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Old 05-21-2020, 10:50 PM   #1
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Looking for a better (Passive) soundbar to replace Furrion unit

Hi Everyone,

We have a 2019.5 Flagstaff 25FBLS travel trailer. The sound system system consists of a Furrion IRV 32 system that operates on 12 volts, and a low-end Furrion soundbar that fits snugly in a 32" wide shelf under the TV. The TV is a Furrion FEHS32D9A LED model that operates on 120 volts AC power.

The issue I have is that the soundbar absolutely sucks. I don't think I have ever heard speakers that sound that bad! The 4 speakers produce a flat, tinny sound with no bass or mid-range. I did post a question on the Flagstaff 25FBLS forum for advice, but folks just recommended that I install "any" soundbar that will fit in the 32" provided shelf.

I have not removed this speaker yet but I am sure that it is a PASSIVE soundbar, meaning that it consists of speakers only. It does not contain any of its own amplifiers and does not plug into a 120 volt AC source. Most soundbars that I have looked at (Amazon, Costco, Best Buy, etc.) are ACTIVE soundbars that have to plug into a 120 volt AC source, and most are 35" wide or more.

If I was only interested in having sound when watching the TV, I would opt for an Active soundbar. However, its primary use is for just listening to music. We generally dry-camp so I'm looking for a solution that doesn't require AV voltage. (I do plan to install an inverter in the future so that I can watch the TV or a movies in the evenings, and I will install a 120 volt TV in the bedroom as well.)

According to the manual, the IRV32 system has speaker wires for Left, Right, and a sub-woofer, and I'm sure that's what I'll find when I pull out the soundbar.

Does anyone know of a passive soundbar and a passive sub-woofer that I could use? The soundbar would have to be 32" or shorter to fit.

Thanks in advance!

Rick
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:56 PM   #2
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Being in the AV industry, like you said, most small soundbars are active.
You could spend a lot of money on a custom soundbar like LEON to fit but chances are amplifier power may also be an issue.

I would look at an active soundbar that runs with a 12 v power supply (so you could run directly off your house 12v without 120v adapter) and hook the audio from the tv directly up to it. These models tend to have Bluetooth for playing music from a phone or tablet as well.

Running the inverter to run tvs (and soundbar) is extremely inefficient use of battery power.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:37 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rickj514 View Post
Hi Everyone,

We have a 2019.5 Flagstaff 25FBLS travel trailer. The sound system system consists of a Furrion IRV 32 system that operates on 12 volts, and a low-end Furrion soundbar that fits snugly in a 32" wide shelf under the TV. The TV is a Furrion FEHS32D9A LED model that operates on 120 volts AC power.

The issue I have is that the soundbar absolutely sucks. I don't think I have ever heard speakers that sound that bad! The 4 speakers produce a flat, tinny sound with no bass or mid-range. I did post a question on the Flagstaff 25FBLS forum for advice, but folks just recommended that I install "any" soundbar that will fit in the 32" provided shelf.

I have not removed this speaker yet but I am sure that it is a PASSIVE soundbar, meaning that it consists of speakers only. It does not contain any of its own amplifiers and does not plug into a 120 volt AC source. Most soundbars that I have looked at (Amazon, Costco, Best Buy, etc.) are ACTIVE soundbars that have to plug into a 120 volt AC source, and most are 35" wide or more.

If I was only interested in having sound when watching the TV, I would opt for an Active soundbar. However, its primary use is for just listening to music. We generally dry-camp so I'm looking for a solution that doesn't require AV voltage. (I do plan to install an inverter in the future so that I can watch the TV or a movies in the evenings, and I will install a 120 volt TV in the bedroom as well.)

According to the manual, the IRV32 system has speaker wires for Left, Right, and a sub-woofer, and I'm sure that's what I'll find when I pull out the soundbar.

Does anyone know of a passive soundbar and a passive sub-woofer that I could use? The soundbar would have to be 32" or shorter to fit.

Thanks in advance!

Rick

You are correct that the sound bar is not powered. It is simply a set of speakers and no subwoofer.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:02 PM   #4
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Being in the AV industry, like you said, most small soundbars are active.
You could spend a lot of money on a custom soundbar like LEON to fit but chances are amplifier power may also be an issue.

I would look at an active soundbar that runs with a 12 v power supply (so you could run directly off your house 12v without 120v adapter) and hook the audio from the tv directly up to it. These models tend to have Bluetooth for playing music from a phone or tablet as well.

Running the inverter to run tvs (and soundbar) is extremely inefficient use of battery power.
Thanks, Darb. I had not thought about an active soundbar that runs on a 12-volt battery source. I'll definitely look into that.

Off topic a bit, but could you please elaborate on the inefficiency of using an inverter to power the TVs. I realize that the inverter itself will use a small amount of current, but is there anything else to consider? There's no obvious 12-volt source, but I know the IRV32 runs on 12 volts so I could probably fish a power line up to the back of the TV / soundbar. Am I better off putting in a 12-volt TV?

Much appreciated!
Rick
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:44 PM   #5
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yep... we bought this one for the 55" Inch Furrion in our Avalanche 5th wheel...
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H1B3PY9/

Very happy with the sound,,, and it automatically interfaces with the TV audio. Convenient in many situations, but if you wake up in the middle of the night and want to put on the Bluetooth headset which reads the Dish Hopper 3 box, it can be a pain so we have it plugged into this little goodie:
https://smile.amazon.com/BindMaster-...dp/B01M7V6U2Q/

This way you only get the soundbar when you switch this on... nice for middle of the night session, or maybe when just watching the news or something. But for movies and specials... and especially for Sirius XM which is included with our Dish subscription, the soundbar is Da Kine. :-)
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:49 PM   #6
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yep... we bought this one for the 55" Inch Furrion in our Avalanche 5th wheel...
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H1B3PY9/

Very happy with the sound,,, and it automatically interfaces with the TV audio. Convenient in many situations, but if you wake up in the middle of the night and want to put on the Bluetooth headset which reads the Dish Hopper 3 box, it can be a pain so we have it plugged into this little goodie:
https://smile.amazon.com/BindMaster-...dp/B01M7V6U2Q/

This way you only get the soundbar when you switch this on... nice for middle of the night session, or maybe when just watching the news or something. But for movies and specials... and especially for Sirius XM which is included with our Dish subscription, the soundbar is Da Kine. :-)
Thanks. I'm looking for a unit that is 32" or less and doesn't need 120 volts though.

Rick
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:04 PM   #7
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I can't help because we ripped out the five channel sound junk that came in our RV. I replaced it with a pair of high quality powered media speakers (they have a passive sub built into each channel that is far better than the sub that came in the RV). We removed both of the TVs and instead watch movies on a 10.5" tablet (Samsung S5e) that is suspended between and forward of our recliners (when in use). The sound is transmitted to the media speakers via Bluetooth with AptX so has minimal delay. Movies are downloaded from Amazon Prime when we are on the move (we dry camp in places with no internet or not enough for streaming) or are downloaded before we leave home. The same tablet is used to download music (often when I'm sitting in the tow vehicle and DW is shopping) that we play through the media speakers.

We have a 900W sine wave inverter that draws only 0.6 amp at idle and is fairly efficient for the light load of the media speakers. Most powered speakers will want a sine wave inverter.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:37 PM   #8
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A couple of things. Most of the sound bars operate off 115V AC. A wireless subwoofer is wireless for sound, but still is plugged into an AC outlet. It is also pretty bulky in an RV. There are some really decent sound bars with the sub built in. If you can confirm one with a 115 V AC adapter to 12 volts, the wall adapter could be eliminated and powered directly off 12 volts. It would be the same difference.

And, if boon docking is your thing, I would strongly suggest going with a 12 volt TV in the BR. In our Sunseeker, we had a 12 V "cigarette lighter" plug in our BR wall below where the TV would mount. I got behind that outlet and ran wires up inside the wall to the 12 volt TV. No wires were showing when it was finished.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:42 PM   #9
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Try this site for 12 volt powered "stuff".

Www.my12voltstore.com
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:02 PM   #10
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I can't help because we ripped out the five channel sound junk that came in our RV. I replaced it with a pair of high quality powered media speakers (they have a passive sub built into each channel that is far better than the sub that came in the RV). We removed both of the TVs and instead watch movies on a 10.5" tablet (Samsung S5e) that is suspended between and forward of our recliners (when in use). The sound is transmitted to the media speakers via Bluetooth with AptX so has minimal delay. Movies are downloaded from Amazon Prime when we are on the move (we dry camp in places with no internet or not enough for streaming) or are downloaded before we leave home. The same tablet is used to download music (often when I'm sitting in the tow vehicle and DW is shopping) that we play through the media speakers.

We have a 900W sine wave inverter that draws only 0.6 amp at idle and is fairly efficient for the light load of the media speakers. Most powered speakers will want a sine wave inverter.
Wow. You have an impressive set-up! I'm thinking pretty minimalist since we do mostly dry camp, but maybe I need to be a bit more open minded. There's a solution out there for me!
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:15 PM   #11
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A couple of things. Most of the sound bars operate off 115V AC. A wireless subwoofer is wireless for sound, but still is plugged into an AC outlet. It is also pretty bulky in an RV. There are some really decent sound bars with the sub built in. If you can confirm one with a 115 V AC adapter to 12 volts, the wall adapter could be eliminated and powered directly off 12 volts. It would be the same difference.

And, if boon docking is your thing, I would strongly suggest going with a 12 volt TV in the BR. In our Sunseeker, we had a 12 V "cigarette lighter" plug in our BR wall below where the TV would mount. I got behind that outlet and ran wires up inside the wall to the 12 volt TV. No wires were showing when it was finished.
Thanks. Your comments have me thinking. I hadn't thought that many of the 120-volt ac soundbars may actually operate at 12 volts using a step-down transformer. I'm not looking for incredible sound here, so a soundbar with the built-in sub-woofer would be ideal. I'm far from an audiophile, but this Furrion soundbar is terrible! I pulled it out today so I could get the model number off it: Model FSB24SA2C-BL. Max power 40 watts and impedance 2X4 ohms, which I think means 4 ohms on each speaker pair.

I definitely have to decide whether I'm going with 12-volt TVs or 120-volt units. I've been planning to add a TV to the bedroom, but there's no 12-volt source near the mounting point on the wall. I think maybe a tablet for the bedroom will actually be OK. I usually wind down watching some TV, while my wife falls asleep within seconds of her head hitting the pillow.

Thanks to everyone for all these great comments!

Rick
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:35 PM   #12
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I definitely have to decide whether I'm going with 12-volt TVs or 120-volt units. I've been planning to add a TV to the bedroom, but there's no 12-volt source near the mounting point on the wall. I think maybe a tablet for the bedroom will actually be OK. I usually wind down watching some TV, while my wife falls asleep within seconds of her head hitting the pillow.

Rick
If you have a 12 volt light switch in your BR, you have a 12 V power source. Possibly even from the bathroom side.But a tablet may be a good choice.

Like you, DW can fall asleep in seconds-and I am envious. Problem is, she accuses me of the same.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:24 PM   #13
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I would keep the sound bar in place and splice in a pair of bookshelf speakers. There are a lot of choices. I didn’t think I had a sub woofer. It was inside the wall under the television behind a panel. The subwoofer is also passive. You can replace it with a different one of your choosing. The only thing you have make sure of is matching the ohms of the speakers to the output of the stereo.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:35 AM   #14
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Thanks, Darb. I had not thought about an active soundbar that runs on a 12-volt battery source. I'll definitely look into that.

Off topic a bit, but could you please elaborate on the inefficiency of using an inverter to power the TVs. I realize that the inverter itself will use a small amount of current, but is there anything else to consider? There's no obvious 12-volt source, but I know the IRV32 runs on 12 volts so I could probably fish a power line up to the back of the TV / soundbar. Am I better off putting in a 12-volt TV?

Much appreciated!
Rick
Short answer is yes. Youíll be better off 12V.
I donít know how much solar you have on the roof, how much you intend to run your generator, And how much battery you have. It is certainly much more efficient to run 12v rather than 120v appliances via inverter. I wonít bore you with calculations- also because Iím feeling lazy.
One thing to consider as someone else brought up, is many active soundbars do have a wireless subwoofer. This subwoofer will be 120v and all have internal power supply - not making it 12v adaptable for your situation.

You do have some great suggestions from people fighting the same battle.
I have a 2020 19fbs.
12v TV, and the 12v furrion little ďstereoĒ with speakers above. Very efficient for evening TV watching that the single 100w solar panel so far keeps up with our daily usage to keep the dual 6v batteries charged up. Even though it hasnít left the driveway yet- Iíve been leaving things on to simulate real life use, to decide whether I need more solar.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:50 PM   #15
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Short answer is yes. Youíll be better off 12V.
I donít know how much solar you have on the roof, how much you intend to run your generator, And how much battery you have. It is certainly much more efficient to run 12v rather than 120v appliances via inverter. I wonít bore you with calculations- also because Iím feeling lazy.
One thing to consider as someone else brought up, is many active soundbars do have a wireless subwoofer. This subwoofer will be 120v and all have internal power supply - not making it 12v adaptable for your situation.

You do have some great suggestions from people fighting the same battle.
I have a 2020 19fbs.
12v TV, and the 12v furrion little ďstereoĒ with speakers above. Very efficient for evening TV watching that the single 100w solar panel so far keeps up with our daily usage to keep the dual 6v batteries charged up. Even though it hasnít left the driveway yet- Iíve been leaving things on to simulate real life use, to decide whether I need more solar.
Thanks, Darb. In terms of the TVs, I'm leaning toward replacing the 120-volt TV in the main section of the trailer with a 12-volt unit. I need to start looking at their quality, etc. I'm not going to put a TV in the bedroom as originally planned and I will just use a tablet for that.

I just replaced my Class 32 (I think) 12-volt battery with two 230 AH 6-volt golf cart batteries, which is the same setup I had on our last trailer and which worked very well.

I don't have any solar right now, but am open to getting some. Based on limited reading and little knowledge on the topic I think 300 watts would probably help.

In terms of the original complaint with my soundbar, I'm going to look at some active units that plug into ac power to see if some of them actually run on 12-volts with a 120 volts to 12 volt transformer, as one member suggested.

Another option I'm discussing is getting two of those little Bose Soundlink Mini II speakers; one for each channel. They sound amazing, but connectivity is the issue since they connect via Bluetooth rather than cables.

Thanks for your suggestions!

Rick
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Old 05-25-2020, 11:10 PM   #16
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Thanks

Thanks to all of you that have contributed to this thread. I've decided that I am going to replace the Furrion soundbar with two of the Bose Soundlink Mini II speakers; one for each channel Left and Right.

The IRV32 stereo system has 2 wires for each channel that connect to the back of the soundbar. Since the Bose speakers have a 3.5 mm AUX input I'll connect one plug on each set of wires. Voila! That will be great sound.

The speakers also come with a cradle with a charging port at the base. Just set the speaker on the base and it's connected to the charging port! Since the IRV32 has a USB charging port on the front I'll just run a USB cable with a Y connector to the speakers so they're attached to power at all times. I'll just velcro the cradles onto the shelf.

The nice thing about this setup is that I'll be able to remove one of the speakers, connect it via Bluetooth to the stereo or a cell phone, etc. for music outside!

On the other issues raised:
- I'm going to leave in the 120-volt TV for now. I'll look into 12-volt TVs at some point, but I'm told that they are way inferior to the 120-volt units.
- I'm not going to install a TV in the bedroom. I'll just use a table to play movies, which will be good enough for me. I just need to learn how to download movies.

Thanks again to those that have contributed!

Rick
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Old 05-26-2020, 04:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by rickj514 View Post
Thanks to all of you that have contributed to this thread. I've decided that I am going to replace the Furrion soundbar with two of the Bose Soundlink Mini II speakers; one for each channel Left and Right.

The IRV32 stereo system has 2 wires for each channel that connect to the back of the soundbar. Since the Bose speakers have a 3.5 mm AUX input I'll connect one plug on each set of wires. Voila! That will be great sound.

The speakers also come with a cradle with a charging port at the base. Just set the speaker on the base and it's connected to the charging port! Since the IRV32 has a USB charging port on the front I'll just run a USB cable with a Y connector to the speakers so they're attached to power at all times. I'll just velcro the cradles onto the shelf.

The nice thing about this setup is that I'll be able to remove one of the speakers, connect it via Bluetooth to the stereo or a cell phone, etc. for music outside!

On the other issues raised:
- I'm going to leave in the 120-volt TV for now. I'll look into 12-volt TVs at some point, but I'm told that they are way inferior to the 120-volt units.
- I'm not going to install a TV in the bedroom. I'll just use a table to play movies, which will be good enough for me. I just need to learn how to download movies.

Thanks again to those that have contributed!

Rick
Excellent plan. I wonder though (being anal), the soundbar you are replacing is/was passive meaning it does not have it's own amplifier. I.e., the two wires to each channel you mention are the output of amps in the IRV32. Adding 3.5mm connectors will work because modern systems no longer require impedance matching. But normally you would flow a low-level output to the new speakers. The effectively means bypassing the amps in the IRV32. They will likely work fine with the high-level output from the IRV32 (if you crank the volume down on the IRV32) but you will have two amplfiers in each channel so will lose some sound quality and will have some noise that might be audible (when amplified in the new speakers).

If the IRV32 does not have low-level output (usually a 3.5mm jack or "rca" jacks) you are doing the best you can. But, if the IRV32 has low level outputs (might be called prep-amp output) you would be better feeding that to the new powered speakers. They were designed with that in mind.

BTW, I send music from my tablet to very similar speakers via bluetooth. I have a lot of music transferred from CD to digital, but mostly now just download the music.
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Old 05-26-2020, 05:02 PM   #18
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Excellent plan. I wonder though (being anal), the soundbar you are replacing is/was passive meaning it does not have it's own amplifier. I.e., the two wires to each channel you mention are the output of amps in the IRV32. Adding 3.5mm connectors will work because modern systems no longer require impedance matching. But normally you would flow a low-level output to the new speakers. The effectively means bypassing the amps in the IRV32. They will likely work fine with the high-level output from the IRV32 (if you crank the volume down on the IRV32) but you will have two amplfiers in each channel so will lose some sound quality and will have some noise that might be audible (when amplified in the new speakers).

If the IRV32 does not have low-level output (usually a 3.5mm jack or "rca" jacks) you are doing the best you can. But, if the IRV32 has low level outputs (might be called prep-amp output) you would be better feeding that to the new powered speakers. They were designed with that in mind.

BTW, I send music from my tablet to very similar speakers via bluetooth. I have a lot of music transferred from CD to digital, but mostly now just download the music.
Thanks for the feedback!

Here's what the Bose owner's guide says, which really won't work for me when watching TV or movies as it would be cumbersome to have to manage and balance two separate speakers!

"Tip: Increase the volume on the connected device to near maximum, then use the speaker volume buttons to adjust the volume level."

Their tip is obviously for streaming music which is obviously what the the Bose Soundlink speakers are designed for. I'm doing something entirely different than their intended use. I'll need to use the volume control on the IRV32 to control volume levels when watching the TV. I guess time will tell how effective this plan will work.

For music I generally use Pandora on my iphone, so I'll just stream it to one of the Bose Soundlink speakers.

Thanks again!

Rick
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Old 05-26-2020, 06:53 PM   #19
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Thanks for the feedback!

Here's what the Bose owner's guide says, which really won't work for me when watching TV or movies as it would be cumbersome to have to manage and balance two separate speakers!

"Tip: Increase the volume on the connected device to near maximum, then use the speaker volume buttons to adjust the volume level."

Their tip is obviously for streaming music which is obviously what the the Bose Soundlink speakers are designed for. I'm doing something entirely different than their intended use. I'll need to use the volume control on the IRV32 to control volume levels when watching the TV. I guess time will tell how effective this plan will work.

For music I generally use Pandora on my iphone, so I'll just stream it to one of the Bose Soundlink speakers.

Thanks again!

Rick
You are right, their instructions are right if the device is plugged into a low-level output (which doubles as an interconnect and ear bud output) in a cell phone or mp3 player. There you can crank up the source device volume without measurable distortion and get a better signal to noise ratio. With the IRV32, the amp output voltage will be higher than low-level and you will need to crank down the IRV32 volume some. That will aggravate a noise problem by lowering the "signal" relative to amplifier noise. And, higher IRV32 amp output might distort without the 8 ohm load of speakers (the new speakers will put only 20,000 ohm "line-in" impedance on the IRV32 speaker outputs).

But, you will want to experiment. Pushing the IRV32 volume may reduce noise that reaches the speaker input. I.e., the higher output coming from the IRV32 amps will not affect the amp noise much, but should give you more signal relative to the noise. Hopefully a better "signal to noise ratio." I say hopefully because the noise in the IRV32 may be largely in the pre-amp stages and will get increased along with the signal when you push up the volume. Eh, you are going to have to experiment. Listen to quiet passages for background noise. Listen for distortion. Adjust for what works best.

Again, I'm an anal home theater buff and may be blowing things out of proportion.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:29 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Hclarkx View Post
You are right, their instructions are right if the device is plugged into a low-level output (which doubles as an interconnect and ear bud output) in a cell phone or mp3 player. There you can crank up the source device volume without measurable distortion and get a better signal to noise ratio. With the IRV32, the amp output voltage will be higher than low-level and you will need to crank down the IRV32 volume some. That will aggravate a noise problem by lowering the "signal" relative to amplifier noise. And, higher IRV32 amp output might distort without the 8 ohm load of speakers (the new speakers will put only 20,000 ohm "line-in" impedance on the IRV32 speaker outputs).

But, you will want to experiment. Pushing the IRV32 volume may reduce noise that reaches the speaker input. I.e., the higher output coming from the IRV32 amps will not affect the amp noise much, but should give you more signal relative to the noise. Hopefully a better "signal to noise ratio." I say hopefully because the noise in the IRV32 may be largely in the pre-amp stages and will get increased along with the signal when you push up the volume. Eh, you are going to have to experiment. Listen to quiet passages for background noise. Listen for distortion. Adjust for what works best.

Again, I'm an anal home theater buff and may be blowing things out of proportion.
Thanks. I'll admit to not completely following your technical advice! Do you recommend that I start with one of the Bose units and try it out to see if there's too much noise or distortion?

If it turns out that it doesn't work real well, I'd just be back at square one anyway. We want to get one of the Bose units anyway for general purpose use. If I test one as a replacement to the soundbar and it doesn't work out real well, I just plug the soundbar back in and see if I can live with. What are your thoughts on that.

Much appreciated!
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