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How to utilize multi-zone receivers to create both a 7.2 TV and a 2.1 PC zone.

Tags:
  • TV
  • Home Theatre
  • PC gaming
  • Monitors
Last response: in Home Theatre
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February 18, 2014 7:29:00 PM

This thread involves multiple topics but I will try to explain it as simply as possible.

I am building a new PC that will use 3(+1 Accessory) Monitors with NVidia 2D Surround. I would like to add the PC (just the computer audio and its accessory (+1) monitor) to my Home Theater setup. My original plan was to create a 7.2 (or 7.1, undecided) surround setup (Front L/R, Center, Surround L/R, Surround Back L/R, and 1 or 2 subwoofers) and use all 7.2 channels when using my TV, but just 2.1 channels (Surround Back L, Surround Back R, 1 Subwoofer) when gaming on my PC which will be located at the back of the home theater room (where you would expect to find the Surround Back L/R speakers).

In doing so I would like to achieve the following using multi-zone technology:
1. Be able to use my AV Receiver (input from Xbox or other standard 5.1/7.1 audio channel device) with my TV and corresponding speakers in 7.2 (or 7.1) surround mode.
2. When not using TV: Be able to use my AV Receiver with my PC and Accessory Monitor and the rear surround speakers + subwoofer from the 7.2 setup (would create a 2.1 setup for PC gaming)

First of all, is this possible? If so, I was browsing through some of Yamaha's receivers and wondered if this one (click me) would be able to do the job. I don't have a particular budget but at the same time am not looking to spend thousands.

If I confused anyone here is a diagram of my idea. I basically just want to use 2 of the AVR speakers (+ subwoofer if possible) when PC gaming.



Thank you so much.

Also, is there any particular reason why my previous posts (on different topics) haven't gotten any replies after a while? I don't think I am being rude or naive, but if I am please tell me so I can fix it! :) 

EDIT: Would it be wise to try to hook up the PC to the AVR via Optical SPDIF? This is my motherboard if it is needed.

More about : utilize multi zone receivers create zone

a b x TV
a c 111 C Monitor
February 19, 2014 7:57:02 AM

is there a reason why your posts werent answered?
hard to say without you actually linking said posts however it might just be that they either got missed (this forum does get alot of traffic) or that perhaps someone didnt have an answer (sometimes when questions are too specific this can be an issue)

as for what you would like to do here....

from what i can see it looks like you want to use the rear speakers (from the tv surround) as front speakers (for the computer).

this is not how multizone works. typically how this works is to allow you a 5.1 system in one room and a 2.0 system in another room.

this would mean a full 5.1 system hooked up for the tv and two extra speakers hooked up for the zone b (for the pc)

there may be a way around this though. it might be possible to hook your surround left and surround right speakers up to both the SL and SR connections on your receiver and to also have them wired up to the zone B left and right connections as well. this way when you push zone b it outputs to the speakers but it also outputs to them when on zone a. however if you go this route i would be very sure to only have one input device (either the pc or the tv sources) on at one time.

i would run all of your tv area sources (dvd, consoles, etc) to your receiver via hdmi if possible and then have the hdmi from the receiver go to your tv. i would connect up your pc via optical or coax. in your case you do not want to run your monitor through the receiver.. it would be best to run the tv through the receiver.

ive never heard of a receiver with a zone B subwoofer pre-amp output. you would be limited to 2.0 only likely unless you do something along the lines of what i will list at the end of this rant..

now... to throw another option into the mix as well as a possible issue with it and why i didnt suggest it. its possible to either manually (or with a switch) move the rear speaker wires to the front speaker locations and move the fronts to the rear ports, etcetera. with a second center its even possible to get 5.1. HOWEVER... there is a major problem with that and it would be mcacc and speaker delay. if your receiver has multiple mcacc options you may be able to select one in settings before using a particular source and setup however realize its going to be a complete pain and it will get old very quickly and is generally not going to be worth the time. also you would need to make sure you have everything plugged in (or the switches set) correctly or your sound will be reversed. i'm just saying that technically something like this is possible but that i dont advise it.

what would however work would be to either have two extra speakers connected to zone b (for pc use only). having the rear speakers connected to the zone b and also the zone a surround locations may also work. neither will give you a subwoofer at least not in the traditional manner so that might be a point you need to concede on.

you may want to read this
http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/309294-connecting...

with many decent subwoofers they have not just a line in (rca type connection) cable but also speaker wire connections. you may be able to split the cables and have one set going to the speakers and one set going to a second subwoofer (for ease of setup i'd probably just use this one soley for pc use) and then adjust the knobs on the subwoofer to only fire on signals below a certain range. some cheaper subwoofers might not have this option but most quality ones will. this would get you 5.1 with tv and 2.1 with pc.

or at least i'm fairly sure of it.
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February 19, 2014 10:12:50 AM

ssddx said:
is there a reason why your posts werent answered?
hard to say without you actually linking said posts however it might just be that they either got missed (this forum does get alot of traffic) or that perhaps someone didnt have an answer (sometimes when questions are too specific this can be an issue)

as for what you would like to do here....

from what i can see it looks like you want to use the rear speakers (from the tv surround) as front speakers (for the computer).

this is not how multizone works. typically how this works is to allow you a 5.1 system in one room and a 2.0 system in another room.

this would mean a full 5.1 system hooked up for the tv and two extra speakers hooked up for the zone b (for the pc)

there may be a way around this though. it might be possible to hook your surround left and surround right speakers up to both the SL and SR connections on your receiver and to also have them wired up to the zone B left and right connections as well. this way when you push zone b it outputs to the speakers but it also outputs to them when on zone a. however if you go this route i would be very sure to only have one input device (either the pc or the tv sources) on at one time.

i would run all of your tv area sources (dvd, consoles, etc) to your receiver via hdmi if possible and then have the hdmi from the receiver go to your tv. i would connect up your pc via optical or coax. in your case you do not want to run your monitor through the receiver.. it would be best to run the tv through the receiver.

ive never heard of a receiver with a zone B subwoofer pre-amp output. you would be limited to 2.0 only likely unless you do something along the lines of what i will list at the end of this rant..

now... to throw another option into the mix as well as a possible issue with it and why i didnt suggest it. its possible to either manually (or with a switch) move the rear speaker wires to the front speaker locations and move the fronts to the rear ports, etcetera. with a second center its even possible to get 5.1. HOWEVER... there is a major problem with that and it would be mcacc and speaker delay. if your receiver has multiple mcacc options you may be able to select one in settings before using a particular source and setup however realize its going to be a complete pain and it will get old very quickly and is generally not going to be worth the time. also you would need to make sure you have everything plugged in (or the switches set) correctly or your sound will be reversed. i'm just saying that technically something like this is possible but that i dont advise it.

what would however work would be to either have two extra speakers connected to zone b (for pc use only). having the rear speakers connected to the zone b and also the zone a surround locations may also work. neither will give you a subwoofer at least not in the traditional manner so that might be a point you need to concede on.

you may want to read this
http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/309294-connecting...

with many decent subwoofers they have not just a line in (rca type connection) cable but also speaker wire connections. you may be able to split the cables and have one set going to the speakers and one set going to a second subwoofer (for ease of setup i'd probably just use this one soley for pc use) and then adjust the knobs on the subwoofer to only fire on signals below a certain range. some cheaper subwoofers might not have this option but most quality ones will. this would get you 5.1 with tv and 2.1 with pc.

or at least i'm fairly sure of it.


Alright so what you said makes sense, now before I try anything let me pose another question...

Would I be able to use this setup (the one in the diagrams) using A/B Speaker switching rather than Multi-Zone? That way I would hook the 5.1 up to A, and the 2.1 Up to B. In this way I could use both A and B (all 7.2 channels) at the same time with the TV, and just speaker set B (just the 2.1 channels) with the PC. Would that work? I have an older non-av receiver that has A/B Switching, and you can use both of them at the same time easily so if I could as well, shouldn't that do the job? If so, can I connect subwoofers to the Speaker-Switching? Any receiver recommended in particular? Thanks a ton, very appreciated! If needed I can find a link to the receiver I have to show how I could use it, or make another diagram if wanted! :) 
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Best solution

a b x TV
a c 111 C Monitor
February 19, 2014 10:39:29 AM

everything i said about A/B speakers is basically zone1/zone2. sp->a is normally zone1 while sp->b is normally zone2.

many receivers may allow the use of both z1/z2 (or spA/spB same thing really though..) however in many cases it is with different sources. for example your 5.1 can be playing a movie from hdmi 1 while your 2.0 can be playing music in another room from your ipod. i'm not sure but some receivers may make use of the spB/z2 for the surround speakers for a 7.1 system but that would then eliminate the option to use zone 2 or so i believe.

older receivers dont have hdmi so it could essentially mean quite a bit of complications during setup. some may not even have coax or spdif which would be a huge problem. honestly if its before thdmi i'd probably replace your existing receiver. your choice though.

as far as getting what you have in the pictures to work i only really see two options...

#1
hooking up a 5.1 to zone 1/sp->a
hooking up a 2.0 to zone2/sp->b (if using speaker wire inputs you might be able to hook a seperate sub up here too)
(thats 7 speakers total and 1 sub [maybe two])
since they are seperate systems there wouldnt be any issues and swapping between sound systems z1/sp->a or z2/sp->b would be really easy.
the downside however is that you would be buying extra equipment which doesnt get used at all times. essentially a seperate 5.1 and 2.1 system.

#2
hooking up a 5.1 to zone1/sp->a
hooking up the rear left/right also to the zone2/sp->b (front left/right) outputs. also possibly hooking up a sub via the speaker wire inputs from these same sp->b connections.
(thats 5 speakers 1 subwoofer [maybe two])
since they are the same system and one set of speakers is hooked up to two different outputs i would be careful that you only have one set of sources on at any one time (and make sure that you only run either sp->a OR sp->b sets one at a time). the subwoofer
one issue with including a subwoofer however is that when swapped back to rears the subwoofer will not fire. if you have a receiver which supports two subwoofers you can likely connect it using an rca cable as well to the second subwoofer output but as i said before if doing this you would really want to be careful to only have either sp->a (z1) or sp->b (z2) active and not both at the same time or there will be complications.
if you are paranoid you can always put a physical switch in the line or pull cables but thats a pain.

as far as a diagram of your receiver... that isnt necessary unless it has spdif optical or coax (it would need multiples of these inputs) at minimum. hdmi would be preferrable. if not i would suggest an upgrade. of course if you absolutely must use your existing equipment you can provide a photo of the rear panel (something 1920x1080 or larger that is clear enough to read the text on) as well as linking the manual.

as for suggested receivers....

i'm quite partial to my pioneer elite. it wasnt cheap but had tons of options for the time (pioneer vsx-30 which is now obsolete). other good brands are denon and yamaha. some onkyo products arent bad either but are generally more budget oriented. receivers with the audessy sound correction are touted to be more up to date and better than the competition (such as pioneers mcacc or yamahas ypao) though honestly ive found mcacc perfectly fine for my own needs.

as for what you would need... well that depends on how you want to hook things up. i would say either a 5.1 or 5.2 zone1 with a 2.0 zone 2. the wattage per channel (at the correct ohm rate) depends on the speakers you use which i dont think you listed the specs of.

---------------------

i just wanted to make it blatantly clear that what you are attempting to do is really not what the receiver z1/z2 is designed to do and the possible limitations of both options #1 and #2. please give your thoughts on both options.

(on a side note: my system setup is so much less complicated than yours haha... i just use a single tv for everything (link in signature if you care))
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February 19, 2014 11:14:45 AM

Thank you for your input, again very appreciated.
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