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I'm back, need some more help

Discussion in 'Home Theater Audio' started by ron mexico75, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 Cool Member

    171
    2
    Jan 7, 2012
    Here it is. From a review of the ST60 by Home Theater magazine May 24, 2013

    "If you expect to connect a soundbar and have the TV perform switching among HDMI sources such as a cable box and Blu-ray player, be advised that the ST’s optical digital audio output you’ll use to feed the soundbar downconverts all multichannel Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams to PCM stereo, which will bypass any DD or DTS decoder built into the soundbar and result in less-than-best sound quality. This practice is unfortunately common to most HDTVs today."

    http://www.hometheater.com/content/panasonic-viera-tc-p60st60-3d-plasma-hdtv

    Just found several reviews of the VT60. Fantastic picture and speakers sound better than most.
    So far not one tested the digital audio out. HT reviewed the VT50 but didn't test the audio out.
    For those that use a soundbar that Samsung may be a better deal. And the VT60 might not
    be downmixing, but it very likely is and most brands/models still are degrading digital audio as
    it passes through the tv.


    Very interesting great information! Thank you for posting that. I wish I had the set up to just add a true 5.1 speaker system and a receiver but I really do not. That is the reasoning with going with a sound bar.

    I am now back at looking at the original sound bar I was going to get the Polk audio 9000 IHT.

    http://amzn.com/B00AQY57AI


    It says it can decode and reproduce Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. It also says many sound bars can decode 5.1 but only reproduce it as two channel stereo. This Polk audio plays back all discrete channels as intended.

    Having read the post above about the optical output on the Panasonic's, now I'm wondering if this Polk audio would be a waste of money and I should just stick with that JBL SB 400.

    http://amzn.com/B00AWTW480
     
  2. kikkenit2

    kikkenit2 Icon

    685
    1
    Oct 25, 2006
    Ron, not sure why you are changing soundbars at this point.
    Let's assume you have a good soundbar/subwoofer set.

    Instead of an amplified receiver this should work.

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=5557&seq=1&format=2

    Just connect all your hdmi inputs to this switch and strip the 5.1 audio from the video.
    Connect the 35' hdmi and 35' toslink audio cable to the outputs and run both to the fireplace.
    Connect the video to the plasma and the toslink audio to the soundbar. The soundbar will
    decode the audio channels properly and amplify the sound. Nothing wasted in the soundbar.

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10229&cs_id=1022901&p_id=2832&seq=1&format=2

    Here is the 35' digital audio cable. Less than $10. They have 40' or 50' also.

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10240&cs_id=1024005&p_id=2742&seq=1&format=2

    35' hdmi almost $30. A few small zip ties and you're done.
    Bypass the tv audio for high quality/piece of mind.
    Now let's find you the right soundbar. How much $$$ you got left?
     
  3. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 Cool Member

    171
    2
    Jan 7, 2012
    Ron, not sure why you are changing soundbars at this point.
    Let's assume you have a good soundbar/subwoofer set.

    Instead of an amplified receiver this should work.

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=5557&seq=1&format=2

    Just connect all your hdmi inputs to this switch and strip the 5.1 audio from the video.
    Connect the 35' hdmi and 35' toslink audio cable to the outputs and run both to the fireplace.
    Connect the video to the plasma and the toslink audio to the soundbar. The soundbar will
    decode the audio channels properly and amplify the sound. Nothing wasted in the soundbar.

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10229&cs_id=1022901&p_id=2832&seq=1&format=2

    Here is the 35' digital audio cable. Less than $10. They have 40' or 50' also.

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10240&cs_id=1024005&p_id=2742&seq=1&format=2

    35' hdmi almost $30. A few small zip ties and you're done.
    Bypass the tv audio for high quality/piece of mind.
    Now let's find you the right soundbar. How much $$$ you got left?


    You are "DA MAN" kikkenit2!!!

    Makes total sense and a very clear explanation. I had no idea something like that even existed. I emailed the installer with what you said and a link to that switcher with optical out to see what he says.

    Man you have been a HUGE help. Not only with recommending that switcher with optical to overcome the downgrade on sound that would occur passing through the tv. But, also backing it up with those articles. You're right, I doubt the VT60 passes 5.1 if the ST60 doesn't.

    Now like you said, how much more money do I have to spend? Well I like the $549 price on that JBL SB400 but.....................I'd be willing to spend $250 more for that Polk 9000 IHT if its worth it.

    I'm thinking it might be unless you or someone else can convince me otherwise. The reason I say it might be worth it is because I definitely want a sound bar I do not want to do separate speakers and receiver. More importantly, the specs on Polk audio's website as well as Amazon state that it does reproduce 5.1 rather than downgrading it to 2.1. If I am going through "all the trouble" to get that special switcher, don't you think I should buy a sound bar that actually reproduces the 5.1 rather than 2.1?
     
  4. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 Cool Member

    171
    2
    Jan 7, 2012
    Also, how reliable are those switches with the optical out? Been reading some reviews and they seemed to be mixed with it working some of the time or just dying within a few days out of the box.
     
  5. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

    7,212
    388
    Jun 26, 2010
    Texas City, TX
    Am I confused ?
    I thought the whole idea behind the soundbar was to Avoid running cables.
    Now you are adding cables and switches, etc.
    ??????????
     
  6. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 Cool Member

    171
    2
    Jan 7, 2012
    Yes it was to prevent running speaker wire to a center speaker tower speakers and surround sound speakers as well as a pretty big price tag for a good receiver.

    Having the HDMI switch would just entail running one HDMI cord to the TV. All the other HDMI cables would be "jumper cables "probably no more than 3 feet and would all run behind the bookcase on the same set of shelves. The only other table would be an optical digital cable going from the switcher into the back of the sound bar that could be run right along with the single HDMI cord going to the TV.

    I do not want tower speakers on each side of my fireplace a huge center channel speaker on the mantle plus rear surroundsound speakers and then having to run and conceal wires to all of those.

    This HDMI switch would go on the shelves with the Blu-ray Apple TV and DirecTV receiver. The only cables that would need to be run are the single HDMI and the single digital optical which I think can be concealed very easily.

    I just want the best set up without any downgrade in sound that's why I was inquiring about using a switcher with an optical out cable Rather than running the sound out of the TV into the sound bar. From my understanding most TVs do not reproduce very good audio If using the digital optical out.
     
  7. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

    7,212
    388
    Jun 26, 2010
    Texas City, TX
    Go to a store that is close by that sells them, like a Best Buy, and see what some sound like.
    You can't tell by reading about them and what others think.
     
  8. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 Cool Member

    171
    2
    Jan 7, 2012
    I wish I could but Best But only has the lower mid level ones or the extreme high level $2000 speaker bars. Im looking fior the upper mid level. Like the JBL SB400 or the Polk 9000IHT. NOBODY has these. Its always, samsung, bose or low mid level Klipsch.
     
  9. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

    7,212
    388
    Jun 26, 2010
    Texas City, TX
  10. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 Cool Member

    171
    2
    Jan 7, 2012
    thanks for your help Jimmy
     
  11. kikkenit2

    kikkenit2 Icon

    685
    1
    Oct 25, 2006
    The top rated 5.1 soundbars go for $2k and up.

    Even though you can't find it in stores (bummer)
    the Polk 9000 is probably the best choice if you are
    willing to spend $800.

    http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Surround-Bar-9000/dp/B00AQY57AI
    It was reviewed very well by audioholics. They do better reviews than most.

    http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/satellite/polk-audio-surroundbar-9000-5000-iht-pre
    And the home theater website review looks good too.

    http://www.hometheater.com/content/polk-surroundbar-9000-iht-soundbar-ht-labs-measures
    If that is too expensive that Klipsch 3.1 soundbar for $650 looks second best.

    http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-HD-Theater-SB-Soundbar/dp/B0092QGSHM
    Otherwise for less money the other models you discussed are the best choice.
     
  12. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 Cool Member

    171
    2
    Jan 7, 2012
    Oh yeah I know. I was looking at a definitive technology which was $2000. Ha! Yeah right, I would NEVER spend that on a sound bar.

    So you think the Polk huh? The one thing that intrigues me is the fact it actually does 5.1. Now I would assume that in order to get the most out of that, I need to go from an HDMI switch with optical out rather than using the optical out in the tv right?
     
  13. kikkenit2

    kikkenit2 Icon

    685
    1
    Oct 25, 2006
    I can't find any confirmation on that model. I just searched for reviews on models
    ZT65, ZT60 & the VT60. None of them even try to connect a soundbar. The only
    info we have to go on is the review of the ST60 by Home Theater.

    The built-in audio of the ZT60 & VT60 is 2.1 stereo. Not a good sign.
    That means they are downmixing 5.1 to 2.1 for the onboard speakers.
    So they just send that same downmix to the audio out. Until recently
    there were no 5.1 soundbars and no big demand for 5.1 out.

    When researching TV's I never even cared about onboard sound.
    I send audio to my tv through hdmi, but I don't use. A receiver with
    a basic 5 bookshelf speaker with 1 subwoofer setup sounds so much
    better. Most tv reviews pretty much reflect this. It is 99% about the
    picture. That is where Panny plasmas excel.

    When researching soundbars I came across a decent Sonos for $700
    from Amazon. Then I realized the wireless subwoofer was $700 also.
    Wrong budget. When I scrolled down to the reviews, the very first one
    had a huge rant about this very thing. Most new TV's are downmixing
    the output. This quote is from the text in the first review. And the link
    is where I copied it from. I'm not the only person that knows about this.

    "Here's the issue though: Sonos says they want you to use your TV as a hub, all the inputs going to the TV and then optical audio out from the TV to the Playbar. Great idea - but the problem is that most TV's won't pass Dolby Digital (DD) 5.1 surround from HDMI to the digital/optical audio. If it's from the TV itself (such as Netflix on a smart TV) or input directly from the coaxial cable it will pass 5.1 through the optical port BUT not from HDMI. This is either required to be HDCP compliant or is a licensing/cost issue (not sure). There are a few tv's that do this but they're few and far between and hard to verify.

    So if you have multiple sources (say an Xbox 360, Blu-Ray player, Apple TV, etc) there's no way for those sources to ever deliver 5.1 to the Playbar as Sonos intended (assuming you add a sub and some Play:3's to the mix). And you can't wire multiple inputs directly to the Playbar because they have a single input for the sake of simplicity. Normally I'm fine with this, but in light of the limitation with HDMI => optical pass through on TVs this became an oversight to me upon learning about the pass through issue. You can solve this by finding a TV or receiver that does pass through DD 5.1 through the optical audio, but you shouldn't have to. Alternatively you can use an optical audio switch, which is fine most of the time but may not work with a blu-ray player since Playbar lacks DTS support and are also limited on inputs, but this doesn't solve what to do for certain devices that don't have an optical audio port (e.g. most computers, Wii U, etc).

    In the end you're left with a system that is capable of producing much better sound (especially if a sub and some Play:3s are added) that most everyone won't be able to hear and results in this not sounding as good as it costs. And that's just a shame to me." Quoted from William B. Partridge March 8, 2013


    http://www.amazon.com/PLAYBAR-Soundbar-Wireless-Speaker-Streaming/dp/B00AEMGGU2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374786171&sr=1-1&keywords=sonos+soundbar
     

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