Need help adding headphones to a home theater setup - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-09-2013, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a soundbar w/ a subwoofer (Sony HT-CT150) hooked up to my plasma TV (Panasonic TC-P50U50) via HDMI ARC. I also have a cable box, Blu-Ray player, and an Xbox 360 hooked up to the soundbar via HDMI, so that the soundbar acts as a switcher. How can I add a wireless headphone to this system? Neither the TV nor the soundbar have headphone jacks.

I would like to be able to use headphones from time to time so that I don't disturb neighbors with the bass during certain times of day. How could I connect headphones to my setup, and get quality sound? Would I need to to connect an amp or DAC to my TV via digital optical? Or would I have to rewire my peripherals?

Here are the connections for the soundbar and the TV:

TV:

HDMI ports qty: 2
Input/Output connections:
HDMI - Rear,
1 x USB 2.0,
Composite video / component video input (RCA phono x 3),
Audio line-in,
(Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm),
1 x (TOSLINK)
Video interface:
HDMI,
Component,
Composite

Soundbar:

Connections:
1xHDMI output-Rear,
3xHDMI input-Rear,
2xSPDIF input-Rear,
1xSPDIF input-Rear,
2xAudio line-in-Rear,
1xDigital Media Port-Rear
Coaxial Digital Input: Yes
Optical Digital Input: Yes

Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-09-2013, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Could I do this:

-Connect all peripherals to a headphone amp using optical digital
-plug headphone jack into headphone amp
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-10-2013, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone have any advice? As you can tell from my setup, I'm not the most informed when it comes to audio systems. Some general advice or recommendations would be welcome.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-11-2013, 07:06 PM
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You should post at Head-fi.org. If it can be done, they will know how.
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-11-2013, 07:47 PM
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If the soundbar is doing the switching, then you want audio out of it. The only output form the soundbar is HDMI, so it'd take a receiver or some other kind of powered smart electronics to reprocess the audio and downmix it to stereo for your headphones. This doesn't sound easy - maybe not even possible.

The alternative, as you suggested, is to get stereo analog audio from each source and route it to a headphone amp. Then you have a switching nightmare.


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post #6 of 13 Old 03-11-2013, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, the subwoofer component of my soundbar system acts as a switcher and receiver in this case. Someone on the Head-Fi forums suggested getting a separate receiver. Could I just hook all the peripherals to the separate receiver, and send an output from the separate receiver to the soundbar system?
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-12-2013, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCactus View Post

I have a soundbar w/ a subwoofer (Sony HT-CT150) hooked up to my plasma TV (Panasonic TC-P50U50) via HDMI ARC. I also have a cable box, Blu-Ray player, and an Xbox 360 hooked up to the soundbar via HDMI, so that the soundbar acts as a switcher. How can I add a wireless headphone to this system? Neither the TV nor the soundbar have headphone jacks.

Wireless headphones are IME a very worthy addition to a system like yours. I happen to use some Sennheiser RS-170 wireless digital headphones with my system and I am very pleased with the results. I had a pair of RS 140 analog headphones before that and the digital models are IMO well worth the extra money.

In general wireless headphones can be plugged into any typical line level RCA jack output, such as is commonly found on TV sets. That was certainly true of the two pairs that I have had.

According to http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/TC-P50U50?t=specs your TV has the required kind of output jack. The wireless headphones have an AC plug that powers their base station. Only the TV and the wireless headphones need to be turned on to listen to anything playing on the TV.
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-12-2013, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Wireless headphones are IME a very worthy addition to a system like yours. I happen to use some Sennheiser RS-170 wireless digital headphones with my system and I am very pleased with the results. I had a pair of RS 140 analog headphones before that and the digital models are IMO well worth the extra money.

In general wireless headphones can be plugged into any typical line level RCA jack output, such as is commonly found on TV sets. That was certainly true of the two pairs that I have had.

According to http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/TC-P50U50?t=specs your TV has the required kind of output jack. The wireless headphones have an AC plug that powers their base station. Only the TV and the wireless headphones need to be turned on to listen to anything playing on the TV.

How good would the audio be, since it's coming directly from the TV?
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-12-2013, 12:50 PM
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^^ Better than your soundbar biggrin.gif I have the same wireless headphones, the audio quality is quite good.

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post #10 of 13 Old 03-12-2013, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCactus View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Wireless headphones are IME a very worthy addition to a system like yours. I happen to use some Sennheiser RS-170 wireless digital headphones with my system and I am very pleased with the results. I had a pair of RS 140 analog headphones before that and the digital models are IMO well worth the extra money.

In general wireless headphones can be plugged into any typical line level RCA jack output, such as is commonly found on TV sets. That was certainly true of the two pairs that I have had.

According to http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/TC-P50U50?t=specs your TV has the required kind of output jack. The wireless headphones have an AC plug that powers their base station. Only the TV and the wireless headphones need to be turned on to listen to anything playing on the TV.

How good would the audio be, since it's coming directly from the TV?

Good question. I suspect that most TV line outputs are pretty good and tapped off well before the tinny speakers. They are typically just stereo which is good for headphones.

Let's put it this way, it costs nothing extra to hook the headphones directly to the TV, and if that doesn't work out, you can always spend more and add more equipment.

The point is that you don't need any extra hardware to get a good useful sound at the worst.

I did eventually go the add-on route and added an 30 band equalizer to get the headphone sound more to my liking.
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post #11 of 13 Old 03-12-2013, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I think I will try out one of the Sennheisers. I was actually looking at those earlier. What would you recommend between the RS170 and the RS180? The RS180 is open, so I'd assume that the sound quality is supposedly better, while the RS170 has simulated surround sound and bass boost. Are those features worth it?
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post #12 of 13 Old 03-13-2013, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCactus View Post

Well, I think I will try out one of the Sennheisers. I was actually looking at those earlier. What would you recommend between the RS170 and the RS180? The RS180 is open, so I'd assume that the sound quality is supposedly better, while the RS170 has simulated surround sound and bass boost. Are those features worth it?

Actually I mistyped, and the wireless headphones I have are RS160s. They lack the features you mention.

The simplified transmitter that the RS160 was a little off-putting for me as I was familiar with the stand-type transmitter from my earlier analog set.

It turned out that velcroing the transmitter puck to the top of my equipment cabinet made it very useful.

The features you mention appear to be things that are easy enough to turn off. I would probably be prone to turn the surround thing off.

As far as the bass boost goes, I eventually added the super-equivalent of that feature with the 30 band stereo equalizer. It is an older Rane unit that is out of production. A modern equivalent would be $200-400. The headphones were OK without it and I used them that way for several years.

Being able to tune the overall sound to suit my tastes better has made me much happier. Interestingly enough I recently obtained a pair of wired HD 380s which I use for different purposes. Their sound without equalization reminds me a lot of what I accomplished with the RS 160s and the equalizer.
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post #13 of 13 Old 03-14-2013, 08:17 AM
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Sony makes a wireless headphone ( MDR-IF240) set that plugs into any analog RCA out put, and most tv's can have it set up analog out variable or fixed with speakers off or on. I use this on every TV I had in the last 10 years and have 5 in use right now.
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