Problems getting digital audio to my analog-only whole house system


Standard Member
I've been struggling with something for a while now with my current equipment (Yamaha), and as I look to upgrade to an AVR600, it looks like I'm going to have the same problem, so I'm looking for some assistance.

My basic problem is this: my whole house audio system only accepts analog inputs. (This is true of many, many such systems, so simply updating that system doesn't appear to be the answer, and besides, I'm deeply entrenched in this system.) Meanwhile, most of my sources these days are digital. I'm not trying to illegally copy anything, and I own the material I'm listening to, so I SHOULD be able to send a digital signal to my receiver and have it convert it to analog and output it to the audio out connections and on to my whole house system. Whoops! Nope! Wildly overzealous copyright protection has apparently convinced just about every AV company out there to prevent this from happening, at least when dealing with digital input via HDMI. Seems to me that, logically, they should be more concerned with digital output, not analog, but I don't think logic had anything at all to do with this industry-wide practice. In reviewing the manual for the AVR600, it looks like this problem exists with that product as well.

Okay, so this is wildly inconvenient, but I was able to get around the problem before by running an extra set of analog cables from every source back over to the receiver. (Did I mention how wildly inconvenient that is? The ENTIRE convenience of HDMI audio is completely blown out of the water now that I have run extra cables from every single source back to the receiver.) Unfortunately, even this "solution" has become a problem now. First off, I now have some sources that don't have analog outputs at all. Next up, it appears that some have made it so that simultaneous output via HDMI and analog is not possible. This is a particular problem with my cable box. Running separate analog audio from it to my receiver used to work, but it suddenly stopped. I believe that the cable company updated the software to block simultaneous audio output, as there is no other explanation for the fact that this suddenly stopped working when no other changes were made to my system.

So, what is the solution? Any ideas? If the reciever sent the incoming digital audio signal to the digital audio outs, I could probably put a DAC between the digital outs of the reciever and the analog inputs of the whole house system. However, if the receiver refuses to convert digital HDMI audio input to analog audio output, I can't imagine that they would allow digital audio output. Any other ideas? I'm sure I'm not the only one facing this issue.


Novice Member
I think some receivers perhaps older ones can route SPDIF audio.

There are devices called HDMI audio de-embedder that will take HDMI in and output analogue and SPDIF audio.

My video processor takes HDMI and SPDIF audio in and outputs HDMI or SPDIF audio.

There is a new DAC coming from NAD that takes HDMI.


Novice Member


Distinguished Member
Your whole house audio system can be used on secondary zones with analogue sources only. No digital sources are supported, regardless of connectivity. This is typical of most AV receivers, where secondary zones are a "check-box" feature. If you need real multizone support, you'll have to buy a real multizone system from a supplier of such systems (e.g. Sonance, Russound or Linn), these contain multiple DACs for handling multiple inputs.

To connect it for the main zone, if you don't mind if it going through the AVR600's volume control, use the AVR600's L/R pre-outs. Otherwise try the tape outs (should work, but not tested).

The CYP AU-11SA v1.3 HDMI Audio De-embedder (7.1) with built in Repeater works out rather cheaper than an Octava matrix switch, even afer adding the cost of an n:1 HDMI switch.
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