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Soundtouch integration

Having browsed through the suggested solution topics and could not find a match to my situation so I'm starting this thread.  I have a 7.1 system with 4 speakers in the ceiling and my existing center chanel plus left and right front in a alcove with the Samsung 75 8 series (the Samsung "Smart Hub" in only used for connections).  Subwoofer is located left front at floor level.  Front left and right are Bose 301's and the center channel is a Yahama NS-C310.  All the speakers are cabled back to a "media closet" and are connected to a Pioneer VSX-1131 receiver which takes inputs from the DVR/Satellite (DirecTV) and DVD player.  The Pioneer is hooked up to the Samsung through an HDMI connection.  Internet and LAN connections are also in the "media closet".  All of this is controlled by a Logitech Harmony Hub which feeds IR to the closet and the Samsung.  The final wrinkle is there are two ceiling speakers in the kitchen which is open to and just off the "great room" where all of the above performs.

 

My wife heard the ST300 at Fry's a few months ago and of course wanted one to replace our existing center channel unit.  After some limited noodling and research, it looked like I would have to run stuff through the Samsung TV and that's when my eyes started to glaze over.  (Getting the Samsung set up seemed to take a deep dive into the black arts by the Samsung help desk!)  I would much prefer to let the Pioneer drive or at least control the audio side of things.

 

I guess my question is where is the best place to start to get an assessment on this "project" without spending days holding for a support tech?  Should I start with Bose Tech Support or maybe the Geek Squad?

 

Thanks for any and all pointers.

 

Rich

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Author Accepted Answer selected by RichPurdum

Hi RichPurdum,

 

Thank you for providing this update. The slight echo may be due to the number of times the audio is being passed through certain devices. Likely, the speakers connected to your pioneer receiver are producing audio slightly ahead of the TV audio. Slightly delaying the audio in the Pioneer's settings (if at all possible), may help this issue. 

 

The Harmony "Sequences" seems like a great idea in theory, but I'd be concerned about the synchronization between the Pioneer's audio, and the SoundTouch 300. If the command fails to go through to one device, the volumes may quickly get out of sync, which may end up being a frustrating experience to fix. These workarounds are possible, but at the end of the day, the SoundTouch 300 wasn't engineered to be used for the purpose you are currently pursuing. 

 

In my own opinion, it definitely seems there may be possibilities to achieve the audio you are looking for, but not without the cost of the operational complexity which you are attempting to avoid. As Brent mentioned before, certainly try it out during the trial period, and see if it will work for you. If not, there is no harm in making a return. We want to be sure you will be satisfied with your purchase. 

 

Let us know if you have any additional questions!

 

Best regards,

 

Brian - Bose Support

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Hi Rich, 

 

Thank you for the post. You've included so much great detail that I have a pretty clear picture of what you're envisioning. The SoundTouch 300 is a great system, but the soundbar may not be the right product for your setup as it is unable to be connected as a dedicated center channel with your existing Pioneer receiver. The ST300 was designed as a stand alone soundbar engineered to connect directly to your TV. You may be able to get around this if your receiver had a dedicated center channel non-powered pre-out, but the ST300 wouldn't give you a focused center channel experience, as it essentially has center, front left, and front right drivers all built in. Bose did make a dedicated center channel speaker at one time, called the VCS-10, but unfortunately this is no longer in production. If you want to replace your existing setup, you could go with the SoundTouch 300, with an AM300 sub and VI300 rear speakers, or you may want to look at our Lifestyle 600 or Lifestyle 650. Don't hesitate to reach out with any additional questions. 

 

 

Kind Regards

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Brent

 

Thank you for an honest assessment of my situation.  I guess what I was neglecting to mention was I am also looking for an enhanced left/center/right experience.  What I have is OK but as an audiophile from the 70's (I have a pair of the original 901s in walnut but skipped the quadraphonic stuff),  and the wife likes it, I would appreciate a step up.  The ST300 at Fry's was indeed exceptional thus my new "project".  Plus, this is a tenative "What do you want for Christmas?" item for her. 

 

As I understand it, left/center/right is delivered from the Pioneer receiver to the Samsung via the HDMI connection and then via a cable (coax?) to the ST300.  I would also have to enable one of the "interoperability" standards which I have never played with.  If I can control volume via the Pioneer (using the Harmony) that would essentially meet all my requirements.  I would leave the existing 301s in place and rely on the Pioneer speaker calibration to balance things out.  IIRC, the Pioneer also allows for a left/right "high/low" but I think this has to go through the connections which are driving the ceiling speakers in the kitchen which we would prefer not to loose.  I could also abandon the 301s and let the ST300 run "center stage".  Don't have a new use for the 301's but I never discard speakers I don't need at the moment (thus the 901s)!

 

I guess this may boil down to a Pioneer/Samsung question but given this new dimension to the goal, is it worth persuing?

 

Thanks a whole bunch for your sage advice!

 

Rich

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Hi Rich, 

 

Thanks for responding and elaborating further. Yes, I also never got into Quad, but a set of 901s with a solid receiver is about as good as it gets!  It sounds like you are referring to the HDMI ARC output on your receiver (pictured below). 

 

 

That HDMI ARC connection would be able to take any source you have connected to the Pioneer and send video to the Samsung TV, however it wouldn't be able to send audio back to the TV. There is a good CNET article explaining ARC HERE. Essentially, this connection would be able to use the same HDMI cable to feed audio back to the Pioneer from any source connected directly to the Samsung but not to send audio to the Samsung. If you connect the SoundTouch 300 to your TV, say with an optical cable, you would need someway to get the audio from your source devices audio to the TV. You do have a Zone 2 RCA output (pictured below), but that's a Line Out and means that adjusting the volume on the Pioneer will have no affect on this level.

 

 

 

You could also connect a few source devices directly to your TV (like cable, and a DVD player), and connect the soundbar to your TV as well, but that would mean that they could never connect to the Pioneer as the SoundTouch 300 does not have any audio out connections. 

 

There are a few ways to add the soundbar, but they're not really ideal and won't give you the options and the control you're looking for. If your wife really likes the soundbar, it could still be a great option to connect to a bedroom TV. I have a lot of home theater enthusiast friends with some great setups, and a few have the ST300 for just that purpose. It's an incredible soundbar for that as well. Let me know if you have any more questions! 

 

Thank you 

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Brent

 

Thanks for researching this so well!  The pics of the back of the Pioneer were above and beyond expectations.  You deserve a big Christmas bonus!  Seems like we keep running into blind alleys.  Although I do have the in wall cabling to handle it, the Zone 2 Line Out connections on the Pioneer would only produce 2 channel analog, need some sort of additional device and not give me a single volume control point.

One item of correction to my original post, my TV is a Samsung UN75MU6300FXZA and I am not using the Smart Hub stuff, just the "One Connect" device which essentially moves all the connections from the back of the TV to a separate box.  I don't think this changes things much of at all.

It would seem the only way to get the ST300 to play is to consider using ARC.  I would need to switch the HDMI connection on the Samsung "One Connecf" hub to the ARC designated port (it is currently on HDMI 1 on this "hub").  I could then use the Optical Out on that hub to connect to the ST300.  I would switch the Harmony to use the TV to control volume for my existing spearkers (it's currently set for the Pioneer).  I would also configure the TV to use the Audio Out/Optical "Sound" rather than it's internal speakers.  Would this allow the TV to control ST300 volume too?

My concern is having to enable the Samsung version of CEC (Anynet).  My experience with older versions (albeit with older TV's and receivers) has not been pleasant and when we got our new Samsung back in July I made sure it was turned off.  I have also read that with the optical connection there are some limitations but I'm not sure they would matter to me.

It would seem to me this approach has a chance but (silly me) in this digital world what worked before is not necessarily true in these times.

Turns out my wife has been changing the sound settings on the TV (without my permission!) to use the internal speaker so she can stream Netflix via the TV rather than our very old Bluray player!  Since the TV loses audio input when she switches back to our satelite service which comes through the Pioneer it worked for her....the nerve!

Rich

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Hi Rich,

 

Thank you! I appreciate the kind words. 'Tis the season to be merry! You can certainly use the optical out of the Samsung to connect to the ST300 soundbar and that will get any audio from the TV to the Bose. But I have a concern about trying to use ARC to get audio from the Pioneer to the TV.

 

Unless the ARC connection on your Pioneer is different than any other ARC connection that I've seen in the past, it won't pass audio from the Pioneer to the TV (and thus never go out of the TV to the ST300). That connection will pass video normally, but not audio. The ARC (audio return channel) can have audio returned to the Pioneer on the same HDMI cable and connection, but not sent. Anything inherent with the Samsung or connected to the Samsung can be sent to the Pioneer using ARC but not the other way around. Also, the other issue with trying to connect an ARC cable and optical to the TV is that most TV's only let you select one of them. You can use either ARC or optical, but not both. You could certainly follow up with Pioneer and Samsung to double check, but from my understanding, you won't be able to make this work with ARC. 

 

 

Kind Regards

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Brent

 

After noodling about why the Pioneer was not passing audio to the Samsung over the HDMI connection, I used that wonderful search engine and found a post on a forum which led me to the following description (formated for easier reading) in the Pioneer manual (Model VSX-1131 Advanced Manual - page 17):

 

(This option is called "TV Audio Out" and it's default setting is "OFF".)

 

"You can enjoy audio through the speakers of the TV while this unit is on. "On": Use this function, "Off": Do not use this function
• This setting is fixed to "Auto" if you have set "System Setup" - "Input/Output Assign" - "TV Out/OSD" - "HDMI Out" or "Other" - "HDMI Out"
in "AV Adjust" to "MAIN" or "MAIN+SUB" and "HDMI CEC" is set to "On". If you change this setting, set "HDMI CEC" to "Off".
• Listening mode cannot be changed while "Audio TV Out" is set to "On" and audio is being output through the speakers of the TV.
• Depending on your TV set or input signal of the component, audio may not output through the speakers of the TV even if this setting is set
to "On". In such case, audio is output from the speakers of the unit.
• If you operate the MASTER VOLUME dial on this unit when audio that is being input through this unit for output from the TV speakers, audio
is output from this unit. If you do not want tooutput audio from the unit, change the unit or TV settings, or reduce the volume of the unit.

 

End of Pioneer quote. 

 

So, if I can get this Pioneer setting configured so I can hear sound from both the Pioneer and the TV speakers and control volume to both, I should then be able to set the Samsung to use the "Optical Audio Output" to the ST300 which turns off the TV speakers.  I don't know if the ST300 would respond to the Pioneer volume control.  I am also not sure what the impact of not changing "Listening Mode" would have. 

 

BTW, if there is another forum you can suggest to look for help on the Pioneer side please let me know.

 

I apologize for keep coming back to this problem but, like a old dog with an old bone, I want to be sure I have explored all possibile approaches.

 

Rich

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Hi Rich, 

 

Technology is indeed a wonderful thing! The more I read about this model Pioneer, the more impressed I am with it. I found the manual that you mentioned, HERE. And yes, if you can get audio to play through both the TV and the pioneer at the same time, then connecting the SoundTouch 300 to the TV via optical should give you audio. The ST300, however, would not respond to the Pioneer's native volume control. The one thing to mention is that most Bose retail locations will give you a number of days that you can return a system for a full refund if it doesn't suit your needs. You certainly can give this setup a go and if it doesn't work out, return the soundbar. No need to apologize about bringing this back up. This type of scenario is the most interesting! Let us know if you have any other questions. 

 

 


Kind Regards


Brent - Bose Support

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Brent

 

I was able to get the Pioneer to pass audio to the Samsung and as we expected the volume controls are independent.  If I mute the TV the sound is fine and the same if I mute the receiver.  However, with the two "unmuted" there is distinct echo or "auditorium" or maybe "gymnasium" effect.  I've looked at some of the delay settings possible in both units and nothing seems to address this problem.  One of the test content I used was a DVR recording that began with the end of an old classic TV show (**bleep** Van **bleep** IIRC) and that sound was perfect!  Of course that was before stereo broadcast was available.

 

I was thinking running the Pioneer speaker calibration process might correct this audio anomaly but I don't know if it would feet the audio calibration signals through the HDMI connection.

 

I did get a good tip from the Harmony forum to use "Sequences" and assign them to the volume up/down button on the Harmony remote.  So the "Volume Up" sequence would send a volume up signal to the Pioneer and then to the ST300. Likewise with volume down. Given the echo problem I have not tested this configuration change.  A "volume up" press on the Pioneer increases output by .1 db. I guess I could figure out how to "balance" that with the ST300.  What I need to avoid is creating too much "operational complexity" for my wife who is the main consumer of A/V content in the household.

 

I need to give this some additional consideration as to how much further to persue this.  If I can make it work but create a daily maintenance burden then I have not done much good.

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Re: Soundtouch integration

Author Accepted Answer selected by RichPurdum

Hi RichPurdum,

 

Thank you for providing this update. The slight echo may be due to the number of times the audio is being passed through certain devices. Likely, the speakers connected to your pioneer receiver are producing audio slightly ahead of the TV audio. Slightly delaying the audio in the Pioneer's settings (if at all possible), may help this issue. 

 

The Harmony "Sequences" seems like a great idea in theory, but I'd be concerned about the synchronization between the Pioneer's audio, and the SoundTouch 300. If the command fails to go through to one device, the volumes may quickly get out of sync, which may end up being a frustrating experience to fix. These workarounds are possible, but at the end of the day, the SoundTouch 300 wasn't engineered to be used for the purpose you are currently pursuing. 

 

In my own opinion, it definitely seems there may be possibilities to achieve the audio you are looking for, but not without the cost of the operational complexity which you are attempting to avoid. As Brent mentioned before, certainly try it out during the trial period, and see if it will work for you. If not, there is no harm in making a return. We want to be sure you will be satisfied with your purchase. 

 

Let us know if you have any additional questions!

 

Best regards,

 

Brian - Bose Support

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