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Then Audio – shARC Review

Signal Processor for eARC to HDMI conversions.

After a few tries, we finally finished this review. I tried to make this stuff easy, but it's not easy. Which is part of the reason I can't recommend it. For those with a bit more technical knowledge, please read this description for more info, as this contains info on when you should and shouldn't use the shARC. This info is not found in the video.

**** Found a list of TV's and their support for HD/MA audio here (please note, I can't verify or guarantee that this information is correct).

Product Tested: Zone-2 eARC Processor (As Tested)

When to Use the shARC?

I can recommend the shark, if you answer YES to ALL of these questions.

  • Do you game with a council (like XBOX/PS5) that has 2.1+ compatibility
  • Does your gaming council support TrueHD and MA?
  • Do you game enough with surround sound to justify $140 to gain TrueHD and MA?
  • Do you have a reason not to use Dolby headphones when gaming? (like playing with friends)
  • Are you aware of Dolby Headphones advanced ability to position things in environments such as games, and why this gives gamers the edge?
  • Does your TV support eARC standard?
  • Do you have a TV that will pass through TrueHD/MA? (See:
  • Does your current AV Receiver setup cost more then $500 on the Used Market and provides great sound?
  • Do you own an AV Receiver that support TrueHD/MA and doesn't support eARC?
  • Do you own an AV Receiver that is not HDMI 2.1 compatible?
  • Is your TV's eARC channel Realtime (not delayed) and did you confirm this?
  • Are you going to notice TrueHD/MA (lossless) over AC-3 (lossy)?
  • Do you have a surround sound system, and good speakers to hear lossless on?

If you answered YES, to all these questions, I can recommend the shARC to you. Otherwise, save your money, use optical.


This is a basic video review, for non-technical people. If you'd like more details on when the shARC is a good device to use, please keep reading.

Description & Further Tech Info

The shARC promises to offer you backwards compatibility with the new eARC standards. And this device does that perfectly. So, why can't I recommend it?

First off, you probably don't need this. And if you buy it, you will be buying it for old equipment that won't support some of the benefits eARC/ARC offers. Specifically, most modern TV's have an optical output, and that optical “SPDIF” output will be compatible with most old home theater systems. You really should use that in most cases due to the limits most TV's have.

Why would you want this? Well, the optical SPDIF output on your TV has certain limits. And those limits are that optical doesn't support all sound standards. The important ones it is missing are all the surround sound lossless standards. Things like ATMOS, TrueHD and MA.

However, given the combinations of technical hurdles, and limited uses, I just can't recommend it to the vast majority of people. And I would say it is worth Lossless, to pay $140, but only if you have the right combinations of equipment.

Then, we have the problem that the streaming services that we watch with our TVs, do not offer these standards. Leaving us with the BluRay player and the newest XBOX/PS5 as the two gear most used by shARC users.

And that leaves us with another cheaper solution, a Dual HDMI Bluray player where we can plug one into our receiver and one in our TV. Oh, and for you gamers out there. Consider that your TV may have a delay when using your eARC. And that a lot of users are reporting an inability to use their eARC in gaming. Leaving them with optical only. And many TV's will not pass through the audio.

This leaves me with one conclusion. Don't be afraid to use that old equipment. And use your money on better speakers, TV, Blu-ray Player or a new receiver. Don't waist it on the shARC (in MOST cases).

Thanks, I hope you like it.


Coming Soon

Product Photos

Coming Soon

Video Transcript

Hello Guys [and Girls]

Trying to review this shARC

This is the fourth time we're now recording this…

And the reason we're having a problem is because this is just not a very easy item to review.

There's a lot of problems…

A lot of things that exist in the industry

that make hurdles for people to use old gear.

And this tries to solve one of them

But in reality, it doesn't really offer too much.

What it does is it converts an eARC output from the TV

And it goes into here it goes via an HDMI channel.

And it outputs an optical. And an analog. And an HDMI. And eARC for some reason is different than HDMI the standard

So this converts the eARC into an HDMI connector and that HDMI will be 2.1 compatible. Which means it will support [Dolby] Atmos True HD and Master Audio

One thing that you need to know is that the optical on this does not support Master Audio Atmos (and other things) and that's one of the problems that this tries to solve is that this promises you that you can take an old system and plug it in that supports True HD and that supports MA, and you can plug this in and it would work Which is great.

I mean we do vintage audio, you know,

We can use our old receiver

that we like and that sounds good and we still can benefit from Master Audio and use the latest technologies the latest resolutions and things like that

but ultimately the problem isn't even with this device.

It's with everybody else…

most of the time in Blu-rays have two outputs on HDMI and you can get around the problem with that if you buy a blu-ray with two HDMI's
and that's one of the few True [HD] audio sources and Master Audio sources that you're actually going to encounter anything you play on Netflix Any of the streaming services will most likely be compressed audio and all of the compressed audio can therefore be covered by the optical that is most likely already on [the back of] your TV

and that is also covered by most of those older receivers.

So, ultimately this is a two hundred and

twenty dollar item.

I think paid 200, 200 dollars for this

That really never benefited me one little bit.

I never was able to enjoy True HD audio or Master Audio through this device

And I ultimately just could have used this because my [modern] TV didn't even support

the standards that this would support

And tries to give me backwards compatibility with

It does do a wonderful job at converting eARC into an HDMI channel, so if you have a problem using optical, then maybe you need something like this.

If the TVs start coming out with…

And the streaming services start coming out with higher quality sound

a device like this would be helpful. But there's a reason why the TVs are not outputting HDMI

They use this eARC property and that's because they really want you to go buy new equipment, and they are also trying to keep the copyright protection down so that they keep people from copying the movies.
But ultimately, it just doesn't do very much and therefore i just can't really recommend it. I wish I didn't even pay for it honestly I bought it and I thought it would help me play HD and MA audio on my old Arcam receiver and I found out that my TV wouldn't even pass that through it I would filter it out before it even got into the eARC and I own a Samsung TV so I think that this is a no buy and I can't recommend that I can't suggest anybody buys this unless they have a very specific purpose and that is to use old equipment.

and they have a source that will play the HD

MA audio that we're looking for.

I am a big proponent of non-compressed audio, and I wish the optical would have the bandwidth for it but unfortunately it was still stuck with HDMI

and the TV manufacturers just don't seem to care about our audio So thank you very much.

My recommendation would be to use your optical on your TV

and don't use one of these.

Just save yourself the money buy a bluray with two HDMI outputs.

Plug one of them in your old receiver and use that there's no other situations you're really going to run into MA and HD audio.

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Then Audio – shARC Review (v1) Signal Processor for eARC to HDMI conversions. (YouTube)

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February 23rd, 2023—Added External Links and Revisions
July 27th 2022—Added External Links, and More

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