5.1 Surround Sound on iMac for HL2?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by FalcorTheDog, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. FalcorTheDog macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2005
    I just got my sexy new 27" iMac and I am loving it. This is the best gaming machine I have ever owned. I also have some pretty kickass Logitech Z-5500 5.1 speakers, however, they don't seem to get recognized as surround sound.

    The sound setting in Half-Life 2, for example, is stuck on "2 speakers." Is there any way to get true 5.1 surround sound while gaming with this iMac? Would I need an external sound card or something? Would it work if I was gaming in Windows with Boot Camp?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  2. Sirobin macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2008
    I have the same speakers. Agreed, they're amazing. How are they hooked up to your Mac?
  3. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    I have the same speakers too. How are they connected? And I'm pretty sure that OpenAL on OS X doesn't support surround sound over an optical connection, if the game uses OpenAL. That's what UT2004 can't output surround sound in OS X over the optical connection. Perhaps through surround sound though... I may get out my USB sound card and give it a go since I've got some free time.

    OS X really sucks for surround sound gaming though, I wish Apple would make its' surround sound capability better.
  4. FalcorTheDog thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2005
    They're hooked up to the optical port via TOSLINK. Is there any other way to do it?
  5. voyagerd macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2002
    Rancho Cordova, CA
    I have the same speakers. Have you tried changing the output to 5.1 in Audio MIDI Setup under Utilities? I'm not sure if anything greater than 2 speakers is available for optical there. There is only the option for Stereo and Digital Encoded Audio on my MacBook Pro when using TOSLINK/Optical. For this reason, I only use optical for movies that are in Dolby Digital or DTS which gets you surround sound over optical when Digitally Encode Audio is selected. Otherwise, I use a Griffin FireWave to get surround sound. I haven't tried it in 10.7 yet though. It's been discontinued for awhile.
  6. MacsRgr8, Oct 8, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011

    MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    IIRC, dolby 5.1 in games rely on audio decoding by a compatible sound card and having the speakers connected via direct (analog) input.

    I can't remember one game that supports dolby 5.1 decoding done externally which is the case when using toslink optical, even in Windows.

    OTOH, it's been some time since I tried it... Boot Camp and my Soundbaster X-fi PCIe card in my Mac Pro gives me my sound in gaming. ;)
  7. FalcorTheDog thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2005
    Yeah, it's stuck on the "2 speaker" configuration in MIDI Setup for me unfortunately :-(
  8. Blake1 macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
    If I am right, does the sound card have to support ENCODING, and not decoding. Most game tracks are in LPCM which requires encoding if you are trying to get a Dolby Digital signal. I could be wrong, but that is what my understanding is...

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