5.1 optical out from MacBook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by th1nk, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. th1nk macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2008
    I just found out that the Macbook Air does not have the combined optical out port like the MacBook Pro. I am currently looking for a cheap solution to get optical TOSLINK or coaxial signal to my receiver which has no HDMI port.

    I googled quite a bit and was shocked that I could not find a solution.

    Really, no one has found a solution for this yet? I mean there just has to be an external soundcard with Bitstream-Passtrough or some kind of HDMI to TOSLINK audio adapter or something? I found some USB adapters, but it seems the 5.1 only works on windows, Mac ist stereo only. WTF?

    Please tell me that I will be able to get my delicious 5.1 from my new MacBook Air when it arrives, or I will have to send it back and wait for the new thin MacBook Pro 13"! :(
  2. kylera macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    I did some Googling and found this:
  3. Monkeyat macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2009
    The best solution, IMHO is to use an Airport Express from Apple and you will get a 3.5-mm audio minijack for analog or optical digital sound. And if you don't have one, you can get a mini-jack to Toslink adapter from Amazon

    Take a look here :cool:
  4. th1nk thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2008
    thanks for the replies! :)
    will the airport express also work with VLC and other players to output true 5.1? or is it limited to itunes and other airplay-enabled applications?

    also, 99 bucks for optical audio is a lot of cash... has anyone successfully used a 30 buck usb soundcard to achieve simular results? I found the M-Audio Transit that supports digital AC3 pass-through, but production is discontinued. is there a similar product available right now?
  5. Monkeyat macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2009
    I personally use Airport Express and I love it! It's not just for audio, but it's a WiFi router and printer sharing. Alongside I use Airfoil to stream all audio to it. It's just great !

    You can find a refurbished one from Apple at $69,00 here.
  6. th1nk thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2008
  7. th1nk thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2008

    I ordered the Ligawo HDMI switch and tested the optical out with my PS3 and it works with DTS and Dolby Digital!!!

    my macbook air will arive tomorrow and I will check if 5.1 digital sound also works. if yes, at 50 euro this may be the cheapest working solution to get optical audio out of a macbook air.


    hope this helps anyone else, I had to do quite a bit of research to find this solution. I am wondering: does everyone else have receivers with HDMI-in or do people just not care about 5.1 sound when using the MBA as their primary computer?
  8. theend22 macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2013
    Did this work with your MBA thunderbolt/MiniDisplay port to HDMI

    I was wondering if the Ligawo HDMI switch actually worked for you with the MBA. You never did say if it worked or not. I assumed seeing you never did post anything after this that it does work. Please let me know. I also cant believe there is nothing more out there on this topic.

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