Answered

Audio optical switch (not splitter) to feed Sonos or AV receiver


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Greetings, first time poster.

I thought I had a simple solution to the lack of a headphone connection in my Sonos setup. And I was not interested in spending money on a Connect if I didn't need to.

Why not, I thought, have an optical audio switch in line before the signal goes to the Playbase? So the audio connection would be from TV into the switch, and the switch would have two optical audio outs. One would feed the Playbase, and the other could go to my AV receiver (which is no longer the main source of output now that I have my surround setup)(a Playbase, a pair of Play:3's and a Sub. The AV receiver is perfectly fine, just unused) With a switch in line, I could choose only the output I wanted.

My plan works great by manually unplugging from the Playbase, and then plugging into my AV receiver. I plug my headphones in to the AV unit, and I get my desired effect: headphone sound for me, and no output from the surround to wake up my wife. When I want to switch back to the surround, I unplug the optical audio cable from the AV unit and plug back into the Playbase.

Obviously, that's not a practical solution. Moving equipment around to get access, wear and tear on the end of the cable, etc. However, there doesn't seem to exist just an audio optical switch with 1 in and 2 out, or even a 1x3.

There's a ton of 3x1 switches (3 in, 1 out) and a ton of splitters. But splitting the signal means that both the surround system and the AV receiver would be outputting sound, not what I want.

I am really surprised that something as simple as this doesn't exist, or at least seem to.

Anybody else ever attempt to do this?

  • Jeff

25 replies

Userlevel 7
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Here you go.

https://www.amazon.com/Neoteck-Digital-Converter-Optical-Bidirectional/dp/B07BWD1MBX/ref=sr_1_11?keywords=optical+pass+through+and+rca&qid=1560207462&s=electronics&sr=1-11

other alternative would be use HDMI-ARC out of TV if you have it and then get box that extract HDMI-ARC to toslink and rca.

https://www.amazon.com/Splitter-Optical-Toslink-Adapter-Converter/dp/B07MTXMMC5/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=hdmi+arc+to+optical&qid=1560207562&s=electronics&sr=1-1-spons&psc=1
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Hi Chris, thanks for coming up with that link! If I understand it correctly, I could
  1. Connect my headphones directly into that unit (but would audio still get passed through Toslink, so that the headphones and the surround system are producing sound at the same time?... I’m guessing it would)
  2. Feed the L and R RCA outputs into my AV receiver.
Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but it appears to me that this is more of a splitter than a switch. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I do appreciate your help, I’m determined to get this resolved.

  • Jeff
Use a powered optical splitter. If necessary it could be powered from a TV USB socket.

The signal would be live to both Playbase and receiver. Simply mute the Playbase or turn off the receiver when not required.
Userlevel 7
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Yea just turn down or mute the one you don’t want playing.
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Thanks, guys. I've got a toslink splitter I can try out tonight. I'll see if i can mute the surround system while still sending a signal to the receiver.

So what you're also telling me is that the device I've described doesn't exist. I am surprised, it's just a reverse setup of a basic toslink 3x1 switch.

Well, there you go, world. Someone create one, and you've got at least one sale. 😄
Userlevel 7
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What are you converting the tos link to for your headphones. Or does the headphone receiver have optical in?
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My receiver has optical in. I plug my old school headphones into it. This receiver was being used for my previous setup for audio output from my current TV, a Samsung 60" LED (if that matters). It was a stereo setup, not a surround system.

Plugging in the headphones to the receiver would cut any other audio output. For my needs, it was perfect.
One-to-many splitters are just that. Adding individual output port on/off switches would involve excessive complexity.

They're not the equivalent of a selector switch in reverse.
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Adding individual output port on/off switches would involve excessive complexity.

Granted, I'm no electrical engineer, but if a selector switch can be set for a 3x1 on the input side, then I'm at a loss to understand why 1x3 is excessively complex on the output side. The signal doesn't go through a conversion, it simply follows a path. And if there's a gate, NONE SHALL PASS. (Sorry, love my Monty Python)

Anyway, feel free to school me, I'm always eager to learn stuff.
Simple splitters are rarely used as switching devices. They're used to send a signal to multiple devices simultaneously.

In a typical 1-to-3 splitter, a switch would have to allow for 7 combinations of active output ports. An unwarranted complexity.
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In a typical 1-to-3 splitter, a switch would have to allow for 7 combinations of active output ports. An unwarranted complexity.


That I would agree, if the switch was designed to handle multiple outputs at the same time.

The device I'm looking for would allow for a selection of a single output from multiple outputs. Just as a basic 3x1 switch works now, it allows for only 1 active input from multiple inputs. And truly, that is a switch, not a splitter.

So instead of having a switch on the front end (the 3x1) the switching would occur on the output side for a 1x3.

-Jeff
Find one then. If you still can't then it underscores the point that there's little or no demand for such a product.
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Find one then.

Lol, yeah, that's what I've been trying to do. And that's what brought me here. I was hoping someone else had run into the same issue as me.

If you still can't then it underscores the point that's there's little or no demand for such a product.

It appears to be that way. Regardless of the reason, a true, basic, 1x3 toslink switch doesn't exist. I still find that odd. *shrug*

I appreciate all the input, and I'll touch base after checking out the 1x3 splitter tonight.

-Jeff
Userlevel 1
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I think this has more switching capability than you need, but might serve the need:

https://jtechdigital.com/product/spdif-4x2/

The same company offers several other switch / splitter devices that might be of interest.

Good luck.

-Scott
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Scott, you eagle-eyed sonofagun!

That is the closest thing I've seen yet. And I just ordered it. What's funny is the splitter I was going to try also happens to be a J-Tech product.

This splitter/switch actually has the capabilities that ratty mentions above, being able to choose combinations of outs and ins.

Once I get it, I'll just use the one In, and feed it independently to each of the 2 Outs. The other ports will go unused, but hey, fine with me.

In this thread, I don't know who gets to choose best answer, but I recommend Scott's post.

Thanks again!

-Jeff
Userlevel 7
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This switches the inputs not the outputs - all outputs function from what I see . From your info you had one input wanting 2 outputs. Don’t see where this solves where you want it to switch the outputs on and off individually.
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As a side note, is there a way to edit the title of this thread I've started? I'd like to amend it.
Userlevel 7
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We k looks like you could set one to an input that had nothing attached. But just turning down volume or muting would seem easier.
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This switches the inputs not the outputs. From your info you had one input wanting 2 outputs. Don’t see where this solves where you want it to switch the outputs on and off individually.

If I understand this correctly, I can choose the input, but more importantly, the output as well:

(screen grab from the description)

just turning down volume or muting would seem easier.
Precisely. Why deal with the unnecessary complexity, and another remote, simply to turn a signal on and off.
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We k looks like you could set one to an input that had nothing attached. But just turning down volume or muting would seem easier.

Chris, you might be right. But I'll be able to put them both to the test once the new switch comes in, and decide which way I prefer. Plus it's kinda fun to play around.
Userlevel 7
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As a side note, is there a way to edit the title of this thread I've started? I'd like to amend it.

Hi VintageAudio,

I can help change the title of this thread. I'll send you a direct message in a moment.
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Hi VintageAudio,

I can help change the title of this thread. I'll send you a direct message in a moment.


Excellent. Fixed, thanks.
Userlevel 7
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Hi VintageAudio,

I can help change the title of this thread. I'll send you a direct message in a moment.
Excellent. Fixed, thanks.


No problem.
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Just thought I'd bring some closure to this thread...

The 1x3 splitter fits my setup nicely. I had some concern that hitting mute would kill the signal completely, but it turns out it does not.

So, the feed from the TV gets split to my Sonos surround and to my AV receiver. When I want to keep the room quiet, I hit Mute on my remote (Harmony 650), plug my headphones into the Yamaha AV receiver, turn that on, and I'm good to go. Works great, no issues.

Bonus: My in-ceiling speakers, which are still connected to the AV receiver, can be played along with the Sonos surround after I unplug my headphones. Kind of a 5.1_2 system, if you will. 😉
Certainly can wrap around you, coming from the front, above, beside and behind!

-Jeff

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