Question:I have a new HDTV with a whole bunch of input connections on the back, but only one audio output, an "optical digital audio" jack. I have this connected with an optical connector to an external sound bar for enhanced sound quality, but I would also like to connect my "TV ears" headphones so that I can listen without disturbing my family. The TV ears have RCA connectors. With the old technology, I would simply have used a splitter to output to more than one audio device. How do I accomplish this with this newfangled optical thing and the RCA jacks? -- Nic
Answer: You can get a digital-to-analog converter for about $25 and use that to convert the optical signal to an analog RCA connection for your "TV ears." With only one output, you would have to manually swap the cables from the sound bar to the converter whenever you wanted to use the TV ears, and that is a less-than-ideal situation. Fortunately you can also buy a passive switchbox and connect the TV to the switchbox input, and the soundbar and TV ears to the switchbox outputs. This will let you choose between the sound bar and TV ears with the flip of a switch.
Some good products for your needs are FiiO D3 digital-to-analog converter for $25 and the Nyrius SW100 3 input optical digital audio selector, also $25.
Question: I have a Nikon D-80 digital camera that sounds like it is capturing photos, but the photo doesn't actually get captured and the screen says "error." I have been trying to locate a reputable place to have it looked at and/or fixed, but I'm not sure where to go. I would like the most cost-effective option. -- Kristin Vanderwerf
Answer: Have you tried a new memory card? If you haven't, before you send your camera in for repair try a different memory card and format it before trying to take a picture.
When it comes to repairs of expensive digital cameras, I am a firm believer in sending the camera back to the manufacturer's own service facility. I have never found it to be more expensive than using a third party, and you will have the advantage of dealing with the people who made and sold the camera. In your case that would be Nikon USA. Look for the service and support page at www.nikonusa.com.
I have two housekeeping notes to close out this week's column. First are the results of my 10th anniversary giveaway! Congratulations to Miles Kennedy of Coon Rapids, Minn., as the recipient of the Definitive Technology/Marantz home theater system. Randy Mogle of Homer City, Pa., got the Audio-Technica turntable, and Denon headphones went out to Bill Yavorn of San Jose, Calif., Michael Rock of Pittsburgh and Rick Lenz of Medina, Minn.
Second, my email inbox has been absolutely inundated with reader questions as of late, which is a bit surprising as it is usually busiest around the holiday season. I have been falling behind in my replies but am working on it, so if you sent in a question, rest assured I plan on getting to it as soon as I can.
Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.