5.1 Audio on Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ComeOnDieYoung, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. ComeOnDieYoung macrumors member

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #1
    Does it have it, or will I need to buy a new card?

    If so, any recommendations?
     
  2. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #2
    The optical out port works for DVDs etc. You just need a decoder most good home theatre systems have an optical in.

    5.1 won't work for games though. Only DVDs and some other encoded files if done right.
     
  3. orpheus1120 macrumors 65816

    orpheus1120

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    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    Malaysia
    #3
    I was just thinking about this earlier on....

    Does the MP has an internal sound card etc? I was at the Creative Lab the other day and was looking through their soundblaster 5.1/7.1 system, and wondered if it could be used in the MP.

    Anyone has any idea if we need a sound card, or the MP has one to start with?
     
  4. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #4
    The Companion® 5 multimedia speaker system
    A little pricey but you get what you pay for...

    Quote from there site. http://www.bose.com/controller?even...ainment/computer_gaming/companion_5/index.jsp

    Designed for 5.1-encoded music, games and movies. Our premium three-piece computer system plays multichannel sound that seems to surround you, right at your desktop. And setup is a snap.
     
  5. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #5
    The MacPro has built-in audio interfaces, but as trainguy explained, it depends a little bit on what you want to do. For 5.1, it can only play back pre-encoded Dolby Digitial/AC3 content, such as what you typically find on a DVD. It can not encode 5.1 in real time and output it on the optical audio out.

    If you want to do more generic 5.1, for example for music mixing or audio for video, you will need to add a more capable audio interface.

    - Martin
     
  6. Kosh66 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 15, 2004
    #6
    Most of Creative's stuff doesn't work with the Mac Pro as they don't have Mac drivers. I think one of their USB devices does work though.
     
  7. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
  8. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

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    Feb 2, 2005
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    Minnesota
    #8
    It will, however, still output stereo sound through the optical port when pre-encoded DD/AC3 content isn't being used. You'll just need a receiver that breaks it into "fake" 5.1 using Dolby Pro Logic II/whatever.

    I've been using the Soundblaster MP3+ USB sound card on my Macs for years to give my Cube (and more recently my iBook) an optical output, but I've never been able to get Dolby Digital/dts output working on my Macs because Creative doesn't have Mac drivers available for it, so it just uses generic USB audio drivers built into the OS. It is a bit of a shame; DD/dts passthrough works just fine in Windows XP with the Creative drivers.
     
  9. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 25, 2008
    #9
    Can someone cut this down for me (perhaps I am being a bit thick);

    If I connect a MP, via an optical cable, to some Logitech Z5500s, I will have 5.1 surround sound when playing a 5.1 source (DVD etc.), but it will only utilise a normal 2.1 setup when playing MP3s using iTunes?

    My PC soundcard will create a sense of surround sound, even when playing MP3s, and actually simulate various sound situations (live concert, opera house etc.).

    TIA, KB
     
  10. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #10
    If the amp you connect it too you can have the "fake" surround sound, by using Pro Logic II music, or using the hall, jazz, rock settings etc. Now not all amps have this. Mine does and many do though. So you can still get those same effects.
     
  11. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 25, 2008
    #11
    Thanks for the reply, but I do not have an Amp in the setup. Only the MP, and the Logitech Z5500 speaker set. Now the Z5500 does have an optical input, and of course an internet amplification, but I don't know if they do an up-mix (2.1 --> 5.1). Does someone know?
     
  12. murc585 macrumors regular

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    Jan 29, 2008
    #12
    the Z5500 also have an Dolby Pro Logic II decoder like most home theater receivers would. You just need to turn the pro logic on and it will simulate 5.1, just like a sound card would. Pro logic is pretty good at this as well, most HT systems use this to emulate 5.1 from tv shows and such.
     
  13. GreyHare macrumors member

    GreyHare

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    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #13
    So... does anyone have 5.1 surround working with both Mac OS X and Windows XP on the new Mac Pros?

    I've been trying a few things, but I haven't been able to get both sides working. The Griffin FireWave works swell on the Mac side, but isn't even recognized on the Windows side. I got a Tritton surround headphones (!) set because it converts AC3 optical to 3x3.5mm analog, but the MIDI Setup stuff won't let you set multichannel on the optical output.

    At this rate, I'm going to have to get a USB sound card for the Windows side and rig a circuit to mix the analog outputs before they go to the speakers. Ugh...

    It's just odd that every PC mobo out there has some kind of 5.1 analog out built in, and most have digital as well, and the Mac is still stereo only, except for AC3 pass-through.
     
  14. eyecool macrumors regular

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    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #14
    I have a Z550 system and will plug it in to the MP as soon as it gets here. They work fine on my mac book. They sound better on my XPS, but I rarely use that rig anymore. It has a proper sound card. Sound Blaster Audigy I believe.
     
  15. Bastich macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    #15
    I would be surprised if it doesn't have that feature. If not, I would recommend the M-Audio Sonica Theater 7.1 USB thingy, but it seems to be discontinued. TONS of features in their control panel:

    http://www.m-audio.com/images/global/manuals/SonicaTheater_Manual.pdf

    :cool:
     
  16. ray_uk macrumors member

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    Feb 27, 2005
    #16
  17. XianPalin macrumors 6502

    XianPalin

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    May 26, 2006
    #17
    I've been trying to figure this out too. Some people were saying you can't do optical 5.1 under Windows, is this correct?

    I have the firewave as well (with some cheaper 5.1 speakers), but I'm tempted to just get rid of all of that and get a nice 2.1 setup. I looked at the Bose Companion 5 speakers, but they're too expensive and they didn't sound too great in the store (no midrange).

    The only other option I've come up with is Firewave under OS X, and usb 5.1 headphones under Windows, but I would much rather just have a 5.1 setup that works under both.
     
  18. GreyHare macrumors member

    GreyHare

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    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #18
    It seems so. Windows is convinced the RealTek chip is 2-channel.

    Same here. Just hoping there's a better option, because I doubt anyone will be making a PCIe sound card soon.
     
  19. bubez macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Trieste, Italy
    #19
    I've bought a Miglia HarmonyAudio external 7.1 unit, connected via FireWire 400 interface. Sounds pretty good, runs even under windows and on the mac side I can say the surround works under CoD2 and Civilization 4. Sadly there's no 5.1/7.1 upmix option, so if the source is stereo (ex iTunes), it will remain stereo until you have a decoder (like logitech z-5500) and select dolby prologic2 music so the decoder does the upmix, but I prefer the Stereo x2 option. Plus it has an headphone jack with and 2 inputs, all with volume and gain control, and other stuff on the back that at this moment I don't remember. see at miglia's website the full specs
    price about 150$ or even less
     
  20. XianPalin macrumors 6502

    XianPalin

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    May 26, 2006
    #20
    Seems interesting but a little.. unpolished I guess. Also their site doesn't say anything about Windows, and it sounds like from you it might work as a speaker system under windows, but not as a 5.1? Is that right?
     
  21. Erwin-Br macrumors 6502a

    Erwin-Br

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    Feb 6, 2008
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    The Netherlands
    #21
    What the... I've read dozens of threads about 5.1 support in Windows using Bootcamp, and they all said it is possible using the optical connection. Don't tell me now that it doesn't work! :eek:

    --Erwin
     
  22. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

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    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #22
    I am also new to the Mac. So new I don't have it yet but here it what I was going to buy http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/firewave/ until I bought the Bose Companion 5 speakers.
     
  23. XianPalin macrumors 6502

    XianPalin

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    May 26, 2006
    #23
    I've got the firewave as well... I'm pretty sure it does NOT work under windows, just FYI. I guess you probably know that and that's why you plan on getting the companion 5s, but just throwing it out there just in case.
     
  24. Kosh66 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 15, 2004
    #24
    Just saw this thread again today. I have the Z5500's on my Mac Pro, but I only use MacOS X. When you say up-mix (2.1 --> 5.1) are you wondering if it sends stereo sound to all 5 speakers. The answer is yes. Ie. the 2 on the left play the left channel and the two on the right play the right channel. Not sure what the center one does, never checked.
     
  25. astrostu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    #25
    Two things:

    (1) Stupid question - how does the Logitech Z-5500 speaker system connect to your computer? Does it actually come with an optical audio cable, or do you have to buy one, or does it do it a different way?

    (2) Anyone tried the Altec-Lansing FX5051 speakers? They connect via USB so seems like it would be easier. Anyone know how they compare with the Logitech ones?
     

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