5.1 Surround Sound on New MacBook Pro 2011 Model

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by wdenver, May 24, 2011.

  1. wdenver macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2011
    Hi all you experts out there...I know this has been discussed with the old MBP models but I didnt see a resolved answer also I didnt see anyone discuss this on the MBP 2011 model.

    My Scenario:
    I have:
    MBP 2011
    Yamaha TSS-15 Home Theater 5.1 Surround Sound
    Connecting using some cable from headphone out to the red and white port on the back of Yamaha amp.

    I am getting only 3.1 sound now ie, front left & right, center speakers and woofer are working. Back L&R are not throwing the surround effect.

    My try:
    I called apple care and they said there is no 5.1 SS out from 2011 MBP (is it true? I trust u guy's opinion than the customer support). They said apple store dont have any 5.1 SS card.
    I did research for 2 days on the net, but no use

    Solution Tried:
    If Apple is right that they dont have 5.1SS output from MBP 2011 then there is no point in buying an optical cable.
    No HDMI port in my Yamaha amp. Hence thats not an option. Also I use the HDMI port of my MBP to connect to TV.

    Sound Card:
    All I can find are below but they say, its only compatable for windows OS.
    Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro USB
    ZALMAN 5.1Ch USB Sound Card ZM-RSSC

    Read about "Griffin 4019-FIRESS FireWave Surround Sound for Macs", but not sure whether this will work.

    Could you guys please help me on this? I did research for 2 days on the net and calling the apple support and all I have is above data not a solution. Kindly help. Is there anyone who tried and got results from MBP 2011 or any model. Thanks
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    The red/white RCA jack is stereo. Not just on the Macbook, but on every devices that uses/has such a red/white combination port. The 2011 Macbook Pro does have full 7.1 surround support via optical out. The Griffin Firewaves do work, but its easier to use the optical out.
  3. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
  4. colour macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    I use a toslink cable with a mini adapter for the macbook (2011)

    It works but i dont now if it is exactly 5.1 even though i have a 5 speaker stereo set up.

    It does sounds very very good though especially when you listen to high quality music or watch higher quality movies with good audio.
  5. wdenver thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2011
    wow...thats so great guys...Thanks for the swift reply....good to hear it from the people who really uses it...These apple customer care dont have a full product knowledge I think. Anyway....as I dont have an optical out from my MBP, and also as I am in Japan (Not sure the link provided by Lee will ship here), I will use the cable in the below link to connect. It will work, right?


    or this,


    sorry for the Japanese language. Kindly use a translator.

    @ colour: plz go to you tube and search for "Halo surround sound". Thats the best way to check ur 5.1SS. The video will say each speaker name and u will hear that audio in that speaker only... :)

    Thanks again guys.....Please help on the cable question also.....
  6. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    The products in either of those links will work.
  7. johnnj macrumors 6502a

    Dec 11, 2008
    Not here
    It's just passing the stream out. It doesn't do any decoding. If what you're watching has a Dolby Digital or DTS stream and whatever you're connecting to (surround system, AVR, etc) can decode it, then that's what you'll get.

    As far as games, unless they are also streaming out DD or DTS, which in most, if not all cases they don't, you'll just get stereo. I haven't been keeping up with gaming, but that's how it was when I was playing more.
  8. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    You can also tinker with the surround settings and test each individual speaker with the Audio MIDI Setup app in the Utilities folder.
  9. colour macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    thanks for that youtube speaker test, it turns out i do have 5.1 channel sound according to the test. i dont have the options to configure stuff using audio MIDI setup.

    I have a few options within my speaker system and i find that when its set to 5.1 channel sound its not as good for music and general use. I have a whats looks to be 2.1 option which sounds much better for every day use.

    Another thing. Is there a way i can control audio through my macbook when the optical is plugged in ? my volume controls are disabled on OSX when i have the toslink plugged in
  10. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    The volume cannot be changed when using optical out. Its how the digital optical bus is designed.
  11. wdenver thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2011
    Will Check and Confirm

    Hi all, thanks for your valid inputs. I ordered the below Toslink cable from amazon. I will check that and will let you know the results by weekend. Take care.
  12. leftywamumonkey macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2010
    +1, mini-toslink to toslink will give you 5.1. I use it to connect my Logitech Z-5500 set.
  13. Filipek macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2011
    You can definitely have at least 5.1 surround sound. I have my MBP 2011 (13"low end) connected to my Denon AVR 2803 Gold receiver (just through the headphone output on the MBP), which is connected to my Jamo speaker set. Furthermore I have my playstation connected to the receiver with an optical audio cable, and my playstation connected with HDMI to my television. The movie was a DVD with dolby surround sound and I can assure you, there was definitely coming surround sound out of the speakers.
  14. aniketroxx macrumors member


    Feb 10, 2011
    I have 13'' i7 and with samsung hometheatre , i am getting 5.1 surround sound :cool:
  15. wdenver thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2011
    I got my mini-toslink to toslink today from Amazon. But I am only getting the same effect that I got from my previous RCA (red,white) cable :(. I tested using you tube surround sound test and turned out that the back speakers are working together and not individually (Just like when I used the other cable). Also in Audio Midi Setup->Configuration Speakers->Multichannel, only stereo option is enabled (5.1, 7.1, etc are disabled).

    Is the situation same for u guys. Plz try the below links and let me know if u can hear sounds individually on each speakers. Thanks.....

    Surround Sound Test:
  16. Dark Dragoon, May 27, 2011
    Last edited: May 27, 2011

    Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    I can't test at the moment as my surround sound speakers (Logitech z5500d) aren't setup. However with S/PDIF the audio can either be outputted as standard two channel PCM or for surround sound the audio must be in a compressed surround sound format, so Dolby Digital or DTS. That video for me appears as Stereo AAC (maybe because I'm using a html5 player?).

    Have you tried playing a DVD with surround sound? you might need to go into the DVD Player settings to enable the correct output.
  17. CFoss macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    The YouTube test is a lie. YouTube outputs audio in stereo only. But yes, I was encountering Optical Surround Sound problems myself at one point. At the moment, I've left the issue alone. I hope someone posts a solution. :S
  18. wdenver thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2011
  19. wdenver thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2011
    Finally Remediated :)

    Hello all finally I remediated the issue. This is how I did it,

    I brought below cable,
    hooked it to the headset port in MBP and the other end to the optical-in in my HT.
    u may need to check the audio settings in ur MBP to play the audio in optical out.
    opened QT or VLC and played the movies
    In VLC u have to go to the audio section in the menu while movie is playing and select "Built-in optical fiber out"
    Thats all, I have 5.1 in my HT.
    from torrentz or somewhere download a small audio file to test 5.1 surround sound.
    Dont go for you tube, as it will not give the right 5.1 tracking

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