5.1 sound from the mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Extreme Red, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. Extreme Red macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    can the mini feed into a home theater with 5.1 sound? If so, how?
  2. showtime macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2007
    You can get 5.1 sound from the mac mini via an external sound card like the griffin firewave. It just hooks up to a firewire port. Apparently they are being discontinued so Griffin has them on clearance for $30: http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/firewave
  3. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Yes, the Mini can do 5.1, 6.1, 9.1 - whatever (see #3 below). But, that's provided the following criteria are met:

    1. Your receiver has an optical input and is capable of decoding the digital surround file encoded in your media (e.g., Dolby Digital).

    2. You have a Toslink cable between your Mini and the receiver.

    3. You have media with digital surround sound encoded.

    Number 3 is tricky. If you're talking about a DVD (real or ripped to your hard drive), then the Mini will work as is. If you're using another file type (e.g., MPEG-4 in any of its various formats), then you'll likely need Perian (free download) and a version of QuickTime that can passthrough the digital surround sound file. Apple seems to go out of its way to break passthrough. Not sure why, but my Mini home theater system is two versions behind the current because it can still passthrough Dolby Digital to my Onkyo receiver.
  4. Extreme Red thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    Does the toslink connect directly to the audio out of the mac mini? is this the same as the audio out on the macbook?

    If that is the case what advantage would griffin firewave provide?

    Also, is there any difference in the audio quality from toslink and that carried by hdmi cable (e.g., apple tv).
  5. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    The optical cable needs a mini plug on one end, conventional plug on the other end. The mini plug connects to your Mac.

    I don't know anything about the Griffin, thus I cannot comment on it.

    My understanding is that HDMI is superior to optical, but optical is pretty kick-@$$, if you catch my drift.
  6. Extreme Red thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    that's great. I'm going to go out now and see if I can find one.
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    You might want to read the first post of this thread for more info on digital surround sound for your mini, particularly that in blue font.

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