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New Sonos Playbar - Page 3

post #61 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec21 View Post

I haven't tested the optical out/  digital audio out on my Panasonic Plasma TCP-65VT60, but in the manual it says:
  


DIGITAL AUDIO OUT:  PCM / Dolby Digital, Fiber Optic

I'm also interested in the Sonos Playbar but will only consider if it can decode Dolby Digital 5.1 at least. 

"Mbroadus", please let me know if you hear anything further on this.


I ended up buying a Marantz NR1504 receiver with HDMI inputs and its fantastic.
post #62 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

The Panasonic VT60 will pass only PCM stereo via the optical output from connected video sources. It will pass 5.1 or whatever format is present from over the air.

It won't matter what the Sonos will process, if you connect your components to the VT-60, you will receive only 2-channel from the TV output.

David, we are big Apple TV "3" users streaming content from my Apple based media library as well as Netflix and HBO GO.  I guess those would constitute "connected video sources" and not pass through Dolby Digital.  Do you know if connecting the Apple TV directly to the Playbar is feasible at all and whether it would pass through Dolby Digital?

Eddie

post #63 of 77
I don't have a detailed manual. Looking at the basic info for the playbar, it has only a single optical connection to be made from your TV to the playbar.

Yes, you could connect the Apple TV device directly to the playbar, but that would be your only connection.

The other solution would be to purchase an optical switcher from Amazon, Monoprice, etc. Connect all of your components to the optical switcher and then the switcher to the soundbar. You would hear whatever audio is being passed by the individual components.
post #64 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

I don't have a detailed manual. Looking at the basic info for the playbar, it has only a single optical connection to be made from your TV to the playbar.

Yes, you could connect the Apple TV device directly to the playbar, but that would be your only connection.

The other solution would be to purchase an optical switcher from Amazon, Monoprice, etc. Connect all of your components to the optical switcher and then the switcher to the soundbar. You would hear whatever audio is being passed by the individual components.

I like your suggestion of an optical switcher (to capture whatever bitstream is coming out of a given source) but I think the over arching limitation is that any hdmi signal pathway going in to the tv or another switcher will have to be down-converted to go into the Playbar.

I'm am THIS CLOSE to the Playbar solution, mostly for Wire Fatigue reasons (I have a Tri-Wired Linn AV System that I am tired of lugging around—it's like living with an old python!) but it seems like they need a substantial feature update to have broader acceptance out there.  As someone else noted, these signal pass through issues are common to a lot of TVs right now, but the Sonos Playbar audio codec management doesn't quite feel "forward" enough to eliminate my reservations.

post #65 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec21 View Post

I like your suggestion of an optical switcher (to capture whatever bitstream is coming out of a given source) but I think the over arching limitation is that any hdmi signal pathway going in to the tv or another switcher will have to be down-converted to go into the Playbar.


I'm am THIS CLOSE to the Playbar solution, mostly for Wire Fatigue reasons (I have a Tri-Wired Linn AV System that I am tired of lugging around—it's like living with an old python!) but it seems like they need a substantial feature update to have broader acceptance out there.  As someone else noted, these signal pass through issues are common to a lot of TVs right now, but the Sonos Playbar audio codec management doesn't quite feel "forward" enough to eliminate my reservations.

I agree about wire fatigue...main reason why I wanted to go with a Sonos playbar but in the end I couldn't give up HD Audio and ended up buying a receiver. At least HDMI inputs and a single HDMI out cuts down on some wiring.
post #66 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbroadus View Post


I agree about wire fatigue...main reason why I wanted to go with a Sonos playbar but in the end I couldn't give up HD Audio and ended up buying a receiver. At least HDMI inputs and a single HDMI out cuts down on some wiring.

At my local Magnolia/Best Buy here in Austin, there is are another two "high end" sound bars I will investigate for the HD Audio subject.  The sound bar concept will still minimize wires and clutter overall.  Regarding possible ways forward on the hdmi audio, is there a Sonos product solution for 5.1 sound where the speakers are still wireless (like the rears) but a receiver is connected via HDMI?

post #67 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec21 View Post

At my local Magnolia/Best Buy here in Austin, there is are another two "high end" sound bars I will investigate for the HD Audio subject.  The sound bar concept will still minimize wires and clutter overall.

Regarding HDMI Soundbars, I was looking at the Atlantic Technology Powerbar and the Harman Kardon SB26.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec21 View Post

Regarding possible ways forward on the hdmi audio, is there a Sonos product solution for 5.1 sound where the speakers are still wireless (like the rears) but a receiver is connected via HDMI?

I would think that you could connect the Sonos playbar to a receiver via optical just as you would to a TV. I wonder if anyone has done this?  
post #68 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbroadus View Post


Regarding HDMI Soundbars, I was looking at the Atlantic Technology Powerbar and the Harman Kardon SB26.
I would think that you could connect the Sonos playbar to a receiver via optical just as you would to a TV. I wonder if anyone has done this?  

 


I think the problem remains that you can't pass through Dolby Digital through an Optical Out.  The pathway must be HDMI all the way from "source" to the "playback" stage.  It's part of that "digital protection" aspect of things, I forget the industry term.

 

Although using a receiver would be good for consolidating several sources and the receiver would serve as the "switcher".

post #69 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec21 View Post



I think the problem remains that you can't pass through Dolby Digital through an Optical Out.  The pathway must be HDMI all the way from "source" to the "playback" stage.  It's part of that "digital protection" aspect of things, I forget the industry term.

Although using a receiver would be good for consolidating several sources and the receiver would serve as the "switcher".

I believe the TV is not able to pass DD or DTS through the its optical out but a cable box or blu-ray play can. You could possibly have an optical out from the cable box and blu-ray go to an optical switcher then to the playbar?
post #70 of 77

I have a Sharp 70le757u and it states right in the manual it will pass DD and DTS through the optical. I guess it depends a lot on what your TV is capable of doing.

post #71 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottw57 View Post

I have 6 Sonos devices already and am looking at adding a playbar to my Sharp 70-Inch LE750. I only want the 2:1 sound, so I would need to buy the Sonos playbar and subwoofer ($1400). But I'm wondering if it would be better to purchase the Klipsch HD Theater SB 3 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer for $700 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0092QGSHM and then add the Sonos Connect Amp ($500) Total $1200. The Klipsch has an input for this too. This would save a few bucks and I wonder if the Klipsch system may sound better and be more compatible with my HDTV (which is the main reason for me considering the Klipsch)

I'm deciding between the two as well.  What'd you end up doing?

post #72 of 77

FYI, folks, I wound up buying the Sonos Playbar and two Play 1s for the rear surrounds and am pretty happy with the set up.  I'm waiting on availability of the Matte Finish Sonos Sub in a few weeks, and then I'll be done with my project.  I am very happy with the finish quality and the overall elegant design and experience using these products.

 

My decision was driven largely by the wireless experience and the "one remote" approach, to keep things simple for my wife and kids, who for years have been prevented from enjoying our home theater setup because of its complexity in operation.

 

Largely I'm viewing Apple TV content connected via HDMI to a Panasonic Plasma TCP-65VT60, and then using the Optical Cable out of the VT60 into the Playbar.  I am controlling and monitoring the Playbar via an iPad using the Sonos Controller App.  I don't have a cable box.

 

Mr. Freeman previously clarified that DD5.1 will only be passed through the Panasonic's Optical Out if the content is coming from the TV (makes sense) but it won't pass the DD5.1 if it enters the TV via an HDMI source (like my Apple TV or Oppo Blu Ray).  I am still testing all those scenarios to be conclusive.

I have been testing connecting the Apple TV directly to the Playbar via optical cable, and have gotten DD5.1 on some file formats (purchased iTunes movie and tv show content) but not on content that I have ripped myself using Handbrake.  I am also going to be testing which file formats (containers and audio codecs) will play DD5.1 in this manner if anyone wants to contribute their thoughts on this.


I don't have a sophisticated ear, but there is a dramatic improvement in the stereo imaging or sound field when playing DD5.1 through the Playbar system.  It makes the file format mastery pursuit worth it!

post #73 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec21 View Post

FYI, folks, I wound up buying the Sonos Playbar and two Play 1s for the rear surrounds and am pretty happy with the set up.  I'm waiting on availability of the Matte Finish Sonos Sub in a few weeks, and then I'll be done with my project.  I am very happy with the finish quality and the overall elegant design and experience using these products.

My decision was driven largely by the wireless experience and the "one remote" approach, to keep things simple for my wife and kids, who for years have been prevented from enjoying our home theater setup because of its complexity in operation.

Largely I'm viewing Apple TV content connected via HDMI to a Panasonic Plasma TCP-65VT60, and then using the Optical Cable out of the VT60 into the Playbar.  I am controlling and monitoring the Playbar via an iPad using the Sonos Controller App.  I don't have a cable box.

Mr. Freeman previously clarified that DD5.1 will only be passed through the Panasonic's Optical Out if the content is coming from the TV (makes sense) but it won't pass the DD5.1 if it enters the TV via an HDMI source (like my Apple TV or Oppo Blu Ray).  I am still testing all those scenarios to be conclusive.


I have been testing connecting the Apple TV directly to the Playbar via optical cable, and have gotten DD5.1 on some file formats (purchased iTunes movie and tv show content) but not on content that I have ripped myself using Handbrake.  I am also going to be testing which file formats (containers and audio codecs) will play DD5.1 in this manner if anyone wants to contribute their thoughts on this.


I don't have a sophisticated ear, but there is a dramatic improvement in the stereo imaging or sound field when playing DD5.1 through the Playbar system.  It makes the file format mastery pursuit worth it!

This is my setup as well - Playbar, Sub, 2 Play:1's. I recently bought a Monoprice HDMI/Toslink switch 4x1 so I would have all my sources output DD 5.1 to the Playbar. My sources are Apple TV, Roku and DirecTV HD DVR. Like you I have a Panasonic Plasma that I hooked the Monoprice switch to.

Concerning DVDs ripped through Handbrake, I also had the problem of only getting stereo sound played through the Apple TV. I solved it, though, by changing a setting in Handbrake. In the Audio tab, set the first audio track to be the track you want, in AAC sound. Then set the second track to also use the same source track, and select AC3 pass-through. You'll see this tip in the online Handbrake manual.

Ripped concert DVDs I own now sound so much better with 5.1 sound played through the Sonos system. Huge difference.
post #74 of 77
Has anyone used a 12v battery with inverter to power the Play 1's it can be placed truly wireless? Similarly to the Philips Fidelio, except the 12v battery would have to be charged separately. I don't have any power outlets behind my sofa, but rather 10 feet away in different directions.
post #75 of 77

Mark, thanks for the feedback, and I've been studying and evaluating my options since my last post above.  There is much to explore, including whether I am going to try that Toslink switch 4x1 you describe.

I was reluctant to do so because part of this project was to be as minimalistic and wireless as possible, but as you describe, getting that sweet 5.1 into the Playbar seems to make a significant difference.  Or in my case, 5.0 since I only ordered the Sonos Sub today and am hoping to receive it this Friday.

 

I could write 1000 words on my experience this last week, but I'll spare everyone.  I will say that I've been experimenting on what my optimum movie file format is in order to enjoy the DD5.1, and I'm pretty sure the AAC track, whether 2.0 or 5.1, always down mixes to 2.0; and that AC3 5.1 is the audio format that will work.

 

What I'm not sure about yet, is whether if AAC 2.0 is Audio Track 1, and AC3 5.1 is Audio Track 2, whether the AC3 DD5.1 will get through reliably.  

I've started using "Subler" to unselect Audio Track 1 (AAC 2.0) and select AC3 5.1, and it appears to work.  I'm also trying to figure out what the downside is to leaving my movie files in that condition.   Lots of experimentation going on.

As a reminder, I've got Apple TV connected wirelessly to my MacPro iTunes Collection, and right now I have the optical out from the ATV going straight into the Playbar.

 

Thanks for any other thoughts you might have and the best way to manage my movie files.

Eddie

Austin, TX

post #76 of 77
Hi Eddie,

I understand what you mean about not wanting to complicate things with the Sonos system. I came from a HT setup with a 7.1 Denon receiver, speakers, stands and wires galore and replacing this system with the Sonos system allowed me to greatly simplify things. I was therefore reluctant to add the switch (Monoprice 7974). But, I figured since I was already using the HDMI cables going from my three sources to the TV, the only thing I was adding to the system was the switch. For me, that was worth getting the sweet 5.1 sound.

Concerning your experience last week, are you talking about ripping DVDs that have DD 5.1 and playing them through the Apple TV? If so, I found DD 5.1 success playing these files from my MacBook Pro on my Apple TV 3 to the Sonos Playbar, Sub and Play:1s with these Handbrake settings:

Choose the Apple TV 3 Profile
Audio tab:
Track 1: English (AC3) (5.1 ch) AAC (Core Audio) Mixdown (Dolby Pro Logic II)
Track 1: English (AC3) (5.1 ch) AC3 Passthru

As you can see, the trick is to select the DD 5.1 track twice and making the settings as shown.

The final thing I had to choose was a setting on the Apple TV. Under Audio settings, make sure Dolby Digital is set to "On" instead of "Auto."

With these settings DD 5.1 is passed through and not down mixed. You can confirm this while something is playing and on a controller selecting Settings/About and seeing DD 5.1 on the Playbar portion.

Now obviously you won't get DD 5.1 sound from your regular music collection since it's 2.1 audio. However, Sonos has announced a feature coming soon that will play full sound on the surrounds when you're playing 2.1 music through the system.
post #77 of 77

Lots of good observations there Mark, and if I didn't mention before, I have the full blown Linn home theater audio system (was only 5.1) with tri-wired front speakers and bi-wired center channel speaker and so on.  Using the front L & R speaker tri-wire cable is like lugging an anaconda around, and with the requisite cables heading back to five stacked two channel amps, and all of those connected back to a preamp...ugh, the very worst in wire fatigue.  So all that is now boxed and stashed in the attic, including the AV5150 subwoofer, reported to be 110 lbs, but feels like heavier.  Today it's all stashed away and replaced by my current Sonos set up.  

 

And I agree, I probably need to look into that optical switcher (I have it cued up on Amazon) if I will be using more than my Apple TV.  It tells me something though, that I've only used my blu ray player once since Christmas.  I might be going strictly Apple TV and I don't have cable or dvr to worry about.

 

About my Handbrake Settings, I agree with you on the Apple TV 3 Profile for DVD rip settings (which I'm not doing much of anymore).  It's more likely I am ripping other large 1080p file formats with different audio codecs and the default ATV3 Profile has a number of other possible outcomes.  I'm still testing those, but often the default settings for Audio Track 1 wind up being AAC, and Audio Track 2 defaults to AC3 (ffmpeg) instead of AC3 Passthrough.  It has to be the right source file to enable the choice of AC3 Passthrough.

 

I'll continue testing my files and with a little luck, I'll have the Sonos Subwoofer by Friday.

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