The Google Home Max has taken off as a smart home device, and people have been loving that it's a step up from many other smart home devices. Since it's both a top-notch speaker and includes an aux output, you may be wondering if you can use your Google Home Max as a soundbar.
To use your Google Home Max as a soundbar:
By properly hooking up your Google Home Max, you'll be able to amp up your TV and your other home entertainment components' sound with the Home Max's great quality speaker. No longer does your Google Home Max need to function solely as a smart home device — it is now a multi-purpose audio system. Let's dive into the details of what exactly you need to do to get set up.
Every TV is different, so it's important to figure out which inputs are available to connect to your Google Home Max. Some TVs come with an aux (analog) input, and some only come with an optical (digital) input.
Since the Google Home Max only has an aux input available, you'll need to make sure to buy the right cord for the connection you're making between the two components.
If you're making an aux to aux connection (analog only) from your Google Home Max to your TV, it's easy. You'll simply need a standard 3.5 mm male to male aux audio cable. You may already have one lying around somewhere in your house, but you can also find them very cheap, like this AmazonBasics 3.5 mm Male to Male Stereo Audio Aux Cable (on Amazon).
If you're making an optical to aux connection (digital to analog), you'll need a few extra components. Your TV may have digital sound, but your Google Home Max has analog sound. Therefore, to use your Google Home Max as a soundbar/speaker for your TV and other home entertainment components, you'll need to convert your TV's digital sound to analog sound.
For an optical to aux connection, you'll need to purchase a digital to analog converter like the Techole Digital to Analog Audio Converter (also on Amazon) if you don't already have one. You'll also need to have both an optical-to-optical cable and a standard 3.5 mm male-to-male aux cable.
For an analog connection, you'll simply want to connect each male end of the 3.5 mm aux cable into your devices. One side goes in the Google Home Max. The other side goes into your TV. It doesn't get much simpler than this.
For an optical to aux connection, you'll plug the optical cord into the digital side of the digital to analog converter and also into your TV. Then, one side of the aux cable will plug into the aux side of the converter, and the other end will go into your Google Home Max's aux input. Simple!
And a quick note on placement: If at all possible, you'll want the speaker to be centered below your Television after connected. This is going to be the best way to get the most out of your Google Home Max's 2 channels of sound.
Now, instead of using your TV's internal audio speakers, you'll want to change the sound output to utilize an external device, your Google Home Max. This is typically found in your TV's Setting Menu, under Sound or Audio. It will show that your current audio speaker is your TV's internal speaker, so you'll want to change it to an external speaker via the output you are using.
This can be a little complicated at first, since your Television may have a different settings menu than others. Once you find the audio section, though, there will be an option called "speakers," "audio output," or maybe even "sound output." It's hard to say for certain, but look for a setting that looks like a variation on this theme.
Once you find the right setting, it won't say "Google Home Max," so this is one other detail you need to get right: be sure to set the speaker output to whichever connection port you're using. If it's the 3.5mm jack, look for "aux out" as the speaker or output option, and if you've gone with the optical method look for "optical" or "S/PDIF" out.
When using your Google Home Max as a soundbar, it's important to make sure that your TV is the main connection point for all of your entertainment components. This way, whether you're playing Xbox or using your Chromecast, you'll be able to use your Google Home Max as your audio speaker and enjoy its powerful audio quality at all times.
This is because all of the audio going to the Google Home Max is coming from that connection you made to the TV. So if a device isn't routed directly to the TV, the sound has no way to get to the speaker. This most likely means that you'll be using HDMI to connect all of your equipment to the back of the Television.
In the case that you don't have enough ports, you might consider purchasing an HDMI switcher to swap between devices, or a low-cost receiver that can handle all the inputs and then output sound to the Google Home Max. If you're considering this, be sure to check out our thorough article on using receivers with soundbars.
Your Google Home Max can be both a great smart home device and a high-quality speaker for all of your home entertainment needs. While it's still a new concept to use this device in place of a soundbar, Google may make updates to it in the future to make it function even better as a soundbar as time goes on.
This simple connection is an easy upgrade to your home entertainment sound. If you already have a Google Home Max, it's a resourceful way to improve your home entertainment setup. Hopefully, this article has answered all of your questions, and you can now enjoy your Google Home Max as your soundbar.
And if you're all-in on smart-home technology, using your Google Home Max (or your Mini as we explained) as your soundbar has the added benefit of making a core component of your system do double duty: your soundbar can be your smart-home hub too. And be sure and check out our article on the best smart-home tech for your home theater too!