Connecting up your equipment for best audio


#1

OSMC supports a range of devices: All Raspberry Pis and our own Vero series.

Veros have an HDMI port for video and audio, a CVBS port for composite video and analogue audio (not Vero1) and an S/PDIF port (TOSlink or coaxial).

Raspberry Pi has an HDMI port and a CVBS port . Third-party HATs are available to provide better quality analogue and S/PDIF audio.

Users can also connect USB soundcards to any OSMC supported device. Most high-quality USB soundcards output only analogue stereo.

How you connect up your TV/monitor/projector (‘display’) and your AVR/soundbar/amplifier (‘amplifier’) depends on the capabilities of your equipment. The following recommendations are general. You will have to read the manuals for your display and amplifier carefully to get the best arrangement, especially if you want CEC to work in a particular way.

Acronyms Use your favourite search engine if you don’t understand the following terms
Needed: HDMI, AVR, ARC, CEC, DD, AC-3, DTS, (L)PCM.
May need: S/PDIF, TOSlink, USB, HAT (for Raspberry Pi), CVBS, TRS, TRRS, OMTP, CTIA, DVI, VGA.

1. You have a display with an HDMI input and you have an amplifier with HDMI inputs and outputs.

Connect your OSMC device HDMI output to one amplifier HDMI input and connect the display to one amplifier HDMI output. You will be able to play all audio and video formats that your amplifier supports. If your display accepts more video formats than your amplifier can pass through (eg 4k @ 50/60Hz) you will need an HDMI splitter to enjoy those and at the same time using the full audio capabilities of your amplifier.

Go here and follow the recommendations for audio settings in Kodi for an amplifier using HDMI.

ARC: If you want to play audio from the display through your amplifier (eg when a TV is tuned to a terrestrial station) use the display input that supports ARC. If you don’t have ARC capability on either display or amplifier, you will have to use another display audio output (analogue or S/PDIF) to achieve this. ARC is not used when playing media from your OSMC device through your amplifier.

Some users may wish to connect their OSMC device direct to their display and still use ARC back to their amplifier, for example, if the TV supports HDR while the amplifier does not. ARC does not support HD audio - only the formats supported by S/PDIF. You will have in this case to choose Kodi’s audio settings as if you are using the S/PDIF output. It is also possible your display will not accept DTS and/or DD (AC3). In that case, there is no way to get multi-channel audio to your amplifier through ARC. You must set Kodi’s output channels to 2.0 so that multi-channel audio is mixed down to stereo. If you can’t hear speech from the front-centre channel, that setting is the first one to check.

2. You have an amplifier with no HDMI inputs.

Connect your OSMC device’s HDMI output to your display. You have two basic options for audio as follows.

2.1. Connect your amplifier to your OSMC device

You will not be able to use your amplifier to play audio from the display with this arrangement but may be able to play more digital formats.

2.1.1. If your amplifier has TOSlink (optical) inputs, connect your Vero (1 or 4k) TOSlink output (or RPi HAT TOSlink) to your amplifier. Connect your Vero2 S/PDIF output through a coaxial-TOSlink converter. You will be able to play stereo LPCM and will most likely be able to play DTS and DD 5.1 surround (but not DTS-MA or TrueHD) depending on your amplifier’s capabilities.

2.1.2. If your amplifier has a digital coaxial input, connect your Vero (1 or 4k) TOSlink output through an optical-coaxial converter to your amplifier. Connect your Vero2 S/PDIF output to the amplifier. Connect your RPi HAT digital port to the amplifier, using a converter if necessary. This will perform the same as 2.1.1 above, except some coaxial inputs offer higher bitrates than some TOSlink inputs.

2.1.3. If your amplifier has only analogue inputs, connect your amplifier to your OSMC device’s analogue output. This option is not available for Vero 1.

Note: The CVBS port on Vero 2, 4k and 4k + is the 3.5mm jack nearer the ethernet port. For audio only, you can use a standard TRS plug. When using a TRRS plug on Vero 4k and 4k + it must be wired as ‘OMTP’ ie left-right-video-ground. The CVBS port on Vero 2 and Raspberry Pi is ‘CTIA’ ie left-right-ground-video. See here for a good explanation.

Go here and follow the recommendations for audio settings in Kodi for S/PDIF or analogue amplifier as appropriate.

2.2. Connect your amplifier to your display

With this option, you will be able to play audio from the display (eg terrestrial TV) to your amplifier but you may only be able to send stereo to your amplifier.

2.2.1. If your amplifier has digital inputs and your display has a digital output, connect your display’s digital output to your amplifier, if necessary using a TOSlink-coaxial or coaxial-TOSlink converter. You will be able to play stereo and may be able to play DTS and DD 5.1 surround.

2.2.2. If your display does not have a digital output, connect the display’s analogue audio out or headphone jack to your amplifier. You will only be able to play stereo. You will likely get better quality audio direct from Vero than from your display but will definitely get better quality audio from the display than from Raspberry Pi’s on-board audio jack.

Go here and follow the recommendations for audio settings in Kodi for an amplifier using HDMI.

3. You have an amplifier and your display has no HDMI input

3.1. You can connect your OSMC device (except Vero 1) to your display’s composite video input (if available) using the device’s CVBS port. You cannot then use the HDMI port for audio only. You can only use the analogue or S/PDIF ports as described in 2.1 above.

3.2. You can choose from a variety of HDMI video and audio converters and splitters that suit your display and sound equipment, for example HDMI to DVI/VGA/composite/component with various audio interfaces - TOSlink, digital coaxial or analogue.

4. You have no amplifier

Connect your OSMC device to your display by HDMI or using one of the methods in 3. above.

Go here and follow the recommendations for audio settings in Kodi for an amplifier using HDMI or amplifier using analogue for HDMI and CVBS connections respectively.


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