Maximising the sound quality of your Sky Soundbox

Although Sky no longer offers the Soundbox for sale, there are many thousands still in use and from what I see in the Sky Soundbox board, the setup and operation can still cause confusion.

 

So, I put together a quick guide for users that could help clarify a few things that some may find unclear.

 

The official aim of the Sky Soundbox is to offer “the full cinema experience from a single speaker.”

 

Positioning 

An important place to start in terms of maximising the sound quality of your Sky Soundbox is its position. 

 

For me, when set up and positioned well, the Sky Soundbox makes a very good effort by bouncing audio from the walls of your room, but users shouldn’t expect sounds to be moving across their room from side to side or for the Sky Soundbox to somehow replicate a multi separate speaker setup. 

 

My experience is that although you can just about get away with a minimum of 30cms of space above and at the sides, the sound improves the more open and central the Sky Soundbox is positioned. My ideal is just below the bottom of the TV screen with the Sky Soundbox in the open.

 

Sky Soundbox on an open shelf.jpg

 

Clearly not everyone can achieve that but my observation is that if the Sky Soundbox is inside a cabinet or enclosed on a shelf unit your sound will be muffled.

 

One suggestion is to place your Sky Soundbox on top of a small unit or footstool on the floor in front of your TV. I tried this out and it worked really well. If it's a soft footstool, a piece of wood as a base for your Sky Soundbox would probably help.

 

Sky Soundbox on a footstool.jpg

 

Cables & 'Audio Return Channel'

Next to look at are cables. The cables provided by Sky are usually all you need and although some people upgrade I would suggest any improvement would be minimal.

 

For Sky TV only,  the audio (and video) travels out of your Sky box, down an HDMI cable and in to the black HDMI port in the middle of the Sky Soundbox. The audio (and video) then travels by HDMI out of the Soundbox (the pink port) and in to your TV.

 

To understand why the connecting cables go where they do, it probably helps to understand something called 'Audio Return Channel'.

 

The Sky Soundbox does not support Audio Return Channel (ARC) even if your TV does. This means that an audio signal will not travel from your TV down the HDMI cable in to your Sky Soundbox  and that's why for any A/V devices other than Sky TV, you need to use a separate optical cable.

 

 If you only watch Sky then you don't need extra cables. If like me you also watch Blu rays and Apple TV for example, you must also use the optical cable (one is supplied with the Sky Soundbox). An audio signal can't transfer from your TV to the Soundbox unless there's an optical cable inbetween; the optical cable needs to go out of your TV and in to the Sky Soundbox.

 

Take care to ensure the optical plug is the correct way round (usually the wider part at the top) before pushing it in to place. 

Example of digital optical cables.jpg

The optical cable will also carry the audio from any of your TV’s internal apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBCiplayer etc to your Soundbox. Ideally, you should feel a tiny click when pushing the end of the optical cable into place. Most optical cables are not directional, but if your cable has little arrows pointing in one direction along the cable, make sure the arrows point away from your TV and toward the Soundbox.

 

Some users report hearing an echo when using the optical cable. This will almost certainly be that you need to turn your TV volume down to zero. You might choose to listen to either your TV speakers or your Sky Soundbox but using both together produces disappointing sound.

 

Remember to select 'HDMI' or 'Optical' with your Sky Soundbox remote, depending on what device you are viewing.

 

HMDI port.jpg

 

More Sky Soundbox tips

Enabling Sky Q Sound modes on Sky Soundbox

Control your Sky Soundbox with Sky TV remote

 

Still need help with your Sky Soundbox?

Head over the Sky Soundbox board and if you still can't find the answer you're looking for, start a new discussion.

 

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