ATV3 no analog out = no 2nd room audio?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by msas, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. msas macrumors newbie

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    Feb 12, 2008
    #1
    So here's my dilemma… i have had an ATV1 (w/firecore ATV flash) for years now and it's served me well. However, i feel it's time to 'upgrade' to a new ATV3 at some point soon, but one thing that just dawned on me was the lack of analog outputs on the new one.

    For my setup, i have a 7.1 Onkyo AVR (several years old now) that the ATV, blu ray, cable box etc all run through in the living room. The ATV is wired into my network receiving the media library from a Mac Mini upstairs. My main listening area is setup for 5.1 listening. I'm not using the 'surround back' speaker terminals, i am however using the 'Front B speaker' terminals to power 2 passive speakers in the kitchen allowing us to turn on/off those speakers via the A/B speaker switch on the front of the AVR.
    Now, in order to listen to the B channel (kitchen speakers) whether on its own or with the other channels, the input source has to be analog and not digital, (this is common amongst AVR's) which is why i run a set of analog cables out from the ATV1 to the AVR as well as from my comcast cable box so we can listen to any of the music stations in the kitchen as well, my wife does this all the time.

    I don't think there is a solution to this problem unless i use the 'surround back' terminals instead of the B speaker set, but this is not an option because then the kitchen speakers would be on all the time, movies included.
     
  2. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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  3. msas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    I actually owned one of those for a while but it sounded like **** and made a buzzing noise. I thought about the external DAC route but didn't really want to add another component in the chain, not a bad idea though.
     
  4. msas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    So after some researching i realized the problem with the 2nd zone and digital sources can only be utilized on higher end models. So to circumvent this issue, i realized a good middle range model that is networked and supports Airplay can work with a switchable 2nd zone. This means however that a device like the AppleTV 3 will only be used for movies or music only in the main listening room.
     
  5. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

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    #5
    It was probably defective, or you had a ground loop.

    I have that exact one and it sounds great. I use it so I can send audio from the Apple TV to the older sound system that doesn't have toslink in, and listen to music when the TV is not on.

    Make sure the converter is plugged into the SAME outlet as the audio system. Also try to use optical instead of coax if you can.
     
  6. msas thread starter macrumors newbie

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  7. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #7
    BTW, that thing is an external DAC!
     
  8. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #8
    In a related note, have you had any issues with your Onkyo breaking in any way? I've been getting my dad's hand-me-down models once they start breaking. In my bedroom I have a model with only one working HDMI port out of two. The one in my den has like five HDMI ports, but it takes about 15 minutes to "warm up," meaning no picture until then.

    He's on his third Onkyo now, which is about a year old with no trouble so far. I keep getting told at this electronics store that Onkyo is a good brand, but those two and one my sister has have been trouble-makers. I'm just looking for an uplifting story of an Onkyo living.

    As far as your problem, I would've never known that analog/digital thing was an issue. Is that STILL common among all AVRs? I have zero use for any analog inputs on any of mine. The last reason I had was to hook up a Wii, and I don't need that now with a Wii U.
     
  9. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    #9
    FWIW none of mine have been like that.
     
  10. msas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 12, 2008
    #10
    Yes i know that…i was including the Fiio in my statement about DAC's.

    I currently own a ***** Modi DAC that i use in my office for my computer and DIY speakers i built earlier this year, it works fantastic, and of course looks the part :apple: as well with it's aluminum case ;)
     
  11. msas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 12, 2008
    #11

    Actually my Onkyo TX-SR505 has been rock solid since the day i bought it, several years ago now. It replaced an older Sony AVR that crapped out on me. I actually wish it would break so i would have an excuse to buy a newer more modern featured model!
    The only unreliable stories i read about w/ Onkyo's seem to have been with the model TX-NR616 for some reason. Recently a Crutchfield advisor told me he usually recommends Yamaha's first for there good sound and reliability.

    Speaking of Crutchfield, i spent much time chatting with a very knowledgeable advisor 2 days ago, and he confirmed with me that most AVR's besides the more expensive upper range models cannot pass audio to the 'powered 2nd zone' from a digital source like HDMI, optical and dig.coaxial, only analog sources. This is definitely somewhat confusing or not always disclosed now from Manufactures when listing features regarding 2nd zone or multi room capabilities.
    In the manual for my Onkyo it is clearly stated in the beginning: "Speaker set B can be used in another room and offers 2-channel stereo playback.
    *Only analog input sources are output by speaker set B."

    I downloaded a manual recently from a new Onkyo NR626 and i could not find this information anywhere, but i was told it is listed on their website somewhere.
     
  12. mchalebk, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013

    mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I find it annoying that they don't put in a digital/optical output on the AppleTV (like the Airport express has). It would make life so much simpler for us 2/multi-zone folks. That being said, when I went from an ATV1 to an ATV3, I bought one of the simple Toslink to analog converters and it has worked flawlessly. For that matter, it has been completely transparent.
     
  13. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #13
    Worse, I think I read that the iPad board is the root of the :apple:TV board. If true, since the iPad has an analog headphone out port, would it really have cost that much more to put the same on the :apple:TV? If so, you could potentially go from analog out to Zone 2 analog in and not need the "middleman" tech, "turn off Dolby Digital" etc solutions. Maybe Apple just didn't think there would be enough hunger for Zone 2 solutions to make it worth it (on board)?
     
  14. Aragornii macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2010
    #14
    This is what I use. The first one I had failed after about 6 months and I had to replace it, but the replacement has been going strong for a couple of years now. No noticeable sound quality issues.

    It is incredibly annoying that the suits in the entertainment industry force these kinds of inconveniences on their customers.
     
  15. msas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 12, 2008
    #15
    I found my old Fiio Toslink DAC earlier today and tested it with my ATV1 using the the optical out 'as if' if were using the newer ATV3 and it worked fine, for the short test i did i couldn't hear a discernible difference in the quality. In the end though i would rather use the internal DAC in a nice AVR rather than a cheap $20 DAC, oh well it's not a big deal for the 2nd zone anyway, i only want the highest quality for my main listening room.
     
  16. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

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    #16
    Thanks for the info. Sounds like maybe we just got a couple of lemons.

    That really stinks about analog sources. I wish some manufacturer would pull an Apple and create models that throw up a big middle finger to analog sources and go all digital. It's obviously not something that everyone needs, but how many of you out there have use for analog inputs? For the most part, you're talking legacy equipment using those.

    If I were to design an AVR from the ground up, I would want about 8 HDMI inputs, a couple of optical audio inputs, USB ports and the speaker outputs. Oh, and freaking WiFi. Surely not supporting analog would free up some space on the inside to make the device smaller.

    If such a device exists and doesn't break the bank, please tell me!
     
  17. HobeSoundDarryl, Dec 20, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #17
    OR, we could find some fault with Apple for not including the most fundamental of audio connections in :apple:TV. They had analog stereo out in the first gen and it's not an expensive part (and I believe the board already has the circuitry for it). But as usual- since Apple can do no wrong- let's spin blame to anyone & everyone else. If Apple had included analog stereo out, the thing could play iTunes music (and now iRadio) through just about every kind of receiver/amplifier ever created. Instead, they leave out some jacks that would probably add <25 cents per unit to the cost (probably less than that) and thus created this issue where now some users have to spend $15+ to create those jacks externally to get their Zone 2 options working.

    For me, its just another thing to miss about the "less thin", "not smaller" first gen version. When "thin" starts sacrificing user utility for aesthetics in something that isn't meant to be mobile, what's the point?
     

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