Home Theater Tips: Yes you can split a digital coax audio signal.

Few people will have need for this tip, but since I have experimented and succeeded I thought I’d share what I have learned and hopefully someone else can benefit from this.

I wanted to share a digital audio signal from a coaxial (RCA) style output with two receivers (well three, since my source device has analog out as well).  My home audio setup has a basement 7.1 surround movie theater as a powered zone, a family room 5.1 surround TV room, and a two channel analog -only amp that pushes out power to a speaker selector switch (with a protection circuit) to six other zones.

The two surround receivers and the analog amp are on opposite sides of what is essentially a closet.  This makes it possible to wire all of this together pretty easily.

My problem was that both of the surround receivers had all of their optical (TOSLINK) connectors in use, but had the coaxial (RCA DIGITAL) available.  I wanted to connect a Comcast DVR to all three amps so that I could select a music station and let the music run all day.

I have read some comments online that seemed to indicate that there are two views about whether splitting a digital signal is a good idea or not.  One seems to indicate that there will be signal loss – the biggest threat being jitter (losing the connection temporarily).  The other view is that digital signals are all-or-nothing connections.  You will either have sound or you will not.  I presume not having the signal is the presence of too much “jitter”.I used a cheap Radio Shack RCA (1 male to 2 female) splitter.IMG_20131128_113055_120Many devices can output both digital and analog audio simultaneously.  Here is the splitter attached to the back of the cable box.IMG_20131128_113201_124Lastly – here are both recievers showing that they are getting a digital signal.
IMG_20131128_113252_045 IMG_20131128_114050_115Is there any signal degradation? – so far none that I can hear.  So far as I can tell the all-or-nothing view seems to be correct as both receivers are indicating that they are getting a digital audio signal.

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2 comments
  1. Anonymous said:

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Rick tunning said:

    Thx. I have a similar situation and I’m splitting the analog signal. And wondering today if I could do what you did. The DACs are so much better in the receivers as well as less noise. Thx again for sharing!!! 🕪 🔊

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