Question How can I connect two sets of surround speakers to the same receiver?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by kliteyn, Nov 3, 2017.


    1. kliteyn

      kliteyn
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      I have a TV and a PJ in the same room, but on different walls. For the sake of discussion, let's assume that using built-in speakers of the TV and PJ is not an option. I have a bunch of A/V sources (streamer, cable box, etc), connected with HDMI cables to a receiver, and the receiver's HDMI output goes through HDMI splitter to TV and projector. Because they are on different walls, I need to have a separate set of speakers for them.

      The question is: how can I connect two sets of surround speakers so that I'll be able to switch between them?

      Googling this question brought me lots of speaker selector switches, but they all can split only stereo (two speakers) into lots of other outputs. There are also receivers that have multiple zones, but these zones have only stereo sound, not surround.

      So I'm looking for a way to split more speakers. Let's say that at least 3.1 system, in which case same sub is used for both sets, and I need to split 3 speakers. Is there some other receiver or audio splitter that can do this?

      Thanks!

      P.S.: I know I can buy two splitters that would do the trick for 3.1, but I prefer not to fill the whole shelf with more boxes... Plus, for 5.1 I'll need three such boxes...
       
    2. dante01

      dante01
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      The only way you can address this is if you have speaker switches for all the speakers. This is both compicated and messy. There's also the issue that you cannot always have more than one speaker configuration stored on an AV receiver. If not using a receiver that allows for this then the distances, levels, bass management and room EQ corrections will be incorrect dor one of the setups.

      The only way to avoid having to use speaker switches is to employ a second AV receiver to which the second setup's speakers would be connected. This would also however then require that the initial receiver associated with the other setup had a second HDMI zone output. This would be used to convey the output from HDMI sources connected to the first receiver out in its entirety to the second AV receiver.

      I'd maybe look at this differently and bite the bullet. You need to be looking at ways to amalgamate your TV and PJ setup as opposed to looking at how to facilitate two different surround sound setups within the same room.
       
    3. Joe Fernand

      Joe Fernand
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      Setup - not clear if you have a dual display system or are planning one?

      Room/Room layout - would be good to 'see' what you were planning.

      Optimised - most AVR's will only allow you to optimise for one multi-channel speaker layout.

      Cascade - as Dante01's says some AVR's will allow you to cascade multiple AVR's.

      Zone2 - using the Zone 2 Stereo speaker outputs would be a good option for the TV, employ a second sub with High Level Inputs and you can achieve a 2.1 system.

      Multi-zone - some manufacturers have multi-zone devices. See Yamaha MusicCast and Denon/Marantz HeoS.

      Budget?

      Joe
       
    4. Khazul

      Khazul
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      I would really try to avoid the issue entire by looking for a way to combine the viewing location. Having two sets of speakers to support two view locations just sounds like a nightmare, not to mention a duplication of expense/clutter etc.

      Worth posting a layout sketch for suggestions?
       
    5. Joe Fernand

      Joe Fernand
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      Layout - yes.

      Soundbar - one option would be a Soundbar below the TV.

      Joe
       
    6. kliteyn

      kliteyn
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      Thanks for all your responses!

      Yep, that's seems to be the situation. But I really would like to avoid having too many boxes in general and two receivers in particular

      Right, I'm leaning towards this solution.

      You're right, I didn't make this point clear.
      I'm in the middle of building this setup (see the attached pic).

      I have an excellent Panasonic TV with a HORRIBLE built-in speakers. Really. It's amazing that a very decent TV (was kinda on the expensive side when I bought it) sounds so bad... So I have a 3.1 soundbar with a separate amp and sub. The soundbar is mounted nicely under the TV (see the pic), so this part was perfect, until the soundbar's amp just died. Firmware bug which the manufacturer refuses to take responsibility for. Again, Panasonic. There's something wrong in the sound area in that company... But that's beside the point.

      Now I have a nicely mounted 3 speakers, which I want to connect to AVR (which I don't have yet).

      I also have a PJ that is mounted as shown in the picture, and there is a very good location for its speakers (also as shown in the picture), which I don't have yet.

      So to summarize:
      - I have a TV with soundbar, that is actually just 3 speakers now that its amp is dead, and I understand that I will probably use only 2 of these as part of 2.1 system...
      - I have a PJ
      - I will buy 5.1 speakers for the PJ (perhaps I'll start with 3.1, and add rear later on)
      - I can use the same sub for both displays - this is the same living room
      - I will buy an AVR to orchestrate this thing (suggestions?)

      I think that having a 2.1 system for a TV is good enough. Budget - let's say that it is "reasonably unlimited". This means that if I need to buy a 700$ AVR instead of 250$ AVR to make the setup work - I'm OK with that.

      Thanks again and waiting for suggestions!
      AV_setup.jpg
       
    7. kliteyn

      kliteyn
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      Yep, I agree :)
       
    8. Khazul

      Khazul
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      Soundbar is certainly the easy option.

      I personally would look into getting a projector screen positioned such that it could roll down in front of the TV screen. Perhaps use an acoustically transparent screen to give you complete freedom of speaker placement around the TV.
       
    9. dante01

      dante01
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      I can't see why it wouldn't be possible to have a dropdown screen in front of your TV?
       
    10. kliteyn

      kliteyn
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      Sorry, the location of the PJ's screen is "non-negotiable" :)
      This would make the mounting point for the PJ very problematic (you can't see it on the pic though).
      Plus, behind the curtains on the right there's 10ft sliding window to a porch - so the PJ will also serve this part.
      But most importantly - this design was approved by the upper management (a.k.a. "the wife")
       
    11. kliteyn

      kliteyn
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      So after taking all your suggestions into consideration and running them through the set of my constraints, here's what I understand:

      - I need an AVR with two HDMI outputs
      - PJ is the main HDMI output, with 3.1/5.1 speakers system that I need to buy
      - TV is "Zone 2" HDMI output with stereo (or 2.1?) speakers, using the existing ex-soundbar speakers

      The remaining questions:
      - Suggestions for AVR that will fit the needs? Note that all my A/V sources are connected with HDMI only, and I'd prefer to leave it this way.
      - If the "Zone 2" output of the AVR has only stereo, how can I have the sub to participate to make it 2.1?

      Thank you guys, you have no idea how helpful you answers are!
       
    12. dante01

      dante01
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      Use an AVR with a second HDMI zone output and connect its second HDMI zne output either to a soundbar under your TV or directly to the TV. THe former can enable you to also use a sub connected to the soundbar for TV viewing. Your main speakers would be connected to the AV receiver for use with your PJ. THe second zone HDMI output will passthrough multichannel audio to the soundbar over HDMI. All HDMI sources connected to the main receiver can be shared with the soundbar and TV.

      I'd suggest at least a Denon AVR3300 for the receiver. You may have issues still finding one in stock though? Other options include its replacement, the AVRX3400, the Marantx SR6011 or new SR6012, the Denon AVRX4300, 4400 or the Marantz SR7011 or SR7012.

      Maybe look at something like the Yamaha YSP2700 for soundbar duties?

      Yamaha YSP-2700


      It includes a wireless sub and can handle HDCP 2.2 and UHD 4K. Despite what is implied by the retailer, I don't believe it can passthrough HDR metadata though?
       
      Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
    13. kliteyn

      kliteyn
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      My soundbar's amp is dead. It's a separate unit - the amp is actually a separate box, so the speakers that I have below the TV are perfectly functional 3 speakers with the usual two wires from each speaker. They just need to be connected to AVR. Can I have them connected to "Zone 2" and have the sound go there instead pass-through to the TV?

      Any chance I could use the same sub for both sets of speakers?
       
    14. dante01

      dante01
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      You need amplification hence why I gave the suggestion for a new soundbar which will be self contained and power its own speakers.

      No you cannot use the same sub for both.

      The receiver would play no part in the audio associated with the TV. The only thing the AVR would be doing is acting as an HDMI switch for the sources connected to it.
       
    15. kliteyn

      kliteyn
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      Thanks! Now I'll go to do some homework with AVR manuals... :)
       
    16. Joe Fernand

      Joe Fernand
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      TV Speakers - what do you have?

      TV - will it’s onboard Tuner or Streaming Apps ever be used as your Source when viewing via the TV?

      AVR - with Zone 2 HDMI (to the TV) + Zone 2 Stereo Spk Outs from all Sources (you need to confirm the AVR Zone2 Spk Out is not limited to Analogue Sources) you should be sorted.

      Sub - potentially a single Sub could be used with the AVR for both Surround Sound (Line level) plus Zone 2 Stereo (Spk level), you would just need to ensure both Outputs on the AVR were not active at the same time or it’ll sound rather odd.

      Sub - supporting both Line Level and Speaker Level narrows down your options, though still more than enough choice. BK Electronics would be my suggestion - Sub Woofers - Sub Bass - Subwoofer

      Joe
       
    17. Khazul

      Khazul
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      If the sub has L+R line inputs (assuming they are buffered and summed), I don't see why not. Just make sure you don't feed both at the same time and set the crossover on sub to max to allow the soundbar and AVR to own the respective crossovers completely without interference for the sub's crossover. (You know this - you wrote the guide :))

      My sub actually has LFE in, L+R line in and L+R speaker in/through. The biggest headache I would expect would be matching both the soundbar sub out level with the AVR sub out levels so that a single level settings on the sub's own level control is correct for both inputs. Just level match the sub for the sound bar first, then let the AVR do its measurement and it should compensate for the sub's set level.

      I still think the room is a bit of a nightmare with TV at right angle to the sofa and having a conversation about practicalities with other half might be a better way forward. Personally I would hate that seating angle to the TV just because of the neck/back ache etc it will eventually cause.
       
      Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
    18. dante01

      dante01
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      Most AV receiver will not passthrough audio sourced via HDMI to their second audio zone speakers.
       
    19. Joe Fernand

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      As Dante say's you need to read those AVR Manuals closely to ensure you can pass Digital Sources (HDMI and Optical Inputs) to the Zone 2 Speakers - if you need to 'see/hear' those Sources on the TV 'system'.

      Joe

      PS Dante is usually pretty up to speed on AVR capabilities so may have some relevant suggestions.
       
    20. Khazul

      Khazul
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      At least not without sacrificing the surround mode in the main and dropping into stereo everywhere - ie party mode.

      If you mean independently, then no - I cant think of one that will.
       
      Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
    21. dante01

      dante01
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      No, actually the fact of the matter is that they will not passthrough any audio sourced via HDMI or optical to a second audio zone. You can passthrough an HDMI signal that includes the exact same video and audio as the source is outputting if using a receiver's second HDMI zone output, but most AV receivers that include second zone audio capabilities do not allow you to play audio sourced via HDMI in the additional audio only zones.

      It is basically why I suggested the setup I suggested and why I suggested using a soundbar with HDMI input and an AVR with a second HDMI zone output.
       
      Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
    22. ChuckMountain

      ChuckMountain
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      I disagree with a couple of points:-

      Yamaha models in the higher Aventage range can output hdmi or optical digital audio to zone 2 for newer models afaik x050 and beyond.

      Prior to that if you wanted to listen to hdmi or optical digital input in zone 2 (or 3) you had to put into party mode which then has zone 1 in x channel stereo.

      Also the yamaha's have two configurable sets of speaker options but they are probably out of price range for op.

      Also they tend to be more around different eq and maybe rear speakers rather than swapping the position round.

      I have managed to do something similar to what you want but it's a convoluted setup involving a Unipi and isn't exactly cheap
       
    23. Khazul

      Khazul
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      Maybe using the word 'zone' somewhere confuses the issue depending on the receivers you are used to - HDMI zones vs Audio zones etc.

      The basic need it seems to me is an AVR that has 2 selectable HDMI outputs and of which one can pass audio and when only one of them is on, then it can output the best device resolution on that port (instead of lowest common resolution).
       
    24. ChuckMountain

      ChuckMountain
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      No it doesn't as they are related.

      Depending on the amp the HDMI outputs are either mirrored or independently selectable but in the latter still form part of a zone complete with audio.

      Audio can be passed though on the HDMI outputs and that is a user selectable feature.

      As for your basic need, unfortunately unless you are physically turning off a device at the wall then in standby displays are still reporting their EDID. Unless you source will go automatically up to 4k then you will have to go into the menu and change it each time.
       
    25. Khazul

      Khazul
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      On my AVR I can connect a 4K capable display to HDMI 1, a FHD display to HDMI 2 and I get the following behavior using the HDMI output enable controls on the AVR (remote):

      Both HDMI 1+2 out enabled - 1080 to both displays
      Only HDMI 1 out enabled - 2160 on 4K display, no signal to FHD display.
      Only HDMI 2 out enabled - 1080 on FHD display, no signal to 4k display.

      There is no need to switch display off at the wall, or even put it into standby.
      The HDMI outs on this AVR are tied to main zone source only as this AVR's extra zone is audio out only.

      As far as I can tell, this AVR re-connects the entire HDMI signal path around a display output selection change if the resulting lowest common display capability has changed, so source devices seem to reset their output resolution. I don't have any 4K sources on the AVR, however I can see evidence of sources (Fire TV, Apple TV and a BD player - all of them) renegotiating because they think the display has been switched off or removed temporarily.

      I do have CEC enabled everywhere and maybe that helps everything be sensitive to change, but that should have no impact on device info blocks.
       
      Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
    26. ChuckMountain

      ChuckMountain
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      Yes if the source auto switches not all do that was my point
       
    27. Khazul

      Khazul
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      Well all my sources are currently either ancient or bargain bucket - if they can manage it, I'm sure something better can. Actually I think its the AVR that is forcing the issue by breaking and remaking the HDMI signal path - ie as if the cable had been physically unplugged.
       
    28. ChuckMountain

      ChuckMountain
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      What sources do you have they can't be that ancient to support 4k. Any game consoles?
       
    29. Khazul

      Khazul
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      Ancient Fire TV (1080p), Apple TV (720p) and BD player (1080p), modern-ish computer that can do 4K HDR.

      I have 2 displays on the computer - one 1440p DP freesync and the other a 4K HDR HDMI to AVR, so I can easily see what is going on - the computer is behaving as if the cable was completely removed - the second display disappears complete from devices for a few seconds. However even taking that out of the equation (and enabling AVR upscale), then I can see the effect on the other sources of the HDMI switching - fire TV and BD will drop into pause (I think the Fire TV actually sleeps and wakes).
       
    30. ChuckMountain

      ChuckMountain
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      Sorry I think we are talking cross purposes here.

      You're only 4k source is the computer and they can be good or annoyingly stupid when it comes to resolutions.

      What you are seeing is typical behaviour of hdmi devices when routed through an amp.

      What you are not seeing is them change resolution, that's my point so all your devices output at the same resolution. Your amp might be upscaling and that it will likely do depending on the connected display.

      If you have a 4k device say a console then it wouldn't like that
       

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