5.1 into just a playbar and sub, any difference

  • 1 November 2018
  • 18 replies
  • 489 views

Badge
Hi.
I am running a playbar and a sub, and obvisouly I cant get true 5.1 sound, but I was wondering if they receive a 5.1 input does it do some processing of the sound to try and emulate 5.1, or will it sound exactly the same as if it receives a stereo input?

Reason I ask is the sound quality is noticibly best when I watch netflix in 4k (and I can see that sonos is receiving a 5.1 signal), but maybe this is just because it is 4k?

When I used my Humax PVR or Xbox it only receives a stereo signal as it's passed through the TV and out to playbar, so never receives a 5.1 signal - but as I'm only using a playbar and sub would it sound any different it I could get it to output in 5.1?

Thanks

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

18 replies

I've had the Playbar and Sub setup for 5 years now roughly. It wasn't until a couple of months ago that I realized I was only getting stereo and not Dolby. Poking around in my Samsung LED menu, I could only select PCM, Dolby Digital was grayed out. Setup during this was Apple TV 4th gen connected directly to TV via HDMI, Playbar connected to TV via optical. Tons of research and it has something to do with signal decoding, copyright, etc.

I had a $5 HDMI switch doing nothing in the cabinet so I hooked it up. Apple TV to Input on the switch, Samsung LED to Output. Dolby Digital no longer grayed out in the Samsung menu. The sound improvement is significant.
Badge
Thanks Ive read about these hdmi switches, but what I don't understand with them is how do I get the audio direct from the TV to the sound bar?
For example in the netflix app that plays directly from the TV, how would this sound get to the soundbar if I am using a switch?
Thanks
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Deleted
Badge
I I understand all the devices can push 5.1 to the sonos if they are directly connected.
Currently the only device directly optically connected to sonos is the tv. But if I use one of these hdmi switches, doesn't the optical come from the switch to the sonos? Therefore I would then no longer have a direct link from the TV to the sonos, so how would the sound when watching netflix get to the sonos?
To answer the original question first... Yes it is worth having 5.1 into a Playbar with Sub - you will get the dedicated centre and Sub channels. Both left channels will come out front left, and both right channels front right.
I I understand all the devices can push 5.1 to the sonos if they are directly connected.
Currently the only device directly optically connected to sonos is the tv. But if I use one of these hdmi switches, doesn't the optical come from the switch to the sonos? Therefore I would then no longer have a direct link from the TV to the sonos, so how would the sound when watching netflix get to the sonos?
The HDMI switch needs to have an optical out. The external devices are connected as inputs to the HDMI switch. The HDMI output from the switch goes to the TV HDMI-ARC connection and the optical goes to the Playbar. Provided the switch supports HDMI-ARC, the audio can pass back through the switch and over optical to the Playbar.

(At least that, I believe, is the theory - I have never actually done this.)
Badge
Right so when im watching netflix from the TV app, the sound travels down the hdmi to the switch, then to the soundbar via optical?
All it won't get downgraded to stereo?

Anyone recommend a switch that does this?
I cannot think of any reason to downgrade to stereo. Is there a particular reason to expect that?
Badge
Because that's the problem I'm trying to solve, when I have humax pvr and xbox going hdmi into TV and optical from TV to sonos, sound get sent to sonos as stereo only.
Then that is possibly because your TV itself does not pass DD5.1 from HDMI out over optical. Some TVs do, some don't. My Panasonic doesn't, my LG does. It has been that feature that has driven many Sonos users to resort to switches, to avoid having the optical out from the TV
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Here's a switch I use:

https://octavainc.com/hdmi-switch-hd41arc/
https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/octava-swith-for-playbar-or-playbase-6768649

Click links for information:
Badge
Yep I have a Panasonic so have the same problem.
Its only since I've got the xbox I've realised I've only ever had 2 channel stereo from the humax box!
So TV will send 5.1 to the switch via hdmi, but it won't a signal received in 5.1 via hdmi out as optical? Mad!
Switch it is then!
I used to use an optical switch (TV, STB and DVD player optical outs to switch, optical switch to Playbar) . Try running optical from the Humax (if it has optical) direct to the Playbar). DD5.1 source should play as 5.1.
Badge
Yeah optical switch would work but not sure if that's better than a hdmi switch with optical output?
I can't see any reason for there to be a difference in quality. One possible problem with optical switch is that Blu-Rays (if that's relevant for you) often don't have a DD5.1, just DTS - so silence from Playbar. Routing via TV then does give you sound, albeit only stereo.

The final piece of my jigsaw was a Samsung BR player that transcoded DTS to DD5.1 on the fly.
Badge
Well if I do occasionally play a blu Ray it would be played on the xbox, so not sure if that would be an issue..
Thanks!
Badge
Would this switch do the job?
https://www.amazon.co.uk/EkoBuy®-UPGRADED-Control-Optical-Switcher-Black/dp/B0727QF9KH/ref=as_li_ss_tl?tag=comparaboo09a-21&ascsubtag=525396120-311-&SubscriptionId=AKIAJO7E5OLQ67NVPFZA
Badge
Or this one?
https://www.amazon.co.uk/HEJSANG-Switcher-Splitter-Extractor-function-black/dp/B072QW26KH/ref=as_li_ss_tl?tag=comparaboo09a-21&ascsubtag=502050107-311-&SubscriptionId=AKIAJO7E5OLQ67NVPFZA