Audio: USB+HDMI separate but simultaneously?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by knarzie, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. knarzie macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    I have a nice Mac mini (late 2012) that serves us well as media server. Connected to our tv via HDMI.

    Here is my question:

    I want to connect a DAC via USB for music (headphone) purposes. Will Mrs. Knarzie be able to watch movies in PLEX/VLC on the tv, while I listen to music via the USB output (using remote on my ipad)?
  2. knarzie thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
  3. Maculas macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2013
    I don't have a polished solution for you.
    But I can help get the ball rolling a bit.

    Basically you need the computer to send audio from 2 applications, to two different destinations.

    Without a specialized 3rd party application, which may exist, but I'm not aware of, you need one of the two applications to give you a preference setting to choose output direction ased off of what the computer can detect and what you have setup in your "Audio MIDI Setup" (Utilities folder) application.
    This places the problem onto the applications you are trying to use.
    Plex doesn't have such a choice I believe.

    However VLC does. I use VLC when experimenting with surround sound files.
    Which I send to 3 stereo USB dongles that act together to send the audio to 3 pairs of stereo speakers (or the equivalent). This is done by setting up a profile for those dongles in "Audio MIDI Setup"


    Quick answer:
    VLC unlike other applications can choose an audio destination other then the system default.

    1. If she is using Plex, you aim the main system sound through the HDMi cable, and play your music in VLC while aiming VLC at the USB device.
    (Use VLCs Playlist window to queue up your music)

    2. If she is using VLC, aim VLC towards the HDMI, and set the system audio to the USB device while you use iTunes.

    Not perfect, still requires some thought and preparation.
    But it is free!
  4. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    I think in the past I used Soundflower. It was able to route any sound, even input straight to output.
  5. Donka macrumors 68030


    May 3, 2011
    What kind of TV do you have? If you had something like a Samsung Smart TV with the Plex app, you could could route your Plex movie over the network and that will also carry the sound leaving your Mac mini audio output free to route any way you wish.
  6. crenz macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
    Mac OS X has no problem managing multiple audio devices and streams.

    The main issue - as Macula mentioned - is to have applications that let you choose an output device, instead of using the standard system device.

    For applications that do not allow this, the only (pricey) solution I can think of is WireTap Anywhere.

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