Built in 5.1 support?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Zanwolf, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. Zanwolf macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2009
    Hey guys.

    I've just brought some Creative 5.1 X-540 speakers. my problem is my MacBook Pro only has one input for the audio where as the cable that comes with the speakers has 3 cables, green, orange and black.

    My MacBook Pro is relatively new, about 3 - 4 months old. It's a 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GB DDR3 memory. A 512MB nVidea graphics with high definition screen and sound.
    On the left hand side of my Mac there are two audio inputs, one with the headphone symbol, and another with a strange symbol that has a circle in the middle and what looks like two black squares coming off it from each side, I don't know what that port is used for as none of the 3 cables I plug into it seems to give off sound.

    What I'd like to know is how do I find out if my MacBook Pro has 5.1 already built in support, as I'd find it quite odd if it didn't given it's specification. Maybe I'm being ignorant, I don't know.

    So does anyone know a way to find out if my MAC has built in 5.1 or can support 5.1 without the use an external sound card?

    Finding this out will mean I don't have to spend £30 on a Firewave external 5.1 sound card.

    Thanks to anyone that can help!
  2. Ca$hflow macrumors 6502


    Jan 7, 2010
    London, ON
    The MacBook Pro supports 5.1 with any speakers that use optical input such as the Logitech® Z-5450 Digital 5.1 Speaker System you just need to also get a mini TOSLink cable
  3. Zanwolf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2009
    The speakers I have don't have an optical input and I'm not sure that my MAC supports it either, unless of course it's the input next to the headphone port (circle with two black squares)?
  4. Penguissimo macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2009
    The circle with two black squares is an input jack (for, say, a mic), so you won't ever get sound OUT of the system by plugging speakers into it. What you'll probably need to do is get an adapter like the Griffin Firewave (which is discontinued, but can be found online easily) or the Creative Labs SB1090—actually, basically any surround sound-capable USB or Firewire sound card. I know my brother has the Firewave for his Logitech surround sound speakers (although I don't think he has the same model as you, but he does have the same outputs), and it works great.

    (Incidentally, both the headphone port and the mic port DO support optical out and in; if you plug in a mini TOSLink cable, the system automatically detects that and switches to optical output. Not useful in your situation, as it turns out, but perhaps good to know in the future! :) )
  5. Zanwolf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2009
    Thanks so much Penguissimo!

    That has helped an incredible amount. This is my first MAC so I am pretty new to it's features etc and what they do (I guess I should've read the manual.)

    I have ordered the Griffin Firewave as this seems the best solution to my problem. I can get 5.1 out of my system from just plugging in the green jack, but I enjoy movies and games and, as you know, I wouldn't get 5.1 'surround sound' with just one jack.
    So hopefully this Firewave will be the solution I am looking for.

    Thanks again for all the information, has helped a lot!
  6. ten-oak-druid macrumors 68000


    Jan 11, 2010
    I keep reading that apple computers with optical outputs can deliver surround sound.

    I have a macbook with a dual output jack. When I connect an optical cable from the mac to my receiver, it detects a digital signal but only 2 channel.

    My computer is a 2.2GHz intel core duo macbook with 4Gb of memory.

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