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Ways to hook up HDTV to an analog stereo amplifier for sound?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to run my HDTV thru my stereo setup to have the sound run thru my floorstanding speakers (Focal Chorus). This is my first HDTV and blu-ray setup. Not interested in surround sound at this time.

The TV is a brand new LG 47LM7600; brand new Sony blu-ray BDP-S590; integrated amp is a brand new NAD C326BEE. This amp has no digital or optical inputs, strictly analog.

One way I was told is to run RCA cables from the analog out on the blu-ray directly to the amp; and I also need to hook up the TV to the amp, but the TV has no analog out (only optical) so I can't hook it up directly to the amp. So I assume I'll need a DAC as a go-between from the TV to the amp. So HDTV>optical cable>DAC>RCA cable>amp. Does this all sound correct? Is this the only way to get where I'm going with the gear I have without replacing the NAD?

What are decent but low-cost (under $200) DACs I could use for this? Doesn't have to be awesome cinema sound, just not junk.

I suppose I could also get a soundbar and keep the TV and stereo systems separate, but I'd like to be able to play music thru the speakers at a decent quality.

I also suppose I could replace the NAD with an A/V receiver and get radio to boot (since I will be adding a tuner to the stereo system otherwise), but there's a whole new can o'worms to research...
post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mahijiru View Post

I'm looking to run my HDTV thru my stereo setup to have the sound run thru my floorstanding speakers (Focal Chorus). This is my first HDTV and blu-ray setup. Not interested in surround sound at this time.

The TV is a brand new LG 47LM7600; brand new Sony blu-ray BDP-S590; integrated amp is a brand new NAD C326BEE. This amp has no digital or optical inputs, strictly analog.

One way I was told is to run RCA cables from the analog out on the blu-ray directly to the amp; and I also need to hook up the TV to the amp, but the TV has no analog out (only optical) so I can't hook it up directly to the amp. So I assume I'll need a DAC as a go-between from the TV to the amp. So HDTV>optical cable>DAC>RCA cable>amp. Does this all sound correct? Is this the only way to get where I'm going with the gear I have without replacing the NAD?

What are decent but low-cost (under $200) DACs I could use for this? Doesn't have to be awesome cinema sound, just not junk.

Make sure the DAC supports both DD5.1 and PCM digital audio. Your TV tuner tunes both.

http://www.amazon.com/Gefen-GTV-DD-2-AA-Digital-Audio-Decoder/dp/B0021QBIBQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1359352982&sr=1-2&keywords=DD+5.1+audio+dac
post #3 of 24
1) If you're not using the TV's antenna/RF input for cable/antenna, there's no need to be concerned about DD5.1.
2) If you're only interested in "stereo", just run analog cables from the bluray (and/or cable box) for audio to the receiver.
3) If you do use the TV's internal tuner (for clear cable or OTA), you will need the converter as suggest in post #2.
4) If not.... just run dedicated analog cables from/for each external device and forget about the TV.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. Checked my notes; I misspoke re: the TV. What I was actually told was to hook up the cable box directly to the amp via RCAs. The cable box is going to be replaced, so I'm not sure it will have analog out.

So I assume I'll be able to hook up the cable box directly to the amp via RCA cable if the box has analog out, if it doesn't then I'll need a DAC as a go-between? What DAC capability will I need in this case?

Hooking up the Blu-ray directly to the amp via RCA is still valid I think. So to clarify, I would like to hook up a cable box/HDTV/Blu-ray setup to play sound thru an analog only integrated amp.
post #5 of 24
Simply connect the Analog Stereo Output (Red/White) RCA jacks on the Cable Box to the NAD Amplifier.
Ditto for Blu-Ray Player and any other components. Since the device is expected to perform the correct
operations to output the correct STEREO (L+R) signal on these outputs, by default there shouldn't be
any operator intervention required. [Blu-Ray Player MIGHT have some fake-surround output controls......]

The Digital Audio Output on your TV is intended to output DD5.1 signal when connected to either OTA Antenna
or if Cable coax is connected DIRECTLY to the TV for watching those very few channels (typ. Ch24 and below)
on the "FREE" tier.....which is shrinking or will be going away completely in the very near future.....
So don't expect Digital Audio Output to mimic whatever is connected to the TV's External Input ports.

If you ALWAYS use the Cable Box to watch TV, then you'll never need to use the TV's Digital Audio Output....

========================================================================
FYI: Although NOT needed for this application, there are much lower cost Toslink to RCA Converters:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_6_10?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=toslink+to+rca+converter&sprefix=toslink+to%2Celectronics%2C164

BTW: The "native" format for ATSC transmissions is DD5.1 (ONLY!!!!). Cable MPEG2 streams are mandated to carry
BOTH PCM and DD5.1 audio streams. So DD5.1 output is ALWAYS available. For compatibility with old equipment,
most TV's and most Cable Boxes can be setup to alternatively output in PCM (Uncompressed, Stereo) format.
So a TOSLINK to RCA Stereo Converter really only needs to accept DD5.1 signals.
Edited by holl_ands - 1/28/13 at 12:23pm
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'd like to get audio from both cable and the blu-ray thru the amp and floorstanders. So it seems pretty clear that I need to:

1) Blu-ray>HDMI>HDTV: to give picture from the blu-ray to the TV

2) Blu-ray>RCA>analog amp: to give sound from the blu-ray thru the amp

3) Cable box>HDMI>HDTV: to give picture from the cable feed to the TV

4) Cable box>RCA>analog amp: to give sound from the cable feed thru the amp


If no analog out on the cable box, then need a DAC, so:

1 and 3 as above, and

TV>HDMI(or optical?)>DAC>RCA>analog amp: to give sound from both cable box and blu-ray thru analog amp. TV set to PCM output.


That about covers it? Any other settings on blu-ray, cable box or TV I need to know?
post #7 of 24
It's rather unlikely that a cable box would not have analog outputs.

There are no settings that you should need to worry about. You should be good to go just by connecting everything.
post #8 of 24
YUP, what he said.....your're good to go....
post #9 of 24
Hey folks - newbie here.
I realize i'm late to this thread, but if anyone is still monitoring it I'd like to know if once this setup has been completed, which item controls volume? Cable box remote or do I get up and down to turn the volume knob on the amp?
post #10 of 24
Most Cable Boxes allow you to select whether the Audio Output is FIXED or VARIABLE.
When FIXED is selected, the output is at Max and you adjust Amplifier's Volume level.
When VARIABLE is selected, you need to adjust Amplifier's Volume level to a loud level
and then may control the Cable Box audio level as you see fit.

BTW: Most Remote Control Devices allow you to select whether the Vol UP/DN buttons
control the Amplifier or the Cable Box when in Cable Box control mode. This is frequently
called "Volume Punch Through".
post #11 of 24
Thank you for the quick response.
Your first comment about Fixed and Variable is just what I needed to know.

Your second comment kinda loses me when you say I can have a remote that will control the analogue amp?
post #12 of 24
If your amp has a remote control (or had one at one time that may have been lost), then you should be able to program your cable box remote to control it's volume. If your amp never had a remote, then no you can't control it unless you use the variable output like mentioned. To add to that, while most cable boxes do offer variable volume output, not much else does. For example it is highly unlikely that your Blu-Ray player has variable audio ouput, it most likely only has fixed output.

How many analog audio inputs are available on your amp? You may want to consider just running HDMI from your cable box and your Blu-Ray player to your TV, and then using the audio out from your TV through a DAC to your amp so you only have to use one audio input on the amp. Doing so will mean having to use the amp to control the volume level though.
post #13 of 24
So you must be using an Amplifier that doesn't have R/C capability, so you have to get up and adjust it manually (as did I...back in the '70's).
Or is something else going on??? If so what is make & model number of your Amplifier?
post #14 of 24
You got it holl_ands.
My amp is a Yamaha A-520, Tuner: Yamaha T-1 and 4 Advent Utility Loudspeakers (vinyl sided). Bought it all in the late 70's. Over the years I don't think I've heard anything better for the money spent. This amp has 6 inputs.

The relatively new HDTV has a good picture but the sound is terrible. We don't need a surround system, the room is too small, and I don't like the idea of wires all over the place. If I could get the TV sound thru the stereo without having to get up off my butt everytime I need to change the volume that would be ideal.

If I can get this sorted out my next interest is to get my iTunes from my computer to the stereo wirelessly. These DACs sound interesting. Are they expensive? I'm trying to be stingy with my retirement funds.

If just buying a used AVR or shopping for a soundbar would be an easier route please let me know. $$$ is the major consideration. -Thanks.
post #15 of 24
What is make & model number of your HDTV???
post #16 of 24
Sony Bravia 46" Eco VE5 LCD
post #17 of 24
I'm not sure what you mean by "DAC". There are a very few Wireless Audio (ONLY) Transmitter and Receiver pairs available (e.g. Creative Labs). But for the same price or less, there is a wide selection of wireless AUDIO & (low rez Composite) VIDEO Wireless Transmitter/Receiver pairs that can do the same job:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_st?keywords=Wireless+Audio+Video+Transmitter+and+Receiver&qid=1368031183&rh=n%3A172282%2Ck%3AWireless+Audio+Video+Transmitter+and+Receiver&sort=relevancerank

Since your HDTV is being connected to your Stereo Amp, you might also consider connecting your computer to the HDTV to WATCH as well as listen to Youtube (and other) videos....or whatever else you can do with a computer. If your computer isn't conveniently located in the same room as your HDTV so you can run an HDMI cable directly, a Wireless HDMI Extender can be used to connect them together. It also helps to have a Wireless Keyboard & Mouse to remotely control your computer:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=Wireless+HDMI+Video+Extender&rh=n%3A172282%2Ck%3AWireless+HDMI+Video+Extender

Another alternative to consider is to connect a Streaming Media Box to your HDTV....or an (existing? or used?) XBox360 (and now also Playstation3/BD-Player) that also can stream YouTube (and many other video sources such as Netflix, Hulu &/or AmazonVideo). Check out this 2012 Streaming Media Box Comparison Chart...perhaps you already have a suitable box (or can readily obtain a cast off from relatives):
http://blog.streamingmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/2012-Device-Chart-Grid-090424.pdf
http://blog.streamingmedia.com/the_business_of_online_vi/2012/05/compare-the-latest-streaming-devices-and-content-platforms-all-in-one-chart.html
http://reviews.cnet.com/best-streaming-media-boxes
https://support.us.playstation.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4650/~/install-ps3-youtube-app

And a related alternative to consider: Some Gaming systems (e.g. XBox360, Playstation PS3), some Blu-Ray Players and a few Streaming Media Boxes (Sony, Vizio, WD) support DLNA via direct Ethernet or Wireless connectivity to a DLNA Server running on your computer. [See "DLNA" line in the Comparison Chart...but it doesn't reflect latest XBox 360 update.] You use the Media Box to navigate and select which SHARED audio, video or photo files you want to view and/or listen to (perhaps also saved Youtube videos???). DLNA Server capability is built into Windows 7 and in XP/Vista ver11+ of Windows Media Player. There are many (too many) FREE DLNA Server programs available with different levels of usability, file types supported etc. :
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2020825/how-to-get-started-with-dlna.html
http://www.agoraquest.com/viewtopic.php?topic=35037&forum=70
http://www.pavtube.com/guide/set-up-pc-dlna-for-ps3-streaming.html
http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/playto/playto-setup

Edited by holl_ands - 5/8/13 at 10:51am
post #18 of 24
Beerstalker made reference to a DAC a few days ago on the 5th. I looked it up but I'm not totally sure of their capabilities.
My apologies for not explaining my whole system up front. In hindsight I realize it would have helped everyone. I do have a WDTV Live hooked up. Yes, I can view and hear all my media files from my iMac on the TV.
The computer is on the 2nd floor, the TV on the main floor and the stereo in the basement. None of the above is likely to be moved. Since I have 4 speakers my thoughts are to move 2 to use with the TV. I'm trying to figure out what I require to make them work in this location. I'm now thinking that perhaps a used AVR might be the easiest solution. The bonus would be being able to get the computer files to the analogue stereo in the basement, but not the priority. This is where I was questioning the use of a DAC.
Again, my apologies for not spelling everything out clearly from the start.

The computer is on the router with ethernet cable. The WDTV Live is connected by wireless.
post #19 of 24
Your HDTV already has a (Fixed) Stereo (i.e. RED/WHITE) AUDIO OUT that can be easily connected to your Stereo Amplifier. Since this Output is FIXED, you'll have to manually control volume via the Amplfier's control knob. Hence I don't see any scenario in which a "DAC" (Digital Audio to RCA Stereo Converter) would be of any use. Also note that per your HDTV's Brochure and Operating Instructions, the Digital Audio (Optical) Output is PCM ONLY (that means STEREO only) and does NOT provide a DD5.1 Surround capability, so if you ever plan on upgrading to Surround Sound, you will have to use one of the various SYNTHETIC Surround Sound modes in an AVR.
post #20 of 24
Is this Synthetic Surround Sound situation common to HDTVs? I had no idea when I bought the set that there would be anything like this going on.
Seems to me another case of the manufacturers not telling the public what we need to know. I assumed you could connect any HDTV to a Surround system.
Will I have any concerns if I go the Sound bar route? Do I have to make sure to find one with an Optical connection?
post #21 of 24
I would guess PCM only output it's a cost cutting "feature" found only on the lower cost HDTVs....
Since the PCM output is digital, it might be ever so slightly "better" than connecting via RCA cables,
but i doubt that anyone can tell the difference between the DAC inside the HDTV versus in a SoundBar.
I would simply use RCA Cables since they cost a lot less.... PS: I think most SoundBars have both
RCA Stereo and Optical (PCM Stereo, DD5.1 and perhaps also DTS) Inputs:
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-dcY4STYtr2k/learn/learningcenter/home/sound-bar.html

Before I buy anything, I go to mfr's websites and download User Guides/Manuals and Brochures/Spec Sheets and CAREFULLY read each and every page looking for "clarifications" and disclaimers to find out what they DON'T DO .....but then I have a lot of experience and know what to look for....and also, I usually know when something is missing from the descriptions,which might require further investigation on various forums, like AVS...

BTW: Unless a SoundBar comes with REAR speakers, they are ALL generating SYNTHETIC Surround Sound
of one kind of another, irrespective of whether the input is STEREO or DD5.1:
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_8_1/dolby-prologic2-3-2001.html
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_1/feature-prologic-iix-3-2004.html
Edited by holl_ands - 5/9/13 at 10:51am
post #22 of 24
Okay then Sir,

Thank you for all the time, effort and patience you have put into this.
I guess I have some reading to do to get myself alittle more educated on the subject.
The links you have provided to do just that look interesting. - Thanks again.
post #23 of 24
Although not specifically a problem in your system, there are other STEREO vs DD5.1 problems that users should know about. Cable Boxes (per SCTE specs) are fed a composite MPEG2 Audio/Video data stream that contain BOTH a Stereo PCM and a DD5.1 data stream, so a user simply hooks up to RCA jacks for Stereo or Digital Audio (Optical TOSLINK or Coax SPDIF) for DD5.1 (which can also be changed to PCM only). However, an OTA ATSC MPEG2 Audio/Video stream contains ONLY a DD5.1 data stream, which must be "mixed down" to obtain Stereo Output. In DD5.1, the L, C and R signals must be combined to generate the Lt=L+0.7C and Rt=R+0.7C Stereo signals (0.7 voltage multiplier is -3 db power) Note LFE subwoofer is NOT included and some systems also add in a reduced version of the Surrounds (Ls & Rs). Because of this peculiarity, there are two problems that can occur:

1) When an HDTV is connected to a source via HDMI (e.g. Cable Box, DVD, BD-Player, whatever), the HDTV must REQUEST either STEREO or DD5.1 data streams, because original HDMI 1.0 Spec didn't have the capacity to carry BOTH of them at the same time (and they never fixed this deficiency). Because HDTV's almost never come equipped with Rear Speakers, they should Request STEREO. Unfortunately, in many Cable Boxes, the HDMI Request is also used to force the Digital Audio output to ALSO be STEREO, so AVR can never play back in DD5.1 Surround. Since this is a problem in my Cable Box, I connect to HDTV via Component Video so the Cable Box never sees the Request and freely routes DD5.1 to AVR via it's Digital Audio output. DVI-to-HDMI connections also don't have this problem, since DVI doesn't support REQUEST exchange.

2) Sometimes I have heard LOCAL Cable channels in which the Center Channel was either MISSING or much lower in volume than usual. This is caused by an operator or automation error somewhere in the transmission chain (probably an old Local Ad Insertion Switcher Device which typically are STEREO ONLY) which is using the L and R channels from the DD5.1 decoder matrix rather than the Lt and Rt signals which contain the Center Channel signals (see equations above). This is less of a problem as it has been in the past, but I still hear the Missing Center Channel from time to time, which can be readily restored by forcing the AVR to select the Cable box's STEREO (RED/WHITE) input.
Edited by holl_ands - 5/9/13 at 6:34pm
post #24 of 24
Just to clear up a couple of misconceptions in holl_ands' notes regarding stereo and 5.1 from cable and broadcast sources. Audio in ATSC broadcasts is carried as Dolby Digital, but not necessarily 5.1. Same goes for cable -- there's never PCM audio in the cable MPEG stream (that would waste a lot of valuable bandwidth), just Dolby Digital, typically 5.1 for HD channels and stereo for SD channels. The stereo outputs of the cable box (RCA analog or PCM digital) are decoded from the Dolby Digital stream, and downmixed if it's a surround stream.

The problem with missing center channel is typically caused by the metadata in the Dolby Digital stream not matching the content. Stereo content played with metadata that says it's surround will have no audio in the center speaker, unless you do what holl_ands suggests and send to a stereo input of the receiver so it's forced to treat it as stereo and does a matrix/Pro-Logic decode to derive center channel from the mono components of the audio. If the stream had accurate metadata, the Pro-Logic decoding would take place automatically. In the actual DD stream, when stereo audio is sent in a 5.1 stream (whether true stereo or Lt/Rt), it's carried on the L/R channels that normally contain L/R (front) of a 5.1 source, but gets handled as stereo when decoding because the metadata (should) describe it as such.
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