FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

We Have outlined here a collection of the most asked questions to help you get the information needed as quickly as possible. If you need further clarification or help in setup, contact us via email thenaudio@gmail.com or use the contact tab on the website.

 

ORDER / SHIPPING DETAILS

Shipping methods and charges

All products ship from the USA / FL.

Domestic USA shipments are handled by Fedex and we offer either overnight or a 2-day service. 

International shipping is handled by DHL Express with 2-3 day typical delivery. We have a good relationship with DHL Express and can offer low rates to most anywhere in the world. 

International shipping charge is depends on the destination. Sometimes DHL adds a huge “remote area delivery” upcharge in which case USPS Priority International can be used. You can contact us to arrange it.

 

Payment methods

We accept the following:

  • PayPal payments with or without account.
  • Stripe invoice payments
  • Bank transfers 
How long will delivery take

Orders are instantly sent for fulfilment and will typically get delivered within 1-3 business days unless noted otherwise on the product order page. Sometimes there is an lead time to cover unexpected delays in component sourcing / manufacturing.

International DHL Express shipments take typically 1-3 days to reach. Some exception for remote areas can take longer. Canada orders are typically delivered the next day.

If there are additional specific delays due to component shortages, they will be announced on the specific product page above the “Add to Cart” button.

How secure is shopping in the Online Shop? Is my data protected?

We use PayPal and Stripe payment processors and never control, store or see any of your CC payment details.

Your email, delivery address and phone information is stored on our website under your account controlled by you. We will never share any information to any 3rd parties. All details are outlined in our privacy policy and terms and conditions. By ordering you agree to our privacy policy and terms and conditions. 

Warranty and Returns

Each product has a 1-year warranty from the delivery date and a 15-day return window. For returns, shipping charges both way are not refunded. Each return will incur a 5% restocking fee to cover for the PayPal/Stripe fees.

Contact thenaudio@gmail.com to obtain an RMA number prior to returning.

SHARC, SHARC-V2 and ZONE-2 DETAILS

What can I do with eARC Audio Converters

You will be able to continue using your perfectly capable home theater sound system / sound bar / headphones supporting all the latest audio formats from your TV using eARC.

Each of the three product receive audio from TV via the eARC channel and converts the incoming audio formats suitable for the existing sound system that has no eARC support. You will be able to continue getting audio from the TV up to the maximum capability of your current sound system.

What can I do with ZONE-2 eARC Audio Processor

ZONE-2 has similar functionality as SHARC eARC Audio Converter but adds another port for repeating the eARC audio to another eARC capable audio system.

In practice, it means you can have ZONE-2 extract the audio into another sound system without interfering the main path from TV audio to the main receiver.

As an example, you have an eARC TV sending audio to your Sonos ARC sound bar. With ZONE-2 you can keep this connection and extract to split the audio to another audio system such as as another room or a local subwoofer amplifier.

Additionally eARC formats using PCM can be output via the analog headphones output.

Do these products add capabilities to my sound system

SHARC, SHARC-V2 and ZONE-2 cannot add new formats to what the sound system is capable of processing. However, more than likely your Audio System already can process all formats needed. TrueHD/DTS-MA lossless audio was introduced in early 2000’s and ATMOS was introduced in 2012. If you have an AVR made after 2012 you probably already have support for everything needed for even the most advanced audio used today.

Even without ATMOS support (pre 2012 amp) you will get uncompressed LPCM as well as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA which are for most all practical purposes all you will need.

The problem that SHARC, SHARC-V2 and ZONE-2 fixes is that even though your audio system fully support all formats they won’t be active and used without our products.

 

Tell me about digital outputs

SHARC Audio Processor has a dedicated digital audio/video output capable of up to high bit rate audio formats such as Dolby MAT Atmos, DTS-X, DTS-IMAX, TrueHD, DTS-MA.The video signal carrying these audio formats is selectable either 1080p or 720p signal.

The separate optical output is capable of up to 192kHz encoded bitstreams, such as DD+ or DD+ Atmos. Optical output also supports PCM stereo signals.

How do I connect the SHARC Audio Processor

The setup is very simple

  1. Connect eARC/ARC capable TV input port to the SHARC port 1) labeled “CONNECT TO TV eARC/ARC PORT”
  2. Connect one of the AVR/AMPLIFIER/SOUND DEVICE inputs to the SHARC port 2) labeled “CONNECT TO SOUND SYSTEM INPUT PORT”
  3. [OPTIONAL] Connect optical and analog audio outputs to their corresponding devices.
  4. Connect the USB MICRO power cable to a 5V/0.5A power source or to any of the available USB ports on your TV. Do not exceed 5V. You can use any 5V external power supply as well and keep Sharc/Zone2 powered at all times.
  5. Select the corresponding AVR/AMPLIFIER/SOUND DEVICE input port where SHARC is connected
  6. Remove any connections from AVR/AMPLIFIER/SOUND DEVICE output to the TV (to remove CEC loops)
  7. Turn on TV, ensure CEC control is enabled and eARC/ARC is active. CEC is sometimes called SimpLink/etc depending on TV model
  8. Start audio streaming source, e.g. Netflix / Prime video / .. and listen to audio
Can I connect AVR output to TV?

This depends on the specific TV. Connecting AVR to a TV creates a CEC loop which is traditionally not supported in a CEC network since only a single “audio system” is allowed.

Some TV models allow this and some do not. In practice, expect not to be able to connect the AVR to your TV. All sources must connect directly to TV. In case more sources are needed you can purchase a simple $30 switch to handle non-2.1 sources but you should not expect to be able to use AVR for source switching. 

What is the input voltage and power consumption

SHARC, SHARC-V2 and ZONE-2 operate use 5V voltage level for operation. The current draw is approximately 200mA for a total around 1W power consumption in eARC operating mode.

Do not exceed the 5V voltage.

You can use any external USB 5V power source as well and keep the product powered at all times.

What do the LED lights in the front mean

The upper LED is the power indicator. It will be solid GREEN when power is applied and firmware is running normally.

The lower LED is a status light with the following patterns:

  • SOLID: EARC-mode is setup and running
  • SLOW BLINKING: ARC-mode is setup and running
  • FAST BLINKING: FAIL handshake / TV off
What do the DIP switches do

DIP switches are used to modify the default operation as described below. Both products SHARC and ZONE-2 have the DIP switch options

DIP #1: MAT ATMOS MODE

Some TVs automatically convert all audio into Dolby MAT format. In case the connected sound system does not understand MAT formats, the audio will be rendered mute. To control this there are two settings:
DIP #1 in UP position: All ATMOS formats ok [default]DIP #1 in DOWN position: Convert MAT formats

DIP #2: RESOLUTION

DIP #2 in UP position: Output video 1080p60
DIP #2 in DOWN position: Output video 720p60

DIP #3: CEC WAKEUP option

DIP #3 in UP position: Type 1 [default]DIP #3 in DOWN position: Type 2

DIP #4: DELAY

DIP #4 in UP position: eARC dynamic lipsync control
DIP #4 in DOWN position: Fixed delay 40msec

 

SHARC-V2 has a slightly different set of functionality:

DIP #1: MAT ATMOS MODE

Some TVs automatically convert all audio into Dolby MAT format. In case the connected sound system does not understand MAT formats, the audio will be rendered mute. To control this there are two settings:
DIP #1 in UP position: All ATMOS formats ok [default]DIP #1 in DOWN position: Convert MAT formats

DIP #2: eARC STREAM CORRECTION

Some TVs incorrectly mark speaker placement as 7.1 for all PCM multichannel audio. This results in surround speakers lost in 5.1 sound systems. DIP #2 controls this:
DIP #2 in UP position: According to the TV stream [default]DIP #2 in DOWN position: Correct for 5.1 systems

DIP #3: CEC WAKEUP option

DIP #3 in UP position: Type 1 [default]DIP #3 in DOWN position: Type 2

DIP #4: FRL-5 LIMIT

SHARC-V2 supports FRL-6, 48Gbps signaling which is above and beyond what next-gen consoles like PS5 or Xbox use today. FRL-6 is a very demanding format for cabling and many times FRL-5 achieves the exact same thing especially if the content is not anywhere near the 48Gbps link.
DIP #4 in UP position: Follow the source FRL level [default]DIP #4 in UP position:Limit to FRL-5 to simplify cabling

Can I update/upgrade the unit firmware

There will be firmware update packages when custom capabilities and operations are requested. They will be posted on the main website here under the “Firmware” section.

SHARC supports HID USB updates. Do not use a USB HUB but use the motherboard connected USB for all updates for stability. 

Update instructions are included in the packages along with the updater.

What if I cannot get sound

For troubleshooting:

  • Check the LED operation to indicate mode
  • Check the color of the video background to further indicate the operating mode.
  • Check cables are connected in correct way. SHARC must connect to the “EARC/ARC labeled port on TV. Always use the included EARC cable as some cables might not include the EARC wires inside.
  • Check TV operating mode. CEC must be enabled (sometimes called Simplink/etc..)
  • Select EARC/ARC audio output from the TV audio setting menu.
  • Analog audio is only supported during EARC mode and using PCM signals from TV. Change the TV setting to “PCM” under TV audio setting menu.
  • Ensure the DIP1 is at HIGH/OFF position. This ensures the maximum capabilities of the connected sound system are used. 
  • Check your sound system/AVR supports ATMOS sound. Some AVR support DD+ but not Atmos.

1. Make sure both Sharc LED lights are solid GREEN. This means a succesfull eARC connection is established and audio is streaming
2. Make sure Sharc Port2 is connected to one of the INPUTS of the AVR/receiver/soundbar and that you have activated this input.
3. Disconnect any device connected to the output port of the AVR/receiver/soundbar
4. Do not connet AVR/Receiver/soundbar to any of the TV inputs (this is an advanced setup and creates an unsupported CEC loop – contact Thenaudio for help with this)

For support, contact thenaudio@gmail.com or get in touch using the “CONTACT US” button on the side

Can I decode bitstreams or downmix

No, this would require expensive licenses and product price would be much higher.

Can I use Sharc with a hearing aid

Typically it is not recommended even though you definitely can – read below to understand the tradeoff.

Sharc splits audio to the optical as well as to the analog outputs at the same time as sending audio out via HDMI output.

Sharc does not decode bitstream audio or downmix any Dolby/DTS content as this would push the product price higher. Because of this, it is not possible to listen to Atmos on the HDMI output while listening to analog from the RCA jacks. The audio sent from the TV must be PCM stereo for the analog RCA connectors to output audio.

Optical port maximum resolution is stereo 192kHz/24bit for PCM and up to DD+ Atmos for bitstream. These are protocol limitations on SPDIF and it is not possible to listen to high bitrate streams such as TrueHD/MAT/DTSX via optical.

GUIDE-3 DETAILS

What can I do with GUIDE-3 HDMI switch

GUIDE-3 is used to add 8K / 4k120 HDR capable inputs to your TV or audio system. 

GUIDE-3 supports CEC switching which means it can be hidden behind the TV and controlled simply using the TV remote controller.

GUIDE-3 supports HDMI 2.1 signaling up to and including 48Gbps FRL-6 formats. There are no limitations which video, audio or encryption formats can be processed by GUIDE-3. As long as the video signal bandwidth does not exceed HDMI 2.1 standard all signals will pass.

 

What do the DIP switches do

DIP switches are used to modify the default operation as described below. 

  • DIP 1: CEC Switching
    • UP: CEC control is enabled. (default)
    • DN: CEC control is disabled. Guide-3 will not respond to CEC control
  • DIP 2: +5 Source switching
    • UP: Disabled. GUIDE-3 will not respond to source +5 signals. (default)
    • DN: Enabled.
  • DIP 3: FRL limit control
    • UP: Allow any signals (default)
    • DN: Allow max FRL-5 40Gbps signals 
  • DIP4: MultiPCM
    • UP: Use capabilities from the connected display (default)
    • DN: Add 7.1 PCM 48kHz-192kHz 24bit support
What does the DIP #3 FRL limit control do in practice

The maximum signal frequency in HDMI 2.1 is FRL-6 which corresponds to 48Gbps. This bandwidth is large and many cables cannot support such bandwidth.

In some cases, the source signal format can be equally sent using FRL-5 and in this case it is possible to relax the cable requirement by using FRL-5 insted of FRL-6. GUIDE-3 can inform the source specifically to limit the format to FRL-5 if the DIP switch #3 is in down-position.

What does the DIP #4 MultiPCM do in practice

When it comes to TV multichannel PCM support there are two types of generic issues:

  1. The TV does not advertise any 5.1 or 7.1 PCM support even though the TV is in fact capable to pass those formats through via eARC port
  2. The 5.1 or 7.1 PCM support is advertised but at a maximum sample rate of 48kHz.

Both issues are unfortunate as in the first case no multiPCM will be sent by the source device and in the second case it will be downmixed or otherwise limited to standard audio blocking all HD audio which runs at 96kHz and over.

GUIDE-3 implements a real time modification to the TV capabilities which will unlock the source device to send full spec 7.1 PCM supporting up to 192kHz 24bit.