HDMI and optical audio at the same time? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-24-2013, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm new to the world of HDMI - in fact, my Denon receiver predates HDMI. I'm wondering if I can use HDMI video out straight to my TV, and use the optical digital audio out to my receiver. Or does plugging into the HDMI from my BluRay/Directv lock me into the HDMI audio signal?
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-24-2013, 09:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gdgates View Post

I'm new to the world of HDMI - in fact, my Denon receiver predates HDMI. I'm wondering if I can use HDMI video out straight to my TV, and use the optical digital audio out to my receiver. Or does plugging into the HDMI from my BluRay/Directv lock me into the HDMI audio signal?

Is there a reason (such as distance) that prevents you from hooking the audio from the Blu-Ray and the DirecTV HD-DVR into the AVR and then the HDMI from both into the TV? That would be the more "normal" method of hooking-up the system. Depending upon your Denon model, you could then use the multichannel analog audio outputs from the Blu-Ray player into the Denon and the optical/coax digital audio from the DirecTV box into the Denon. HDMI would provide the picture to the TV.

To answer your first question, some TVs allow it, some do not. Those who allow it sometimes will only allow 2-channel audio while others will be able to provide Dolby Digital through the optical digital audio output. It is very rare that DTS is sent. In all instances, TrueHD and DTS-HD MA is not sent since the optical digital audio cable does not have the bandwidth to support the high resolution audio signals.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "lock me into the HDMI audio signal". The DirecTV box will have all audio ports active in addition to the HDMI audio. The BD player should also have some other audio signals available but which ones will depend upon the Blu-Ray player model. If you still have quesitons please provide models numbers with your questions.

Welcome to the AVSForum. Not bad for a first append. You might also want to check-out the "owners only" sections for the components you own.
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
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By "lock in" the HDMI audio, I wasn't sure if plugging an HDMI cable into the outputs would disable the other audio outs. Trying it seems to indicate that it doesn't, as you said. Although for some reason, the center channel from any source that has discrete channels is either non-existent or the dialog sounds like it's underwater. Wonder if I somehow managed to reverse the polarity on one end of the speaker wire?

I am running the HDMI straight into the TV, and the digital audio from the Blu-Ray and Directv straight to the receiver. I believe that's what you suggested above, sorry if I didn't clarify that in the OP. I wasn't aware that the optical audio didn't carry the same multi-channel fidelity as the HDMI, looks like it's time to start researching an AVR upgrade. I love my Denon 3805, it's a beast. I have to decide if the improved audio is worth swapping it for a newer model.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 08:03 AM
 
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Unfortunately, there are no multichannel analog inputs on the back of an AVR-3805. So, yes, your only way to get high resolution audio into your system would through HDMI with a receiver upgrade.

As far as the lack of a center channel, it will depend upon the source material. If you want to prove this disconnect the left and right channels and just listen to the center channel (this is easier with banana plugs). Make sure any speaker connections and disconnections are done with the power fully off to the receiver. Without a left/right channel, there should be nothing to destructively interfere. If you still don't have a center channel output, then it is just the source material.
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Actually, the Denon does have analog multi-channel inputs, I've been using them for years with my SACD player.

I think the center channel issue must be either a connection or a problem with the amp itself. It shows the same symptom from all sources, Blu-Ray, DVD and the satellite receiver. It's fine with audio that isn't in 5.1. I even unplugged the HDMI cable to make sure it wasn't interfering somehow.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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That be her. I have the SACD running into the EXT. IN jacks on the lower left.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 11:21 AM
 
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Wow - I am "out of it" from this cold. I never looked for the vertical arangement for the external in's. Sorry about that.

I'd use the external inputs for the Blu-Ray player for the same reason you used it for SACDs. The S/PDIFs will be lossy which is fine for DirecTV (they only send out lossy multichannel) but Blu-Rays have LPCM (and equivalent) that should give you the same experience as an SACD.

Of course all that is moot if the center channel has stopped functioning. Have you tried the 3805's built-in test tones? If the center channel produces a test tone then the amp is working.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Haven't tried the test tones, great idea. It's killing me to be at work right now and not able to fiddle with it. I tried to unplug as few things as possible while swapping out the televisions, so it seems unlikely I fouled anything up that way, but who knows. I think in the end I'll probably find a newer Denon or equivalent on ebay, with HDMI switching included. I could use fewer cables in my life as this "before" photo illustrates.


*
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 01:34 PM
 
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Actually that seems like a lot less cables to me smile.gif

One word of advice, while Denon is my first choice for a receiver, stay away from any refurbished Denon equipment. I don't know who Denon's contractor is for refurbishing the equipment, but they have a poor track record for me. So, only purchase new (and then only from an authorized dealer for the warranty). Many dealers will offer discounts but only if you call them.
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. Hadn't considered refurbished - the 3805 was purchased a couple of years old on ebay from an individual in CA. It has performed flawlessly, but I may have been lucky. Like most things, it seems you get much more for your dollar with AV receivers, so I might just go new this time. Any advice on where the sweet spot is with the current crop of Denons, price vs performance wise? Wattage isn't as important, as my next purchase will likely be a multi-channel amp, possibly Emotiva.
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, one thing that I apparently did disconnect last night (it was late, these things always take much longer than anticipated) was the center channel speaker. Doh! Still haven't decided yet where to put this massive Polk center channel - it won't fit in the stand that a friend donated to the cause. The best thing about the old Mitsubishi rear projection was that it acted as its own furniture.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 03:20 PM
 
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Hit the same problem a few years ago. Took a while to find a stand that had a big enough space under the TV for the center channel. The B&Ws are even bigger than the Polks (unless Polk has changed recently).

The funny thing is that for an LCD or projector, you really don't need a designed-for center channel speaker. The original intent was that a center channel speaker would have extra shielding to prevent interference with the CRT guns. Almost nobody has a CRT anymore but we still use center channel speakers. Now, the size is really the constraint on the center channel.

Good luck on the quest. We ended up finding a TV stand large enough to hold the center channel at Ashley's Furniture, of all places.
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 03:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdgates View Post

Thanks for the advice. Hadn't considered refurbished - the 3805 was purchased a couple of years old on ebay from an individual in CA. It has performed flawlessly, but I may have been lucky. Like most things, it seems you get much more for your dollar with AV receivers, so I might just go new this time. Any advice on where the sweet spot is with the current crop of Denons, price vs performance wise? Wattage isn't as important, as my next purchase will likely be a multi-channel amp, possibly Emotiva.

I've heard the lower end sweet spot is the 1913. The upper end isn't as far "up" as it used to be with the top of the line being the 4520. That one has a built-in matrix switcher for HDMI (2 independent - mostly - HDMI outputs). So, it will likely depend upon what capabilities you want. With an AVR-3805 as what you are used to, I'd bet an AVR-3313 would be about right. The only thing that feels cheaper on the new Denons is the volume knob. Just doesn't have the resistance that the old knobs had when turning.
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-25-2013, 03:35 PM
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on the 3805 front, I ran a 3805 til a came across a 4308 for $500 (used of course). If that price wouldn't have come across, i would a stayed with the 3805 and continued to use the "ext in" to get the lossless audio portion from blu ray. With the relatively cheap and good matrix hdmi switchers that monoprice sells, its pretty hard to justify spending a $1k or so just to get a "small upgrade"... of course, that depends on your needs. Further, I cabled a serial connector on one side for use to an Onkyo avr (919) that I use as an amp (because it has full 5.0 speaker switching for an A and B system)... that same technique can be readily used on the "ext in side" of things along with a serial switch box to provide more than one "input" for your "ext in" IF that is a problem because of multiple input source requirements. Of course, it is nice to have a "switch one thing" only setup for the "wife factor"... :-) so that is a good requirement also.
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