MacBook Pro, Mac Pro & AC3 Encoding with Built-in Audio

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Ozy, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. Ozy macrumors regular

    Ozy

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Goodyear, AZ
    #1
    Hi Guys,

    I currently have a MacBook Pro and am trying my hardest to get the built-in digital mini optical out to output realtime AC3. I run the "Audio MIDI setup" and if I try to change the digital output to "Encode Digital Audio", it disables the sound device. Does the integrated audio card have support for this? Will the mac pro? I need AC3 output so I can decode to 5.1 or 7.1 audio. If the Macbook Pro doesnt support it, does the M-Audio Transit device introduce any noticable audio lag because its USB? Will the Mac Pro's audio device support realtime AC-3 encode? Since it doesnt have any extra PCI slots, an M-Audio 7.1 evolution card is out of the picture. This product would best fit my needs because i'm using a Creative GigaWorks 7.1 audio with those plugs, but I could add a receiver if required. I'm just very fearful of audio lag.

    Thanks guys, i'm trying to finally set my PC aside, but require multi-channel audio for gaming (WoW) & local movie playback.

    Thanks
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #2
    personally, i have no idea. i've got a d/a converter tied to my s/pdif out, but it's stereo only.

    is your applecare still active?
     
  3. Ozy thread starter macrumors regular

    Ozy

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Goodyear, AZ
    #3
    Yes, my applecare is still active. Why'z that?
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    so you can call apple and get their help. i don't think anyone here will be able to assist.
     
  5. Ozy thread starter macrumors regular

    Ozy

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    Aug 8, 2006
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    Goodyear, AZ
    #5
    That confuses me. You'd think what i'm asking isn't something many people would want. Is multi-channel audio such a niche thing?
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #6
    i just don't think many people have done it. i've seen the question asked a lot, but never answered. that's why i said it's unlikely anyone here can help.

    if you do get it all working, it'd be great if you could post back explaining it all. it'd end up helping others later.
     
  7. Ozy thread starter macrumors regular

    Ozy

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Goodyear, AZ
    #7
    Wow that was completely useless. I just spent 40 minutes on hold to explain my question to a tech support guy who told me he had no idea. He wanted me to go into the nearest apple store (40+ miles from my house), and talk to the "Media Bar" because they'll know my answer!

    How frustrating is that... I pay $300 for support and all they do is redirect me to a local store. The people at the stores seem to know even less!

    *edit*: So now i go to the apple.com site to set a reservation at the local store, and it tells me they are too busy to help me. But, if i was to spend $99 for a ProCare account, then they could "squeeze" me in.

    :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
  9. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    #9
    The optical outputs do 5.1. Should work. Ask on the logic or audio discussion forum on apple.com's discussion page.
     
  10. e-clipse macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    #10
    Don't take my response too seriously because I am not sure. I also have a Macbook Pro.With multi-channel studio programs, they run with lag
    without an external audio card with ASIO. .i do not see anything about the Griffin card samplerate 44.1k-48k, whether it 16bit or 24bit, or if it has ASIO support. Those issues are important to me if I am just using Reason
    or am planning to have a very basic studio setup.


    Most usb2 devices can handle playing audio, but with possible hiccups every now and them. For an audio card (interface), I would always take firewire over usb.

    As a gaming and movie sound card , it should be a vast improvement over stereo sound. I do not know if the card itself could cause any latency. I doubt it.
    For your needs, it couldn't hurt.

    Basically, I am not sure what you should do.
     
  11. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    #11
    ASIO is a windows thing. Not OS X. These outputs will output what you are asking. With OS X you choose either optical or analog outs. So it may be turning off the analog.

    I'm not sure what you are asking, and I'm not sure if you know what you are asking. OS X has a core audio driver component. Compatible OS X sound devices which are core audio compliant use this low latency driver. Somewhat similar to ASIO, but better. Look at m-audio devices. They are all core audio compliant, as are most pro audio devices.

    FWIW: Using the onboard sound card with Logic or Sibelius playing back heavy stuff on my powermac G5, I get hickups. But if I use my m-audio FW410, the playback is flawless. And the device is using the core audio driver.
     
  12. e-clipse macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    #12
    Thankyou! I learned something as well. I have only been a Mac user for less than a week. Reason runs slow as crap on my Macbook Pro. I only have 512 megs of ram. I am upgrading to 2 gigs. Hopefully that will fix some of the hiccups. Also, I do not have the universal release of Reason, because I have 2.5 and have to purchase 3 to get the 3.0.5 universal upgrade.
     
  13. e-clipse macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

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    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    #13
    good advice!
     
  14. e-clipse macrumors 6502

    e-clipse

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    #14
    Macbook Pro does support multichannel outputs. I do not know the extent of the surround decoding.

    Ozy, do you have a receiver with an optical input?

    If, so Apple sells a cord by Belkin that has a mini plug to optical adaptor that
    connects directly from the Macbook Pro output into any audio product that has
    an optical input. Radio shack in the US carries generic brand cords like these for extra cheap.
    Belkin Cable http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/http://AppleStore.woa/wo/6.RSLID?mco=D1AC5602&nplm=TA968LL%2FA

    So....if you have a surround sound receiver or computer speaker package with an optical input, you should not need to use a firewire device, such as the Griffin. But, if it is more cost effective for you to go with an external firewire audio device, go for it.

    Like scottlinux replied, the Apple discussions page is loaded with info on this. That is where I found this information.
     
  15. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #15
    I do believe the optical output supports DTS and AC3 passthrough. i.e. If you have audio material which is DTS/AC3, it will play it 5.1 through the optical. The Macs however will not encode it without additional software and/or hardware. Is that your question is is it just about getting pre-encoded AC3 out of the optical out? Because that should be supported as standard.
     

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