G5's optical audio?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by MrSugar, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. MrSugar macrumors 6502a

    MrSugar

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    #1
    So I just got my new G5 and I had a vew questions about Optical Audio. First of all, when I run my G5 in the Optical out port there is always a red light on, is that normal? Second, has anyone else hooked up to optical, does it work well / sound nice? Last, are there any speakers or sound systems you would recomend?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #2
    The red light is very normal - that means you have signal! :p
    The sound output will be much better than standard stereo - provided that the source you are playing is a higher quality.
    Many people connect the G5s optical out to a receiver with an optical in. If you don't have that kind of setup, this Logitech 5.1 setup is highly regarded.
     
  3. MrSugar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MrSugar

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    #3
    thanks! Okay, so if I were to get a reciever (this is the best option being I have a lot of devices) what reciever do you reccomend? Also what speakers would you reccomend to plug in to it?
     
  4. Laslo Panaflex macrumors 65816

    Laslo Panaflex

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Tokyo
    #4
    I just moved and got a new desk, it made room for my home theater system to be plugged into my G5 through the optical out, and WOW, it sounds great. The only thing is, you can't control the volumeon the keyboard or through the OS, you can only mute the audio, you have to control the volume at the reciever. All in all I really enjoy watching my DVD's in 5.1 audio on my 23" Cinema display.

    Bottom line, if you have the money to spend, DO IT, its well worth it.
     
  5. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #5
    I run the optical out into an old Sony STRD 2020 receiver.
    Sounds great.
     
  6. Xenious macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    #6
    I'm sorry but I have to add the obligitory

    "we get signal!"
    "all your base are belong to us!"

    I'm looking at the logitech speakers too as everyone mentioned here. I wish Klipsch would develop a nice set with optical inputs. Any other optical speaker setup options?
     
  7. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #7
    If you got the receiver/speaker route, DO NOT skimp on the speakers; you will regret it for a long time. JBL, Klipsch, Cerwin Vega, Boston Acoustics, even Sony. No Optimus, RadioShaft, or even KLH. (KLH is sometimes okay.)
     
  8. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #8
    Beware that this thread could quickly deteriorate into a religious war over the best audio equipment. What's fundamentally important is that you like the way what you buy sounds. No matter what you get, someone else will claim it sucks.

    Given that your mileage may vary, here is my opinion:

    I would recommend a receiver/speaker combo over a 5.1 all-in-one speaker setup unless you simply don't have room for the receiver. The receiver/speaker combo is much more upgradeable/expandable.

    I just bought, for $300, a Denon AVR1604. There are other similarly priced models out there, one in particular is the Onkyo TX-SR502, which costs the same and which I basically didn't get as the result of a coin flip - they are very, very similar, and the Denon just happened to be available at a store 10 minutes away, whereas the Onkyo was out of stock at another store 12 minutes away. If you spend more, you'll get more. If you spend less, you'll get less. For me, since I was replacing a very nice receiver that my 3 1/2 year old destroyed with juice, I bought something reasonably decent. I am very, very happy with the Denon. I couldn't justify spending a ton of money, nor did I want very low-end stuff. Having listened to both, the Denon and Onkyo are both very good mid-range systems and would satisfy 95% of users. You could be happy for less, but you won't find much with optical in for under $200. Please try to find something you can see, touch, and hear before you buy it - internet pictures only get you so far.

    As far as speakers: I got a set of Polk R20's (now discontinued) when they were on sale at Circuit City, and a Cambridge SoundWorks Classic Series CenterStage Center Speaker . I also have a Polk PSW1200 Subwoofer that is massive overkill for what I need - but I have it, so I'm going to use it.

    However, I believe that you can "go low" on the speakers and still be better off than most all-in-one speaker systems. If you need to save money, buy a speaker package. I've seen very nice ones as low as $150 on clearance. Here's one I've heard for $150. Yes, it isn't phenomenal. But, for $150, it's very very nice. Add that to the Denon or something similar, and you've got a very nice audio setup with great expandability for under $500.

    If that's too much, I've seen home theater setups for under $250 with optical input.

    Best of luck with your decision, however you decide to go!
     
  9. MrSugar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MrSugar

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    #9
    Thanks for the great input. I have one last question, the speakers I buy, they need to be plugged into the Optical out port correct? I thought that most speakers still aren't optical... are the ones you linked me to optical, or am I mistaken about this whole procedure? Sorry, I am kinda a newbie on the audio department.
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #10
    here's the chain you'll need: mac (through optical port) -> d/a converter -> amplifier -> speakers

    the receivers listed above will serve as the d/a (digital/analog) converter and amp. it's also possible to buy self-powered speakers, but you'll still be needing the d/a converter. if you want a kickass one, this benchmark dac-1 is the one i've got. it's got a volume control and self-powered speakers can be hooked to it directly.

    however, that converter is probably overkill for you, so check out the digital-in receivers.
     
  11. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #11
    Religious Speaker War

    I got an Arcam Diva A85 integrated amp and some ATC speakers about a year ago, and oh man, they sound great.

    http://www.arcam.co.uk/

    Lee Tom
     
  12. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #12
    This might go without saying, but in case you weren't sure:

    Assuming you buy a receiver with optical in and a set of speakers, be sure to also get:

    • An optical cable to connect the Mac to your receiver. Make sure you buy one which is long enough - you might even go so far as to set up the system, then run some string or spare cable or what have you between the receiver and the Mac to make sure you've got the distance right. Optical cables are called, among other things, "Fiber Optic Cables" and "TOSLink Cables".
    • Enough wire to connect each speaker to the receiver. Again, make sure you get enough - you don't want to get home and wind up two feet short.

    If you're an audio newbie, you don't need to concern yourself with buying premium audio cable from, say, Monster. You can get the expensive stuff, but, honestly, inexpensive speaker wire will work fine for you, as long as it's at least 16 gauge (meaning 16, 14, 12, etc., not 18, 20, 22, etc.).

    As far as speakers:

    It's usually best to get them all from one maker (mine aren't completely from one, but, hey, it's a computer setup, not an audiophile listening room, and they work well together). That's the easiest way for a novice to make sure they'll sound good together.

    You'll want at least 2 speakers, obviously. I recommend a third, center speaker (make sure it's magnetically shielded). If you have the room, go for it and buy another pair (Dolby Pro-Logic, Dolby 5.1) or even two pairs (for a total of 7 speakers, if your receiver does 6.1 or 7.1 sound). BTW, the ".1" in 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 stands for the subwoofer. You can spend a fortune on a good subwoofer. You don't need to. You don't need one to start with, and, if you buy one, you'll likely need an RCA cable (the kind you use to connect your stereo components) to connect the subwoofer to the receiver.

    As a novice, you might be best served with a "home theater" speaker package, or even the "home theater in a box" setup - as long as that setup has optical in.

    But, if you get that Denon I mentioned above, you'll be quite happy. :)
     
  13. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #13
    Yeah, optical is only another audio cable. Just as you wouldn't plug a speaker into an RCA or 1/4 inch audio jack - the optical cable takes the audio signal to a power amp or receiver. That unit powers the speakers. To oversimplify - the opt cable carries a digital signal to the amp, speaker cables then carry the power from the amp to the speakers.
     
  14. MrSugar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MrSugar

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    #14
    Wow, thanks a lot guys great information! A lot of my questions have been cleared up. I suppose now the next step is to go listen and find out what sounds best to me! Thanks so much
     

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