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Poor sound quality via TV optical output

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#1
I have a 2.0 powered shelf speakers (Microlab Solo 7c) that where previously connected to a non-smart-tv audio output and to a pc in its 3.5mm audio output. At that time the sound was really great and when we watched Netflix and movies from the pc we really enjoyed the sound quality, it was loud, rich and detailed.

The old tv and pc had died following an electrical surge we had in our house, and now we purchased a new Samsung Q80T smart TV, which doesn't have an audio out but an optical one. So I bought a simple Digital to Analog converter and connected it to the tv optical out and to the speakers with rca cable. Also I set the TV audio to PCM setting. Well, the sound isn't close to what we had before when the speakers were connected to the pc. Now it sounds really "flat" and has a lack of bass, detail and loudness when watching movies, and also when playing music in Spotify etc. the sound even gets distorted at high volume.

So I thought maybe I should buy a decent DAC and that would do the work. However I've seen posts of people who say that the optical outputs of the new Samsung TVs are kind of limited and can't deliver high quality sound, and for example it won't output digital data at higher than 48 kHz or 16bit. And the only way to get the full sound potential is from the ARC HDMI output by connecting it to an ARC compatible device.

So now I doubt that changing the DAC would actually help to improve the sound quality. What do you think about it?

Also, I saw on AliExpress some devices called "ARC audio extractors" which I can connect to the TV's HDMI ARC out (although my TV has eARC out, but it should still work doesn't it?), and connect the speakers to the RCA out in that converter. In the product details it says that the rca out only compatible with stereo mode and it would work with PCM settings only, so I'm not sure if I'll get better sound quality.

What do you think? I'm really frustrated and regret I bought this TV. I have been searching the net for solutions for a whole week but to no avail.

I wish someone could help.

Best wishes.
 

RayDunzl

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#2
I have year old Samsung and no complaints that could be traced to the PCM optical output.
 

Dogen

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#3
Sure you’re outputting stereo (2 channel) audio?
 

JSmith

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#4
a simple Digital to Analog converter
You mean one of those $20 jobs? Some are horrible and struggle to output a decent signal needing a fair bit of amplification. Look on here at cheap DAC reviews and maybe try one of those instead.

A cheapo HDMI audio stripper is also likely going to use a poor or poorly implemented DAC too.



JSmith
 

ZolaIII

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#5
Think problem is the broken DAC. Try to test it with something else. If you want a bit stream and PCM capable one take a look at Creative Sound BlasterX G6 but it's not very convenient (no remote) and you will have to do volume regulation somewhere else (using it as line out).
 

Inner Space

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#6
Dumb question, with potential apologies in advance, but did you take the plastic caps off the optical connectors? I have known lots of people not realize they have to.
 
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Thread Starter #8
Think problem is the broken DAC. Try to test it with something else. If you want a bit stream and PCM capable one take a look at Creative Sound BlasterX G6 but it's not very convenient (no remote) and you will have to do volume regulation somewhere else (using it as line out).
My speakers are connected to the TV, so I'm not sure how an external sound card is going to help me. Thank you.

You mean one of those $20 jobs? Some are horrible and struggle to output a decent signal needing a fair bit of amplification. Look on here at cheap DAC reviews and maybe try one of those instead.
JSmith
Thank you. Do you think I should spend more than 70-100$ DAC for my needs and considering the specific speakers I have?

Dumb question, with potential apologies in advance, but did you take the plastic caps off the optical connectors? I have known lots of people not realize they have to.
Lol yes I did :)
 

ZolaIII

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#9
@Yoni842 by contacting it optically to TV (G6) and to the active speakers with its line out. You don't really need great DAC if Samsung didn't cut the analog out you wouldn't need other than one already there.
 
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Thread Starter #10
@Yoni842 by contacting it optically to TV (G6) and to the active speakers with its line out. You don't really need great DAC if Samsung didn't cut the analog out you wouldn't need other than one already there.
My speakers only have rca connections. And If I'll connect them to the headphone jack in the G6 it will engage its amp and it could risk my speakers, doesn't it?
 

ZolaIII

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#11
There's a line out/optical (combo) out 3.5 mm port right next (after) the line in/optical in port on G6. Standard DAC 2V line out. Leve out the hedaphone out on on front for hedaphone use... If you can find something deacent (DAC) with optical in and remote so that it can be used as pre amp (volume control) and don't need nor care about bit stream (Dolby's) decoding or latency for less money go for it.
 
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Thread Starter #12
There's a line out/optical (combo) out 3.5 mm port right next (after) the line in/optical in port on G6..
Sorry for the newbie questions, but my Tv's optical out is a digital output (Toslink?). So I'm not sure it can be connected to that 3.5mm optical input of the G6.
 

voodooless

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#14
According to the TV manual there is a “sound mode” setting. Check if you can set that to something else.
 

Koeitje

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#15
Can you show us what you are using?
 

SimpleTheater

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#16
So I bought a simple Digital to Analog converter and connected it to the tv optical out and to the speakers with rca cable.
I'd love to know the make/model of that simple DA converter. I'm betting the Samsung is sending it 5.1 channel information and its stripping out everything except the R/L channels, taking away a ton of clear dialogue meant for the center channel.
 
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Thread Starter #17
Ok got it.
In a second thought, this sound card is pretty pricy, it costs about 170$ in my country. Isn't that would be an overkill for my specific needs?
Wouldn't a decent budget DAC would do the same work? Let's say something like the FX Audio X6/Modi 3/SMSL Sanskrit?

According to the TV manual there is a “sound mode” setting. Check if you can set that to something else.
The sound mode is set to PCM rather than Auto.

I'd love to know the make/model of that simple DA converter. I'm betting the Samsung is sending it 5.1 channel information and its stripping out everything except the R/L channels, taking away a ton of clear dialogue meant for the center channel.
Here is a link to this cheap crap converter:
https://a.aliexpress.com/_v3i9KL

The TV isn't sending 5.1 channel because I set it to PCM. And for example when watching Netflix I don't have a 5.1 option but only regular stereo.

Thank you all! Appreciate it.
 

SimpleTheater

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#18
The TV isn't sending 5.1 channel because I set it to PCM. And for example when watching Netflix I don't have a 5.1 option but only regular stereo.
Thank you all! Appreciate it.
The first thing I'd try is simply using the Samsung TV for sound. Does it sound good (I mean good for a TV, not compared to your speakers)? Dialogue is clear, that kind of thing.

If no, then it might be an issue with the Netflix app, so I'd try something else to stream, like regular TV.

If yes, the sound is good from the TV directly, then it IS possible the optical cable is the issue (it is glass and it could have been crushed at some point). I would try a new optical cable, or at least test the one you are using (e.g. do you have a stereo system where you can test it), to see if the cable is the issue.

If all of the above is not the issue, it would have to be the DA converter.
 

amper42

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#19
I have year old Samsung and no complaints that could be traced to the PCM optical output.
I have a Samsung 65" QLED that sounds good with the optical out to Home Theatre speakers EXCEPT when using the HBO Max app. For some reason the optical out on the Samsung doesn't work with the HBO app. If I switch to using the Roku on the same Samsung TV the optical out works great with the HBO app. It's the weirdest thing. :D

My guess is the HBO Max app for Samsung has a bug in the optical output code.
 

Koeitje

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#20
Ok got it.
In a second thought, this sound card is pretty pricy, it costs about 170$ in my country. Isn't that would be an overkill for my specific needs?
Wouldn't a decent budget DAC would do the same work? Let's say something like the FX Audio X6/Modi 3/SMSL Sanskrit?


The sound mode is set to PCM rather than Auto.


Here is a link to this cheap crap converter:
https://a.aliexpress.com/_v3i9KL

The TV isn't sending 5.1 channel because I set it to PCM. And for example when watching Netflix I don't have a 5.1 option but only regular stereo.

Thank you all! Appreciate it.
Looking at the price of that thing, I'm going to say that DAC is probably terrible. I've used the optical out on my LG TV for ages and it sounds perfectly fine. But you should really test it with something else first to make sure where the issue lies.
 
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