• Hello and Welcome to HiFiVision.com - an online community for the home entertainment and tech enthusiasts!

    If you would like to ask a question, participate in a discussion and view attachments please Register yourself.

USB Audio Support for Bravia

AV Cables

sandeepsasi

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
47
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
Hi everyone,

We have a Sony Bravia 55X9000F at home. We don't have an AVR/HT and use built-in TV speakers to watch content from the set-top box. While watching content from Netflix or Prime Video, for better sound, we connect the stereo to the TV via the headphone o/p, the only analog audio output available for this model. And to listen to music, we use Allo Katana player. Recently, while streaming music from YouTube on Katana, we could notice substantial improvement in sound quality, compared to the same music played from TV, on the stereo, via the headphone output. This has led us to look for better quality audio while playing content from YouTube, Netflix or Prime.

The Sony website clearly says that there are 3 options available to connect the TV to external speakers:
1. HDMI/ARC - This will require an AVR or any component w/ HDMI/ARC interface. We are not considering the former option as our audio chain is stereo, and we will not even add a sub in the near future as our large tower speakers handle the bottom end very well. Cheap latter options like HDMI-2-RCA bridges may not be an upgrade over the TV's on board DAC
2. TOSLINK - This will require a DAC w/ optical input
3. Analog audio o/p via HP jack - This is where we are and what we would like to upgrade

After browsing this forum and others, we have concluded that the most popular option is 2, if the audio chain is stereo. This will require a digital transport w/ an external or integrated DAC. We were looking for something simpler, but with good audio quality. So, we thought of considering a 4th option - A USB DAC, like AudioQuest DragonFly Red - it's compact, USB powered, has 2.1V RMS o/p, good enough for most amps and good audio quality, as far as USB-powered DACs can go. After the DragonFly Cobalt's release, many folks are selling their Red DragonFlys; came across a few good deals recently. This option also lets us use the DAC w/ our phones, on the go, occasionally. While browsing about this topic, we also realized that very few have tried this option. We know that the underlying Linux kernel is not limited, but it is the higher Android system that we are worried about.

We would like to know whether any FMs have tried this option and your advice, in general, about this idea. Thanks in advance for you help and advice!

With regards,
Sandeep Sasi
 
SPONSORED ADS

SPONSORED ADS

MaSh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2012
Messages
2,898
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
Hey Hi,

If your Sony model has continued on with its tradition then there should be a pair of RCA which can be set as Input or Output. When set to Output you can set them as Fixed (Line Out to be fed to an Integrated/Preamp) or Variable (to a power amp). When set as Variable, TV volume works, Fixed tv volume is fixed.

Connect this to your amplifier which is driving your speakers. I have used this very method to connect my father in laws Sony TV to Panasonic 2.1 speaker unit. Sound Output set to External Audio System and Volume to Variable. Built-in speakers get disabled by this setting.

MaSh
 

sandeepsasi

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
47
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
Hey Hi,

If your Sony model has continued on with its tradition then there should be a pair of RCA which can be set as Input or Output. When set to Output you can set them as Fixed (Line Out to be fed to an Integrated/Preamp) or Variable (to a power amp). When set as Variable, TV volume works, Fixed tv volume is fixed.

Connect this to your amplifier which is driving your speakers. I have used this very method to connect my father in laws Sony TV to Panasonic 2.1 speaker unit. Sound Output set to External Audio System and Volume to Variable. Built-in speakers get disabled by this setting.

MaSh
Hi MaSh,

This model does not have analog RCA output. I have seen fixed/variable line level setting for the headphone output though. Even if it did have RCA output, it would not solve our original problem of better sound quality, as Sony is less likely to use a better DAC implementation for this path, than it's headphone output. Thanks.

With regards,
Sandeep Sasi
 

MaSh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2012
Messages
2,898
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
Hi MaSh,

This model does not have analog RCA output. I have seen fixed/variable line level setting for the headphone output though. Even if it did have RCA output, it would not solve our original problem of better sound quality, as Sony is less likely to use a better DAC implementation for this path, than it's headphone output. Thanks.

With regards,
Sandeep Sasi
On the contrary, the built-in DAC is not bad. There is no comparison with the headphone out. Oh Sony then missed a big + by skimping on the I/O RCA port.

Checking the specs I see
AUDIO/HEADPHONE OUTPUT(S)
1 (Side/Hybrid with Headphone and Subwoofer Out)
Could you check this RCA on the Side?

If not for this, then I guess the next simplest option would be to use the Digital out and feed it to FiiO D03K

MaSh
 

all4music

Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
181
Points
43
Location
bengaluru
This model does not have analog RCA output.
If I'm not wrong your TV would've come bundled with 3.5mm to RCA jacks. At least that is what I have.
In my case, TV is connected to external DAC with Optical cable which in turn is connected to my Pre Amp which has remote. But this arrangement is used for music listening only.
 

sandeepsasi

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
47
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
Hi,

On the contrary, the built-in DAC is not bad. There is no comparison with the headphone out. Oh Sony then missed a big + by skimping on the I/O RCA port.
I agree! The audio output is not bad at all. However, the same YouTube content streamed from Katana sounded way better, hence the quest to upgrade!

Could you check this RCA on the Side?
MaSh
I double checked. Couldn't find an RCA on the side.

If not for this, then I guess the next simplest option would be to use the Digital out and feed it to FiiO D03K
MaSh
Yes, this was the option 2 in the OP, as suggested by Sony. I would like to save this for the last, as I'm a bit skeptical about the audio quality compared to the on board DAC implementation of the TV! We would come across several, good USB powered DACs, so this is my first choice. I was not able to find a good DAC w/ TOSLINK input, in the same price range as USB powered DACs.

IMHO, given the quality of the content streamed from YouTube and the quality of the DAC implementation in a TV, I doubt whether headphone o/p v/s RCA o/p will make a huge difference in sound quality. The rest of the signal path leading to the connectors would be the limiting factor in this case. Moreover, fidelity of audio o/p on a TV, I guess, will be the last priority of Sony's engineers, because their primary objective is good picture quality. According to them, a good AVR/HT would be the way to go if users' expect better fidelity. The kind of use cases we have will by looked upon as last century's problems by them.
 

sandeepsasi

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
47
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
If I'm not wrong your TV would've come bundled with 3.5mm to RCA jacks. At least that is what I have.
In my case, TV is connected to external DAC with Optical cable which in turn is connected to my Pre Amp which has remote. But this arrangement is used for music listening only.
Hi,

I am using a 3.5mm-2-RCA cable to connect to my amplifier. The one I have is better than the stock cable supplied by Sony.

Based on some research online, I concluded that good quality USB DACs powered on USB bus is available at lower prices compared to similar quality DACs having TOSLINK i/p. I don't mind going by the latter option, as in your case. I would like to do that only if there is not way to get a USB DAC to work.

With regards,
Sandeep Sasi
 

bornfi

Active Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
400
Points
43
Location
USA
Have you checked Audioquest Beetle? What you are trying may be possible with jail breaking but haven’t heard yet. Beetle has toslink input.
 

saikatbiswas82

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2012
Messages
1,253
Points
113
Location
Kolkata
For TV audio, optical output to external dac should be second best option (while hdmi arc stays on top) IMHO.

I'm a bit skeptical about TV's internal DAC.

I'm not fully sure whether TV hardware supports asynchronous usb out. However, keeping today's android TVs in mind i think the OS should be capable enough.

The most convenient way could be Apt-X HD/LLC Bluetooth connectivity. It's handy and less complicated.
 

sandeepsasi

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
47
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
Have you checked Audioquest Beetle? What you are trying may be possible with jail breaking but haven’t heard yet. Beetle has toslink input.
Thanks! Will check the Beetle out. A couple of reviews I read have favoured the DragonFly Red over the Beetle, as far as sound quality goes.

Jail breaking is something I would like to avoid. Have read a lot about rooting Android phones and tablets, but have never tried it. I would very much like to start with a 5k secondhand Android device and slowly work my way up, rather than experimenting with a TV.
 
SPONSORED ADS

sandeepsasi

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
47
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
Hi @MaSh, @all4music, @bornfi, @saikatbiswas82 and others,

I have more hope of going by this route. Since I don't have a USB DAC with me, I was not able to directly verify whether USB audio works.

I have frequently used a USB Audio Bridge chip, CP2114, manufactured by Silicon Labs. When connected to a host via USB, this device shows up as a USB Audio Device, just like most USB DACs, except for that this device is not a DAC by itselff. Instead it can send digital audio output via its I2S interface. Additionally, this device also has an I2S input channel, an I2C master and a few GPIOs and is meant to be interfaced with I2S DACs, ADCs or amps in a system. This device is compatible with Windows, Linux and Android phones without the need to install any explicit drivers.

I tried plugging it in one CP2114 board I have to a USB receptacle of Bravia and, voila, the audio from built-in speakers stopped. As soon as I unplugged this device, the audio was back. I tested this on two USB receptacles, multiple times and the behavior was consistent. Unfortunately, rest of the devices in the chain - I2S DAC, amp and speakers, have not been populated on the board I have, so there was no sound.

Apart from this, I also observed that the volume levels were different when I plugged and unplugged this device, similar to what we observe when we plug in headphones. At the same time, there is no change in icon like the case when headphones are plugged in. Also, I was not able to find any TV setting that gives info about the audio device that is selected. As a next step, we can try plugging-in a proper USB DAC.

With regards,
Sandeep Sasi
 
SPONSORED ADS

Top