Originally Posted by mbyrnes
thanks for the update. I see you are not quite there yet, but watching you figure all this out is very helpful for me. You are asking basically asking every question I would. Good luck and hopefully you get to audio nirvana soon!
Managed to tinker for a couple hours today. It's proving to be an interesting problem. Looking like a bit of a catch-22 from my end while at the same time somewhat of a solution.
1. Original idea was to somehow amplify the AX720 using the existing AVR. The catch here is the AX720 only as an optical and headphone out. My AVR only has optical out along with the normal assorted inputs. Therefore the only way so far is to use the AX720 as the source, pipe it into the AVR and out its headphone jack to the headphones. The best (and only) idea is via RCA stereo Y jack into the AX720 volume controller, then RCA inputs L and R, let the AVR amp everything and pipe it out into the headphones and workable volumes.
I haven't done this yet. I need to get the Y jack first. My main concern is that the AVR headphone circuit will stop processing the DOLBY decoding from the AX720 and send the signal out to the headphone's as simple stereo. My AVR does have "SOURCE" and BY-PASS" settings which I am not familiar with and from quick reading appears to me to be for things like DVD players / other but direct to the speakers. This is the big question I think and can only be tested by actually doing it. I will get the jack and give it a go.
It's a catch-22 because there is no Optical out on my AVR, this would (may ) solve the problem and because the AX720 only has Optical in and nothing out (besides via the headphone/volume controller). I now see where "proper" mixmaster's like the ASTRO and now some of these new ones recently posted come into play. They have Optical out as well as in, component L and R in and out (one or the other), where ideally the solution would be if I had either on mine, use the AVR as the "hub", XBOX into the AVR, Cable into the AVR, and then Optical out into the AX720 and into the headphones. If the AX720 had any other input, I think something could also be done. Just reading the ASTRO they advise to use the REC out on the AVR etc.
So in this case I am limited by the out of my AVR and the in of the AX720. With the remaining posibility of the Y jack via both the headphones. Still to be test. Which leads me to the somehwhat of a solution. My TV.
2. My TV is now the "hub". Very new model, and it does have an Optical out. Now the trick is of course, always deal with the SOURCE directly when possible.
a) Xbox goes into the TV via component
b) Cable goes into TV via component
Comes out of the TV via its Optical into the AX720 and into my new headphones.
Somewhat tricky though. At first the sound was as before, very low. What I found is my actual HD DD cable box has internal settings: master volume and audio type (wide normal narrow).
On the box itself is a volume control, I cranked that. An improvement of maybe 20%. Flicking through the audio type setting, narrow boosted it to a total of 50% increase!
So indeed somewhat of a success. Just acceptable to watch a HD 5.1 movie with the headphones. Everything maxed out it's workable (for now).
I tried it with the AX720 headphones, and the volume is the same as with my 990's so it's not the Ohms of the phone.
XBOX (game) is fine, as it was directly into the AX720 before.
Music is still not. Not sure what the problem there is, using via Windows Media Center on a PC via ethernet.
I am wondering if there is a Master Volume for that somewhere as well. Again not clued up on it at all.
No music CD's on hand to test if directly in the Xbox there is a difference, and just tried my USB stick into the XBOX, if course it doesn't fit in the back. I'll pick up a cheap music CD tomorrow along with the Y jack to try that.
If the music on the game is loud is it the recording of the music files on the PC via the Media center? Not convinced about that because a full blown 9gig 1080p movie DVD iso is equally as soft sounding (via the media center).
I can see lots of minor issues either routing.
If the sound is clean and nice via the Y jack into the AVR and out to the headphones, I am going to need a couple optical splitters:
XBOX---splitter to AX720 and to AVR (when I want to through the surround of the AVR)
Cable---splitter to AX720 and to AVR (when I want to listen to movies with the headphones)
Here my understand is the 8$ optical splitter is one way. So I would need an input combiner in the back of the AX720 (optical from cable and xbox going in). However reading suggests it can work both ways provided you use or have one thing on at a time, otherwise you then need a proper (and more expensive actual switch).
A lot of jumping around switching things around or on and off.
As of now with the TV as the "hub" its just a matter of turning down the volume of the AX720 or switching it off when listening via the AVR. Hardly an isse there.
There's one other that I forget a time of writing.
Clearly the very best solution is to have an AVR with Dolby Headphone technology built in. Pity I wasn't as interested in all of this earlier as mine is only 6 months old and could have got it. Otherwise lots if wires and 200 dollar mix amps and 200 dollar headphones would be the requirement or so far for nothing extra if your AVR has optical out or your TV does, as 1 above (this with the AX720 amp).
I think even with all the planning in the world and researching and discussing its still impossible to get it right the very first time. You just got to bite the bullet and start somewhere.
If I could just tweak the volume somewhere somehow, I can live with it as setup, I need to check other cable service boxes. What is the actual specification / no. to look at to see if something has sufficient audio output? Is the XBOX actually amplified? There's obviously something inside the cable box since it has its own volume and own sound settings. There must be something inside the XBOX if you can switch sound types and the volume of the games so far as better than sound coming out of the cable box.
What are those numbers and where can they be found?