View Full Version : Stopping digital (optical) audio from going to sleep?

Jul 8, 2011, 01:15 PM
I know this is a little OT, but I've given up trying to get help in the 'normal' forums, so I trying here!
My iMac 2011 audio goes via the optical cable to a receiver.
After 30 seconds of no audio, I can hear a click/pop as the audio shuts down. Then, any sounds miss the first second or so when the audio is waking up, so that means in the case of system sounds I miss them completely. Very annoying.
I've tried various apps like KeepSoundAwake (doesn't work on Intel), AntiPop (seems to lock the audio after a while) and another that I can't remember.
I've seen lots of older posts on this especially to do with MacBooks, but no solutions.
Only happens on the digital output as if I disconnect the optical cable, the problem doesn't occur through the internal speakers.
Any ideas appreciated.

Jul 8, 2011, 02:59 PM
Which component is doing the "sleeping," the iMac or the receiver?

I use optical audio with my 2008 iMac and this doesn't happen.

Jul 8, 2011, 03:04 PM
OK, good question.
I can't say for sure, but when I run Windows from Bootcamp the same thing happens. However, when I was using the same receiver on a PC with Windows, it didn't happen, so I guess it's down to the iMac.
It's very, very annoying!
(I also have issues with DD5.1, i.e. I can't get it to work, but I'll leave that for another thread!

Jul 9, 2011, 01:43 PM
Actually, I was wrong in what I said above, it doesn't happen in Windows 7 Bootcamp, so I guess it's definitely down to OS X.
Any thoughts?

Jul 10, 2011, 09:37 AM
I learn something new every day.

Most likely, my iMac sound is going to sleep, but my speaker system just isn't making a popping sound; it's absolutely silent (I use Logitech Z-5500's).

I did find a thread (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2005338?threadID=2005338) with this issue addressed, and apparently there are a couple of apps you can try which "keep the sound awake," so to speak. Give it a look and see if it helps.

Jul 10, 2011, 11:16 AM
Thanks again for your help. As I said in the first post, I have tried the 'app' solutions without success, almost all of them, like SoundOn and KeepSoundAwake, don't work on Intel Macs.
The only one that does is Antipop, but it has only limited success.

Jolly Jimmy
Jul 10, 2011, 12:32 PM
I use a simple applescript to prevent the sound from muting itself after 30 seconds. It just repeatedly plays a sound at 0 volume.

N.B. This app won't show in the dock and you have to force quit it in activity monitor should you ever need to (I never do). It takes up virtually no resources so you can set it to run at login and forget about it.

Jul 10, 2011, 03:22 PM
Thanks so much for that. I'll try it out and let you know how it goes.

Jolly Jimmy
Jul 11, 2011, 09:13 PM
I made a updated version that includes an installer of sorts and a small app to toggle the background process. Feel free to try it out and report any problems you should encounter. It's all done in applescript so it's pretty crude but it should do the job sufficiently well.

Jul 12, 2011, 03:38 AM
Thanks a lot Jimmy. The installer is nice!
It seems to be working a treat. I'll be pointing others who have this problem to this thread and hope it'll work for them too.

Jul 12, 2011, 06:54 PM
Not such good news now, I'm getting crashes from your little app.
See attached file.
Any ideas?

Jolly Jimmy
Jul 13, 2011, 07:28 AM
Did the error just come out of the blue? I'll re-do a version that's fully self contained and see if that helps.

Jolly Jimmy
Jul 13, 2011, 08:29 AM
Try this one out. This version is completely self contained so no need for an uninstaller. Just remember to uninstall the old version using the previous installer first.

Jul 13, 2011, 11:04 AM
Thanks a lot. I'm trying it out now.
The error sort of came out of the blue after I had quit from VLC after playing a DVD.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Jolly Jimmy
Jul 13, 2011, 11:58 AM
Another small update :)

Jul 13, 2011, 12:30 PM
Thanks again, I'm trying it now.

Jolly Jimmy
Jul 14, 2011, 09:22 AM
Just realised something, the system won't ever sleep while it's running. Kind of a major drawback. I'm not sure if it's even possible to work around this in applescript but I'm working on it.

Jul 14, 2011, 09:26 AM
Thanks for the update. I always force a sleep with the option-command-eject keystroke. Works OK with that.
My iMac has never done an auto-sleep, ever. I did ask here about why that was, but never really got an answer. The HD just never shuts down in auto-sleep, but forcing sleep works fine.

Jul 17, 2011, 03:40 AM
Hi Jimmy.
Just thought I'd let you know that SoundStay works well when it's loaded, but unfortunately, it is crashing a lot with the 'SoundStay has encountered an error' box.
Any thoughts?

Jolly Jimmy
Jul 17, 2011, 06:17 AM
Hmm, I don't know what the problem is, I am yet to experience a crash myself. Maybe there's is a conflict with another app you're using? :confused: I'll see what I can do.

Thanks for reporting the problem.

Jul 17, 2011, 06:32 AM
Thanks again. If I recognise any pattern in the crash - apps open, etc. - then I'll let you know.

Jul 17, 2011, 07:34 AM
OK, I've identified one situation where SoundStay crashes each time, and that is when playing a movie in iTunes that is passing DD5.1 through. Within about a second, the dreaded message comes up every time!

Jolly Jimmy
Jul 17, 2011, 08:33 AM
Great, thanks a lot for your help with this.

Try these 2 out, fingers crossed.

Thanks for your time.

Jul 17, 2011, 09:11 AM
No luck, I'm afraid. The first one just crashes when iTunes plays a DD movie with the error box.
The second one doesn't produce an error, but just unloads when iTunes plays the movie.

Jolly Jimmy
Jul 17, 2011, 09:31 AM
OK thanks. This way is too problematic, I'll try a completely different method.

Jolly Jimmy
Aug 17, 2011, 04:30 PM
For others looking for a solution to this problem, SoundStay is now available on MacUpdate.

SoundStay on MacUpdate (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/39833/soundstay)

Nov 5, 2013, 06:22 AM

I'm absolutely new to macrumors forum, so greetings to everybody! :)

Jimmy, I'm resurrecting this old thread because I'd like to try your app... My external audio card resets audio volume to max every time the mac interrupts the optical signal and it is really annoying! ;)

I get the same message telling that the file is corrupt when I try to open both the installer and the soundstay.app file inside.. I took the zip file from MacUpdate... could you please provide me another download? Thank you very very much.

Claudio :)

Jolly Jimmy
Nov 5, 2013, 09:38 AM
Hey there!

I only ever tested SoundStay on 10.6.8 (I'm still on SL now). I don't think it ever worked on anything higher. I may update it at the start of next year when I upgrade to something newer.

Nov 5, 2013, 09:49 AM
Hey there!

I only ever tested SoundStay on 10.6.8 (I'm still on SL now). I don't think it ever worked on anything higher. I may update it at the start of next year when I upgrade to something newer.
I'm please to say that Soundstay has worked on 10.7, 10.8 and now 10.9.
It's been a lifesaver!

Jan 11, 2014, 07:41 PM
Just noticed this phenomenon with my iMac connected to Logitech Z5500's via optical.
Have you considered putting this app on the app store? Surely we cant be the only ones with this problem