Playbar + Multiple sources + HDMA Switch + Optical Switch

  • 6 September 2017
  • 4 replies

Hello! Something of a newbie here to the forum, hoping someone can help with my (somewhat complicated) setup...

I have a cinema room with a BenQ MU706 projector, connected to multiple sources (PC, PS4 Pro, Blu-ray player for the kids and a Sky Q mini-box) via an HDMI switch (Neet HDMI True Matrix 4x2). The other HDMI output goes through the wall to a TV in the next room. I can successfully switch between pictures on all devices across both projector and other room TV.

However, the sound is where my issue is. I have a Playbar + SUB sitting under the screen. I've connected the Playbar Optical connection to a Portta 4 Port 4x1 SPDIF/Toslink digital optical audio switch, using Realmax Toslink 10m Cable. I've then hooked up the various sources to the optical switch (also using shorter Realmax Toslink cables, and the Sonos optical cable that came with the Playbar). Predictably, I have no sound on any of the devices!

Taking the PS4 as an example - I have the sound set to Optical, then Dolby Digital 5.1ch selected (though the PCM option below are greyed out and also selected), but get nothing.

Does anyone else have anything similar and resolved the issues? I'm thinking my next step is to plus each source directly to the Playbar (not easy given my setup) and test each on every setting to see if the switch is the issue?

Sorry for length and uncertainty - flapping about a bit as had hoped the sound would be easier!

Might help if I'd spelt HDMI correctly in the title...

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4 replies

Userlevel 4
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I feel your pain, I had a similar set-up until very recently - finally bit the bullet and got a proper AV receiver, wish I'd done it years ago.

In theory, if everything is on the correct port, it should work. However there are a lot of variables involved and HDMI negotiation can be hit and miss - each device deciding which audio streams it can or can't send over the cable.

In my case I had Device->HDMI switch->HDMI splitter->Displays and Device->co-ax/optical converter->Optical Switch->PLAYBAR.

Part of your challenge is that many of your devices support DD+, DTS and other codecs which obvious PLAYBAR will never support. I've seen PLAYBAR crash (no sound at all) after receiving an unsupported codec which can require a reboot.

Initially, as you suggest, try one source at a time and directly connect each to the PLAYBAR and see if you can get any sound at all. Once you've confirmed at least something works, come back and let us know which ones don't.

Incidentally, I recently switched to a new Denon AV receiver which supports 2 zones for both audio and video. This means my TV in the next room - in my case Living Room and Kitchen) can have it's own source from the AV receiver. So, in your case, this would mean you could watch Sky in the bedroom at the same time as the kids were watching a blu-ray or playing on the PS4. There are 2 HDMI outputs on the receiver and you can simply choose which source is sent to each. It's removed a lot of headaches and just works.
Thanks RO53BEN, appreciate your feedback. I spent a little time on this last night - think it may have been the order I was connecting things and upsetting the Playbar. Good news is that I have managed to get the PS4 Pro, the Blu-ray and the Sky Mini-Hub all working now - I must confess I had one of the cables in the wrong place for the PS4 Pro and a setting wrong on the blu-ray sound output. So thankfully reasonably easy to fix!

However, I'm having no such luck with my PC. I have a ASUS Xonar DGX 5.1 soundcard installed which has an optical out (SPDIF ). I can see in the sound setting that the default device is selected as SPDIF Passthrough, the sound indicator shows it going up and down with the required sound (spotify, youtube, etc), but no sounds is coming out the Playbar. The optical cable is showing red light, and it's the same optical cable used for the other devices.

I've been trawling through some forums and seems like I might be best setting the audio device as the default and not the SPDIF passthrough (as daft as that sounds). It's my next step here, otherwise I think it's a support mail to Asus Xonar...

FYI - I used to do most of this through a Denon AV Amp myself - but one I bought about 10 years ago (AVR 2807? - so, so heavy!). It worked great, but after moving house we've gone with a much easier to wire Sonos system through much of the house. So I'm trying to avoid spending further £££ on what would be an excellent Denon Amp. Will depend on how many headaches this new setup cause!
Userlevel 4
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Sure, I've got Sonos in every room in the house for music - I just found trying to combine it with TV/movies was a step too far. Since ripping out PLAYBAR I'm enjoying both TV and music a lot more. Even the ability to apply Sonos updates whilst somebody is watching TV is a godsend - beta updates are quite frequent and disruptive when they stop the audio.
Userlevel 4
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p.s. regarding your PC soundcard, it can get a bit confusing. Especially if you have a third party soundcard installed.

If your system board also has on-board sound, it may be you are doubling up and have 2 x active soundcards. There may be an optical port on both the soundcard and the system connections. Ensure you're using the right one. If it's not in use, disable the on-board sound to avoid confusion in the Windows control panel.