Q: I have a 65-inch TV and a ZVOX soundbar with the AccuVoice feature, which is fantastic for making TV dialogue easier to understand. I recently purchased Emotiva T-Zero speakers and an Onkyo TX-8220 stereo receiver to power them.
I know you are not supposed to use the speakers and the soundbar at the same time, but I would like to have the ability to switch back and forth. I imagine that for most daily TV viewing, the soundbar would remain the best choice. But for movies or music TV programs like "The Voice," I'd like to switch to the Emotiva/Onkyo sound system for its amazing reproduction of music.
My problem is that the TV has only one audio output, which is an optical digital output that is already connected to the soundbar. Is there any way to connect the television to both the soundbar and my sound system?
A: Both products have their strong points, and I understand why you want to have the use of both of them with your television. Fortunately, this is easily accomplished.
You can buy an optical splitter that will take your single digital audio output from the television and create two or more outputs. The $18.99 Portta Toslink 1x3 is the top-rated splitter on Amazon. It creates three signals from the single TV output. You can connect one to the digital input on your audio receiver, one to the soundbar and have a spare in case you ever add wireless headphones or another accessory.
Your cable or satellite company probably has music channels in addition to television programming. With the TV connected to your sound system, you can enjoy these, as well as any other music you play through your speakers.
Since they were introduced in 2004, ZVOX AccuVoice soundbars have been one of my favorites. They can be wall-mounted or placed on a stand, and the finely finished aluminum cabinets feature built-in subwoofers and high-quality drivers for outstanding full-range sound. They bring television shows, music and movies to life, and the AccuVoice feature solves the persistent problem of muffled on-screen dialogue.
ZVOX recently has made some changes to its bestselling SB380 soundbar. The AccuVoice feature now has six levels of adjustment that enable users to fine-tune the device to their hearing needs. There is also an "Alexa Ready" setting. Connect an Amazon Echo Dot to the miniplug input, and your soundbar becomes a wonderful-sounding Amazon Alexa speaker. If you are watching TV, when you say the wake word "Alexa," the TV volume is reduced. Everything is processed through AccuVoice, making this not only one of the best-sounding, but one of the easiest-to-understand Alexa speakers.
Even without the new enhancements, the SB380 was worth its $299 price tag. With the improvements, the value equation goes up even more, and until March 3 you can use the coupon code SAVE120 at zvox.com to get a $120 discount, bringing the price down to $179.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.