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Is It Okay To Connect To A Soundbar With AUX?

There you are, going all hi-tech with your gadgets. You bought a soundbar! However, you’ve found that your equipment restricts you from using an HDMI or digital optical cable. So, you want to know whether it is okay to connect a soundbar with an aux.

You can use AUX, but it’s not the best solution for many soundbars. AUX only supports 2.1 channels of audio, while digital optical supports 5.1 channels, and HDMI can support over 7.1 channels of audio. AUX (analog connection) will never be as good as Digital Optical or HDMI (digital connection).

AUX plug-ins are found on older soundbars, allowing you to connect a device such as your phone directly to it. The other end of the AUX cord should work with most TVs. Let’s go over your questions and several alternatives for connecting your TV to your soundbar.

How to Connect Your TV To a Soundbar With AUX?

Soundbar inputs with AUX cable

In the past, old-school TVs merely served as receivers. Adding speakers usually required additional equipment to divide the signal before it reached the television.

Even though most TVs feature HDMI and Optical connector ports, an aux connection is still the best option for some.

If you want to take the old route without using HDMI or Optical, you should connect the soundbar to your TV or other devices via an auxiliary cable. However, you should know that cables that use an analog connection won’t produce amazing sound quality compared to an HDMI or optical cable.

3.5 mm auxiliary connectors are supported by many of the soundbars on the market today.

Aux ports on soundbars make it easy to connect to other devices. If your TV has an aux port, all you’ll need is an aux cable to connect to it. Follow these simple steps to connect it:

  1. Turn on your television and soundbar. 
  1. Now, plug one end of the aux cable into the AUX-IN port on the bottom of the soundbar.
  1. Connect the other end of the cable to your external device’s AUDIO OUT port.
  1. Then, use the “source” button on the soundbar to select your device as the audio source.
  1. Finally, select AUX mode on the soundbar. Your soundbar will now play the sound from your television.

What’s the Best Way to Connect a TV to a Soundbar?

Interior in modern style

Before attempting to connect your TV with your soundbar, make sure that your TV supports HDMI-ARC, which lets audio transmit on both sides of the connection. ARC is short for “Audio Return Channel,” which enables HDMI to be used as an audio input and output.

If your television features both digital optical audio and HDMI ARC, you must choose between the two options. Several factors to consider include cable length, quality, available connectors, and which cables you already have on hand.

Overall, HDMI ARC is the best option, whether you’re connecting a soundbar to a TV, or even to your PC. AUX cables support up to 2.1 channels, and Digital Optical supports the Dolby Digital audio codec and up to 5.1 channels, but HDMI ARC supports Dolby Atmos/Dolby Digital Plus and up to 7.1 channels. HDMI ARC also has CEC, which enables you to adjust the volume settings through a TV remote.

HDMI is the Best Method to Connect a Soundbar and TV

Because HDMI cords send audio digitally, which means it’ll be unfiltered and raw. Furthermore, HDMI cables can support the majority of high-end soundbars, including those that enable surround sound. 

HDMI ARC also has the unique capability of connecting to multiple audio devices at once.

The TV, for example, has to be connected to a soundbar through an HDMI cable. However, the soundbar might have more HDMI ports available for other devices to use as well.

You can also connect extra devices to your soundbar through your TV itself by plugging the devices into your TV’s HDMI ports, like PS5, for example (our guide).

The main disadvantage of HDMI ARC is that it takes up one of your TV’s HDMI inputs. If your TV only has three HDMI inputs, and the HDMI ARC is taking up one of them, then you’re left with just two HDMI inputs.

Are There Other Types of Connections for Soundbars?

There are various types of connections. Your television and soundbar will help you determine which types you can use. Some choices may work better than others. 

Digital Optical audio connections are the most common. However, there are also Digital Co-Axial (COAX) and AUX/RCA connections.

Digital Optical Connection

Digital Optical Cable on a Desk

This is a physical connection that uses fiber optics to send audio data from a source device to a compatible playback device through a specially designed cable and connector.

This is the highest-quality connection possible (besides HDMI), but you need to make sure that both your soundbar and TV are compatible with it.

This technology sends digitally encoded audio communication between your TV and your Sound Bar via a light beam.

There is no signal loss or interference when using light. Because this digital signal is at a preset volume, you’ll have to use the soundbar volume as the master control.

Check your TV’s user handbook to see whether you need to enable the digital audio feature and deactivate the TV speakers through the TV settings.

Digital Co-Axial (or COAX)

Gold-pated Digital COAX audio cable

If both your TV and soundbar support it, the Digital Co-Axial (or COAX) audio connection is the next best alternative.

Although a digital coaxial connector resembles an RCA connector, it sends digital data rather than analog signals.

Essentially, it is a digitally-encoded audio stream. However, this stream moves through a standard cable. Digital Coaxial connections mainly use RCA-type cable connectors.

This digital coaxial cable differs from conventional RCA in that it can support the digital audio bit stream’s greater frequency bandwidth. You can often find a coaxial output on the rear of your television.

RCA

RCA and Digital Coax cables look very similar to each other, but opperate a bit differently. They actually use the same connector on the ends, but the cables themselves are very different.

RCA cables are typically unshielded and have an impedance of around 50 ohms, while Digital Coaxial cables are always shielded and have an impendacnce of 75 ohms.

RCA and AUX are actually very similar as well! They both can carry 2 channels of audio except RCA cables use 2 connectors and AUX uses a single 3.5mm connector. But in terms of data bandwidth, function, and use cases, they are basically the same.