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Need some audio advice


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#1 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:23 PM

Presently I have no home theatre setup of any kind and I'd like to for the time being make use of what I have here to at least get to decent stereo sound for the television, PS4 and streaming Spotify. Here is what I have to work with:

Denon Stereo receiver
Bose 501: Series IV floor stereo speakers
Panasonic 1080p television

The Denon is ancient but still works and sounds great. I bought it at a place called Tweeter, etc. over 20 years ago. The speakers are ancient also but still sound fantastic. You can see a pic of them here on the Bose site if interested: http://worldwide.bos...tab=manuals_tab

To get sound as good as the 501's deliver out of his 901's from roughly the same time period even with proper equalization my brother ultimately opted to add a subwoofer to his setup. In fairness though the room and setup played a role there as it was far from optimal where he wanted to put them. I'd expect in different circumstances they should be capable of better bass response. Of course, so-called audiophiles love to bash Bose but I'd like to avoid any of that here. I love the spacious sound stage, presence and deep tight bass response I get out of this ancient system which is good because I cannot afford to replace it any time soon or I would look into upgrades. Someday... Anyway, back to the issue at hand which is how to capitalize on what I do have and make the most of it.

The television has 3 HDMI ports which is enough for me presently. In fact, I am only using two of them now for the PS4 and Apple TV which I have no plans to ever replace. I see no need for a set top box anymore when consoles provide the same functionality. I like how with my PS4 I am not married to SONY for movies and music streaming although I have nothing against them either. I just like having options. After trials of Apple Music, Groove Music and Spotify I find Spotify to be goodness and I appreciate again not being married to any one vendor for everything as Apple loves to rope people into. Likewise, with the Amazon app I can enjoy the Prime video benefit which is not an option with an Apple TV. I can do Netflix, HBO Now, Showtime, SONY's own cable cutting goodness with Vue and that all works like a charm for me. Sorry to wander off track here but this is the basis for me wanting to do something about sound quality the best I can on the cheap with what I've already got.

Another nice thing the PS4 provides is the ability to plug in a thumb drive or USB drive with my own music on it, some of which cannot be had from any source today and there is an app to play music that way provided which I was pleasantly surprised by.

So, the television has an optical out port and no other sound out port. The problem is the Denon has no optical in. It's funny but the Denon was actually sold as a home theatre stereo receiver back in its day if you can imagine that. It's not like surround doesn't go back that far but it was I guess supposed to be a bridge product if you will that was a stereo first but did support use with a television and has inputs for VCR, DVD (I think), CD player, pre-amp channel for a turntable, etc. I was still spinning records when I bought this thing.

With all of that explanation out of the way what I need then is some kind of adapter/converter to go from the optical out on the television to the RCA analog inputs on the Denon receiver. I do plan to upgrade this stuff in time but for now a solution like this would be much less costly and what I already own does sound quite good. I can go hit up Google and search Amazon and I plan to but I figured I'd check with you guys about this and see if you have any good ideas or products to recommend to me here.

One last thing I want to mention is that a nice feature of this Panasonic television is that it has the old composite video and RCA analog sound inputs so my PS2 works very nicely with it which is cool. The television is from 2012 and was a new or close to new model then but I have a feeling it wouldn't be easy to find a new one now with composite inputs not that I would ever bother looking. I figure this will one day make an awesome bedroom television and stick the PS2 in there with it when I upgrade the living room TV to 4K down the road.
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#2 Frost

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 07:13 PM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 22 November 2016 - 03:23 PM, said:

To get sound as good as the 501's deliver out of his 901's from roughly the same time period even with proper equalization my brother ultimately opted to add a subwoofer to his setup.

Needed to add a subwoofer? To the 901? Man, that guy must love him some BASS. I've found my 901's bass reproduction is fantastic just by itself, with lows plenty powerful to give you a chest-punching shockwave if that's what you're after. You can hear that sucker clearly about a kilometer out when using full power. :P

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 22 November 2016 - 03:23 PM, said:

With all of that explanation out of the way what I need then is some kind of adapter/converter to go from the optical out on the television to the RCA analog inputs on the Denon receiver. I do plan to upgrade this stuff in time but for now a solution like this would be much less costly and what I already own does sound quite good. I can go hit up Google and search Amazon and I plan to but I figured I'd check with you guys about this and see if you have any good ideas or products to recommend to me here.

Really, any halfway decent TOSLink (optical) to RCA converter box will do the job you're looking for. You don't need anything fancy unless you just want extra functionality. In which case, the Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB has an excellent DAC for the money and does a really solid job going from USB, Optical, or RCA inputs to Optical, RCA, and 3.5mm. I don't own one, but I have used it and would definitely give it a thumbs up. But if you don't care about that and just want straight up conversion, any $15-20 adapter should do a good job for you.
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#3 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 08:17 PM

Thanks for your advice and the handy link too. That looks really nice, the Soundblaster and the price is very reasonable I think. For now, with Black Friday sales kicking in and only so much money to spend I think I'll take the cheap option but I wish listed that on Amazon for later as I would have multiple uses for that going forward I hope such as when I want to try and do some more recording. Granted, I know I could spend considerably more on that front but money is tight for me with a lot of interests competing for it so something like that would be far better than not having an external DAC at all and that's one i could reasonably look forward to picking up sooner than later.

Meantime, I'll go do a search on an inexpensive converter and go with that for the time being as I can at least get the stereo system going for gaming, movies, etc. in the living room which will be really nice compared to the very basic speakers in the television for now.
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