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      11-06-2017, 01:45 PM   #1
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Ok so I am trying to improve my home theater a bit. I have a 65" 4K Vizio and an LG sound bar with wireless subwoofer that sounds pretty good. The sound bar was a gift from my father in law so I'd like to retain it in the home theater system. Integrating it does not make for an easy task however as the only inputs are 2 optical inputs and a USB. I am considering using it as the center speaker and purchasing a receiver and two rear surround speakers (and possibly 2 front L and R surround satellite speakers). I would like for this to be of decent quality but still as budget friendly as possible, mostly because I'm no audiophile and wouldn't appreciate a super high quality high-end system anyways. I am open to suggestions for satellite speakers as well as a receiver.

So this brings me to my first issue: converting analog input to optical. I have found this little box (below) from amazon that looks like it is just the ticket. However I won't know for sure if it works until I hook it up. Does anyone know if this will work? Will there be a sound delay from the tv?

My second issue is the rear surround sound speakers. My living room has the kitchen and dining room open to it on the right side and two double glass doors on the left side when facing the TV from my sectional. I do not want to have to run speaker wire across the edge of the room to go to the two rear speakers. Is there any way to relay the signal to the two rear speakers wirelessly? I have searched and searched but have not found anything that I am looking for. I really dread having to run tacky looking speaker wire across the corner of the tile floor. Any advice is much appreciated.
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      11-06-2017, 02:11 PM   #2
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This works pretty well for me, I have it running some old Infinity speakers for my rear surrounds:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/rocketf...?skuId=8275528

It's not super awesome or powerful but it's just the rears so I don't care much. Just have to give it line-of-sight and you're good to go.

I'm not sure about the other. Generally, receivers don't have optical outputs to connect to a soundbar, since they are intended for powering speakers. The A/D converter may work, I've never tried one. Been out of the game for a few years.

Optical splitters exist but I can't vouch for them. Maybe you could take the TV output, split it, and run that to the soundbar and the receiver both?

Example:

https://www.amazon.com/ViewHD-TOSLIN.../dp/B00G191YL8
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      11-06-2017, 02:14 PM   #3
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This works pretty well for me, I have it running some old Infinity speakers for my rear surrounds:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/rocketf...?skuId=8275528

It's not super awesome or powerful but it's just the rears so I don't care much. Just have to give it line-of-sight and you're good to go.

I'm not sure about the other. Generally, receivers don't have optical outputs to connect to a soundbar, since they are intended for powering speakers. The A/D converter may work, I've never tried one. Been out of the game for a few years.

Optical splitters exist but I can't vouch for them. Maybe you could take the TV output, split it, and run that to the soundbar and the receiver both?

Example:

https://www.amazon.com/ViewHD-TOSLIN.../dp/B00G191YL8
That is extremely helpful. Thanks so much! I don't know how I didn't come across the wireless rear speaker kit before...
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      11-06-2017, 03:27 PM   #4
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You should be aware that in the type of scenario you're contemplating, you are limiting yourself to Dolby Digital and dts. Higher res audio formats like DD+, and lossless formats like TrueHD and dts-HD MA are all not possible (and I'll leave out immersive audio (eg. Dolby Atmos) as that will cause even more confusion.

Not sure what your source materials are, but if you're playing Blu-ray (1080p or 4K) movies ... you will not be able to get the high res audio formats (TrueHD, dts-HD) out this type of setup. Likewise, if you stream Netflix, you will not be able to get DD+.

There are two basic issues to consider. The first is that optical just does not have the bandwidth to support any surround sound format above Dolby Digital or dts. The other key problem is that, to enjoy 4K video (Netflix or Blu-ray or maybe you're cable provider). the entire chain has to be connected using HDMI 2.0 or better with HDCP 2.2. If any part of the signal chain is not HDCP 2.2 compliant, you will be forced to choose between 4K video and higher res audio.

In other words, you need to decide how important sound is to you in your listening environment (and I mean this non-judgmentally). I did read your earlier comment, but I am not talking about super high-end here. If you hear a difference between Spotify at normal quality and Tidal, or between Spotify at normal quality and a CD ... that's kind of what I'm suggesting the order of magnitude is here. There are better experts on here than me who might do a better job of explaining it. If it's not that important, than macgyvering something together using your soundbar as a component is probably fine. But, if you place value on audio quality then you really should look at not just a receiver but good speakers as well as timbre matching across the entire front soundstage is pretty important (in other words, mismatching the centre from the L/R is not recommended).

If you are intent on including the soundbar as the centre speaker, then you need a receiver that has "pre-outs" and something like this to take your centre channel line out and provide an optical in to your soundbar. However, one really quick way to drive up your budget is to limit your receiver choice to those with pre-outs. That's a feature that is generally found on substantially more expensive receivers that are likely overkill for what your sound quality expectations are.

Lastly, while not a fan of wireless surround sound, I am forced in my current environment (at least until I replace the flooring) to do the same. I have tried several units (including the Rocketfish one linked above) and found most of them deficient in some striking ways. The only one I have been somewhat satisfied with is the Soundcast unit (https://www.amazon.ca/Soundcast-SCS1.../dp/B003F7R7SI).
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      11-06-2017, 03:32 PM   #5
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You should be aware that in the type of scenario you're contemplating, you are limiting yourself to Dolby Digital and dts. Higher res audio formats like DD+, and lossless formats like TrueHD and dts-HD MA are all not possible (and I'll leave out immersive audio (eg. Dolby Atmos) as that will cause even more confusion.

Not sure what your source materials are, but if you're playing Blu-ray (1080p or 4K) movies ... you will not be able to get the high res audio formats (TrueHD, dts-HD) out this type of setup. Likewise, if you stream Netflix, you will not be able to get DD+.

There are two basic issues to consider. The first is that optical just does not have the bandwidth to support any surround sound format above Dolby Digital or dts. The other key problem is that, to enjoy 4K video (Netflix or Blu-ray or maybe you're cable provider). the entire chain has to be connected using HDMI 2.0 or better with HDCP 2.2. If any part of the signal chain is not HDCP 2.2 compliant, you will be forced to choose between 4K video and higher res audio.

In other words, you need to decide how important sound is to you in your listening environment (and I mean this non-judgmentally). I did read your earlier comment, but I am not talking about super high-end here. If you hear a difference between Spotify at normal quality and Tidal, or between Spotify at normal quality and a CD ... that's kind of what I'm suggesting the order of magnitude is here. There are better experts on here than me who might do a better job of explaining it. If it's not that important, than macgyvering something together using your soundbar as a component is probably fine. But, if you place value on audio quality then you really should look at not just a receiver but good speakers as well as timbre matching across the entire front soundstage is pretty important (in other words, mismatching the centre from the L/R is not recommended).

If you are intent on including the soundbar as the centre speaker, then you need a receiver that has "pre-outs" and something like this to take your centre channel line out and provide an optical in to your soundbar. However, one really quick way to drive up your budget is to limit your receiver choice to those with pre-outs. That's a feature that is generally found on substantially more expensive receivers that are likely overkill for what your sound quality expectations are.
Thanks for the input! Sounds like I need to do a bit more research. So you are saying that even with the converter, to use my sound bar as the center speaker that I will need to have a receiver with 'pre-outs'? No-way no-how not going to work otherwise?
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      11-06-2017, 03:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jstnstr View Post
Thanks for the input! Sounds like I need to do a bit more research. So you are saying that even with the converter, to use my sound bar as the center speaker that I will need to have a receiver with 'pre-outs'? No-way no-how not going to work otherwise?
Not that I know of. The problem is that your soundbar is expecting a "line level" input that it would then amplify. The speaker terminals of a receiver put out an already amplified signal. In theory, you might be able to take the audio out of your TV (which is likely optical) and split that signal to your receiver and soundbar, but I can't imagine that you wouldn't be creating a latency issue and therefore have the sound out of time sync between your soundbar and receiver. If your soundbar had an audio out, or your TV had two audio outputs (highly unlikely) you might not have this problem, but you're still dealing with giving up higher end audio formats (which may be entirely acceptable to you ... just know what you're buying).
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      11-06-2017, 03:45 PM   #7
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Got it ok. That's pretty much what I read on the AVS forum. Thank you.
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      11-06-2017, 03:49 PM   #8
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AVS has a lot of good information ... sometimes to the point of overload. Once you decide on what particular pieces you're considering (eg. what AVR) it's probably worthwhile to look at the owner's threads for that equipment to get a sense of whether it's right for you.
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      11-06-2017, 03:51 PM   #9
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AVS has a lot of good information ... sometimes to the point of overload. Once you decide on what particular pieces you're considering (eg. what AVR) it's probably worthwhile to look at the owner's threads for that equipment to get a sense of whether it's right for you.
Ok good to know. Yeah I get the sense that a lot of that info over there is a bit over my head unfortunately. I just want some surround sound!
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      11-06-2017, 04:05 PM   #10
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That Rocketfish product works pretty well, for what it is. The main issue you're going to run into though is the gear you have wasn't designed to work well for what you're trying to do. TBH, and I know this isn't what you want to hear, is that stuff you have still new enough that you could return it? Since you're not looking for audiophile sound but basically want easiest surround setup, converting to Sonos sound bar, wireless sub, and a pair of P1s for surrounds will do everything you want VERY easily. I have that setup in my bedroom and it's more than fine. And this is coming from someone who is used to $20K+ budgets for proper theater installs.
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      11-06-2017, 04:11 PM   #11
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Hi OP, i'll give you my experience on an average budget. First, retaining that sound bar is going to be a real anchor to your home audio for many reasons. I won't go through them all but converting analog to digital is just your first issue. If i were you i'd keep that soundbar for another tv or something. Assuming you get the soundbar to work like a regular center channel, the audio quality in general might not be very good if the timber of the soundbar and you satellites are off a bit. Then there is the potential for audio delay. yikes!

Anyways as far as wireless rear surround, i've tried Rocketfish (didnt work for me) and a couple others. All were spotty, had cutouts, or just plain didnt work. If you want to try SOnos you can do that, it might have a solution. I ended up getting a Sony Receiver that allows for automatic connection with certain sony rear surround speakers. Not all that expensive. You'd have to get two speakers and the receiver (and it will allow you to use whatever center and L/R channels you hook it up to). Also don't forget to get a dedicated subwoofer!
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      11-06-2017, 04:13 PM   #12
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Awesome thanks for the....input.... guys!

Sounds like I need to ditch the sound bar. I'll probably look for a decent surround system on Black Friday/cyber Monday.
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      11-06-2017, 04:17 PM   #13
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Just FYI the Sonos setup will run you $1800 but it's by far the easiest way to accomplish what you want. It's also expandable, can stream music via app, and you can get one of the surrounds with Alexa built in. So aside from very respectable surround sound setup for movies you can literally be sitting in living room or kitchen and say "play whatever on Pandora" and it just does it.
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      11-06-2017, 04:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Just FYI the Sonos setup will run you $1800 but it's by far the easiest way to accomplish what you want. It's also expandable, can stream music via app, and you can get one of the surrounds with Alexa built in. So aside from very respectable surround sound setup for movies you can literally be sitting in living room or kitchen and say "play whatever on Pandora" and it just does it.
That's pretty awesome. Ironically that's what my father in law has throughout his house is the Sonos. I'll prob just get rid of the sound bar in good time instead of fucking around with trying to integrate it. Lord knows I don't need another remote in the living room.
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      11-06-2017, 04:20 PM   #15
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When you start piecemealing stuff together, you can easily spend $2k so it's not that bad considering it's pre set up as wireless. There's a big wireless home audio movement happening though so if i was you i'd go do some ear shopping...
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      11-06-2017, 04:25 PM   #16
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That's pretty awesome. Ironically that's what my father in law has throughout his house is the Sonos. I'll prob just get rid of the sound bar in good time instead of fucking around with trying to integrate it. Lord knows I don't need another remote in the living room.
Yeah, I mean I would use it in a guest room or something and get your main living space set up the way you want. Since you said you're not an audiophile I'd just go the Sonos route and you can add zones and rooms as budget / desire allows. For remote check out the Harmony Smart Control it's awesome, inexpensive, and uses a phone app as well. I use this remote in rooms with just TV, TV and Sonos, all the way up to TV w/ $50K in gear.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The other thing that I am guessing based on your tile, open to kitchen etc. comments is that the acoustics in your room are GARBAGE. Long story short you can spend $2K or less to do what you want and have it sound decent, then anything beyond that you are looking at MAJOR investments. Even done on the cheap with VMPS or Gallo speakers, a competent receiver, a sub amp etc. you're looking at - I am guessing here - another $2500-3500 in acoustic treatments, bass traps, etc. etc.
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      11-06-2017, 04:43 PM   #17
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Yeah that's definitely far above what I want to do. We still rent, my 'home theater' is just my living room haha.
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      11-06-2017, 04:49 PM   #18
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Yeah that's definitely far above what I want to do. We still rent, my 'home theater' is just my living room haha.
Nothing wrong with that - just need to take all that into account when picking all this crap!
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      11-06-2017, 05:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Yeah, I mean I would use it in a guest room or something and get your main living space set up the way you want. Since you said you're not an audiophile I'd just go the Sonos route and you can add zones and rooms as budget / desire allows. For remote check out the Harmony Smart Control it's awesome, inexpensive, and uses a phone app as well. I use this remote in rooms with just TV, TV and Sonos, all the way up to TV w/ $50K in gear.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
You have no idea how much I despise Harmony and yet there is no other good option short of CI products that are simply not available to an average consumer or anyone with a DIY bent. While I have access to URC Complete and Total Control software, getting my hands on the right hardware for reasonable pricing is impossible (and I don't like most of their stuff these days).
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      11-06-2017, 06:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEM-S4 View Post
Yeah, I mean I would use it in a guest room or something and get your main living space set up the way you want. Since you said you're not an audiophile I'd just go the Sonos route and you can add zones and rooms as budget / desire allows. For remote check out the Harmony Smart Control it's awesome, inexpensive, and uses a phone app as well. I use this remote in rooms with just TV, TV and Sonos, all the way up to TV w/ $50K in gear.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
You have no idea how much I despise Harmony and yet there is no other good option short of CI products that are simply not available to an average consumer or anyone with a DIY bent. While I have access to URC Complete and Total Control software, getting my hands on the right hardware for reasonable pricing is impossible (and I don't like most of their stuff these days).
Yeah I've been through everything all the way up to C4 and honestly unless you're trying to do some really crazy stuff the remote I linked - or one like it - is the best option. Especially for folks like my father, we built him a 7.2 Sonance beryllium, best of everything (within reason) and all he needs to understand to use it is picture of tv = Watch tv.
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      11-06-2017, 06:27 PM   #21
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I have the harmony smart control thing and it's fantasitico....never fails me and it's fairly easy to set up and modify.
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      11-06-2017, 09:14 PM   #22
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Well, if nothing else, you can see how complicated it can get trying to do something easy. If you are willing to replace the soundbar, the next thing is to state your budget and your expectations.
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