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Panny 520 connections, help please...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Listed below is what I have and how I am currently connected. I would like the best audio possible with this Soundbar. The sound is not terrible at this point, but I feel it could be better. I must say I am a bit puzzled at how the HDMI and Optical audio work together, or maybe they do not. The HDMI connections are straight forward and the Soundbar turns on and off with the TV.

Panny 65GT30 connected by HDMI 1 (ARC), to the Soundbar HDMI AV OUT (ARC).

The soundbar also has an HDMI AV IN that appears to support audio directly from a BD Player.

DirecTV HD box connected by HDMI, to the TV HDMI 2

Panny 310 BD Player connected by HDMI AV OUT Main, to the TV HDMI 3. It also has a second HDMI AV OUT to connect to an amp/rcvr/soundbar.

AppleTV2 connected by HDMI, to the TV HDMI 4.

So; the TV, DirecTV box, BD player, Soundbar and AppleTV also have optical out, which I am not using at this time.

The DirecTV box, BD player and AppleTv are all connected by HDMI to the TV, and then the TV sends audio by HDMI (ARC) to the soundbar for all of the devices.

Would connecting up the optical audio to the sound bar be a better idea? If so, how would I go about it to get the best possible audio result with all of these devices? I have seen three into one optical audio switchers that may be helpful? I am trying to not have to spend extra money on an A/V receiver, if possible.

I guess I can also connect the BD Player to the Soundbar directly by HDMI, as they both have a second HDMI port.

Any help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by sboychuck View Post

Listed below is what I have and how I am currently connected. I would like the best audio possible with this Soundbar. The sound is not terrible at this point, but I feel it could be better. I must say I am a bit puzzled at how the HDMI and Optical audio work together, or maybe they do not. The HDMI connections are straight forward and the Soundbar turns on and off with the TV.

Panny 65GT30 connected by HDMI 1 (ARC), to the Soundbar HDMI AV OUT (ARC).

The soundbar also has an HDMI AV IN that appears to support audio directly from a BD Player.

DirecTV HD box connected by HDMI, to the TV HDMI 2

Panny 310 BD Player connected by HDMI AV OUT Main, to the TV HDMI 3. It also has a second HDMI AV OUT to connect to an amp/rcvr/soundbar.

AppleTV2 connected by HDMI, to the TV HDMI 4.

So; the TV, DirecTV box, BD player, Soundbar and AppleTV also have optical out, which I am not using at this time.

The DirecTV box, BD player and AppleTv are all connected by HDMI to the TV, and then the TV sends audio by HDMI (ARC) to the soundbar for all of the devices.

Would connecting up the optical audio to the sound bar be a better idea? If so, how would I go about it to get the best possible audio result with all of these devices? I have seen three into one optical audio switchers that may be helpful? I am trying to not have to spend extra money on an A/V receiver, if possible.

I guess I can also connect the BD Player to the Soundbar directly by HDMI, as they both have a second HDMI port.

Any help would be appreciated.

To get the best possible full 5.1 audio from your BD player, connect the main HDMI out directly to the soundbar. You won't need the 2nd HDMI out from the player at all. In fact if you're still within your return period you could go with the BDT210. Not sure why you got the 310 unless you had other plans for it. Video from the player passes through to the TV via the HDMI connection FROM the bar to the TV.

As far as ARC vs. optical, you get the exact same output from either. The one thing to be aware of is that it is 2.0 stereo.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply.

So, the video from the BD player will be going through the Soundbar and into the TV from the ARC HDMI on the Soundbar to ARC HDMI 1 on the TV. I get that. That will give me 5.1.

So, there is no way to get better than 2.0 Stereo from the remaining devices (TV, DirecTV and AppleTV2) whether I use HDMI or Optical, to the Soundbar? I am ok with that, if it is not possible. What is limiting the 2.0 Stereo then? I guess that is what puzzles me.

Thanks.
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by sboychuck View Post

Thanks for the reply.

So, the video from the BD player will be going through the Soundbar and into the TV from the ARC HDMI on the Soundbar to ARC HDMI 1 on the TV. I get that. That will give me 5.1.

So, there is no way to get better than 2.0 Stereo from the remaining devices (TV, DirecTV and AppleTV2) whether I use HDMI or Optical, to the Soundbar? I am ok with that, if it is not possible. What is limiting the 2.0 Stereo then? I guess that is what puzzles me.

Thanks.

With only a few exceptions, HDTVs output 5.1 audio from their internal tuners but only 2.0 stereo from devices connected via HDMI to the TV. My understanding is that it's a digital rights issue between content providers and TV manufacturers.

All the streaming Viera content is only 2 ch. anyway. If you happen to watch any OTA content you'd get 5.1 through the ARC connection. For the DirecTV and ATV2, you could get an optical switch, connect optical from both devices to the switch and then the switch to the optical in on the soundbar. Whether the audio would sound all that much different, IDK.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks again.

I have an optical switcher coming and will see what happens. The switcher and cables are pretty cheap. I guess I need to experiment a bit.

Thanks.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Can someone let me know if they think this will work.

Again, I am trying to get better that Stereo out of everything. I already get good sound from the BD Player, as it is connected directly to the Soundbar IN, and then from the Soundbar OUT (ARC) to HDMI 1 (ARC) on the TV. Watched Avatar and very good. D-Nice calibrated my TV and it was stunning in a dark room! Thanks again DeWayne.

I found a 4x1 HDMI Switcher at Monoprice that will support 3D, 1080P and ARC.

I can plug my my FiOS HD DVR, Panny 310 BD Player and ATV2 into the switcher. I can run the output of the switcher into the A/V IN on the Panny 520 Soundbar. I can then run the Panny 520 OUT (ARC) to the HDMI 1 (ARC) on my 65GT30.

Does that sound like it may work, as every device is outputting to the Soundbar? Then the video will travel via ARC to the TV. The audio from the TV will also be outputting to the Soundbar through the ARC connection. Would I need to feed the audio via Optical from the TV to the Soundbar?

The one I am looking at is their Product #7974, and it costs $73.50. If this sounds like a good experiment, let me know your thoughts.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
post #7 of 10
I read the switch description and it appears it should work just fine. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak. And no, you wouldn't need Toslink from the TV as you'll still have the same ARC connection that you do now.

Let us know how it turns out!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the thoughts.

I will give it a shot. They have a good return policy.

They say to use 26 AWG cables, but I am going to give it a shot with their 28 AWG cables (6 ft) that I am currently using. The 24 and 26 AGW cables are sooo thick, I cannot get them into the HDMI connections on the Panny 520.

Well it is an experiment.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well,

I picked up the HDMI Switch from Monoprice that supports 3d and ARC. I also got some of their 24 AWG cables that they say are required with the switch. Below is how everything is connected.

FiOS HD DVR connected to Input 1 on the switch.

Panny 310 BD player connected to Input 2 on switch.

ATV2 connected to Input 3 on switch.

Output from the switch is connected to the HDMI AV In on the Soundbar, with a 90 degree adapter from Monoprice.

Soundbar (90 degree adapter on the Soundbar) HDMI AV Out (ARC) is connected to the HDMI 1 (ARC) on the 65GT30.

This setup works perfect. The sound is sooo much better now as it is not in 2-channel stereo! I have watched content, including 3D on all the sources and the picture is still perfect. This tv has been calibrated by D-Nice (thanks again!) and it is awesome in a dark room with the sound cranked up! ARC works fine. Every once and a while when I switch between sources, I get a pink hue to the tv picture. That is just the switch not playing nice. All I do is just switch to another source and then back, and it is all fine.

In closing, if you want to use a Soundbar only and you want better sound, try the switch with the 24 AWG cables. A Soundbar is not going to sound like a true home theatre and all the extra speakers and AV receiver. I did not need that and this is a wonderful result.
post #10 of 10
Thanks for stopping back and reporting your success! Good to know it worked and I'm sure there will be other people who find your solution helpful.
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