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Digital audio on the 12" PB?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by johnnyjibbs, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. macrumors 68030


    I've hooked up my old Boston BA 735 digital speakers and subwoofer that came with my old Gateway PC to my PowerBook and can get (what appears to be) mono sound using the anologue input, but was wondering if I could get the digital audio to work? I have the digital lead which can also fit into the 3.5mm headphone jack on my PowerBook but no sound is output when I plug it in. I'm assuming I need a driver.

    Is one available for the Mac? Where could I download it from? Would it work with the PB 12" or does it require a G5 tower?

    I heard Macs were behind PCs in the sound stakes.
  2. macrumors 68040


    I'm not sure about a driver, you can try going to sound preferences and check where your speaker output is going to, try that first, other then that maybe someone might know more.
  3. macrumors 601


    I'm not familar with your speakers, however I purchased a M-Audio Sonica device that connects via the USB port. I use it for Dolby optical out to my home theather system, and to my Logitech digital speakers.

    http://www.m-audio.com , it was around $50.00.
  4. macrumors newbie

    If you are using the 1/8" audio out/headphone jack on the PB, you should be getting analog stereo output directly to your speakers without the need for any extra drivers. If you are only getting a mono output, your speaker plug may not be sitting well physically in the audio jack. Try unplugging and replugging. If this doesn't work, maybe you have a bum plug. On a related note, a bad plug or adapter can ruin your output jack. This happened to me with my old G3 PB.

    As for digital audio output, the PowerBooks do not come equiped with digital S/PDIF outputs. Only the G5 towers do. If you want digital audio output from a PB, you'll need to get either a USB (like the M-Audio Sonica joshuawaire mentioned) or a more expensive "prosumer" FireWire audio interface (like the MOTU 828mkII). If you really want to go pro, a PCM/CIA audio card, like the RME Hammerfall is the way to go.

    As for Macs being behind PCs in the audio game... well... that will depend on who you talk to. The gold-standard pro audio editing system is Mac-based: Digidesign's Pro Tools. Digital audio and MIDI have been specialties of the Mac for at least 15 years. While there may be a lot more software out there for the PC, IMHO Mac's perform far better in this area.

    cheers, lk
  5. macrumors 68030


    Thanks for the replies guys. I might look at some of those options or have another fiddle around. I've fully checked out sound preferences to no avail though.
  6. macrumors 68000

    The headphone jack of the PB does not supply digital-out sound...just analog (unlike some portable CD players and MD players from Sony that I know of, that DO supply digital-out through the headphones). It is unfortunate...I'd love to plug in my Mac to my digital receiver through an optical line without a converter....

    Here is the product/converter someone mentioned earlier:


    Good Luck!! :)

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