Category Archives: Surround Sound Questions

My TV only has a digital output (Optical or Coaxial), and my receiver only has RCA inputs – how do I connect it?

I’ve been asked this a lot, and there’s only one answer that allows you to use the Television digital output. There’s an adapter you can get at ( that converts the digital outputs to analog output. They are very hard to come by, but this device allows you to connect newer Digital devices to older/legacy equipment that doesn’t have digital inputs.

The process is simple for connection as well – you connect the digital cable from your TV’s output to the adapter, then connect an analog (white and red) cable from the output side of the adapter and connect that to the AUX input on your stereo device. That’s it.

I hope you found this helpful!


Is it possible to hook TWO surround systems together for more sound?

The simple answer is Yes. The fun part though is finding the best way to do it. I’ve done this for parties and Super Bowl Watching for a block party. Its not difficult to do, and can be a lot of fun.

If you’re dealing with TWO Dolby Digital Systems its very simple. Connect the main system up as usual, and then if the system has an OPTICAL OUTPUT, you can connect that to your other system if it has an OPTICAL INPUT. Depending on the brand of the main unit it may pass Dolby Digital sound out to the other receiver, or it may just pass stereo – then the other system can do a simulation for surround.

Another option if you don’t have the optical output is to simply run a set of analog audio cables (white and red) from the output of one system to the input on the other.

I’ve done both and it works great either way. Plus its fun to show off your 10.2 sound system when friends come over. Just make sure to keep the area well ventilated!

Hope this helps,


How do I connect my Television to my Surround Sound System?

Hopefully this isn’t as complicated as you feared. This depends on your TV and what else you will be connecting to the system. Here’s a few options for what you are trying to do.1) Direct TV Connection Option: If your television offers an audio output this will be the easiest of the connections, all you do is connect an audio cable from the TV’s audio output (white and red jacks), to the input of your choice on your receiver (TV/SAT, Video 1, AUX, etc). When you want to watch your TV through surround, you turn on your receiver to the correct input and trun on your TV, and you’re good to go. There may be an option in your TV menu as well to leave the audio output as fixed – choose this option if available, this means that as you adjust the volume on your TV, it won’t mess with the sound through the receiver.2) Using a Cable or Satellite Box: If you have a cable or satellite box connected to the TV, the sound quality will be better than coming directly from the TV. For this you will utilize the audio outputs on the back of the boxes, either Analog Audio (red and white), or a digital output (optical or digital coax). From the back of the box, connect one of the cables from the audio out (analog or digital) to your receiver to whichever input you choose, and now when you watch your cable or satellite, you will have sound from your receiver and/or your TV. (This is my preferred choice).3) Using a VCR: If your TV doesn’t have an audio output, and you’re not using a cable or satellite box this is pretty much the only other option (if you have a VCR that is). If you have a stereo VCR and your TV signal (basic cable/antenna) is running through the VCR, you will connect an Audio cable from the Audio output on the back of the VCR to whatever jack you prefer on your receiver. All you do is leave your VCR on when you want to listen to the stereo, and whatever channel the VCR is on, that sound will come through the Stereo as well.

I hope this helps in your quest, I know its a lot of information, but I like being thorough.

I’m looking to get a 5.1 receiver, but my source isn’t digital, what can I do for the best sound?

If you’re looking at a new receiver, all you need to do is make sure that the unit offers Dolby Pro Logic II (or IIx if its a 7.1 receiver), or DTS Neo surround capabilities. These features are specifically for listening to non digital sources and recreate a 5.1 – 7.1 experience for VHS, Cable, Satellite, whatever you connect to it. If the source is in Dolby Pro-Logic then the sound will be very good in Pro-Logic II mode. If its just a stereo signal it will still sound pretty good and give you more of an experience than a standard Dolby Pro Logic receiver, because more signal is sent to the rear speakers.

I Hope this helps.

How can I add a powered subwoofer to my existing home theater if I already have a passive sub?

If your subwoofer is a passive sub then this will more than likely be an easy fix. Take a look at the system – most passive subwoofers are connected with the outputs from the front speakers (meaning that the speaker wire outputs for the front speakers are run into the subwoofer, and then from the subwoofer to the front speakers). If this is the case then you can easily put in a powered subwoofer the exact same way, but because it is powered you will have control over it through the subwoofer itself. However, if your receiver happens to have a Subwoofer pre-out then all you have to do is get a subwoofer cable and connect the subwoofer via that cable, and you will have a true powered subwoofer, and could even keep the existing subwoofer in place as well.

I’ve got a Pioneer 816 7.1 receiver, but I’m not getting surround sound from my Digital Cable Box.

The one drawback to digital cable boxes is that the digital coax out is normally just set to stereo output. They don’t broadcast much in 5.1 except for through a fiber optic output, its actually rare to find a digital cable box with a digital coax out. My old box did and I had the same problem, when I contacted the cable company about it (Comcast) they told me that was all it provided and the Dolby Digital logo was on the box but not supported by them. But if I went to an HD Box it was. I have since switched to DirecTV, but that’s another story. Off of a digital cable box, you’re best best is fiber optic if available because most of the digital coax outputs are only set for stereo. You can put your 816 in Dolby Pro Logic II or IIx mode and it will simulate surround sound, but not true surround. You may want to contact your cable company about getting a box with a fiber optic output on it, that could alleviate everything.

Hope that helps.

How do I get sound from my Digital Cable box to my Bose 321 or HTIB?

There are a couple of different ways to do this, but the easiest is this:
For watching cable – on the back of your digital cable box you will have an audio output (red/white – left/right). Basically all you do there is connect that output to the input on your GS system and when you are watching anything on the cable box, the sound will then come through the GS.Your TV may have an audio output as well, if it does, then all you do is connect an audio cable from the TV audio output to the GS input and from there anything going through the TV would come out through the GS. I’m not a big fan of doing this though because if you watch your TV through Channel 3, it converts sounds to mono, even if you have a stereo TV. The best bet is to just run audio out of your sources like your cable box, VCR, etc. directly into the GS. Hope this helps.