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5.1 audio from a G4 FP iMac?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by punkmac, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. macrumors regular

    Just like the title asks: Can My iMac G4 10.3 output 5.1 Digital audio?

    My children bumped pro speakers off the desk and bent the jack.

    Instead of buying a new set I wanted make a completly new set-up.

    I have a really nice set of speakers and sub all I need is a new receiver.

    I wanted to upgrade to 5.1, We watch all our movies on the iMac.


  2. macrumors 65816


    There is currently no way to experience true Dolby or DTS 5.1 surround sound on your mac, but there are some alternatives.

    Check out the Sonica Theater from www.m-audio.com. It offers up to 7.1 surround sound from a USB interface. Using TrueSurroundXT and Circle Surround technologies you will be able to experience virtual, but not true surround sound. You can plug any multimedia speakers into Sonica Theater. Check it out.

    Edit: Well strike me down and call me shirley. The Sonica Theater does indeed offer Dolby and DTS surround sound provided you have OSX 10.3. :)
  3. macrumors G3


    Okay Shirley, *whacks invaLPsion upside the head with a titanium 2x10* :D
  4. macrumors regular

    true digital or simulated

    Is the Dolby and Dts true 5.1 or 2 channel spread out and simulated?

    What connection the Digital pro Speakers, headphone/line out, or USB?

    I thought the sound card in the iMacs were just 2 channel. I know DVD Player does NOW support 5.1 but for the Powermacs.

  5. macrumors regular


    Ok, I guess I should read the web site before asking questions.

    It says it passes the Dolby signal from DVD Player to analog out. Then, decodes the signal and can either be sent to a surround receiver's speaker jacks or digital out(the single orange plug).

    So I have to buy this and a nice 7.1 Receiver.

    Or pick up a very loud 2.1 set-up for alot cheaper.

  6. macrumors G3


    Not necessarily. There are speakers out there that accept digital inputs. Like the Logitech Z-680 system. And I'm sure there are others.
  7. Guest


    If you get the m-audio usb 5.1 output then once plugged in, this is recognised as a new sound card or output device on the audio control pannel. So It will bypass your mac's internal soundcard anyway.

    This should provide true 5.1 audio over Optical TOSLINK or Coaxial Digital to your receiver.

    The DVD Players (afaik) on the imac do not support 5.1 output (may be wrong, may come up with an option when it detects a soundcard with digital out), anyway go download VLC (Video Lan Client) and in the preferences there is an option to always use digital output. Use this player to play dvd's and your cooking on gas.

  8. macrumors regular

    5.1 and VLC

    These all sound like great options. I think I'm definitly going to get some kind of Digital Surround receiver because I want to upgrade to a Powermac at some point.

    I have seen the digital speakers out there. I wanted to use the speakers I have sitting in the closet 8>) My old receiver is fried and that's why I'm at this point in the first place.

    I do have VLC and love it! I'll check out that option for digital out.

    Thanks for your help everyone.

  9. macrumors G3


    DVD Player in Panther supports surround output (not sure on the formats though) when there is a third party sound card (or the digital output is used on a G5 system)
  10. macrumors G3


    They just updated them! i think its now the Z5500. I was thinking of getthing them for my pb. But the downside is they are $400 :eek:
  11. macrumors regular

    I was thinking of picking up the Z-680's as a birthday present for myself. Wonder how much better the Z5500's are.
  12. macrumors G3


    I heard them at compusa on an imac, sounded pretty darn good, but how they compare.... don't know....

    Also if you can't afford the Z5500's i found the 680's for a cheep at tigerdirect.com http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=457919&Sku=L23-6182 i've ordered stuff from b4 and i've been happy with my purchases.
  13. macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    punkmac, the M-Audio Transit more closely matches your needs than the M-Audio Sonica Theater. the list price of the Transit is $100 and the Sonica Theater's is $120. you can find a Transit for $80 though.

    the Transit has optical audio out, which is all you really want. you probably want to read reviews of the Transit though, concerning possible USB lag and such. I saw some forums (forgot where, maybe Apple's support forums) where some people had some funky wake-from-sleep issues with the Transit, but that might not affect iMacs.

    official info link:

    $68 plus ~10 shipping on eBay:

    I just searched and there are a bunch of threads concerning the M-Audio Transit and Sonica Theater on Apple's support forums.

  14. macrumors 68000


    I know these aren't surround sound speakers, but I have harmon/kardon soundsticks with an iSub and they sound AWESOME!!!!! All of the bass is pushed through the iSub so there's almost no limit to how loud they go and they sound really good. They have a really good, equal sound between all 3 pieces. I actually have the older soundsticks with the USB connection, but the newer ones go through the headphones port I believe. You have buy them online at places like macmall, or macwarehouse (CDW), etc....

    They cost around $170-$180. Harmon/Kardon is the same company that makes the old Apple Pro Speakers for the iMac G4 which also sound pretty good for little speakers.
  15. macrumors 68030


    Off topic, but I really wish somebody made the apple pro speaker to run off a normal headphone port. They would have to make a small amplifier somewhere before they hit the speakers. But I really liked the design of those speakers. And for some applications, I just need small stereo speakers, no 2.1 or anything.
  16. macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    Griffin Technology makes just such an amplifier, the iFire. It's powered by FireWire and takes the sound from the headphones jack. I own one and it works great, especially with my iSub.


    The subwoofer that's part of the Soundsticks set is not an iSub. A lot of people call it an iSub because it looks like an iSub, but that subwoofer is not an iSub.

    I've owned both the USB Soundsticks that you have and an iSub at the same time. Harman/Kardon even stated on their website (back when both products were available, the USB Soundsticks and the iSub), that the subwoofer with the Soundsticks was not an iSub and they were not compatible with each other. This was because some people erroneously thought they could buy the Soundsticks satellite speakers and have them work with the iSub they already owned.

    I traded my Soundsticks for a tripod but I still have the iSub.
  17. macrumors 68000


    What ever...if you're not gonna help then don't post! All people do in this damn forum is try to prove people wrong and start an argument over who's right and who's wrong when they should be helping the person who asked the question out!
  18. macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    take your own advice. your post was off topic, which you pointed out in your first sentence.

    my post (#13) WAS helpful, as it directly addressed the original poster's question. my subsequent post was helpful to jared_kipe's concern about using Apple Pro Speakers.

    I did not mean to hurt your feelings, and I'm not out to prove anyone wrong. there's no need to take it as an argument. these are just plain facts. thanks.
  19. macrumors 68000


    I wasn't off topic...I was just telling him about other options since its going to be harder to get surround sound speakers for his iMac.

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