"Optical digital line-in" & "optical digital line-out"?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by lieb39, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502


    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
    What does it mean by optical? This?

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


  2. macrumors 6502a

    "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.)

  3. Moderator


    Staff Member

    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.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    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.
  5. macrumors 68040


    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).
  6. macrumors 6502a

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

    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.
  8. macrumors 65816



    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?
  9. macrumors 68030


    What you want (for a PowerBook) is called TOSLink to Mini TOSLink.
  10. macrumors 65816


    From Apple:

    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:


  11. macrumors 68040


    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?
  12. macrumors 68040


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


    They are like $.95 at your local radio shack

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