
 
Last edited:

Schro

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There are two main issues with passing everything through the tv's optical out. A lot of TVs won't pass through anything but stereo audio from any source other than the built in tuner; so all your surround sound information could be gone. A second issue is that the SPDIF protocol doesn't have enough bandwidth to do lossless 5.1, so if your tv is able to pass through the surround sound, you're not going to get lossless audio; in practice, most people can't hear the difference between lossless audio and the lossy codecs at standard Blu-Ray bitrates, but it probably turns on a cool blue light on your receiver.
This is why you don't want to use the TV->Receiver pathway.

I think your hassle problem can be solved by investing in a smart remote, such as a Logitech Harmony series (pick the one that fits your needs). I have a pair of Harmony 880s, and they have significantly increased the WAF (wife acceptance factor) of having scads of gadgets attached to the TV.

Basically, you use a program on your computer to configure the remote, and you tell it what activities you want to do, then you assign devices and inputs to those activities. Once programmed, there will be buttons on the remote that say "Watch TV" or "Watch Bluray" or whatever you want them to say. You hit one of those, and it will go off and turn the TV on, receiver on, set everythign to the right input and then pat itself on the back. If something doesn't work right, you hit help, and it runs you through a troubleshooter. Very much worth the investment.
 

Retsam

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This is why you don't want to use the TV->Receiver pathway.

I think your hassle problem can be solved by investing in a smart remote, such as a Logitech Harmony series (pick the one that fits your needs). I have a pair of Harmony 880s, and they have significantly increased the WAF (wife acceptance factor) of having scads of gadgets attached to the TV.

Basically, you use a program on your computer to configure the remote, and you tell it what activities you want to do, then you assign devices and inputs to those activities. Once programmed, there will be buttons on the remote that say "Watch TV" or "Watch Bluray" or whatever you want them to say. You hit one of those, and it will go off and turn the TV on, receiver on, set everythign to the right input and then pat itself on the back. If something doesn't work right, you hit help, and it runs you through a troubleshooter. Very much worth the investment.

Alright. I do have a universal remote with verizon fios which I hit 1 button and it turns on my cable box and tv at the same time, im pretty sure I can program the receiver as well. I also know the receiver remote can also be used to program multiple devices on it.. I havnt heard of that logitech remote but I may check it out.

On the other side of this, I am only(currently until I move out), using 2.1 setup for 2 speakers and a sub and/or with headphones. I may not need more than 2.1 audio anyways. Thanks for the info though.

Is it true that all TV's only pass stereo sound through digital optical output? My TV is fairly new. Is a digital optical output capable of losses sound?
 

qbanb8582

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Ok. So I could use some help by someone experienced.

I kind of like being able to just turn my receiver on to hear sound output from it regardless of source used.

So instead of lets say connecting multiple HDMI/etc connections to the receiver and then switching the receiver source every time(a pain in the ass), I decided to do the opposite of connecting all devices to the TV instead and then use the digital optical audio output from the back of the TV to the receiver. This way I can switch between my cable box, blu-ray player and computer TV-out and not have to worry about changing the source on receiver every time.....

My question is, was this a good idea and am I affecting sound quality in any way shape or form by doing this versus connecting to my receiver first? I wouldnt think so but I wanted to get some input. Any drawbacks to this?

Thanks!
This is a bad idea. You're loosing sound quality in more ways then one. For one most TVs only pass 2 channel audio out of the optical from input devices HDMI or component. It can decode dolby digital if the content is the TV's digital tuner. So from you cablebox and blu ray you're not getting any true surround sound.

Also optical has less bandwidth then HDMI so you're sacrificing sound quality as well. So it is better to have things plugged into HDMI going to the receiver. Then you have the option to send lossless to the receiver and achieve better sound. Wether it be LPCM, DD True HD, or DTS-HD.

If switching is your problem you can install an HDMI switch which can do auto switching in between the devices and receiver. Or get a Harmony remote and you can program each device to switch the input for it.
 

Retsam

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This is a bad idea. You're loosing sound quality in more ways then one. For one most TVs only pass 2 channel audio out of the optical from input devices HDMI or component. It can decode dolby digital if the content is the TV's digital tuner. So from you cablebox and blu ray you're not getting any true surround sound.

Also optical has less bandwidth then HDMI so you're sacrificing sound quality as well. So it is better to have things plugged into HDMI going to the receiver. Then you have the option to send lossless to the receiver and achieve better sound. Wether it be LPCM, DD True HD, or DTS-HD.

If switching is your problem you can install an HDMI switch which can do auto switching in between the devices and receiver. Or get a Harmony remote and you can program each device to switch the input for it.
Well fair enough and the previous posters already stated this. Keep in mind I havnt had a receiver yet for my TV in my room, so I had no other option but to plug devices to the TV and use TV speakers. Surround sound isnt a big issue since I only have 2 speakers for my receiver. The only part I am concerned about are my great Sennheiser HD558 headphones. I am unsure if stereo vs surround sound for headphones would yield different experience.
 

qbanb8582

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Well fair enough and the previous posters already stated this. Keep in mind I havnt had a receiver yet for my TV in my room, so I had no other option but to plug devices to the TV and use TV speakers. Surround sound isnt a big issue since I only have 2 speakers for my receiver. The only part I am concerned about are my great Sennheiser HD558 headphones. I am unsure if stereo vs surround sound for headphones would yield different experience.
If your doing stereo the difference would be minimal. Yes the sound quality would be better through HDMI compared to optical it wouldn't be that big of a difference.

In a surround sound setup the difference would be more significant.
 

Retsam

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If your doing stereo the difference would be minimal. Yes the sound quality would be better through HDMI compared to optical it wouldn't be that big of a difference.

In a surround sound setup the difference would be more significant.
Thats what I figured. Thanks. Its good to know that optical audio output is only stereo though.
 

XenIneX

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What make/model TV do you have? I ask, because newer TVs support HDMI ARC -- Audio Return Channel -- which means that the TV can pass audio back to the receiver over HDMI. If your TV supports it, all you'd have to do is get an HDMI 1.4 cable for the receiver-TV run and set the receiver to the TV input (and possibly fiddle with HDMI-CEC...).
 

Retsam

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What make/model TV do you have? I ask, because newer TVs support HDMI ARC -- Audio Return Channel -- which means that the TV can pass audio back to the receiver over HDMI. If your TV supports it, all you'd have to do is get an HDMI 1.4 cable for the receiver-TV run and set the receiver to the TV input (and possibly fiddle with HDMI-CEC...).
It is a fairly new TV. I just upgraded it. It is a Samsung 6 series LED 46" TV from Samsclub, I forget the exact model number. It definitely does support Anynet + (HDMI-CEC).

What is also interesting here is, in my manual for the TV I was reading, it actually says it supports 5.1 sound from the digital audio optical output so.... I should be perfectly find in what im doing then. Appreciate the input and help.
 

Procyon12

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It is a fairly new TV. I just upgraded it. It is a Samsung 6 series LED 64" TV, I forget the exact model number. It definitely does support Anynet + (HDMI-CEC).

What is also interesting here is, in my manual for the TV I was reading, it actually says it supports 5.1 sound from the digital audio optical out.
only for ATSC feeds. not for HDMI feeds. guaranteed. thats what we meant. 99% of TVs will support 5.1 for the ATSC feed. we were talking about the HDMI.
 

Retsam

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only for ATSC feeds. not for HDMI feeds. guaranteed. thats what we meant. 99% of TVs will support 5.1 for the ATSC feed. we were talking about the HDMI.
Im not sure what you mean by that. ATSC is?

What it says in the manual I am staring at right now is(and this is under the Digital audio out (optical) heading) is that quote: "5.1 CH audio is available when you connect the TV to an exeternal device supporting 5.1 CH."
 

qbanb8582

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Im not sure what you mean by that. ATSC is?

What it says in the manual I am staring at right now is(and this is under the Digital audio out (optical) heading) is that quote: "5.1 CH audio is available when you connect the TV to an exeternal device supporting 5.1 CH."
ATSC means you're using the TV's tuner. Meaning you're using a cable/antenna hooked to the TV.
 

climber07

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One solution to your problem is surprisingly simple. It doesn't involve your receiver, the inputs, or anything else for that matter...

Go out and buy a Logitech Harmony One remote. Once you program the remote (with your PC) all you have to do is press a button and the inputs, outputs, audio streams, video, etc, are changed. It takes a couple of days of using and tweaking, but once you get the programming done, it's a great tool.

The Logitech Harmony One is the best purchase I have ever made.
 

Retsam

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One solution to your problem is surprisingly simple. It doesn't involve your receiver, the inputs, or anything else for that matter...

Go out and buy a Logitech Harmony One remote. Once you program the remote (with your PC) all you have to do is press a button and the inputs, outputs, audio streams, video, etc, are changed. It takes a couple of days of using and tweaking, but once you get the programming done, it's a great tool.

The Logitech Harmony One is the best purchase I have ever made.
Yeah I see. Youre like the third person to tell me that heh. Ill look into it.
 

Procyon12

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Yeah I see. Youre like the third person to tell me that heh. Ill look into it.
you dont really NEED to do that if you have an HDMI receiver. no offense man, but i still dont see how pressing 1 button on the AVR is more difficult than pressing 1 button on the TV.
 

matteos

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Ok. So I could use some help by someone experienced.

I kind of like being able to just turn my receiver on to hear sound output from it regardless of source used.

So instead of lets say connecting multiple HDMI/etc connections to the receiver and then switching the receiver source every time(a pain in the ass), I decided to do the opposite of connecting all devices to the TV instead and then use the digital optical audio output from the back of the TV to the receiver. This way I can switch between my cable box, blu-ray player and computer TV-out and not have to worry about changing the source on receiver every time.....

My question is, was this a good idea and am I affecting sound quality in any way shape or form by doing this versus connecting to my receiver first? I wouldnt think so but I wanted to get some input. Any drawbacks to this?

Thanks!
I do this too, the only possible drawback is not getting TrueHD on blu rays, to me that isn't important at all. That is if your TV supports 5.1 out through optical, all the TVs I've owned have done this, some don't I guess, depends on what you have.
 

dandragonrage

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Never use the audio out on a TV for anything except the integrated tuner. It won't support anything compressed, and may also not do multichannel PCM (if it's S/PDIF then it definitely can't do multichannel PCM).

Why do newbies all seem to think this is an acceptable idea...? If you don't like extra steps then buy the right remote (Logitech Harmony series, or use macros on a cheaper remote) instead of half-assing your setup. Or use a power strip that either has a 12v trigger (your receiver has to support it for this method - this is what I do though) or switches most of its outlets based on current sensing on one outlet. So you could turn the TV on and the receiver turns on that way, or the other way around. My setup is much more complex (including a DVDO video scaler, an external crossover and amp for my front speakers and stuff) and all I have to do is turn on my receiver and my source. Everything else turns on and switches automatically. Using the TV to switch anything does not fit into this equation whatsoever.
 
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