Recommendations on Optical Audio Switcher for Playbar?


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Someone recommended an automatic 2 input optical audio switcher in one of the original playbar threads. It was from monoprice and the link is dead, and a search on monoprice makes it look like it's discontinued with nothing else up in its place.

I'm buying a new TV soon but based on what research I've done, it's impossible to be certain any TV I buy will have proper 5.1 optical switching. 99% chance it will not have it in spite of what people casually report on the internet.

So, I'll need to buy an optical audio switcher. I need to route at least three inputs, ideally four to help future proof me. And it needs to support 5.1. It does me no good if it downgrades the signal to 2.x.

I'm also debating over whether I should just buy another A/V receiver. I sold my old A/V receiver with my old 5.1 speaker set when I bought my playbar. As ridiculous as it sounds (and actually is), my best bet may be to buy a cheap $100 to $200 A/V receiver and use that for all my audio routing to the Playbar.

Then when friends come over and marvel at the slim form factor and design of the Playbar, I can point out that they'll need a gigantic A/V receiver in order to get it working properly.

I would also consider an HDMI switcher that has the appropriate audio output that parses out the correct 5.1 audio signal.

Ideally, whatever I choose, it's automatic with a manual override. I like the idea that whichever of the 4 inputs are outputting a signal is the one that is live. With the ability to manually switch for diagnostic or special use circumstances.

If that Monoprice unit comes back, even though it's just a dual unit, maybe I can get away with running two of them, one into the other, to get the 3 inputs that I need.

Or maybe someone will report that Sonos has come out with an official list of TVs that support the Playbar's intended functionality that it was engineered around (re: sending 5.1 out of optical). I haven't been on the forums in a few months and a cursory skim through thread posts didn't reveal anything new, although it sounds like Sonos may release a DTS update through software based on some rumors I read on the forums so that's exciting.

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44 replies

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That’s smart.... at the end of the day, and to some guest, it’s doesn’t feel practical to have to always adjust the box to the corresponding unit.

It’s just seems like there should be a more convenient way. I tried a HDMI box which will convert to one toslink cable but some of the units weren’t giving full 5.1 surround. In order to achieve this, I have to get the toslink adapter and the above comments explain the rest.

Unless I’m missing something, this is the only way.

Thanks again.
Believe me, if I needed a device like that, what you're proposing would absolutely be at the top of my list. But I just don't think it's possible. But the saving grace for me, at least, is that I use Logitech's Harmony remotes, so I could build in the command to do the changes of HDMI channels right into the process.
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Good point with the swtich’s function if a device if left on all the time.....

It just seems that the need to constantly switch between devices seems so outdated or behind technical capabilities.
I've never seen one that has auto-switching capabilities, but I'll admit I don't go looking very frequently. I think one issue that forestalls the possibility is that many people keep certain devices on all the time, so there's no signal to let the switch know which one is to be "on" at any point.

Perhaps you may want to peruse either Amazon.com, or do a google.com search?
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Hello Folks,

Question:

If I purchase the toslink adapter to accommodate multiple sources, ( cable, dvd, PS4, Xbox ) do I need to manuall switch the adapter to the corresponding source I wish to use?
If so, do they have make an automatic adapter that recognizes what source you are activating?

Thanks.
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AUTOMATIC is the magic word in this original post that Google keeps deciding makes it necessary to show in the results of my endless searches. :D
As Airgetlam mentions, get a Logitech Harmony remote, hands down. The new ones can even control the Sonos features itself.

As a thought for more advanced switching going up to a TV, I'm surprised that nobody's come across the Outlaw 975: https://www.outlawaudio.com/products/975.html

It will pass the audio over HDMI directly to the TV, and lets you switch not just HDMI, but a variety of other sources as well. It's the flexibility of an AVR, without the bulk of one and the amplifiers of one. Plus, you can use its preamp outs to run things like built-in rear speakers. Probably the most flexible switching system out there that's less than $1,000. 🙂
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I use kwmobile EDID feeders, you need one per HDMI port. This lets all devices pass 5.1 through the TV HDMI's to TOSlink and you use your TV exactly as normal (VERY important to me!).

The reason TV's struggle is because they handshake with the Blu-ray players etc and report themselves as a STEREO device, the Blu-ray/ Set Top Box etc will then only feed a stereo signal to the TV and hence the Playbar..
Hi all - will this setup work:

4 devices into HDMI Switch
HDMI from Switch (travelling about 20ft where TV and Playbar sit) to a HDMI SPLITTER (1 HDMI IN = 1 HDMI out + Optical out)
HDMI from Splitter to TV for Video
Optical from Splitter to Playbar

What do you guys think?
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This TV definitely passes Dolby Digital via the optical out on the back "Sony Bravia 55XE9305 LED HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart Android TV, 55" with Freeview HD, Youview & Ultra-Slim Design". I have it working with my SKY Q and Apple TV boxes which are connected to HDMI on the TV.
After a ton of googling...
2-in / 1-out: https://www.lindy-usa.com/2-way-automatic-toslink-digital-optical-audio-switch-70405.html
4-in / 1-out: https://www.amazon.com/TOSLink-Automatic-Switcher-Authority-1177A-1/dp/B01FWTR30S

The first company also has a 4-in / 1-out, but it's not automatic : https://www.lindy-usa.com/4-way-toslink-digital-optical-audio-switch-70416.html

I don't have any of these yet, but am thinking of grabbing the Lindy 2-way shortly.
Yea, I understand your frustration. Until a week ago, I assumed they had automatic ones as well, until I did some research, since I don't own one or use one myself. As a stopgap measure, I could recommend using a Logitech Universal remote, which would allow you to change the inputs on all devices as needed? It has a high WAF ( I installed one for a friend ), and it does a great job of managing all of the random extra things that go with having a more complex setup. Takes a minute or two to figure out Logitech's programming interface, but it really is quite flexible, and then would have the benefit of allowing your wife to deal with things without texting you.

Yea, it's an extra expense, but might be worth it to remove the frustration from your life.
Someone recommended an automatic 2 input optical audio switcher in one of the original playbar threads. It was from monoprice and the link is dead, and a search on monoprice makes it look like it's discontinued with nothing else up in its place...


The most important part of this question for me still hasn't been addressed in this thread from three years ago. All of the amazing switches people are recommending come with their own little remote control.

None of them offer AUTOMATIC switching between live sources. This is CRUCIAL. My wife needs to text me every time she turns the projector on to watch movies with her family when I'm not home now. The LAST thing we need is a third remote.

Has anyone found something that will automatically switch between sources as they are toggled on and off? I need the Playbar to pick up my Apple TV when it turns on, after the PS4 is turned off.

AUTOMATIC is the magic word in this original post that Google keeps deciding makes it necessary to show in the results of my endless searches. 😃
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UPDATE: Found this switch on Amazon which seems like it fits the bill perfectly for my needs. Anyone tried it?
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00MSAU8XO/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3GEYN3RYNFMBE
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New Sonos owner here (Playbar, Sub, Play 1 surrounds) and I'm a bit hung-up on the optimal connectivity solution. I need to connect an Apple TV 4, Xbox One via an HDMI splitter/optical audio extractor in order to get 5.1 to my Playbar from all the devices. I've read up on the Monoprice and Octava options but neither seems to meet my needs. Does anyone know of an HDMI switch or setup that fulfils these criteria?
- CEC enabled HDMI switch (so Apple TV turns on/off with TV set)
- "Auto-switching" HDMI switch (so I just need to power up the Xbox or Apple TV and the input will auto-select without the need for a separate remote).

I realize the Xbox is not CEC compatible, which is why HDMI auto switching would be nice. But I would also like to retain the CEC function of the Apple TV being able to power on/off the TV set.

Would my best bet be something like this Monoprice CEC compatible HDMI switch (auto switches via CEC, not sure if this will work for the Xbox override?) http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=6259
PLUS an optical audio extractor like this in order to feed 5.1 audio directly from the switch to the Playbar:
https://www.amazon.com/J-Tech-Digital-Premium-Extractor-Converter/dp/B00BIQER0E/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1466021671&sr=1-1&keywords=J-Tech+Digital+®+Premium+Quality+1080P+HDMI+To+HDMI+%2B+Audio+%28SPDIF+%2B+RCA+Stereo%29+Audio+Extractor+Converter+%28Support+Apple+TV+4+Gen%29

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Ozboyz ... It sounds promising if you are seeing DD5.1 already... Fingers x'd - hope it works out for you.
Thanks Ken. We changed the optical cable and we are now getting sound. Played a DVD and our sonos app showed that it was putting 5.1 through to the play bar. Waiting to see if there is a chanel on tv that is out putting 5.1 to compare that too. Not being a technical person does not make it easy. Previous experience was with an amp that did all the sound for us but opted for sonos for the wi-fi functionality. I'm sure we will sort it out.
Ozboyz, perhaps look at the devices mentioned earlier in this thread, or I think this is the type of HDMI switcher you are after ... albeit it's a bit more expensive:

http://www.amazon.com/Portable-Monoprice-TOSlink-Consumer-Electronic/dp/B00LJPD7LY
Ozboyz

Presumably the only outputs on your 'switcher' are the HDMI-OUT and the digital coax ... I guess everything else is an 'IN'.

If the HDMI-OUT goes to the TV, then the playbar will need to be connected to the TV toslink-out port, but older Samsung TV's tend to only output PCM 2.0 stereo...perhaps see what your documentation says for your TV, or ring the Samsung support desk.

I do not think you have bought the correct 'switcher' looking at it briefly, but I can't be sure without seeing the accompanying documentation.

Really the same applies to the other switcher too that you are comparing ... There's nothing to show that the toslink port on that device is a DD 5.1 output/pass-through .. Indeed, it too, could be an input port.

I don't have a Sonos PlayBar myself, but hopefully someone else here will provide a link or suggestion as to a good HDMI switcher with DD5.1 toslink output that will work in your situation.
Hello. I need some advice. I bought this unit and have it set up but no sound.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Q6BYAYY/ref=pe_385721_135448361_TE_3p_dp_1

I have my sky box, my android box and DVD plugged in via HDMI. This splitter is then connected to the tv via HDMI. Then the optical cable goes from the box to the sonos play bar. We have no sound coming out and do not know where we are going wrong. Do not know if we have bought the wrong splitter etc.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as we would like to be able to benefit from a true 5.1 experience across all platforms and not just from the TV.

The TV is a Samsung Smart TV about 2 years old.

Also what is the difference between the one that I bought and this one below

https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-105557-Toslink-Digital-Coaxial/dp/B003L14WB8?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_details_o02_s00_i00
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I am now using two devices which together seem to be perfect. I use a monoprice HDMI/Toslink switch that takes HDMI inputs and splits out a toslink output plus HDMI out. I use that with all my legacy devices including the Apple TV 4 since the switch does not support HDCP 2.2 and thus is limited to 1080p.

But since I got one of the new LG OLEDs (2016) which is fantastic, and i wanted to use my Roku 4 with it in 4k mode, I realized that the monoprice would not pass thru and use the HDCP 2.2 protocol so I could in fact set 4k. So instead i took that HDMI output directly to the TV but still needed to somehow get a toslink signal to the playbar.

So on Amazon I noticed they now sell several toslink switches and I purchased one by Enko which is a 3x1 switch. Works like a charm! Though it just came with a USB connector for power, I just hook that up the LG which has a power output on USB, and then taught my harmony remote the IR remote commands that the Enko comes with.

All works beautifully together. Now I have toslink inputs directly from the TV, from the Roku 4 and from my monoprice switch (with its toslink output) going to the Enko switch and then into the playbar.

A bit complicated but works just fine as far as I can tell. Love it.
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I might start a new thread, but I'll be purchasing the new 2015 Apple TV, that as many of us know, is losing the optical out option, and we'll have to find an hdmi to Toslink Optical switch of some kind to connect to the Playbar. My criteria has been keeping it as simple and inconspicuous as possible, but in the interest of trying out the new technology, I'm already exploring what my options are to connect my Apple TV content to my Playbar and surround setup.

I won't need a bunch of connections, just the minimalist connector to tie up the new Apple TV with hdmi output only, the TV's hdmi input connection, and the Playbar's Toslink connection. I think, if I get the nomenclature correctly, that's a splitter that will take the one hdmi feed from the Apple TV to yield one hdmi connection to the TV, and one Toslink connection to the Playbar. Ideally the splitter would sleep whenever the rest of the gear sleeps and not be an energy vampire when the TV is off.

Sonos customer support, I hope you are anticipating this question when the new Apple TV's go on sale October 26th!
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I've search extensively for something like this and am pretty certain it doesn't exist. I think you're largely out of luck with DTS and DD+ unless you have a streaming device or a TV that will automatically transcode to DD.

Thanks for the (albeit negative) answer! I do have a streaming device that transcodes (FireTV w/ Kodi), but this does not work for Netflix/Watchever/Amazon Prime on the FireTV. My TV does pass some DD through, but sadly not all of it (I guess it signals that it can handle DD+ & DTS and also tries to pass this through as well, the Playbar only receives static).:(
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I'm quite happy with my Inline audio switch (4 SPDIF inputs and 2 outputs, of which one is used for the Playbar), but I am currently wondering if a full-fledged audio converter might be better. Most DTS material I have can be converted via Kodi, but the FireTV I use for streming regularly outputs Dolby Digital Plus and thus only downmixes it to stereo for the Playbar.

Does anyone know of a small AV receiver that can be used to downmix DTS, DD+ and other formats to pure DD for the Playbar? There's not much space in the AV rack and I do not really need the amplifier portion of the receiver, just the decoding capabilities.

Any ideas?


I've search extensively for something like this and am pretty certain it doesn't exist. I think you're largely out of luck with DTS and DD+ unless you have a streaming device or a TV that will automatically transcode to DD. In general, it seems like devices with an optical output are capable of doing that transcoding work, but those are getting harder and harder to find on the newer streaming boxes (the exception being the Roku 4). Would be interesting if somebody just took the cheapest TV that will pass through 5.1 AND do the transcoding and ripped the guts out to use it as an HDMI switch/audio converter, but I've never heard of anyone doing that and it may very well be a terrible idea.
Userlevel 1
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I'm quite happy with my Inline audio switch (4 SPDIF inputs and 2 outputs, of which one is used for the Playbar), but I am currently wondering if a full-fledged audio converter might be better. Most DTS material I have can be converted via Kodi, but the FireTV I use for streming regularly outputs Dolby Digital Plus and thus only downmixes it to stereo for the Playbar.

Does anyone know of a small AV receiver that can be used to downmix DTS, DD+ and other formats to pure DD for the Playbar? There's not much space in the AV rack and I do not really need the amplifier portion of the receiver, just the decoding capabilities.

Any ideas?
Userlevel 3
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I bought this one
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BB0GY1C?keywords=ViewHD%20SPDIF%20%2F%20TOSLINK%20%2F%20Optical%20Audio%204x2%20Matrix%20Switch%20with%20Remote%20Control%20%7C%20VHD-SM4X2&qid=1444814492&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Very happy about the quality, Yes, 5.1 Dolby Digital works, and I have the flexibility 4x2 . My TV - satellite Box - Apple TV goes to this device and the output goes to the playbar. I basically left HDMI to connect apple TV and Satellite to the TV .

Caveats : manual switch only, and next gen Apple TV not having an optical out : When I'll buy the new apple TV I wll have to change to a hdmi-optical switch !!