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Home Theater Audio Channel Switching???

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Lokire, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. I'm going crazy here...I feel like this should be something simple, but I can't find what I need. Basically, I'm setting up a home theater. I have everything else put together, but I need a way to easily route and switch the audio channels from various devices (TV, Xbox, DVD, Music, appletv, etc) to my speakers. The thing is, they're powered speakers, and all the home theater receivers that I can find are amplifiers as well. I don't need an amplifier, and on the receiver that I have now, the volume control doesn't work on the direct line outs, just the amplified outputs.

    So I just need something that I can plug a bunch of audio sources into (4 stereo channels would be enough), have a single stereo direct out that goes to my speakers, and then a master volume control for the output (to the speakers).

    Can someone point me in the right direction here? I know I could just plug everything in a little Mackie mixer that I have, but that doesn't really fit with the whole 'home theater' look/feel. :help:
  2. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    Hi Greg!

    You just need an A/V switcher box. I have one in my home theater as I ran out of inputs.

    Search for Audio Switcher on ebay and you should find some options. If I have time tonight I'll try to post a link to the one I got -- it switches digital and analog audio, as well as video sources.

  3. Hey, thanks Bart. I saw a few basic A/V switchers at fry's today, but none of them had a volume control, and I definitely need a master volume control of some kind. Maybe I should just plug the output of an A/V switcher into a separate box for volume control? :meh:

    In an ideal world, I would have a big knob that would wirelessly control the master volume over wifi or bluetooth or something :D
  4. instead of a receiver a 5.1/7.1 pre is what i have....then you can run coax to the powered speaks or a power amp(s)
  5. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
  6. google "home theater pre pro" or pick up one of several ht rags out there......there is no big secret.....the right pre pro will do everything
  7. Agreed. I think what you are looking for would be a home theater preamp. They have multiple inputs just like an AV receiver, and outputs that would normally go to power amps. The only downside would be price. The more common companies that make them are Pioneer, Nad, Denon, and Marantz. Most of them are pretty pricey. However, I've never really shopped for one.

    The only other thing that comes to mind would be a DJ style mixer.
  8. ht rag?

    I've been looking at Home Theater preamps and processors all day, and they just all seem expensive (like $600 on up). Neither seem very common either (maybe I'm looking in the wrong places?). Like I would be paying for all kinds of stuff I don't need. I just need a bunch of RCA inputs and a single stereo output, with a volume control. I'm only looking to spend a couple hundred really.

    Seems like I could get a pretty cheap AV Receiver, but most of them don't seem to have a line output for powered speakers. You mentioned using the Coax out? How would I go from a Coax cable into my speakers (they have RCA, 1/4", and XLR inputs)? I don't know much about coax...
  9. there are lots of options to fit most budgets.....most have remote functions that can control all the gear from the pre's....the big box stores generally stick to receivers.....does your receiver have bridges on the back between the pre and power sections....if so problem solved
  10. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    So I take it you want to control the volume wirelessly rather than using the volume knob on your powered speakers?

    The obvious answer is a HT preamp/processor, but those get pricey quick.

    Another choice would be to buy a regular HT receiver with pre outs (many of them have them) and then just not use the power amp, just like using the pre on a bass head with a separate power amp. I think most of them are OK running without speaker loads. This could end up being relatively cheap since you wouldn't need power or many fancy options so you could look at or near the bottom of the line ones. If you went used you could save a whole lot more.
  11. then the speakers were not set up for a/v,but they will still work if you want to go to the trouble to make up some rca to 1/4 or xlr.....maybe the best option is to buy a decent used passive speaker system,and use the receiver....there are tons of them available new and used
  12. i think the deal breaker here is going to be the speaker inputs.....its unlikely that a budget a/v receiver will have 1/4 or xlr,and making up cables long enough will cost.... passive speakers would probably be the logical way to go
  13. No, the speakers weren't setup for AV. I'm using Mackie HR864 studio monitors for my home theater setup, and they don't have easily accessible volume controls (just a little pot on that back that you have to use a screwdriver to adjust, on each speaker separately). They have RCA inputs though, which is what all the AV stuff uses.

    The AV receivers that have Pre outputs, is there any way of knowing whether the volume control works with the preamp gain and not just with the power amp? The line-level outputs on the receiver I have now (they're marked as 'external processor') is just a direct passthrough, no volume control.

    Another ideal option would be if I could just plug the output of the HDTV directly into the speakers. Since pretty much everything else is going through the TV already, but when I tried that it doesn't give me any volume control from the TV. I can't figure out how (if it's possible at all) to control the volume from the TV's RCA audio outputs...
  14. Some Yamaha AV receivers do have preamp outputs, but the lest expensive one I seen on Yamaha's website with the RX-V663. Amazon shows it at $329.00

    But, like you mentioned. It has a lot more options than you need.
    Then again, IMO, when purchasing a receiver you should keep flexibility and future use in mind. If you ever wanted to go HT-PC, or upgrade to a 5.1/7.1 audio system, it would be there. In the long run it's cheaper than having to buy another receiver.
  15. the volumes on receivers work on the pre side....take a look around an see if it would be way less hassle to set up a passive spkr system......how many unnecessary things do you want in your signal path
  16. But I like my speakers :p
  17. i like my dog,but i got used to the idea real early that he was never going to
    get the finer points of trig functions....:D
  18. Alright, I've got a potentially much more simple solution. I basically have two different uses for the speakers; music coming from my laptop through an airport which is plugged straight into the speakers. And then various media that all goes through the TV. I can deal with just switching between two connections to the speakers.

    The music from my laptop can be easily volume controlled in iTunes, but for the audio output from the tv I would have to send it through a simple little box with a volume control on it. So...any suggestions on that? I could just get a stereo volume pedal, but that seems a little silly. I don't know :p

    Anyone know of a (affordable) box that can control volume over a wifi connection to a computer? :D
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Maybe I'm confused but from your OP you said you were only running stereo... so why wouldn't any standard home stereo preamp work. I have a couple of older NAD preamps, an older Adcom and several other preamps that would do exactly what you're talking about with two channel sound.

    It would handle switching and give you remote control access for that and volume control.

    Even easier to find than a preamp is a receiver with a preamp out/power amp in loop (and remote). They typically have a pair of solid metal bars or "horseshoe" jumpers between the in and out. Remove the jumpers, hook your RCA cables to the "preamp out" connectors and you're set.

    As far as your last scenario, are you sure your TV doesn't have a variable audio out option? It's pretty common and your TV would control your system volume when you watch it.

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