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Splitting Digital Coax Audio to Two Receivers? Better method for complicated setup?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
So my bedroom setup has gotten pretty complicated due to the setup in the house before I moved in. Here is what I inherited when I moved in:

-dvi cable poking out of the wall
-the dvi cable runs to the bathroom on top of some cabinets

-a tv mounted in the bathroom (I replaced the tv and wired hdmi to the same location as where the DVI runs)

-a mounted center channel beneath and in wall right and left in the bedroom
-two speakers in the bathroom ceiling
-two speakers in a den down the hall
-two speakers in the ceiling of the bedroom
-all 9 speakers lead to a utility closet down the hall

In order to connect those all together, the receiver sits in the closet and the sources sit in the bathroom on top of the cabinets (wtf, right?). To send audio to the closet, there is one coax, which I use to feed digital coax from directv, appletv, and bluray. In order to get them into one cable, I have an HDMI switch with a digital audio out that i plug them all into. Then from there, I attached a splitter that outputs it to both TVs (both are 1080p so it matches up).

Here is my issue: Since the receiver can only do analog for zone 2, I have to put the other speakers in the "rear" and play them as 5 channel stereo. Even then, since the bedroom has a middle channel or for some reason, not all of the front sounds come out of the bathroom speakers. In fact, most of it doesn't. I'm thinking of splitting the digital coax that goes into the receiver so that I can put a second receiver and plug the additional bathroom and den speakers into the second receiver's front. Then they'll get true 2.0 sound while the bedroom can get 3.0 or 5.0 sound. Will this work? How else could I do this? Might I suffer from timing issues with two different receivers?
Edited by Superfluous - 6/7/12 at 12:52pm
post #2 of 5
There's a good chance your receiver has a some sort of multi-channel stereo mode that sends the same thing to front and rear speakers. Part of your problem though may be simply that you have too many speakers attached the same speaker terminals. Having more than one speaker attached to given speaker terminal without using impedence matching is dangerous, and even with it the volume level is going to be diminished f you're trying to drive three sets of speakers at once.

Splitting the coaxial digital audio cable sould work, but if it doesn't for some reason there's a good chance you can daisy chain the receivers together. If either current or new receiver has a (probably optical) digital audio output then use it to connect it to the other. The currently selected digital audio source (optical or coaxial) will get sent out the digital audio output.

There wouldn't be any additional delay caused by daisy chaing the receivers like this, but it's likely that the two receivers will slightly different delays in decoding and processing the digital audio. It's hard to say how bad it will be, but it could be noticable.
post #3 of 5
In regard to the optical out option, I thought I tried that on my Pioneer VSX-1121 but didn't get any signal, although maybe I wasn't using it with an optical input at the time. Like the thread author, I was trying to feed a second amp and finding out that there basically is no analog out for any digital source. My short-term solution was to move the optical out from my AppleTV to my second amp, although it means I can only play music on the deck through that device. Speaker B isn't an option due to volume mismatches between inside/outside -- inside is always too loud this way.

[soapbox]

IMHO it shouldn't be that hard for AVR vendors to offer *at least* front channel output at line level for ALL source inputs. Ideally they would also offer it as a L/R stereo downmix of ANY source in ANY surround mode. They do this for headphones, so the circuitry is already in the amp, they just need to feed this source to a pair or 3 of line outs at the right signal level.

My own long-term solution to this will probably be hooking the Speaker B terminals to an AudioControl LC2i line output converter so I can amp all possible sources to my outside speakers. But it's a kludge as it's a car audio product requiring it's own 12v PSU.

I sometimes wonder if this isn't a "the circuitry is too complicated and nobody wants this" situation but a "we needed an HDMI license and we had to promise not to provide any non-copy protected analog output of any digital sources" kind of tinfoil hat conspiracy.

[/soapbox]
post #4 of 5
Actually the circuitry isn't in the receivers to do this. While the headphones, speaker terminals and pre-outs (if any) can all use any source, these are all outputs affected by the same volume control. What you want is a line-level fixed volume output which needs to go before the volume control, DSP effects and any other processing the receiver does. The receiver needs a distinct path for digital audio where its only decoded, downmixed and then run through a seperate set of DACs.

Copy protection shouldn't be an issue, although manufacturers might mistakenly think it is. HDCP allows protected audio to be output as unprotected analogue audio, otherwise receivers wouldn't be able to drive their unprotected speaker terminals.

High-end Denons had a similar feature were thier zone 2 outputs could use a coaxial/optical audio source, but they dropped in this year's models. If we're lucky we might see this feature in some of the new 2012 high-end AV receivers (not just Denon) but for HDMI sources instead.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Ridge View Post

There's a good chance your receiver has a some sort of multi-channel stereo mode that sends the same thing to front and rear speakers. Part of your problem though may be simply that you have too many speakers attached the same speaker terminals. Having more than one speaker attached to given speaker terminal without using impedence matching is dangerous, and even with it the volume level is going to be diminished f you're trying to drive three sets of speakers at once.
Splitting the coaxial digital audio cable sould work, but if it doesn't for some reason there's a good chance you can daisy chain the receivers together. If either current or new receiver has a (probably optical) digital audio output then use it to connect it to the other. The currently selected digital audio source (optical or coaxial) will get sent out the digital audio output.
There wouldn't be any additional delay caused by daisy chaing the receivers like this, but it's likely that the two receivers will slightly different delays in decoding and processing the digital audio. It's hard to say how bad it will be, but it could be noticable.

so I used the pre-outs on the receiver that are for each speaker and wired the front L and R to another receiver I had sitting around. However, it still plays the R and L as if they were the R and L combined with a center. So all the info of the center is missing. Therefore, I ordered a coax/composite splitter so that each receiver will get its individual feed and can decide how to decode it. I think that should work better.
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