Pioneer VSX-1121-K: Line level output to second amp or best way to drive outside speakers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-06-2012, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently bought a Pioneer VSX-1121-K. Great price, and as a iPhone/iPad user, I love the home media integration and the iPhone remote control app.

One thing I can't figure out, though, is the best way to drive outside speakers.

With my old Sony receiver I used the "Speaker B" terminals and direct wire the outside speakers to the amplifier. This worked, but the volume mismatch between inside and outside was annoying -- it usually meant no music inside, as it would be too loud inside to be just right outside. My solution to that problem was a cheap garage sale tuner/amp connected to line out jacks on the Sony. This gave me independent volume/amplification for the outside speakers and I could run inside/outside speakers at the same time without any problems.

On the Pioneer, the only way I can get audio from a digital source is to direct-wire the speakers using the "Speaker B" setup option. The volume mismatch is less than the Sony receiver, but I'm sure will still be a problem for my "turn it down" wife.

What's frustrated me is that I don't appear to get ANY line level audio out of the pre-amp outputs, and I only get analog source audio when using the Zone 2 line output. Audio from HDMI and optical sources doesn't make it to zone 2 analog at all. The manual and the multiple jacks for different channel pre-amp outputs would lead me to believe the pre-amp outputs supply audio for all sources (digital and non-digital).

Right now I'm toying with other, less optimal options I'd hope I wouldn't need to resort to (ie, my AppleTV will drive HDMI and optical audio outputs simultaneously -- run the optical output from that into the second amp wired to the outside speakers, leave the Pioneer on the HDMI input for this device -- same audio to two amps).
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-06-2012, 11:51 AM
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^^^

your avr will only pass analog sources to the zone... it will not pass hdmi/spdif sources...

this is noted in the manual, although the print can be rather fine... wink.gif

for the atv, you can use a cheapy spdif to analog converter from monoprice...

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my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

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post #3 of 5 Old 06-06-2012, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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The manual is a little thin and vague on some of the connection options and limitations. I did pretty much give up on Zone 2 being usable for that, but what about the pre-amp outputs?

Do those only output analog sources as well?

I'd say about the only thing I'm disappointed in with this receiver thus far is lame audio downcoversion options. Why have Zone 2 or preamp outs if they only support analog inputs on device with 7 HDMI inputs and 4 digital audio inputs? IMHO for audio they should supply downmixed stereo analog audio to all the analog audio ports from all possible digital/multichannel audio sources. I'll buy the idea

It seems like the only place you get it is the speaker B setup, which allows the surround rear to drive a set of B speakers, and only then if you're driving the A speakers as well.
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-06-2012, 03:36 PM
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^^^

yes, analog only.... it doesn't matter whether or not you are using the avr to power zone 2 or using the pre-outs...

until you get to the upper end of avr's (and only from certain cem's), that restriction is consistent...

the reason behind this is because it would require multiple digital paths within the avr itself, which would add a cost to the bill of materials for a feature that very few actually use...

it's always been this way...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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post #5 of 5 Old 12-02-2012, 02:37 PM
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I'm using an Airport Express (from Apple) to get around the analogue source limitation for Zone 2. The Airport Express has a 3.5mm audio output port that you can connect to one of the analogue ports in the avr (e.g. "Analogue In 1 (CD)" ). You'll need a cable that has a 3.5mm plug on one end and 2 RCA plugs on the other. You can then use your iPhone/iPad to feed music to the Airport Express via AirPlay which then feeds to Zone 2.

I just set this up a couple of days ago and it works great. With the 2012 iControlAV app on my iPhone I can control what I play on Zone 2 from anywhere in the house. I must say though that I'm very disappointed with the sound. I'm using a pair of bookshelf speakers (Energy CB-5) and with the volume up past half-way (around -25dB), the volume is very low. The sound quality is also not very good. I'm breaking in the speakers, so later I'll have to figure out if the problem is the avr or the speakers. I wonder if anyone else has run into this problem.

By the way, I also get another use out of the Airport Express. My avr is in my basement and my router is 3 stories up in the attic. I use the Airport Express as a Wifi bridge and connect an ethernet cable from it to the avr, giving me an internet connection for the AVR without having to run an ethernet cable from the attic.
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