I have a new LG TV that only has toslink audio output. I got one of those toslink to rca adapters so I can connect my 2.1 speaker system that is normally used for a computer. It works okay except for I have to turn the volume up very far to get usable sound from the speakers. This causes the speakers to distort when an action scene comes on or something that has a higher volume than just two people talking.
My speakers don’t do this if I have my computer or an mp3 player connected. In fact they are pretty loud and I can’t even turn them up loud enough to get distortion without having my neighbors pounding on my door to turn it down.
Could there be something wrong with my converter? It seems like it doesn’t put out a strong enough signal for my speakers to use.
It is likely to be what Joey P says - but to be more complete:
You need to ensure that all the stages of the chain are running at sensible levels. This is what is known as gain staging. If the TV volume control is a long way down, and you try to compensate by turning the speaker volume up, you will run into trouble. In this case, since you have a digital link coming from the speakers, if the TV is turned down the digital audio will only be using a small part of the possible resolution the digital representation has. Amplify that and it will sound bad. In general you want to have the TV volume turned quite a way up, and use the speaker controls to do any actual control of sound levels.
Which is great, until he pulls the cord out to put the speakers back on his TV and goes deaf because the TV is on 11.
But still, I understand what you’re saying, give the speakers all the volume and let them decide what they need and throw away the rest.
There’s also the possibility that something just isn’t connected correctly or a setting on the TV isn’t set properly. If there’s more than one Optical out or it needs to be configured so that Optical Out is turned on, that needs to be looked at as well (probably not likely with a optical connection giving some/little sound, but still).
First thing to check is to set that all the volumes are turned up.
Yeah, it isn’t always well thought out on the part of the TV manufacturers. The problem seems to be that every manufacturer thinks that their device has to be able to control everything. TVs seem to especially be prone to this. It is reasonable for many people - that the TV be the centre of the world. But it sometimes means that the TV isn’t really well sorted to live in a hybrid situation.
There is of course some hope that the TV can be made to behave - such as setting the optical out to not be controlled by the TV’s volume control. So rattling about in the manual is needed.
Thanks for you suggestions, here are the answers to your questions.
When the TV is in optical output mode (there is just 1 optical output), there is no control of the tv volume. I guess it is assumed that whatever is connected controls its own volume as the tv is just providing a line level output. The tv does have an optical output mode that is intended to control the volume of the connected device if it is “Simplink” compatible, but I am not using that of course. I am just using the straight optical output mode. In this mode none of the dynamic “smart sound” features the tv has are active and when I try to adjust the volume there is no change in the volume level and an icon that indicates “feature unavailable” pops up on the screen.
Yes my speakers have a volume control, I couldn’t turn them up without one. With the output of the converter I am having to turn the speaker volume up I am assuming to the max that is causing the distortion. There is no indication of what level the speaker volume is at because there is just an up and down button and no LEDs or anything to show where it is set.
A few other things.
1)With all this moving around, make sure all your connections are secure, especially the ones for the speakers.
2)Do you have anything else in your house with an RCA input or a optical output (like, say, a DVD player) that you could hook up just to check this out.
If you could connect the optical output of a DVD player to this and everything worked fine, then the issue would be isolated to the TV. If it didn’t work, it’s anything but the TV or the speakers (you said the work with your computer). What does that leave us with, optical cable and converter and any other cables that get left behind when you move back to the computer?
A 2.1 system designed for a PC isn’t ever going to reproduce high volume sounds from an action movie in HD with fidelity. It’s not intended to. If you can’t afford a proper stereo setup right now, then consider a sound bar or just use the TV’s built-in speakers. You’re trying to put a square peg into a round hole; that, and not the cabling, is your problem.