Soundbars are becoming increasingly popular due to their slim and lightweight nature. Not to mention, they also provide great sound for being so small and compact. However, anyone who is new to this soundbar scene will have many questions, given this is not your typical speaker.
From how you choose one to how you may operate it, queries and confusions are of many types. But the one we will be answering today is how to connect soundbar to receiver.
This is for users who already have a soundbar or users who have already picked a model and are looking into setting things up. But, as with all new devices, there are various things you need to look into and keep in mind, all of which will be discussed below.
Now, before you go into knowing all the details of how you can connect, what you really need to know is, do you need to?
You see, not everyone requires a separate receiver, and some people simply jump on the bandwagon without understanding the full mechanism, which can in turn give you worse sound quality as a result. Let us break it down, shall we?
There are two kinds of soundbars. You have the active soundbar and the passive soundbar.
Active soundbars are basically an all-in-one unit that comes with everything you need, including a receiver. It has its processor, amplifiers, connection ports, everything together in its box. Some active soundbars also include rear speakers and they are overall easy to set up.
But, because they come with everything needed, including the audio-video receiver, it technically does not need another one. You can still connect it to a receiver if that is what you prefer, but it is not the best practice according to experts.
The thing is, active soundbars have amplifiers built-in, as do receivers. And when you connect the two, signals from these two interfere and can ruin the good quality sound you already have. This is why it is recommended that you don’t connect your soundbar to a receiver if you have an active soundbar.
Passive soundbars on the other hand do not have an amplifier built-in, and they have to be connected to a receiver if they were to work properly. If you have made up your mind about using a receiver, then you need passive soundbars.
These soundbars have multiple speakers in their unit providing you with multiple channels. You will also find all the connection ports at the rear end, which are meant to connect the soundbar to a receiver, making the process simpler.
Now we have established the base that you have to have a receiver connected to a passive soundbar, while you don’t really need one with an active soundbar.
But some people might still want to connect their active soundbars to receivers, nonetheless. This is why, you will find below detailed instructions on how you can connect these soundbars to receivers, regardless of their type.
First, let us talk a little about why you might still want to do this, given you have an amplifier inside the soundbar. Reasons include:
Since a receiver has so many settings of its own, some users might want to make use of it too. This way you get to have the receiver’s features (which the soundbar does not possess) as well.
By connecting your active soundbar to a receiver, you can turn it into a center channel speaker. This will allow you to use the other speakers for other channels and is one of the more common reasons why people do it
a. If your receiver comes with a digital optical out port, you can use this method.
b. Start off by powering off the receiver so that you do not get a short-circuit.
c. Take your optical cable, and connect one end to the receiver out port, and the other to the soundbar optical in port. Digital encoding standards for both of these devices have to match to prevent sound issues.
d. Now you can connect the receiver to your TV. Then turn the power button on.
e. Finally, you need to adjust your settings for the receiver and the TV, and press PLAY.
a. This is the way to go if your receiver does not come with a digital optical out port. You must start by confirming that the devices you aim to connect all support the Audio Return Channel, in order to move forth with this method. You must also turn off all the devices for maximum safety.
b. Start by connecting the HDMI cable to the soundbar and the receiver, and then from the receiver to the TV.
c. Turn on all the devices
d. Adjust settings on the receiver so that it accepts the HDMI control. You will find this in the setup. Do the same for your TV.
e. Finish off by enabling the audio to be output to the receiver for your TV.
To connect a passive soundbar to a receiver follow the following steps.
a. Turn off all the devices for maximum safety.
b. If your soundbar is a single channel soundbar, then connect the speaker wire to the soundbar and the center channel on the receiver. And if it is a multi-channel soundbar, you will need multiple cables instead of one. For example, if it is a three-channel soundbar, use three cables to connect each of the soundbar’s channels to the receiver.
c. After you have successfully connected the devices, you can turn the devices on and proceed to play whatever you like.
So, bottom line is that not everyone needs to connect their soundbars to receivers, and even if you want to, there is some basic information you need to know before you do so.
Our article here covers all these points in detail, so we urge that you go through them before trying to connect your soundbar.
About Dror Wettenstein
Dror Wettenstein is a software engineer and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the industry. He is the founder of TechTreeRepeat, a company that enables technical writers to publish their work faster and share it with readers across the globe. Dror has a master’s degree in computer science from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Irvine.
When he’s not working on software projects, Dror enjoys writing articles and essays on various topics. He also likes playing guitar and spending time with his wife and two young children.