Integrating TV with stereo system

Integrating TV with stereo system

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uncinqsix

Original Poster:

2,967 posts

149 months

Tuesday 15th January
quotequote all
Please bear with me here: I realise that I'm probably well behind the times and pretty much clueless about home theatrery things...

My current setup is as follows:

Audio: Rega Brio amp (basic 2 channel job) and a pair of Rega R1 speakers, with a chromecast audio as the main source. This feeds the Brio via a dedicated Arcam DAC (optical out from the chromecast). There is also a Rega Planet CD player, but that doesn't get a huge amount of use these days.

TV: Panasonic smart tv, with a Kodi box and a seldom used DVD player hooked up to it. 95% of what we watch is streamed via Netflix or similar to the smart tv. We just use the TV's built in speakers for audio.

What I want to do is get better audio when watching TV etc. The stereo speakers are set up either side of the TV, but spaced out quite a way (probably 3.5-4m apart at the mo). I have tried running audio from the DVD player through the stereo, but that sounds a bit odd as there is no sound from the centre. Trying to use the TV speakers as a centre channel didn't work as there was no way to match the volume.

It would be nice to be able to use the amp and speakers for the TV audio, but I can't see an obvious way of integrating the two and having a decent centre channel. Am I going to have to lose the Brio amp and replace it with a HT receiver? Would I need to replace the speakers?

I'm not interested in adding rear speakers or a subwoofer or anything, and would like to retain half decent music playing ability. Any ideas?

C&C

1,486 posts

160 months

Tuesday 15th January
quotequote all
I was in a similar position - wanting to use the (good) 2 channel hifi as part of a 5.1 setup.
Years ago (about 18 years in fact), I bought a Yamaha DSP E800 surround processor.
It's still in regular use today.

It provides power for centre and rear channels, with line level out for front left and right (and sub).

I feed it the TV/bluray source, and connect the line level front left and right into an input on the music hifi amp.

Speaker wire connected for centre channel (and rears).

You could just power a centre with it and forget about the rears and active sub.

It has controls to vary the relative volume on each channel.

They appear to be available used on ebay for about £30-£70.

All you'd need is a centre speaker and speaker cable.

ETA - I hadn't noticed you're in New Zealand.

Basically you just need any AV amp with line level output for front left and right.

Also looking at closed listings on ebay, the Yamaha does come up occasionally with free international shipping from the UK.



Edited by C&C on Tuesday 15th January 23:36

GravelBen

13,645 posts

169 months

Wednesday 16th January
quotequote all
With the right speaker positioning I'd think you should get a good stereo centre image from the setup you have - when I run my home theatre system in stereo mode it sounds like centred sounds are coming right from the TV in the middle.

Otherwise as the other poster said, you could pick up a second hand home theatre AV receiver with pre-outs you can run to your current amp to drive the L & R speakers, and get a centre speaker (and surround speakers if you feel like it) for the home theatre receiver to drive those channels.

uncinqsix

Original Poster:

2,967 posts

149 months

Wednesday 16th January
quotequote all
Cheers - looks like adding an AV receiver could indeed be made to work with a little faffing about (and finding a suitable centre speaker to match the R1s, which might be a bit tricky). I think I'll have a bit of a play with speaker positioning first and see how that works before getting too carried away though wink

GravelBen

13,645 posts

169 months

Wednesday 16th January
quotequote all
Can't really give meaningful positioning suggestions without knowing how they are in the room, but an initial suggestion would be to toe them in a bit if they aren't already - Its amazing how much difference that can make at times.
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FunkyGibbon

3,109 posts

203 months

Wednesday 16th January
quotequote all
In the Man Cave I have AV system 7.1 and it sounds fantastic.

However, in the lounge I have just a stereo system (Arcam Amp and Acoustic Energy floor-standers about 4m apart with the TV off-center to the right). Main TV source is Sky - Q, but also X-box and Rega Planer.

With some time working on the positioning, especially toe-in it sounds amazing bearing in mind only 2 channels. Speech comes from the position of the TV and "surround sound" makes you think there are more speakers in the room.

Sit in your favourite seat facing the TV with the speakers as far apart as you wish. If you have someone to help you, move the speakers in until you hit the sweet-spot, but consider toe-in to face your seat.

Edited by FunkyGibbon on Wednesday 16th January 12:16

Sheepshanks

16,611 posts

58 months

Wednesday 16th January
quotequote all
uncinqsix said:
I have tried running audio from the DVD player through the stereo, but that sounds a bit odd as there is no sound from the centre.
Is there a setting in the DVD player to downmix the audio? I'm guessing here, but maybe if you're watching a 5.1 DVD maybe it doesn't even output the centre channel?

uncinqsix

Original Poster:

2,967 posts

149 months

Wednesday 16th January
quotequote all
Sheepshanks said:
Is there a setting in the DVD player to downmix the audio? I'm guessing here, but maybe if you're watching a 5.1 DVD maybe it doesn't even output the centre channel?
Pretty sure it was outputting in 2 channel, it's just that the soundstage was a bit off.

Next thing to sort out is the audio signal from the TV, which has an HDMI ARC port and an optical out. It looks like running the optical to the Arcam DAC via a toslink switch, or a through a second DAC, will be simplest.

uncinqsix

Original Poster:

2,967 posts

149 months

Wednesday 16th January
quotequote all
The other small fly in the ointment is that the Brio amp doesn't have a remote control. Not much I can do about that, but might need to upgrade at some point.

The_Burg

4,821 posts

153 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
Take the optical out from the TV to the Arcam DAC. Ensure the TV out is set to PCM Stereo. No need to worry about any of te other video sources as the TV will mix them down.
Never had an issue with no centre speaker, its mixed into the left and right and is mono. Been running that way for many, many years. TV is not dead centre between the speakers either and never found it a problem.

uncinqsix

Original Poster:

2,967 posts

149 months

Sunday 20th January
quotequote all
I give up. Turns out that the Netflix app on my (older) smart tv won't output sound through the optical. YouTube and chromecast work, but not Netflix rolleyes

FunkyGibbon

3,109 posts

203 months

Sunday 20th January
quotequote all
uncinqsix said:
I give up. Turns out that the Netflix app on my (older) smart tv won't output sound through the optical. YouTube and chromecast work, but not Netflix rolleyes
Seems quite a common issue with Netflix and optical output. A quick google suggests that if you go to the TVs sound output settings find the SPDIF section and swap Auto for PCM or bitstream.

If this works you may need to do this each time you switch to Netflix.

joshleb

745 posts

83 months

Sunday 20th January
quotequote all
New AV receiver, then a new firestick/chromecast for netflix usage and plug that straight into HDMI port.

Optical from tv to receiver.

Could be a basic receiver they all have enough ports nowadays.