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View Full Version : "Optical digital line-in" & "optical digital line-out"?


lieb39
Oct 27, 2005, 01:35 AM
Hello everyone,

I was looking at the 15" PB website like I usally do (I'm getting it soon hopefully :p) and I noticed the following
Combined analog and optical digital line-in, combined analog and optical digital line-out, stereo speakers, microphone

What does it mean by optical? This?
http://image.findandcompare.com/us/productimages/67/815939.jpg

If so, where would it actually connect? Surely it can't share a port with a analog cable.. can it?

Thanks,

lieb39

portent
Oct 27, 2005, 02:21 AM
"Optical" as in "fiber optic." The connectors are TOSLINK fiber optic cables.

Unlike analog signals sent over copper cables, digital fiber optic signals do not suffer from interference or signal degradation. (At lest, not in the cable.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOSLINK

robbieduncan
Oct 27, 2005, 05:06 AM
If so, where would it actually connect? Surely it can't share a port with a analog cable.. can it?

It could do, just look at the Aiport Express which does this. There are two types of TOSLink connectors, one is the type you've shown, the other is a massive long thing that allws you to have combined headphone and optical jacks.

khisayruou
Oct 27, 2005, 01:38 PM
The optical digital out port is shared with your headphone out jack.
So you can only use one or the other.

You will need the optical cables you have shown and a mini adapter.
The adapter fits on the end and its real thin so it goes right in.

matticus008
Oct 27, 2005, 02:25 PM
The optical digital out port is shared with your headphone out jack.
So you can only use one or the other.

You will need the optical cables you have shown and a mini adapter.
The adapter fits on the end and its real thin so it goes right in.

This is important to emphasize. A TOSLink optical cable will not connect directly to the PowerBook.

Alternatively, most digital outputs on sound cards will work with coaxial digital connections. I've not seen any comments on the PowerBook's audio to know if this works, but sometimes the cheapest way to get digital sound is by a minijack to RCA adapter. Then you can use any good quality minijack and RCA cables you already have (especially if the optical cables you have are too short, and the price of long optical cables is high).

portent
Oct 27, 2005, 02:57 PM
This is important to emphasize. A TOSLink optical cable will not connect directly to the PowerBook.


Correct, thanks. However, it will connect to a Power Mac with digital audio.

macdad2
Oct 27, 2005, 03:14 PM
This is Optical digital audio... RCA adaptors and the like WILL NOT carry the digital audio signal to and from a powerbook's digital audio outs. The cable must be fiber optic - as the digital signal (in this case) is carried by light pulses, not electrical ones. As mentioned above, a toslink (which is just the name of the connector on the end of the fiber optic cable) to 1/8" fiber optic cable works great on my PB. I found the cables at a local high end stereo store for about 15$ each (10ft) but using an 1/8" optic adaptor will work just as well.

Squonk
Oct 27, 2005, 03:24 PM
I think this is the coolest thing - the ability to send 5.1 audio out of the PowerBooks - sweet!

This is new to the HD PowerBooks (15 & 17), right?

risc
Oct 27, 2005, 03:25 PM
What you want (for a PowerBook) is called TOSLink to Mini TOSLink.

ChrisFromCanada
Oct 27, 2005, 03:57 PM
This is important to emphasize. A TOSLink optical cable will not connect directly to the PowerBook.

Alternatively, most digital outputs on sound cards will work with coaxial digital connections. I've not seen any comments on the PowerBook's audio to know if this works, but sometimes the cheapest way to get digital sound is by a minijack to RCA adapter. Then you can use any good quality minijack and RCA cables you already have (especially if the optical cables you have are too short, and the price of long optical cables is high).

From Apple:

The 15-inch and 17-inch PowerBook systems also include built-in optical digital audio input and output for connecting to devices such as decks, receivers, digital instruments, and 5.1 surround sound systems. Because optical digital audio transmits data as impulses of light rather than electrical signals, it enables true noise-free, pristine sound—eliminating troublesome ground loops and ensuring higher audio and signal quality.

You appear to have been slightly mistaken. And going Mini Jack --> 2 RCA cables is not at all digital.

EDIT: My bet is either one of these works fine:

http://www.taiyip.com/optical/pof16.jpg

http://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/images/products/tos-jack.jpg

matticus008
Oct 27, 2005, 04:03 PM
This is Optical digital audio...
Yes it is. However, Apple's documentation only specifies S/PDIF. My PC's sound card, for example, has an S/PDIF output that works with both optical and coaxial digital connections (through the same minijack output). I've used both of them. Creative marketed it as an "optical digital output" also but it handled digital out via regular coax as well.

The same might be true of the PowerBook. Does anyone know the answer to this?

matticus008
Oct 27, 2005, 04:06 PM
You appear to have been slightly mistaken. And going Mini Jack --> 2 RCA cables is not at all digital.

Minijack -> ONE coaxial (RCA) cable, connected to the coaxial digital input of your receiver and carrying a fully digital signal.

alfonsog
Oct 27, 2005, 04:31 PM
What you want (for a PowerBook) is called TOSLink to Mini TOSLink.
They are like $.95 at your local radio shack