Options for digital audio out on PB?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by akb, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. akb macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2004
    Hi all,

    I'm in the process of saving for a 15" PB, which I plan to purchase some time this year (trying to hold out for G5s, but I may fail!)

    I'm in the process of looking at options for sound output to my speaker system. I've got a fairly decent Harman/Kardon AV unit, which I use at the moment with my PC (I use a coaxial digital connection) for DVDs, iTunes etc.

    I know that the G5 PM has digital audio out, so obviously I'm crossing my fingers (but not holding my breath) that the G5 PB may have it. Realising that is fairly unlikely, I'm looking at alternatives...

    My understanding is that USB isn't quick enough to provide a perfect 5.1 datastream, is this correct? If so, I presume I'll have to look for Firewire solutions? I've seen a few Firewire devices that offer digital audio pass-through, but they have a million other features I wouldn't ever need (and am not willing to pay for).

    All I really want is either optical or coaxial digital out (supporting 5.1), and maybe a digital input of either type, too.

    Does anyone know of anything on the market (in the sub-£150/$300 price range)?

    I've searched around a fair bit, but couldn't come up with too much. Thanks a lot in advance!
  2. tomf87 macrumors 65816


    Sep 10, 2003
    Keep in mind that the PB's have USB 2.0, so their theoretical throughput is 480Mbps. So that may assist you in finding a cheaper solution.
  3. tripswitch macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2003
    lovely sunny UK
    Try the M Audio Firewire Audiophile, sounds good and works with pretty much everything. Also have a look at the Sonica which is USB but does work as well.
  4. superbovine macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2003
    the ac-3/dts passthrough on the m-audio. is that for input/output? only input?
  5. akb thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2004
    Thanks a lot for the responses guys, it's really appreciated. :)

    The Sonica looks interesting...

    I must admit, I'm no audiophile - I know very little about the requirements in terms of bandwidth etc. for digital pass-through - but I see the requirement for the Sonica is for a USB 1.1 port - so does that mean the Sonica won't operate at USB 2.0 speeds when connected to a 2.0 port? If it doesn't, could it handle full Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS?

    Essentially all that matters to me is the Sonica managing Dolby Digital and DTS pass-through without any loss in quality. If it can do that for $69.95, then I'm over the moon. :)

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