• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Answered Basic questions on 5.1 speaker connections

shroud

Novice Member
Hello hi-fiers! :)

I am just starting to think about the last part of our livingroom projector setup: the sound system. We are taking this very slowly as we don't really have high requirements. In fact, we could just start with a simple soundbar or stereo speakers, with or without subwoofer, but I have recently found some 5.1 options that are so cheap we might just go for it. Here is an example:

HT-J4500 Home Theater System Home Theater - HT-J4500/ZA | Samsung US

I like this model because all the speakers are very small, almost invisible among the furniture. Our livingroom isn't very large, so we certainly don't need too many Watts, and considering that we're mostly used to watch movies with PC speakers (or a laptop!), even a cheap 5.1 system will sound much better to our lo-fi ears. We don't even really need the Blu-ray player, but at such low price why not.

But one noob question that just came to my mind is, do 5.1 audio systems typically require to wire every single speaker to the central unit? We don't have problems with wiring the front and side speakers, since they are close enough to the Blu-ray player, but wiring the back speakers can indeed become a problem. Here I am not worried about the power wires* (we have plugs near the 4 corners) but the actual audio connection, which in case of the back speakers would require wires across the room. How do people usually manage this problem? Do you run the wires on the ceiling, or even below the floor?

*well actually we do... I was thinking that maybe the back speakers need to be plugged directly to the wall but maybe they instead have power wires to the central unit
 

shroud

Novice Member
Ah crap... just noticed that the model above doesn't have an HDMI input, and this makes it useless.

I have to clarify that I am looking for an audio system to be used with a projector, not with a TV. The source will be either a desktop or laptop PC (we might switch from one to the other).

Sorry for being really a noob here... but how would you connect the PC, the projector and the speakers together? If I use an HDMI cable from the PC to the projects, this would normally deliver both video and audio to the projector, right? But nobody really uses the projector's speakers, so I guess there is a simple way to route the audio somewhere else while delivering only the video via HDMI. What kind of sound system do you need then for 5.1, do you need some audio receiver unit, which gets the audio from the PC and delivers it to the speakers?

EDIT: Ok, maybe I got it... I need an HDMI to HDMI+audio converter, which would split the input HDMI signal into separate HDMI video output and digital optical or coax audio output. Then the video-only HDMI goes to the projector and the audio goes to the Blu-ray (or whatever) which controls the speakers. There are plenty of these splitters/converters available for less than 20e.
 
Last edited:

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Ah crap... just noticed that the model above doesn't have an HDMI input, and this makes it useless.

I have to clarify that I am looking for an audio system to be used with a projector, not with a TV. The source will be either a desktop or laptop PC (we might switch from one to the other).

Sorry for being really a noob here... but how would you connect the PC, the projector and the speakers together? If I use an HDMI cable from the PC to the projects, this would normally deliver both video and audio to the projector, right? But nobody really uses the projector's speakers, so I guess there is a simple way to route the audio somewhere else while delivering only the video via HDMI. What kind of sound system do you need then for 5.1, do you need some audio receiver unit, which gets the audio from the PC and delivers it to the speakers?

EDIT: Ok, maybe I got it... I need an HDMI to HDMI+audio converter, which would split the input HDMI signal into separate HDMI video output and digital optical or coax audio output. Then the video-only HDMI goes to the projector and the audio goes to the Blu-ray (or whatever) which controls the speakers. There are plenty of these splitters/converters available for less than 20e.

This is what i have.

From htpc`s gpu hdmi cable to yamaha avr, and another hdmi cable from yamaha to projector. That`s it! So basically you need a pc/laptop, avr, 2hdmi cables and projector. And of course speakers + sub. ;)
 

shroud

Novice Member
This is what i have.

From htpc`s gpu hdmi cable to yamaha avr, and another hdmi cable from yamaha to projector. That`s it! So basically you need a pc/laptop, avr, 2hdmi cables and projector. And of course speakers + sub. ;)

Great! A true AVR might be an overkill for us, because we basically only have 2 media sources, and we don't need to have both of them plugged all the time. The link above is to a Samsung 5.1 system that has a Blu-Ray player instead of an AVR. This means it doesn't take video input, only audio input, but for our purposes it should be fine. Or what do you think?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
It has HDMI out only as you said, which is a bummer. If you have to use optical cable you don`t get the lossless DTS-HD etc. working with movies, only with HDMI cable. Basic DD/DTS works fine though. Sorry i`m not familiar with those converters and these cheap all-in-one systems. I would definitely put more money on the audio system. When you get the big screen it changes everything. :)

Something like Onkyo HT-S3800 would be much better choice. Also more future proof if you decide to upgrade speakers later on. Though you are still missing dvd-player, but those are quite cheap nowadays and you might have one on your pc/laptop. Price shouldn`t be that much higher and the speakers are small.

i_main.jpg

166541__wws3.jpg
 

shroud

Novice Member
Something like Onkyo HT-S3800 would be much better choice.

Unfortunately the price is about double.

What else uses DTS-HD besides Blu-Ray players? We use Netflix, Spotify and occasionally other streaming services, but I don't even know if we can get DTS-HD out of them.
 

shroud

Novice Member
It has HDMI out only as you said, which is a bummer. If you have to use optical cable you don`t get the lossless DTS-HD etc. working with movies, only with HDMI cable. Basic DD/DTS works fine though.

I am confused right now...

The Samsung HT-J4500 system is said to have the following:

Dolby Digital
Dolby Pro Logic II
Dolby Digital Plus
Dolby True HD*
DTS 96/24
DTS-HD Master Audio
DTS Digital Surround

*(a note says this means 7.1 lossless audio, even tho the model has only a 5.1 speakers set)

So how the hell is someone going to get DTS-HD or DolbyTrueHD out of this system if there is no HDMI input? :/ It would work from the integrated Blu-Ray player, but it wouldn't work from any external source such as TV receiver, satellite receiver, PC or console... right?
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
That is right, you would get HD audio from blurays played on the unit but not any other source.
 

shroud

Novice Member
All considered, I think it's more appropriate for us to forget about 5.1 at the beginning. It's too much work even to just decide which models, and then to make the room arrangements. I don't want to spend the whole summer just planning for this, and then maybe make poor choices and regret it later...

So I looked around for something immediately usable, and maybe the Samsung HW-J260 soundbar makes for a decent starting choice for us. Its 80W should be enough for our living room. Obviously it's only 2.2 so no DTS, but on the other hand it has BT connectivity, which means no audio cable at all from our sources. And it's so cheap (<80e) that it won't leave any regret when we finally figure out our long-term audio solution.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Fidelity in Motion's David Mackenzie talks about his work on disc encoding & the future of Blu-ray
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom