Audio output from smart TV through amp and speakers - digital audio adapters

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  • BooJewels
    BooJewels Posts: 2,836 Forumite
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    facade said:
    A 44 year old amp will pre-date optical inputs, they were introduced by Toshiba in 1983 according to Wikipedia.

    The optical to phono will do exactly what you want, send a stereo signal to the amp for bigger sound.
    Depends on how the TV works, but usually the optical port is on all the time, but you can select  the sound to just go out through the optical or just the internal speakers.

    You might be able to power it from one of the usb ports on the TV with the supplied cable, but these may cause noise & interference.

    You can buy a soundbar, these can connect to the optical port, or the HDMI port on the side (eARC) or even wirelessly with bluetooth. Tbh I wouldn't recommend one though if you are happy with the TV sound for general listening. I'm like you, I use the TVs own speakers 95% of the time, if I want to push the boat out for a full cinema experience I activate my surround amp- which is connected via the optical output!

    You can also buy bluetooth to phono adapters for around the same money as the optical converter and the TV will then give the option of using the bluetooth output or the internal speakers, but they have the same problem with needing power. I bought one for a different job (connecting my tablet to the amp) and it is too noisy powering it from the usb port on the amp.
    Thanks for the further information.  I'm certain that the amp is pre 1980 and having found photos of one for sale (saved me digging out my mirrors), there doesn't seem to be anything like an optical port.

    I can power it, I think I've one spare socket on the mains block - won't mind if it works - my experience is that mains power tends to work better.  I tried it with a Bluetooth speaker and it was a bit pathetic, on a speaker that's normally quite beefy with my phone or tablet.

    I'll see how I get on with this adapter and report back.  I'm happy with the performance with the 3.5mm jack, but I'm never keen on repeated plugging anything that delicate in and out, even though I'm careful with such things.  I'd like to use something that stays in place and I can choose in settings.  Thanks for the help - I'll let you know how I get on with this doodad tomorrow. 
  • BooJewels
    BooJewels Posts: 2,836 Forumite
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    km1500 said:
    Thanks for the suggestion. I did see that one, but decided against it as I hope to hide the adapter away out of view behind the TV and don’t really want it visible and to have line of sight for a remote.  Plus it has several LED lights on the front and I have a bit of an aversion to them showing and cover them with card or black tape.

    I'll see how I get on with this inexpensive one and take it from there.  If it does work, I think that I might at least upgrade the optical cable as it looks a bit insubstantial and might benefit from something more robust.
  • facade
    facade Posts: 7,010 Forumite
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    edited 27 November 2023 at 1:07AM
    The cheap optical cable will be fine as long as you don't try and bend it through 90 degrees or stretch it tight.

    The expensive ones have a core just as thin but cover it with thick flexible "insulation"  and provide gold plated connectors that might help with electrical signals but make absolutely no difference to light going down the centre!

    Really expensive ones use glass for the core, that doesn't cut down the light as much, so they can be much longer, 10m or more, but the cheap plastic ones are fine for 1 or 2 metres.


    I want to go back to The Olden Days, when every single thing that I can think of was better.....

    (except air quality and Medical Science ;))
  • Bonhomie
    Bonhomie Posts: 245 Forumite
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    BooJewels said:
    I have upgraded my lounge TV to a Sony Bravia smart TV.  The previous Panasonic has been moved elsewhere, but one feature the new Sony doesn't have is phono/RCA audio out sockets - which we had used to play the TV through the amp and to 4 speakers and a sub woofer to give surround-ish sound - mainly used for movies and concerts etc.  For most daily watching I am happy enough with the TV sound.  

    As a temporary workaround, I found a 2x female phono to 3.5mm jack adapter and plugging this in allows sound over the hi-fi via the headphone socket on the side, but obviously disengages the TVs own sound - so I need to either always use the amp or plug it in when required - which is a bit fiddly and means moving the TV a bit.  I'd ideally like the hi-fi sound to supplement the TV sound when required, just by switching the amp on, as had worked previously.

    My late husband set all of this up and I am not that familiar with how it is wired and don't want to mess with it as it is under carpet behind furniture etc.  I would prefer to work with what I have as it sounds pretty good already - I just want to connect it more efficiently at the TV end.

    On the TV I have a spare HDMI slot, 2 x USB and a 'digital audio out (optical)' socket available to use - the latter seeming to be the most likely option.  One HDMI slot each (2 and 3 in the diagram below) is used for my Freesat Box and DVD player.  This pdf on Sony's site shows the socket arrangements.

    I can see that there are seemingly adapters to connect optical audio output to phono/RCA leads (there are male plugs on the end of the cable), but there seems to be different arrangements and some are more complicated than others.  Does anyone have any recommendations and would this work as I would like?  Do they also need separate power, as I'm struggling for sockets?  I thought I'd ask before just buying something that looked suitable.
    Why not simply adjust the TV settings in so that it outputs from the headphone socket and TV speakers at the same time. It's a 'normal' function on modern TVs. https://helpguide.sony.net/tv/gaep1/v1/en/08-05_09.html
  • BooJewels
    BooJewels Posts: 2,836 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Post Name Dropper
    facade said:
    The cheap optical cable will be fine as long as you don't try and bend it through 90 degrees or stretch it tight.

    The expensive ones have a core just as thin but cover it with thick flexible "insulation"  and provide gold plated connectors that might help with electrical signals but make absolutely no difference to light going down the centre!

    Really expensive ones use glass for the core, that doesn't cut down the light as much, so they can be much longer, 10m or more, but the cheap plastic ones are fine for 1 or 2 metres.


    Thanks.  There will be minimal movement of the cables and no distance covered and once I've set it up, if it works, I'll then leave well alone.  So, in view of what you say, the basic cable should maybe suffice.  There will only be me touching it.  The original phono plugs went into the back of the TV, so they're still in the same position behind the TV (I taped them to the shelf in case I lost track of them when moving stuff around - I look a lot of unnecessary cables out of the system - lots of scart leads), so they'll get plugged into the adapter and that in turn into the optical out port a few inches away. 

    I tend, when getting new cables, to only unravel as much as it needs to reach where it's going, so if it's coiled when it arrives, I'll just unwrap enough at the ends to meet their sockets - a few inches at each end - then keep the rest together with cable ties.  I hate tangled cables and kinks in them - so it will be treated with care.

    I'm excited to give it a try - it'll hopefully come tomorrow afternoon.
  • BooJewels
    BooJewels Posts: 2,836 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Post Name Dropper
    My audio adapter thingy was delivered earlier and I can report that it works a treat - and just how I hoped.

    It didn't work at first and I was tinkering with TV settings and nothing changed.  So before I gave up on it, I decided to unplug all the leads and re-connect them again and that did the trick - it seems you have to press the optical (Toslink) cable plug home harder into the TV than I felt comfortable with (and it's fiddly as it's vertically upwards into a recess) and this was seemingly what was preventing it from working initially.

    When I put the TV back on and it fired the amp up, it was very loud, much louder than it had been previously with the headphone adapter.  This is no doubt why the volume output on the Freesat box was set low with the TV speakers high, it was to balance the output through the amp. It'll take a bit of trial and error to get to an efficient way of working, but I don't mind that - I'd rather fiddle with settings with the remotes than have to move the TV to plug things in and out.

    There are settings on the TV to choose between the TV speakers and external speakers, but it doesn't seem to matter what option I choose, nothing seems to happen and I do get sound out of the TV at the same time as the speakers.  So it's effectively working exactly as it did previously with the RCA/phono leads to the amp, which was what I wanted.

    Very happy to sort it out for a mere £7.99!  I just wanted it sorted before Christmas in case there are good movies or concerts to watch.
  • BooJewels
    BooJewels Posts: 2,836 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Post Name Dropper
    Bonhomie said:
    BooJewels said:
    I have upgraded my lounge TV to a Sony Bravia smart TV.  The previous Panasonic has been moved elsewhere, but one feature the new Sony doesn't have is phono/RCA audio out sockets - which we had used to play the TV through the amp and to 4 speakers and a sub woofer to give surround-ish sound - mainly used for movies and concerts etc.  For most daily watching I am happy enough with the TV sound.  

    As a temporary workaround, I found a 2x female phono to 3.5mm jack adapter and plugging this in allows sound over the hi-fi via the headphone socket on the side, but obviously disengages the TVs own sound - so I need to either always use the amp or plug it in when required - which is a bit fiddly and means moving the TV a bit.  I'd ideally like the hi-fi sound to supplement the TV sound when required, just by switching the amp on, as had worked previously.

    My late husband set all of this up and I am not that familiar with how it is wired and don't want to mess with it as it is under carpet behind furniture etc.  I would prefer to work with what I have as it sounds pretty good already - I just want to connect it more efficiently at the TV end.

    On the TV I have a spare HDMI slot, 2 x USB and a 'digital audio out (optical)' socket available to use - the latter seeming to be the most likely option.  One HDMI slot each (2 and 3 in the diagram below) is used for my Freesat Box and DVD player.  This pdf on Sony's site shows the socket arrangements.

    I can see that there are seemingly adapters to connect optical audio output to phono/RCA leads (there are male plugs on the end of the cable), but there seems to be different arrangements and some are more complicated than others.  Does anyone have any recommendations and would this work as I would like?  Do they also need separate power, as I'm struggling for sockets?  I thought I'd ask before just buying something that looked suitable.
    Why not simply adjust the TV settings in so that it outputs from the headphone socket and TV speakers at the same time. It's a 'normal' function on modern TVs. https://helpguide.sony.net/tv/gaep1/v1/en/08-05_09.html
    Apologies @Bonhomie- I didn't see your post last night.   I'd already gone through the sound settings many times to see if there was an option to do that and there aren't actually many options in there. There's an option to choose between the TV speakers and external speakers, but nothing seems to change when selecting either option.  I did just double check the instructions in your link, but it fell fairly early in the process, as I have no option for 'audio output' - just 'sound' with the options already mentioned.
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