Zone 2 audio when watching Zone 2 TV apps?

D

DamienS

Audioholic Intern
Dear Forum, I have a question regarding having a TV and speakers set up to Zone 2 on a AVR (possibly Denon X3600H)…
If I have an AVR in the living room (main zone – 5.1.2) and having the Zone 2 in the dining room (TV & speakers),for any sources that are connected to the AVR I get that those could be used on the Zone 2, however what would happen as far as audio if I am using the dining room TV as the ‘source’? i.e. if I’m watching say Netflix on the dining room TV via it’s internal app.
It seems that on the AVRs only the main Zone has ARC/eARC. Therefore, if I am watching something from one of the dining room TV’s internal apps am I only going to get audio from the TV speakers rather than the dining room speakers?
Appreciate any insight!
 
WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Field Marshall
It seems that on the AVRs only the main Zone has ARC/eARC. Therefore, if I am watching something from one of the dining room TV’s internal apps am I only going to get audio from the TV speakers rather than the dining room speakers?
Correct.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
D

DamienS

Audioholic Intern
Interesting. Kind of limiting for Zone 2 then.

Thank you very much Wayne A. Pflughaupt!!
 
B

BriReeves629

Audioholic
You are correct. I tried the same thing and ended up getting a Fire Stick for apps and plugged it into the AVR. Now it is its own AVR source and I can watch all the apps on my Patio TV (Zone 2). I’m not sure that ARC is much more than a way to accommodate the “Smart TVs”. In most HT setups, the TV is used as merely a monitor rather than a source itself.
 
D

DamienS

Audioholic Intern
Thank you BriReeves629! That’s a pretty good way to look at it and a very good ‘workaround’ .
I guess I’m back to considering a Zone 2 set up then .
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
Zone 2 is pretty worthless on most receivers as they would need full surround decoding for digital sources to maintain HD surround sound in the main zone, while being and to process surround sound, and downmix it to stereo, for zone 2. I'm not sure of any AV receivers which do this properly as it seems to be just ignored by them. They 'advertised' zone 2 without actually giving it serious thought or consideration, then people (like you) are SOL when it doesn't work at all like you hoped it would.

So, for Netflix in zone 2, you get a Roku. The Roku may not work in zone 2 at all because it comes in over HDMI only, and you may still need analog audio connections to make it work. Perhaps now they use EDID to force the device to put out stereo audio, then they can use that stereo audio for zone 2 playback. Still kinda jenky, but it's always been a issue with the cruddy implementation of HDMI in general.
 
D

DamienS

Audioholic Intern
Hi BMXTRIX.

Thank you for your post!

I basically have four use cases that I would see being utilized.
  • Main Zone (Living Room w/ 5.1.2) being used on it’s own for either music or TV/movie watching.
  • Zone 2 (Dining Room (2.0) being used on it’s own for either music or TV/movie watching.
  • Main Zone & Zone 2 watching same channel/source.
  • Main Zone & Zone 2 listening to same music.
The rooms are adjacent without a wall separating so it wouldn’t be likely that there would be different sources being played on both of them simultaneously. For situations where both Main Zone and Zone 2 are being used simultaneously with the same source (likely during a party or such),I would probably be okay with both being in stereo.

However, judging by your post and also from the Denon user manual (link below) it seems that it is not guaranteed that I would get audio (stereo) on both when dealing with HDMI sources. From Denon User Manual “…However, depending on the playback device, the playback signal may not be converted to PCM even if this setting is configured”.

Also, per those notes in the Denon User Manual, it seems that I have to select PCM for it to have a chance of working. If I’m understanding this correctly it would seem to be a pain to be switching setting for PCM to other, etc. near anytime I’m wanting to watch/listen to something.

http://manuals.denon.com/AVRX4500H/NA/EN/SEHFSYwiarbykp.php#SEHFMLakdvkjuf

This is all getting a good bit more involved than my knowledge. I was thinking that it would have been a good idea as it would have allowed me to justify spending more on getting a better AVR as it would be serving two area and that I would have also gotten to explore the world of AVRs and expand my knowledge somewhat (I know very little).

I’m leaning towards giving Denon a call tomorrow to clarify/confirm my understanding of the limitations (i.e. hit and miss and also ‘constantly’ needing to manually switch audio modes). If that’s the case I’ll probably reconsider.

Thank you for the heads up!!!
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Hi BMXTRIX.

Thank you for your post!

I basically have four use cases that I would see being utilized.
  • Main Zone (Living Room w/ 5.1.2) being used on it’s own for either music or TV/movie watching.
  • Zone 2 (Dining Room (2.0) being used on it’s own for either music or TV/movie watching.
  • Main Zone & Zone 2 watching same channel/source.
  • Main Zone & Zone 2 listening to same music.
The rooms are adjacent without a wall separating so it wouldn’t be likely that there would be different sources being played on both of them simultaneously. For situations where both Main Zone and Zone 2 are being used simultaneously with the same source (likely during a party or such),I would probably be okay with both being in stereo.
I don't really see a problem if you TV in Z2 has optical, RCA, or coax outputs. Optical would be best if the TV is not too far from the AVR.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
I don't really see a problem if you TV in Z2 has optical, RCA, or coax outputs. Optical would be best if the TV is not too far from the AVR.
Because zone 2 of most receivers don't have a digital to analog converter! This means that the receiver can't properly convert audio from surround sound or even digital to analog stereo for playback through the speakers in zone 2.

This is a HUGE F'N DISASTER by HDMI.

HDMI should have required, as part of the digital convergence, that all HDMI audio carries stereo + surround sound information. When analog audio was dropped on most product, this would have ensured that stereo audio could be pumped to zone 2 (3, 4, etc.) quite easily while at the same time, full surround sound could have been provided to local surround sound rooms. Atmos + stereo? Fine. No A/V receiver would require licensing and expensive conversion to get zone 2 working in stereo from any HDMI source. Distributed audio/video systems wouldn't need to buy expensive gear that required DACs and DSPs to get audio into their additional zones.

It could have been so clean and so easy, but instead we ended up with this load of garbage.

Confusion runs amok and manuals are FAR less helpful than they should be about how zone 2 actually works, even though they happily advertise it.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Because zone 2 of most receivers don't have a digital to analog converter! This means that the receiver can't properly convert audio from surround sound or even digital to analog stereo for playback through the speakers in zone 2.
That may be the case for the much older models. The AVR-X3400H, X3500H and obviously the X3600H all have DAC for zone 2.
 
B

BriReeves629

Audioholic
I have an Integra DRX-5 which has “Powered” Zone 2 outputs (most “Powered” Zone 2 have its own DAC). You can also assign a second HDMI output for a TV. I can’t speak for the Denon, but the Integra I own is made for exactly this situation. I run Zone 2 to my patio and I can watch two separate sources simultaneously as well as get stereo when playing the same source in both Zones.

DamienS, I’m sorry if I gave you false hope. I am assuming the Denon can do the same. Perhaps it can.
 
D

DamienS

Audioholic Intern
Thank you all for your valuable input!!!
It was a long weekend here so today was first day back to work and was a bit hectic so I didn't get to contact Denon. And it looks like tomorrow isn't going to be much better ;).
Judging by the comments above it sees that this situation can largely depend on the specific AVR, so there is hope. I'm likely going to be purchasing from Richer Sounds Belfast. They currently have the Denon 4500H and 3600 at the same price (£999). Richer Sounds AVRs
I was beginning to lean towards the 4500H as it seems to have power/features though the 3600 is newer. From what I can see here 3600 vs 4500 comparison it seems that the only items that the 3600 has over the 4500 is (a) HDCP 2.3 rather than 2.2 and updated Bluetooth. I don't imagine doing much with Bluetooth as I would more likely be using HEOS for streaming and it seems the difference between HDCP 2.3 vs HDCP 2.1 is more likely to only make a difference when HDMI 2.1 is deployed (which neither AVR which have).
I do notice on that comparison (link above) that it mentions both have 'Powered Zones' so based on BriReeves629 comment about most Powered Zone 2 having their own DAC it leave some hope. I'll discuss specifically with Denon and let you all know what I find out.

Again, thank you all for your insight and experience!!!
 
D

DamienS

Audioholic Intern
BTW I already have a Denon X3400H which I'll be using upstairs in case any one was wondering why I was specifically looking at Denons. (a) I'm somewhat familiar with their set up/interface and (b) being able to control all AVRs in the house with single HEOS app..
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
I do notice on that comparison (link above) that it mentions both have 'Powered Zones' so based on BriReeves629 comment about most Powered Zone 2 having their own DAC it leave some hope. I'll discuss specifically with Denon and let you all know what I find out.
It is a fact, that the AVR-X3500H/X4500H has its own DAC for Zone2.

Even your AVR-X3400H has it so you can confirm it yourself easily if for whatever reason you are still doubting it.

Regarding "powered" Z2, below is from page 135 of the Owner's manual:

1572392789423.png


So yes you can also power z2 using the amp assign settings.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
It's cool that they finally have a DAC in for zone 2. Does anyone know how they are handling surround sound when it's coming in and audio is needed on zone 2? Are they dumbing down the audio to stereo? Does the EDID change on the connection based upon the need? Just wondering if anyone knows so I can update my brain on how this works exactly.
 
B

BriReeves629

Audioholic
It's cool that they finally have a DAC in for zone 2. Does anyone know how they are handling surround sound when it's coming in and audio is needed on zone 2? Are they dumbing down the audio to stereo? Does the EDID change on the connection based upon the need? Just wondering if anyone knows so I can update my brain on how this works exactly.
For the Integra, if you are running 7.1 on your main zone and turn on Zone 2, it automatically dumbs the main Zone down to 5.1. I only have 5.1 so it doesn’t affect me at all. I assume the Denon is the same, PENG?
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top