Soundbar and receiver help - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a VSX-822 and I'm trying to hook up a Harmon Kardon SB16 soundbar to it. I've connected the soundbar to the receiver via the optical cable but I get zero sound from it. The optical input says "optical assignable", but I don't know where to program it. Is the optical where the soundbar receives the audio out? I'm new to this. When I put the system to Cable I get the clear picture on my tv coming from the cable box but zero sound. The sub connects wirelessly to the soundbar so there's no wires to connect to the receiver. I'm not sure that this receiver is built for a soundbar.
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post #2 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 06:46 AM
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Unfortunately, you have the wrong type of soundbar. For use with your receiver, you need to get either one which has speaker binding posts or one which has an HDMI input (for connecting to your receiver) and an HDMI output (for connecting to your TV).

The optical input connection on your soundbar is intended to be connected to a TV's optical output, not to a receiver. The optical connection on your receiver is an input. It is only for signals going into the receiver. Your receiver does not have any optical output.

You can try connecting the optical cable to your TV, but you'll only get stereo audio. Also using it that way, there's no need for a receiver at all if you have enough connections on your TV for all of your player devices (Blu-ray player, game console, computer, etc.)

Sorry.

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post #3 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I'll take it back and get one that likes hdmi I guess. Thanks so much for your advice.
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post #4 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 09:54 AM
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If you will be connecting the soundbar to a receiver, look for a passive soundbar.

We are here to help you. Please help us to help you. If you provide incomplete information, at best, we can give you an incomplete response.
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post #5 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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So the receiver's not pushing the speakers so the watts of power that thing is supposed to push is irrelevant if the soundbar is coming from the tv at that point right? So would you replace the receiver or the soundbar? The back of the receiver doesn't really seem optimized for a soundbar. But then the soundbar only has optical or Red/white connections...so are both of them kinda crappy at this point? Should I change to a receiver that likes soundbars and a soundbar that has hdmi?
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post #6 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Doctego, I'll make sure I look for that.
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post #7 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 10:41 AM
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I notice you also posted in the Audio Theory section, but I don't think you're understanding the responses you're getting both there and here.

An active soundbar is a type of receiver. They are meant to be used in place of an AVR, not with an AVR. So your choice at this point is keep the soundbar you have and unplug the AVR and put it away. OR,
return the soundbar and select either discrete speakers or a passive soundbar. Passive soundbars are usually L/C/R bars and connect to the speaker terminals on your AVR just like discrete speakers. The choice is yours, but what you have right now is not going to work out and getting a different active soundbar to use with the AVR is no better.
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post #8 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcheez View Post

So the receiver's not pushing the speakers so the watts of power that thing is supposed to push is irrelevant if the soundbar is coming from the tv at that point right? So would you replace the receiver or the soundbar? The back of the receiver doesn't really seem optimized for a soundbar. But then the soundbar only has optical or Red/white connections...so are both of them kinda crappy at this point? Should I change to a receiver that likes soundbars and a soundbar that has hdmi?

You are either getting the power from the receiver (with a passive soundbar) or from the soundbar (active). What you do from here depends on your needs. Can you not use the receiver and just connect the soundbar to the TV? If you have another room for the receiver, you can always use it and keep the active soundbar. If this is the only place for the receiver, you will either need to get speakers or use a passive soundbar.

My experience with passive soundbars is extremely limited but I fail to see how HDMI connectivity alone matters at all.

We are here to help you. Please help us to help you. If you provide incomplete information, at best, we can give you an incomplete response.
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post #9 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Possumgirl. That's what I'm needing. I don't know audio really so you're advice is extremely appreciated. I'll head back and just return the AVR and save the money. Thanks again!
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post #10 of 18 Old 05-09-2013, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Doctego
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-30-2013, 07:07 PM
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I have an existing surround sound setup, but the reciever is old and has no hdmi inputs or outputs and only optical inputs.  I am trying to find a sound bar that will allow bluetooth to hook up to it.  I want to try the passive method so that I can leave my existing setup of my av equipment running to the tv and change the optical cord running from my tv to my reciever to run to the soundbar and then the sound bar to the reciever.

 

The reason I am trying to do this, is because I have the reciever hooked up to A + B speakers and would like my bluetooth to hookup those speakers as well.

I would rather have the sound bar run the volume for all the devices, I am just not sure how to search on the internet to find a soundbar with these capabilities.  Any suggesstions?

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post #12 of 18 Old 01-02-2014, 02:02 PM
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As possum girl explained earlier, you are approaching this incorrectly. A passive sound bar, like earlier units from Def Tech, are simply speakers. You can not add blue tooth to these as they are passive devices, no electronics.

If you purchase an active soundbar with blue-tooth, this does not have a line level output to feed your receiver. You need to either replace your reciever or decide to use an active sound bar with blue-tooth for your primary setup.

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post #13 of 18 Old 07-24-2014, 11:46 PM
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This thread was extremely educational but I still have questions. Let me layout my setup 1st. I have an Onkyo 709 which I am currently using with a passive in ceiling speakers - Front High Right, Front High Left, Surround R, Surround L, Surround Back R and Surround Back L. I have an audio source amp powering the surround back speakers. I also have a passive dayton audio LCR bar which the Onkyo feeds but I want to replace that with a Vizio 54 inch 3 Channel Active soundbar http://store.vizio.com/s5430wc2.html. My Onkyo has LCR pre outs but the Vizio only has LR inputs which has me in a conundrum. I want the receiver to control volume after the initial setup so do I downmix the LCR pre outs to LR and feed that in to the Vizio soundbar or should I take the hdmi out from the receiver feed it to HDMI in on the soundbar and feed the hdmi out from the soundbar to the TV. Please let me know what you guys think. Thanks a lot in advance.
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post #14 of 18 Old 07-25-2014, 08:43 AM
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I think you might be making it more complicated than it needs to be.

Hopefully you're using the receiver's Audyssey room calibration. If the receiver does not detect any sound when it outputs the calibration tone on the center speaker's channel, it'll automatically configure itself to send the center channel audio to both the Left and Right Front speakers. That's the configuration known as "phantom center".

If you don't use Audyssey, you can disable the center channel manually in the receiver with the same results.

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post #15 of 18 Old 07-25-2014, 10:31 AM
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Yes I am using Audyssey and thanks! this definitely helps. Just to confirm, you would prefer doing a phantom center configuration over HDMI? The only thing I am not sure is if I do HDMI, will I be able to control the volume just through the receiver.

Also, I am assuming a phantom center would be better than using this -> http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Conso...ch+rca+adapter It is bidirectional and I should be able to convert LCR to LR but based on what you said, it seems that the receiver would do this on its own. Let me know what you think. Thanks again, I really appreciate the advice.
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post #16 of 18 Old 07-25-2014, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky77uk View Post
Yes I am using Audyssey and thanks! this definitely helps. Just to confirm, you would prefer doing a phantom center configuration over HDMI?
I'm not sure what you're asking. Without a real center speaker,the receiver has to generate a phantom center channel. It doesn't matter what kind of interconnections you're using to get the audio into the receiver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky77uk View Post
The only thing I am not sure is if I do HDMI, will I be able to control the volume just through the receiver.
No, you won't. The HDMI cvonnections on soundbars usually use ARC (Audio Return Channel) to receive tha audio from a TV. That kind of configuration is intended to be used when you have just a TV and a soundbar, with no receiver involved at all. (i.e. the soundbar would be plugged into the TV's ARC HDMI connection.) No receiver provides an ARC output signal on any of its HDMI outputs, only an ARC input on its TV HDMI input (just as a soundbar does). I can't be entirely sure that's how this soundbar works. The info on the page you referenced seems to claim otherwise, but it's too abbreviated for me to be certain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky77uk View Post
Also, I am assuming a phantom center would be better than using this -> http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Conso...ch+rca+adapter It is bidirectional and I should be able to convert LCR to LR but based on what you said, it seems that the receiver would do this on its own. Let me know what you think. Thanks again, I really appreciate the advice.
Unfortunately, I have no experience with such an adapter cable. However, it looks like it requires three cables using stereo-minijacks to get the input audio, so you'd need additional RCA-to-minijack cables to use it with a multichannel receiver.


Here's a vague connection diagram. This configuration would let the receiver control the volume.

(tv, blu-ray, etc using HDMI, S/PDIF or analog) ---> (709 [controls volume] ) == [left, right front preamp outputs]==> soundbar

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post #17 of 18 Old 07-25-2014, 03:19 PM
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Thanks again for clearing up the HDMI issue as it is important for me to control volume ONLY from the receiver so the HDMI option then goes out of the window. As far as the LCR to LR adapter is concerned, yes I was going to get RCA to minijack cables from monoprice. I was just asking if there was a difference between this approach and the phantom center configuration. As you mention, in the absence of a center channel out, the receiver would push center on the LR channels. However, if I took LCR preouts from the receiver, downmixed it with this adapter and then passed it back on to the soundbar, is that a better route to go. I guess, I will just have to try and see how it goes. I wonder if I should dump this active soundbar idea and go back to my passive dayton audio LCR bar.
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post #18 of 18 Old 07-28-2014, 11:33 AM
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Sorry, I really don't know which would be better. The cables aren't very expensive to try. Personally, I'd probably be biased toward a passive soundbar since you want to use it with a receiver.

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