5.1 approach?

sergiobaschi

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 30, 2012
199
6
Gothenburg, Sweden
I've had two Scandyna Micropods with a noname subwoofer as my iMac speakers. One of the Micropods has broken, and I'm looking to replace it with a 5.1 system. The purpose is mainly to enjoy surround effects during my rare gaming sessions, but also to fill my rather big office with great sound, and not just the position in front of the monitor.

I currently use a late 2012 iMac, but I'm looking into replacing it with a MBP + eGPU.

I see two possible paths:

1) Buy a set of 5.1 active speakers and a USB->TOSLINK adapter (or whatever the 5.1 system needs input wise)
2) Buy a receiver and a set of passive 5.1 speakers


I do really not want to by a plastic Logitech set for 200 dollars, I'm willing to pay for both quality as well as design. Let's say the budget tops out at US$ 1000 for the entire system.

Which path would you go, and do you have any 5.1 sets that you recommend?
 

xb2003

macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2016
370
104
MO
Sorry for the late reply..

As a sound engineer, 5.1+ channel audio is one of the most intriguing and, IMO, missed opportunities in entertainment. Movie lover? Surround can be a great experience. Outside of that? It's very hit and miss.

As far as games go, very few PC/Mac games even support surround, even fewer properly support it, and even fewer yet have dolby encoders; you generally need a sound card to do it or have to do it with analog outs from a sound card. (Speaking generically about PC and MAC) Consoles far and wide have much better support for more than stereo sound.

Maybe you play games that specifically support 5.1? I don't know, I just want you to be aware so that you don't invest in a 5.1 setup only to realize you can't use it with your games.

As far as music goes and filling your office with sound, well music is mixed in stereo. So to translate this to 5.1, you either have to use ProLogic and fake it, or you just have lefts and rights playing the same thing which destroys stereo imaging among other things. If that's ok with you, by all means, it's your setup after all. Some people really enjoy listening to music in 5.1 with ProLogic.

As far as active speakers vs. Receiver and passive.. At $1000 I would say passives and a receiver is probably best, although if there is anything you are specifically looking at I'm happy to advise further!
 

Ritsuka

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2006
994
453
Avoid tosklink. Toslink can do 5.1 audio only if compressed in ac3 (and that sucks by today standards). HDMI can do full passhtru of 5.1 or more PCM audio channels. Or a card with 6 physical outputs.