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Home A/V distribution advice needed to build system - Page 4

post #91 of 194
Wouldn't you be getting multi channel sound from Z1 through the HDMI cable?
post #92 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magguss View Post

How are you down mixing a 5.1 signal to stereo audio, and hasn't it been discussed that if you input a digital 5.1 into the Onkyo it will not output stereo analog out for zone 2 and 3? I think the signal coming in has to be a PCM signal.

He'll just have to run separate analog audio leads from each source into the receiver as well. A handful will do downconversion, but not many....kind-of a pet peeve of mine that I wish they would even offer as an option.
post #93 of 194
Thread Starter 
Maggus, for all sources connected to the HDMI matrix, I will only be getting stereo PCM sound through the HDMI connection to the AVR because that is how HDMI is designed (it will deliver the lowest audio in the chain from the connected devices). That is why I want to have digital audio connections to the AVR from all the matrix sources in order to get (max) 5.1 to my Z1 theater. Then I will use the analog audio connections from each source to ge the audio to Z2 and Z3.

TMcG, what do you mean that a handfull will do downconversion? I always assumed that the digital audio out from each source would be split with one branch connecting the AVR's digital audio inputs (for Z1 sound) and the other brach woudl go through a digital to analog decoder in order to connect to the analog audio inputs of the AVR (for Z2 and Z3). Are you possibly implying that if a source has a digital audio and analog outputs that I can connect both of them directly to the AVR and that the source will push both at the same time?
post #94 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

TMcG, what do you mean that a handfull will do downconversion? I always assumed that the digital audio out from each source would be split with one branch connecting the AVR's digital audio inputs (for Z1 sound) and the other brach woudl go through a digital to analog decoder in order to connect to the analog audio inputs of the AVR (for Z2 and Z3). Are you possibly implying that if a source has a digital audio and analog outputs that I can connect both of them directly to the AVR and that the source will push both at the same time?

Let's say you have a Blu-Ray player attached and it is playing full-blown DTS HD Master Audio surround via HDMI. There is also an audio sub-code on the HDMI cable for left/right (stereo) sound that is still digital, but separate from the main dts signal. Some receivers have the internal circuitry to read this digital stereo track and make it available to the preamp analog outputs of different zones and "Tape Out monitor" on the receiver. Some receivers do not have this capability. However, most receivers will have dedicated, labeled analog inputs for different sources. So if you connect the analog from each source to the receiver and then select that source from the Z2 and Z3 outputs, the analog signal will pass straight through. It is not digital at all, obviously, but if you are just sending it to some stereo speakers somewhere it works just fine. So the only thing you have to determine is if the receiver you are considering will either "collapse" the 7.1 signal to an analog stereo signal OR take the digital stereo signal off the HDMI cable and convert it to the analog stereo signal for use with the zone outputs.

I hope this clarifies my remark.
post #95 of 194
Thread Starter 
Thanks TMcG, I will look into the manual of the NR616 from Onkyo and see if it offers this option. Even if it does not, I can always stick with my original plan of simply making digital and analog connections to the AVR from the sources right?
post #96 of 194
Correct! Truthfully, I think just running a bunch of cheap-o analog cables is the easiest way anyhow. The other way saves a bit of wiring, but I am almost willing to bet that at that receiver's pricepoint, it will not do the D/A conversion from the HDMI signal to the zone outputs. Let me know what you find out.
post #97 of 194
Thread Starter 
Cool, I figure the analog connection is the safest bet. I'll read the manual and let you know what I find. The only thing that I want to make sure can happen is that I can split the digital audio out from the sources and connect 1 branch to the digital audio input of the AVR (for Z1 audio) and the other branch would be decoded down to stereo analog for the Z2 and Z3 analog connections.
post #98 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

The only thing that I want to make sure can happen is that I can split the digital audio out from the sources and connect 1 branch to the digital audio input of the AVR (for Z1 audio) and the other branch would be decoded down to stereo analog for the Z2 and Z3 analog connections.

Maybe I am misunderstanding what you are saying, but if the digital audio is coming to your AVR via HDMI for Z1, this has nothing to do with the pass-through on the analog connection inputs or outputs and accessing them through the zone output source selection. Virtually all sources I am aware of will have simultaneously active analog audio outputs in addition to their full digital audio and video outputs, even devices like AppleTV.
post #99 of 194
Thread Starter 
What I was thinking is that since all devices connected to the matrix will not be able to pass more than stereo PCM through the HDMI connection, and since I wanted to get 5.1 to my Z1 theater, I figured to use the digital audio outputs from the sources connected to the matrix and plus those into the digital audio inputs of the AVR, hence getting multi-channel audio for Z1 through the digital audio connectors (hence HDMI audio would not be used for matrix connected sources. That is why I mentioned splitting the audio outputs of the sources to get digital audio in to the AVR for Z1 and decoding to stereo analog for the Z2 and Z3 pre-outs.
post #100 of 194
Is it a known fact with this Monoprice unit that it will only pass PCM audio through the HDMI???? It doesn't seem to make sense and is engineering that would cause this device NOT to sell. Even if you ran BluRay to HDMI Matrix to AVR to TV you are telling me that the HDMI Matrix will only pass the PCM through to the AVR because the TV is connected in the chain? That doesn't make any sense to me.
post #101 of 194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

Is it a known fact with this Monoprice unit that it will only pass PCM audio through the HDMI???? It doesn't seem to make sense and is engineering that would cause this device NOT to sell. Even if you ran BluRay to HDMI Matrix to AVR to TV you are telling me that the HDMI Matrix will only pass the PCM through to the AVR because the TV is connected in the chain? That doesn't make any sense to me.

From the start of this thread my understanding, based on comments from others, was that no matter what I did, if one of the outputs of the matrix went straight to a TV, then the audio would be down-mixed on all outputs to the lowest common format, in my case being 2.0 stereo PCM (from my LCD TV). Now if all the outputs on the matrix went into an AV receiver, I see no reason why the audio should be down-mixed, however Jeff (jautor) tends to think otherwise. Either way I also want to be able to have the option of viewing a certain source on the screen and listening to another at the same time (and this in any of the zones), hence my setup to have analog audio connections to the AVR as well. If I went with 3 AVR's, I would be stuck with making 3 digital or analog connections from each source (via splitter of course) to go to each AVR. This seems like a pain in the arse when I can get away with having it all done on 1 single AVR (with the compromise that the best audio I could get from any of the sources is 5.1 digital).
post #102 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

From the start of this thread my understanding, based on comments from others, was that no matter what I did, if one of the outputs of the matrix went straight to a TV, then the audio would be down-mixed on all outputs to the lowest common format, in my case being 2.0 stereo PCM (from my LCD TV). Now if all the outputs on the matrix went into an AV receiver, I see no reason why the audio should be down-mixed, however Jeff (jautor) tends to think otherwise.

Don't think I ever said that... If all of your matrix outputs go to an AVR with the full suite of audio codecs (DTS-MA, DD+), no reason to expect any downgrading. Comments earlier in this thread (been a looooonnnnngggg time) were about Zone2/3 outputs and a whole bunch of other topics mixed in here...
Quote:
Either way I also want to be able to have the option of viewing a certain source on the screen and listening to another at the same time (and this in any of the zones), hence my setup to have analog audio connections to the AVR as well. If I went with 3 AVR's, I would be stuck with making 3 digital or analog connections from each source (via splitter of course) to go to each AVR. This seems like a pain in the arse when I can get away with having it all done on 1 single AVR (with the compromise that the best audio I could get from any of the sources is 5.1 digital).

Unless the AVR has the feature(s) to switch audio / video separately, you'd have to run the video around the AVR to do that. Which would work with the caveat, as you said, that you'll be limited to DD5.1 from any of the shared sources.

Jeff
post #103 of 194
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Jeff. Since the intent was never to get 3 separate AVR's, I always knew that HDMI outputs from the matrix going to Z2 and Z3 would likely be the cause for the down-mixed audio. Right now I am sticking to the single AVR solution with the seperate amps for Z2 and Z3.

The question now becomes whether the AVR can treat video and audio separately for Z1 as you state? I don't know where to begin looking for this is the very big owners manual. If it's not possible, at least I can use the lat output on the matrix to send the video for Z1 directly to the projector and simply use the digital and analog connections into the AVR for audio control only. What do you think?
post #104 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

The question now becomes whether the AVR can treat video and audio separately for Z1 as you state? I don't know where to begin looking for this is the very big owners manual. If it's not possible, at least I can use the lat output on the matrix to send the video for Z1 directly to the projector and simply use the digital and analog connections into the AVR for audio control only. What do you think?

If we're still talking about an Onkyo NR616, I don't see anything in the manual that indicates any support for separate audio/video switching for Zone1. So yes, if you really want that feature, you'll need to bypass the AVR for video.

You *could* split the HDMI signal, run to the AVR and the PJ, so that you could choose to select the HDMI source for audio (video still delivered separately). Not sure how well the AVRs act if there's no HDMI output attached...

Jeff
post #105 of 194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

If we're still talking about an Onkyo NR616, I don't see anything in the manual that indicates any support for separate audio/video switching for Zone1. So yes, if you really want that feature, you'll need to bypass the AVR for video.
You *could* split the HDMI signal, run to the AVR and the PJ, so that you could choose to select the HDMI source for audio (video still delivered separately). Not sure how well the AVRs act if there's no HDMI output attached...
Jeff

Yes but splitting the HDMI from the matrix going into Z1 (AVR) would really have no advantage since I will not be able to get HD audio from any of those sources (due to the down-mixing issue). I think it would be best to rely with good old 5.1 digital for matrix sources and use the digital audio inputs on the AVR for those matrix connected sources.

Your comment about how the AVR will perform without any HDMI output connected is also interesting, never considered that before. How can I check if it will give me problems or not? As well, not using the AVR for video will also have the drawback of not using the AVR for it's other network capabilities (such as music streaming, GUI, etc.) so I guess I can plug in an HDMI output to the 2nd HDMI input on my Z1 projector and use that solely for that purpose.
post #106 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

Yes but splitting the HDMI from the matrix going into Z1 (AVR) would really have no advantage since I will not be able to get HD audio from any of those sources (due to the down-mixing issue).

If you've got *all* of the matrix outputs going to AVRs with advanced audio codec support - you won't have a downmix issue...
post #107 of 194
Thread Starter 
I get that Jeff, but it is also a much more expensive proposition, and then I would have to run seperate (analog or digital) audio to each AVR so I can have the option of using a different audio source than the video source.
Edited by HDTV Maniac - 8/24/12 at 9:26am
post #108 of 194
Not positive, but I think this will work if you set the Audio Link TV to on it will de-embed the Bitstream Audio to L/R stereo and still pass Bitstream through the HDMI cable. Am I wrong?

http://www.atlona.com/Atlona-HDMI-Audio-De-Embedder-with-3D-Support.html
post #109 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

I get that Jeff, but it is also a much more expensive proposition, and then I would have to run seperate (analog or digital) audio to each AVR so I can have the option of using a different audio source than the video source.

So you want to switch audio/video separately in all zones? I thought that was just a main zone request...
post #110 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

OK, so here is the setup as it stands right now. Please let me know if I have overlooked anything or if I need to make any changes.
  • 4x4 HDMI Matrix from Monoprice (PID 5704) with output 1 going to Z1 AVR and outputs 2 and 3 going directly to Pioneer Plasma 101FD Monitor in Z2 and Sharp LCD in Z3.
  • Onkyo TX-NR616 3-zone AVR to receive HDMI output 1 from matrix and all digital and analog audio connections from connected sources. Z1 speakers (7.1) connected directly to AVR.
  • All sources on the matrix will have digital audio out split (with 1 branch converted to stereo RCA) and going to the AVR (so I can get 5.1 audio to Z1 from digital connections and be able to access all audio in Z2 and Z3 via the analog connections).
  • Zone 2 and Zone 3 RCA audio out from AVR to go to individual stereo amplifier (Audiosource AMP-100) and Z2 and Z3 speakers connected to it's own amplifier.
  • Any local sources that need to be added to Z1 (such as BD for 7.1 sound) will use up other HDMI inputs on the AVR.
  • Next Generation IR remote control extender along with 2-3 URC R50 IR remotes to control everything remotely based on an RF system.
  • Possibility to add iTach IP2IR adapter to control everything via the network and use the Roomie remote app (especially for the basement theater, thereby not needing an R50 remote for that zone).
Let me know what you all think and if I missed anything.
Thanks

Had to go back to try and get my head around some things.

1. The Audiosource amp will have to be in the rooms of Z2/Z3. The Onkyo will output fixed audio out and the Audiosource amps only have a manual volume control.
2. Since you're hooking up the BD player as a local source in the basement, will you also have local sources in Z2/Z3? If so, are you running additional cables back to the AV closet? If so, what inputs will you be using on the Onkyo per zone, and were you planning on programing the remote so that it knows which input each zone audio is?
3. Is the reason you're using a HDMI matrix is so that you can watch the same DVR boxes in all rooms? If you're using a local source for the BD player in the basement, what exacly is being hooked up to the HDMI Matrix?
4. Are you having to do this elaborate setup simply because that is where your home run is for speakers, or did you just want a closet to store all the equipment so that it's not seen?

If it's set up the way you want it, and it is what it is, than you can still do what you seem to want to do with it, but you have to change out/add some things. (most notably the Audiosource amp)
post #111 of 194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magguss View Post

Had to go back to try and get my head around some things.
1. The Audiosource amp will have to be in the rooms of Z2/Z3. The Onkyo will output fixed audio out and the Audiosource amps only have a manual volume control.
2. Since you're hooking up the BD player as a local source in the basement, will you also have local sources in Z2/Z3? If so, are you running additional cables back to the AV closet? If so, what inputs will you be using on the Onkyo per zone, and were you planning on programing the remote so that it knows which input each zone audio is?
3. Is the reason you're using a HDMI matrix is so that you can watch the same DVR boxes in all rooms? If you're using a local source for the BD player in the basement, what exacly is being hooked up to the HDMI Matrix?
4. Are you having to do this elaborate setup simply because that is where your home run is for speakers, or did you just want a closet to store all the equipment so that it's not seen?
If it's set up the way you want it, and it is what it is, than you can still do what you seem to want to do with it, but you have to change out/add some things. (most notably the Audiosource amp)

Magguss, thank you for chiming in to the conversation, the points you bring up are quite interesting. Here are my comments:
  1. I planned to have the Audiosource units in the AV closet along with the rest of the equipment. I was not aware of the fact that you cannot control the volume on these units other than on the volume knob at the front of the unit. As well, can't the Onkyo output variable audio to zones 2 and 3 so that I can simply control the volume through the AVR?
  2. Don't plan on having local sources on Z2 and Z3, only in the basement theater.
  3. The sources I plan to have on the matrix are an Apple TV, a Blu-Ray player, and 2 cable boxes. The reason for the local Blu-Ray player in the theater zone is so that I can take advantage of the HD audio 7.1 in the theater room (something I won't be able to get form sources on the matrix due to the audio down-mixing).
  4. Main reason for this setup is to have a clean look everywhere with all equipment stored in the same closet. I placed the speakers and ran all the wiring this way because that was the plan all along, to have everything hidden from sight.

Any suggestions to get around the problems you mention? An y other amplifiers out there that will meet my needs and stay within the budget of the A-100? If not, maybe 3 separate AVR's is the way to go but they need to be reasonably priced. Suggestions welcomed since there still seems to be some bugs with the setup.
post #112 of 194
Thread Starter 
Doing a quick search, I came upon the Sherwood RX5502 dual-zone receiver that would seem to fit the bill for my Z2 and Z3 audio distribution. What do you think of this receiver, will I be able to use it to replace the 2 A-100's?
post #113 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

Magguss, thank you for chiming in to the conversation, the points you bring up are quite interesting. Here are my comments:
  1. I planned to have the Audiosource units in the AV closet along with the rest of the equipment. I was not aware of the fact that you cannot control the volume on these units other than on the volume knob at the front of the unit. As well, can't the Onkyo output variable audio to zones 2 and 3 so that I can simply control the volume through the AVR?
  2. Don't plan on having local sources on Z2 and Z3, only in the basement theater.
  3. The sources I plan to have on the matrix are an Apple TV, a Blu-Ray player, and 2 cable boxes. The reason for the local Blu-Ray player in the theater zone is so that I can take advantage of the HD audio 7.1 in the theater room (something I won't be able to get form sources on the matrix due to the audio down-mixing).
  4. Main reason for this setup is to have a clean look everywhere with all equipment stored in the same closet. I placed the speakers and ran all the wiring this way because that was the plan all along, to have everything hidden from sight.
Any suggestions to get around the problems you mention? An y other amplifiers out there that will meet my needs and stay within the budget of the A-100? If not, maybe 3 separate AVR's is the way to go but they need to be reasonably priced. Suggestions welcomed since there still seems to be some bugs with the setup.

I feel like you're making things more complicated than they have to be. Stop worrying about the theater room, make it dedicated. Than all you need is a 4x2 matrix for Z2/Z3 and you can stop worrying about all the down-mixing. You already have a dedicated BD in the theater room, just throw a DVR in the system and call it good
post #114 of 194
See Post # 82 . . .
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1418597/home-a-v-distribution-advice-needed-to-build-system/60#post_22295037

Your also keep forgetting that you MUST keep it simple to operate. So if you install a system so complicated that the babysitter, visiting guests and your wife/girlfriend have ANY difficulty operating it, then you are doomed. With one AVR, one HDMI Matrix, two amplifiers and a handful of universal remotes you are already pushing the limit, if not over the limit on keeping things simple from a control perspective. A shudder to think if you were still considering the HTPC you were originally contemplating.

I am not sure why you place such great importance on watching one thing and listening to another as the primary qualifier to your system design. Aside from bars where they may have a game playing on the TV (with closed captioning running for those paying attention) and music playing throughout the venue, I cannot think of a single reason why in a residential setting why you would demand such a thing outside of ADHD. It stands to reason that if you are given a choice of three different rooms to watch/listen to some sort of media that you would always want to go to your flagship system with the full surround sound and the projector. Make that the ONLY zone where you can watch one thing and listen to another somewhat easily. For the other two zones just forget it and come back into reality that other people will be using this system and should be able to intuitively run it without any instruction.

So if you really want all of this extra capability for Z2 / Z3, then I would suggest you find the money to make it happen with more professional electronics rather than price-point entry level receivers and a hodgepodge of add-on boxes, splitters, matrixes, etc. to make it physically work without the benefit of simple operation for all.
Edited by TMcG - 8/26/12 at 8:39am
post #115 of 194
Thread Starter 
Magguss, your suggestion has some merit to it, maybe that would be the simplest solution. Just make the basement Z1 a dedicated space and not attach the matrix to it. I will see if this is not the best course of action. Obviously, going this route, I then think that the Sherwood RX5502 is the equipment to get to handle the audio for Z2 and Z3, unless there is a better suggestion out there.

TMcG, you are 100% right, I'm reverting back to paralysis mode. It's just that I live in Canada and will be ordering all the equipment from the US (picking up at the border myself) so it's also a matter of not wanting to make a mistake on what I get because returning and/or exchanging pieces will be a pain in the ass. Overall, I do not think that the system will be complicated to operate, once the URC R50 remotes are programmed with macros.

The reason why I want to have the option to listen to an audio source which is different from the video source if for those times where we have guests over for events/parties and we want to have a sporting event playing in the background while still listening to the music for the party. I know this will not happen often (about 5% of the time) but it will bug me in those moments if I cannot accomplish this. Call it ADHD or whatnot, it's stuck in my head so I really need to try and make it work if possible.

I'm sure there is a cost effective way to make this happen, even for the 3 zones I am running, I'm just trying to get people's opinions on whether this will work or not based on the equipment and setup I have listed. I think that my latest proposal with the Sherwood RX5502 takes care of this option for Z2 and Z3 (please correct me if I am mistaken) so now I just need to find a way to get this going for Z1 (if the current AVR I have cannot do this, then maybe some other has the capability to show one connected video source while playing another connected audio source).
post #116 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

The reason why I want to have the option to listen to an audio source which is different from the video source if for those times where we have guests over for events/parties and we want to have a sporting event playing in the background while still listening to the music for the party. I know this will not happen often (about 5% of the time) but it will bug me in those moments if I cannot accomplish this. Call it ADHD or whatnot, it's stuck in my head so I really need to try and make it work if possible.
.

I'm a little late to the party but might have some suggestions (and forgive me if they were already brought up). I'm currently designing a similar system for my new condo. I'll need at least a 4X4 HDMI matrix switch and also want to be able to stream music over the speakers. So here's my approach:

Living Room:
HDTV and 5.1 from a receiver with in-ceiling speakers

Master Bedroom
HDTV and Stereo sound via receiver and in-ceiling speakers

Bedroom 3
HDTV and Stereo sound via receiver and in-ceiling speakers

My four inputs to the matrix will be 2 DirecTV receivers, 1 Blu-ray and 1 WD Live (for streaming from my NAS). Now for the fun part... streaming music. To accomplish this, I'll add a Sonos Connect as an input to any of the receivers that I want to stream music. Each Connect is its own zone so I can set it to stream whatever I want.

And the best part... while I'm not crazy about dumping all this money immediately, I can slowly build this system as long as the wiring is in place.
post #117 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

Now for the fun part... streaming music. To accomplish this, I'll add a Sonos Connect as an input to any of the receivers that I want to stream music. Each Connect is its own zone so I can set it to stream whatever I want.

Gramin - why wouldn't you just get a receiver with a network connection that can handle streaming music and comes with an iPad-based app to control it? It would save you on money for the Sonos connect, although you wouldn't be able to easily "sync" all the receiver streams for a party mode as easily as with the Sonos.
post #118 of 194
TMcG, correct me if I'm wrong, but the receivers with the network connection won't have the ability to independently play their own music. Sonos will allow each of my zones to play their own music.
post #119 of 194
Each network-ready receiver will have the ability to stream music from your NAS or any other networked source (like XBOX 360, etc.) independently, just like a Sonos player. There are two primary differences, though: 1. As mentioned above, the Sonos players "talk" to one another and will easily allow for any stream to be played in any other zone with perfect time-base synchronization - like if you were having a party and wanted the same song to play throughout the house in different zones with perfect synchronization, just like a multi-room setup. Considering that you are in two different bedrooms and a family room, this option is probably not high on your list. 2. The Sonos app is far more robust than most of the receiver apps, so navigation and library management is much easier with the Sonos Connects. I have two Sonos connects, but also just got a small network-based receiver for an in-ceiling speaker theater zone. All peacefully coexist on the network....the difference is that if I did not have an analog audio switcher in my multi-zone system, I would not need a Sonos for this new receiver zone since it streams virtually all audio file types.
post #120 of 194
Thanks for the info. And you're right, perfect synchronization isn't high on my list. Honestly, my biggest concern is being able to send any one of my four inputs to any one of my three outputs. I think I have a good grasp on how it will all work, but I am worried about losing the 1080p signal (though all displays are 1080p) and my 5.1 not working in the Living Room. I'm going to consult a couple local installers to get their suggestions.

For starters, I'm wiring the whole place for sound and HD to my living room and 3 bedrooms given the relatively low cost. It will all run back to my AV closet and then I can figure out what to do from there. As long as the wiring is in place, I can add, subtract and adjust the equipment as needed until I find my perfect solution.

And speaking of perfect, do you have any suggestions for a 4x4 HDMI matrix switch? Something that is relatively reasonable in regards to cost (e.g. not one of those $12k devices).

Thanks!
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