Stereo Wiring Blues

So I’ve a pretty decent stereo receiver (a Denon something or other — I can’t recall the exact model, but it does what I need), a speaker system to match it. Within the last few months, I’ve added some new components, namely an Xbox at christmas and several months before that, a digital cable terminal.

So now here’s the dilemma: I’ve only 3 digital-audio input on this thing. Two are optical, one’s the co-axial. Currently, only the DVD player is using it, bringing in on the co-axial. If I understand correctly, the SPDIF out on my Cable box can only use the co-ax connection. Which would leave the two optical connectors for the DVD player and the XBox. Would I notice the difference? I don’t know. And would this work? I don’t know. I spent a good 45 minutes last night making mental diagrams of all the connectors (further troubled that my neither my TV or VCR has any digital connectors — stereo & video-in only), and ended up thoroughly confused. However, I could purchase a pair of optical cables and one more good-quality co-ax. But is it worth it?

Can anyone who knows point out a good ‘ack! i need to hook up all these components and I’m a moron’ site that might explain the ins and outs? Or you know what would really rock (and maybe I should write this), there should be a site that has little flash diagrams that would help me do this (like a connect the dots type thing), which could then be resold to the various companies as a customer service tool. Yeah. Cause I know I could use something like that.

16 Replies to “Stereo Wiring Blues”

  1. Ok being as I’m not exactly sure what an “optical ” connector is by your definition as that is really the most misused word by consumer gear manufactures I think this is what you need to do…

    If your cable box can only use the Coax then you’re stuck with the opticals for the other two, and well stuck is a bad word because optical transmission is actually superior to coax for a few tech head reasons (you’ll never really notice the difference). Also ya, your tv and vcr use analog sound transmission so you’re stuck in that world for those which isn’t really a big deal. The only thing you’re really achieving by sending a digital signal to your reciever is that the reciever’s D-A converter is being used instead of the one on your gear (XBOX,DVD,DigCable) which isn’t even a big factor as any D-A sounds pretty damn good now.

    So the long and short of it all is that I recomend gettting two optical cables to send the DVD and X-Box on while sendin the Digcable on Coax. Don’t forget that if worst comes to worst you can always resort to connecting an item as an analog signal (which means you may only be able to transmit in stereo instead of surround due to possible limitations on devices output)

  2. Ok being as I’m not exactly sure what an “optical ” connector is by your definition as that is really the most misused word by consumer gear manufactures I think this is what you need to do…

    If your cable box can only use the Coax then you’re stuck with the opticals for the other two, and well stuck is a bad word because optical transmission is actually superior to coax for a few tech head reasons (you’ll never really notice the difference). Also ya, your tv and vcr use analog sound transmission so you’re stuck in that world for those which isn’t really a big deal. The only thing you’re really achieving by sending a digital signal to your reciever is that the reciever’s D-A converter is being used instead of the one on your gear (XBOX,DVD,DigCable) which isn’t even a big factor as any D-A sounds pretty damn good now.

    So the long and short of it all is that I recomend gettting two optical cables to send the DVD and X-Box on while sendin the Digcable on Coax. Don’t forget that if worst comes to worst you can always resort to connecting an item as an analog signal (which means you may only be able to transmit in stereo instead of surround due to possible limitations on devices output)

  3. By optical I meant those fibre-optic cables that plug into the port that says ‘optical’. I’ve no idea what they should really be called. At any rate, thanks very much for the help. I went out and spent $120 on cables, and after some cussin’ and some mussin’, I managed to get everything hooked up all right. Now, the TV auto-switches between analog & digital, which rocks (I can finally get the promised Dolby 5.1 on the movie channels), the DVD is still digital and the XBox is digital now too, which amazingly, made the most immediate and noticeable difference when playing my two test games for this (NHL 2K3 & Morrowind, for those who care).

  4. By optical I meant those fibre-optic cables that plug into the port that says ‘optical’. I’ve no idea what they should really be called. At any rate, thanks very much for the help. I went out and spent $120 on cables, and after some cussin’ and some mussin’, I managed to get everything hooked up all right. Now, the TV auto-switches between analog & digital, which rocks (I can finally get the promised Dolby 5.1 on the movie channels), the DVD is still digital and the XBox is digital now too, which amazingly, made the most immediate and noticeable difference when playing my two test games for this (NHL 2K3 & Morrowind, for those who care).

  5. HI,
    RIGHT HERE IS MY PROBLEM. ANY HELP WOULD BE REALLY APPRECIATED…

    I HAVE AN XBOX AND IT HAS 2 PHONO OUTPUTS FOR SOUND.
    I HAVE CREATIVE LABS 5.1 SPEAKERS (FOR PC)THE AMP ON THE SUBWOOFER HAS 3 STEREO 3.5MM SOCKETS.ONE SOCKET FOR REAR ONE SOCKET FOR FRONT AND ONE SOCKET FOR SUBWOOFER AND FRONT SPEAKER.

    HOW DO I CONNECT MY XBOX AND GET BEST SOUND OUT OF MY 5 SATELLITES AND 1 SUBWOOFER???

    THANKYOU MAT UK

  6. HI,
    RIGHT HERE IS MY PROBLEM. ANY HELP WOULD BE REALLY APPRECIATED…

    I HAVE AN XBOX AND IT HAS 2 PHONO OUTPUTS FOR SOUND.
    I HAVE CREATIVE LABS 5.1 SPEAKERS (FOR PC)THE AMP ON THE SUBWOOFER HAS 3 STEREO 3.5MM SOCKETS.ONE SOCKET FOR REAR ONE SOCKET FOR FRONT AND ONE SOCKET FOR SUBWOOFER AND FRONT SPEAKER.

    HOW DO I CONNECT MY XBOX AND GET BEST SOUND OUT OF MY 5 SATELLITES AND 1 SUBWOOFER???

    THANKYOU MAT UK

  7. HI,
    RIGHT HERE IS MY PROBLEM. ANY HELP WOULD BE REALLY APPRECIATED…

    I HAVE AN XBOX AND IT HAS 2 PHONO OUTPUTS FOR SOUND.
    I HAVE CREATIVE LABS 5.1 SPEAKERS (FOR PC)THE AMP ON THE SUBWOOFER HAS 3 STEREO 3.5MM SOCKETS.ONE SOCKET FOR REAR ONE SOCKET FOR FRONT AND ONE SOCKET FOR SUBWOOFER AND FRONT SPEAKER.

    HOW DO I CONNECT MY XBOX AND GET BEST SOUND OUT OF MY 5 SATELLITES AND 1 SUBWOOFER???

    THANKYOU MAT UK

  8. HI,
    RIGHT HERE IS MY PROBLEM. ANY HELP WOULD BE REALLY APPRECIATED…

    I HAVE AN XBOX AND IT HAS 2 PHONO OUTPUTS FOR SOUND.
    I HAVE CREATIVE LABS 5.1 SPEAKERS (FOR PC)THE AMP ON THE SUBWOOFER HAS 3 STEREO 3.5MM SOCKETS.ONE SOCKET FOR REAR ONE SOCKET FOR FRONT AND ONE SOCKET FOR SUBWOOFER AND FRONT SPEAKER.

    HOW DO I CONNECT MY XBOX AND GET BEST SOUND OUT OF MY 5 SATELLITES AND 1 SUBWOOFER???

    THANKYOU MAT UK

  9. Hi, I have a Harmon Kardon AVR 310 receiver, and am looking to connect my digital soundcard from my computer to the digital in coaxial port in my receiver. I am not getting any sound though. Any idea why?

    Thanks,

    Dave

  10. Hi,
    I have a stereo TV with no headphone socket. I would like to connect a socket for setting up some cordless headphones.

    How do I connect the socket to the internal speaker cables to have stereo on the headphones.

  11. Hi,
    I have a stereo TV with no headphone socket. I would like to connect a socket for setting up some cordless headphones.

    How do I connect the socket to the internal speaker cables to have stereo on the headphones.

  12. Hi, I have a Harmon Kardon AVR 310 receiver, and am looking to connect my digital soundcard from my computer to the digital in coaxial port in my receiver. I am not getting any sound though. Any idea why?

    Thanks,

    Dave

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