Totally off-the-wall question for audiophiles

TV is connected to external sound-bar via optical. I have a stand-alone subwoofer with line-level (RCA) inputs. I’d like to split off the audio to feed both, but none of the devices I am finding specifically state they support both simultaneously, it appears they can select between optical pass-thru or “convert” to analog line signals only. I’ve looked, on and off, for a couple of years.

Volume control is not an issue. I never adjust volume. I’d just like to utilize this subwoofer to fill out the bass a little.

Anyone have a suggestion?


The obvious route is a receiver but there are simpler options.

This? Intercept the hdmi before the tv, then pass audio out and hdmi to the tv?

HDMI Audio Extractor Converter, 4K@60Hz HDMI to Toslink SPDIF + RCA(L/R) Stereo Analog Out, Audio EDID Management, HDR10, HDCP 2.2, 18Gbps Bandwidth, AV Access HDMI 2.0 Audio Splitter

Or this? Split the optical and then use some other optical to analog converter:

ZEXMTE 【Upgraded】 Optical Fiber Splitter 1 in 2 Out Optical Audio Splitter, Fiber Optical Splitter with 24K Gold Plated Connectors for CD Player, DVD Player, Receiver-Black

Converters come in all sizes, here’s a usb powered cable style:

192KHz Digital to Analog Audio Converter Cable, Tackston 10Ft Digital Optical to RCA L/R & 3.5mm AUX Converter Cord for HDTV PS4 Blue Ray Player to Home Stereo System and Headphones

This is all theoretical, I’ve never used any of these solutions. Also amazon is convenient but probably not the best deal on price. These solutions are like 35-45$ but if you look for similar on aliexpress etc you might get a better deal.


Actually scratch that first one, looks like it’s one or the other (in the q&a). But the splitter thing ought to work, I think.


I wish I could help, but I can only share in my frustrations with understanding audio equipment.

This is a question I wish I had the technical knowledge to answer for sure. I am getting a consultant to come in to evaluate our church’s sound system which is slowly degrading, does not have proper microphones, and the musicians and speakers do not know how to effectively use them. We also need a new presider’s wireless headset and a wireless handheld. Plus we need to have better control for the audio feed to the stream.

I would like to make an intelligent decision, but wading through the technical questions like this with different avenues of analog and digital is a bit confusing. Good luck with this. It sounds like something I’d want to figure out, trying to get some type of resource to play well with the base install.

When my previous church had to switch quickly to streamed services, the biggest challenge I had was to get the audio feed to the streaming computer. I had all the connectors, wires, and rca/usb converter box, but I didn’t know where to plug it into the mixer!

I just found out that there is such thing as (ironically) a digital snake. Our mixer and amp are way down in the sanctuary and our live-stream is up in the choir loft. Getting a feed from the mixer that can be tweaked for the live stream for levels is something we need since the house sound mix doesn’t work as well with the live stream mix. I know that Catholic churches are way behind when it comes to AV robustnesses. We are a slow to change institution.


I’m surprised that church audio retrofits aren’t almost all wireless these days… the architecture of churches seems especially tricky to wire up. Interesting.


Thx. I’ve been down the receiver (amp) and full surround path twice before. I left all that carp with my ex in the divorce, hence the sound bar - which I am very happy with.

Intercepting HDMI is out, I use all the inputs on the TV.

The optical splitter is close and I’ve looked at them, I just wish there was one that had optical pass-thru and line/RCA out. Using a conversion after a splitter would work fine but it’s frustrating not finding one gadget that can do both.

The subwoofer I left with the ex takes digital, but it’s coax, not optical, so that wouldn’t help anyway.


Thx. I can understand the frustration. The difference here is I know exactly what I want and can’t find it! lol…


I went with the optical splitter you suggested, but this converter:

Free returns on both. I’ll report back.

FWIW, this is the subwoofer I have. Nothing special, but more than enough for my needs, 65" UHD TV is only 10’ away. The one I left behind is 625W, and shakes the walls of the huge room the system I put together lives in. The soundbar I have is just fine, but it only goes down to 45Hz, and I listen at relatively low volume so even with bass boosted as much as it’s capable of, it is just a tad thin at the low end. The sub below was rated one of the best value you can get at the time I bought it. Very cheap but out-performed some costing 100x as much!

I have the sub because when I bought this place, I put together a very basic audio system with a digital amp that supports bluetooth, very nice Polk speakers, and the sub for the low end. I used it perhaps a handful of times. I’m going to give it to my daughter (minus the sub) for her bedroom at “the old house”…


I expect it will be difficult. I am not an audiophile, but I have lots of weird stuff connected in weird ways with adapters and converters. They are all likely to introduce some latency, and having the subwoofer 1/4 second out of sync with the rest of the audio, which is now another 1/4 second out of sync with the video, may drive you up the wall.


I’m used to dealing with that. The timing issue crops up between the source and audio out, and the TV can adjust for it. Same setting works perfectly across all inputs (Fire TV Cube, Blue-ray, and a game console…)

YouTube has some good videos to help sync audio with external devices, I have one saved locally that I just throw up onto the TV when necessary.


Not that it helps you out in this specific scenario, but I recently bought a sound bar that has an external subwoofer from a guy on craigslist for 45$. It’s perfect for what I needed.

Maybe something to consider if the splitter thing adds mismatched latency to your scenario.


I bought a similar setup for the last girl I dated, but her living room was significantly more “open” than mine.

In reality, I could always go get all the surround setup I had at my ex’s - she doesn’t use it. It’s probably about $3k worth of stuff at current prices. When we split and I moved here, however, I simplified everything in my life as much as possible. If $20 of gadgets from AMZ lets me use the cheap subwoofer I already have, I’ll be happy. I might even use the RCA/Line analog to feed the cheap digital amp that is unused to drive the nice Polk speakers to “fill out” the sound a bit more.

It’s like I mentioned in another thread about “solving the problem” with the GF - I just like to have little projects to occupy my mind. Many sit stagnant for months or even years.


There are still issues with wireless. Mostly RF interference(though it’s rare enough to not matter too much plus lots of flexibility in quality wireless lav tech.). And digital either works or doesn’t. Wired avoids all of that though the wiring itself is as you said, tricky. Digital snakes are great though. One cat cable instead of a thick multi-channel snake. They just cost for the converters at the ends. Like fiber optic runs. The fiber is actually really cheap. It’s the media converters at the ends that cost.
We use cat cable to run video monitors and projectors. We were running a separate mixing system for the worship team off one of the outs but our board has enough outs that it was really an expensive overkill we’ve since sold off. They just have to be happy with my power of the mute button. :innocent:


It’s starting to be quite a daisy chain but:

HDMI Switch 4K@60Hz, NerdEthos 4 Port HDMI 2.0 Switcher Selector 4 in 1 Out HDMI Switch with IR Remote Control, Supports 4K HDR10 HDCP 2.2 3D Dolby DST, for PS4 Xbox Fire Stick PC and More

You could distill it all down to one hdmi into the tv with a gizmo like this.


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