Can a Mac mini (Intel) support 5.1 sounds systems?

stagecustom

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 7, 2006
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Ontario
hello MR? general question before i buy. I am highly considering buying a Surround Sound system for my mac mini/xbox 360. I know these are buy no means the best, but are cheap: http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2,CONTENTID=9067
I am probably gonna put the 2 rear speakers behind me then the right left and centre and sub in normal position, i just want something decent as my cyber acoustics are crap and are blown. Seems as though the mac mini (Intel) has a less powerful sound card in it then the PPC ones as the speakers are much quieter now than before. so will the Intel mini support these, are they complete crap and not worth it? cause i don't really want to spend any more then that.
 

imacintel

macrumors 68000
Mar 12, 2006
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hello MR? general question before i buy. I am highly considering buying a Surround Sound system for my mac mini/xbox 360. I know these are buy no means the best, but are cheap: http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details/US/EN,CRID=2,CONTENTID=9067
I am probably gonna put the 2 rear speakers behind me then the right left and centre and sub in normal position, i just want something decent as my cyber acoustics are crap and are blown. Seems as though the mac mini (Intel) has a less powerful sound card in it then the PPC ones as the speakers are much quieter now than before. so will the Intel mini support these, are they complete crap and not worth it? cause i don't really want to spend any more then that.
The mac mini will be okay for this. It has plenty of power for that type of sound system.
Cheers.
 

matticus008

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Jan 16, 2005
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Bay Area, CA
It does not look, based on the page from Logitech, that this is a DOLBY 5.1 system. It is, technically speaking, a 5.1 setup by virtue of the number of speakers, but not a Dolby Digital one. Surround sound modes would be "faked" in software--software which is Windows-only and wouldn't do a lot of good on a Mac. As a result, it's likely that the audio would be stereo in nature, spread across the six speakers.
 

stagecustom

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 7, 2006
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Ontario
So whats the verdict? will these only work in DVD player, so i guess when i play music the same thing will be coming out of the "back" right left speakers? but these speakers will produce true 5.1 when in dvd player or xbox 360? I am really confused.
 

matticus008

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Jan 16, 2005
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Bay Area, CA
So whats the verdict? will these only work in DVD player, so i guess when i play music the same thing will be coming out of the "back" right left speakers? but these speakers will produce true 5.1 when in dvd player or xbox 360? I am really confused.
It doesn't look like these speakers are designed to produce "true" 5.1 in any situation, period. Most speakers which support Dolby Digital and/or DTS (the sound schemes used by DVDs) advertise this fact, and Logitech doesn't seem to mention it.
 

stagecustom

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 7, 2006
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Ontario
It doesn't look like these speakers are designed to produce "true" 5.1 in any situation, period. Most speakers which support Dolby Digital and/or DTS (the sound schemes used by DVDs) advertise this fact, and Logitech doesn't seem to mention it.
so what, the back speakers wont play anything? from the reviews i read (many) no one seemed to mention them not producing 5.1? So if i play a dvd on my xbox 360 or mac mini with these speakers connected the front and sub speakers will only work? in that the centre one will output nothing? usually it is supposed to do vocals correct? i don't know alot about this stuff so fill me in. I don't mind if it isn't true 5.1 but if some of them won't output anything then what's the point i may as well get the same ones in 2.1
 

matticus008

macrumors 68040
Jan 16, 2005
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Bay Area, CA
so what, the back speakers wont play anything? from the reviews i read (many) no one seemed to mention them not producing 5.1? So if i play a dvd on my xbox 360 or mac mini with these speakers connected the front and sub speakers will only work? in that the centre one will output nothing? usually it is supposed to do vocals correct? i don't know alot about this stuff so fill me in. I don't mind if it isn't true 5.1 but if some of them won't output anything then what's the point i may as well get the same ones in 2.1
No, they'll play back on all speakers. The distinction is less simple than that.

Let me try to explain. "5.1 surround sound" generally refers to a set of audio technologies involving six speakers and dedicated channels for each of those six speakers. The two major formats are Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS (Digital Theatre System). Home theater setups include a seventh piece of hardware, called a receiver, which includes the necessary electronics for connecting other electronics to your speakers as well as the logic and processing systems needed to "decode" digital audio from, say, a DVD.

Computer "5.1" systems generally (but not always) lack the electronics required to handle Dolby or DTS sound streams. Instead, they use computer software to "fake" surround sound, altering the output of normal stereo audio to make it sound something like Dolby Digital--but it's a poor mimicry. (Incidentally, most home theater receivers also include a "fake" surround mode, called Pro Logic or Pro Logic II, which can be used to give stereo sound sources a better ambience.) This software is usually Windows-based, and therefore will not work under OS X at all, meaning that the marginal benefit of having six PC speakers becomes zero. A high-quality 2.1 system would probably be a more appropriate purchase.

The Mac mini can output "digital" audio to speakers, but you need speakers that are "smart" enough to know what to do with that digital output. You need a receiver or a set of speakers with Dolby surround built-in in order to use that function.

These Logitech speakers appear to be "dumb"--they can't process real 5.1 encoded audio, but can only fake it--and without the Windows software, they can't even do that. What you'll get is the Left channel out of the two left satellite speakers and the Right Channel out of the two right satellites. The subwoofer will handle the bass of the stereo sound, and the center channel speaker will play back a mix of the L and R channels.

I hope this is clear--I've been writing a massive brief for days and am a little burned out and zombie-like.
 

stagecustom

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 7, 2006
243
0
Ontario
No, they'll play back on all speakers. The distinction is less simple than that.

Let me try to explain. "5.1 surround sound" generally refers to a set of audio technologies involving six speakers and dedicated channels for each of those six speakers. The two major formats are Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS (Digital Theatre System). Home theater setups include a seventh piece of hardware, called a receiver, which includes the necessary electronics for connecting other electronics to your speakers as well as the logic and processing systems needed to "decode" digital audio from, say, a DVD.

Computer "5.1" systems generally (but not always) lack the electronics required to handle Dolby or DTS sound streams. Instead, they use computer software to "fake" surround sound, altering the output of normal stereo audio to make it sound something like Dolby Digital--but it's a poor mimicry. (Incidentally, most home theater receivers also include a "fake" surround mode, called Pro Logic or Pro Logic II, which can be used to give stereo sound sources a better ambience.) This software is usually Windows-based, and therefore will not work under OS X at all, meaning that the marginal benefit of having six PC speakers becomes zero. A high-quality 2.1 system would probably be a more appropriate purchase.

The Mac mini can output "digital" audio to speakers, but you need speakers that are "smart" enough to know what to do with that digital output. You need a receiver or a set of speakers with Dolby surround built-in in order to use that function.

These Logitech speakers appear to be "dumb"--they can't process real 5.1 encoded audio, but can only fake it--and without the Windows software, they can't even do that. What you'll get is the Left channel out of the two left satellite speakers and the Right Channel out of the two right satellites. The subwoofer will handle the bass of the stereo sound, and the center channel speaker will play back a mix of the L and R channels.

I hope this is clear--I've been writing a massive brief for days and am a little burned out and zombie-like.
I understand, but they can be had for 40 shipped so i may just get them, I mean i want to spend under 65CAD and these aren't terrible, like if i put the 2 behind me it will be more sound, and i know more isn't always better, but in this case it is. if not anyone know of some good ones that are around 65CAD? thanks alot for the advice matt.
 

stagecustom

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 7, 2006
243
0
Ontario
now, would these be official? http://cgi.ebay.ca/Logitech-Z-5300e...1QQihZ014QQcategoryZ32861QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
Would it be much better then the other ones listed above? like itunes wouldn't sound any different, just stereo, would the 360 and dvd player do 5.1 just like a sony system where in movies vocals come out the centre, and the best example i can think of is in war movies you can hear the bullets flying behind you? if these aren't much better then the X530's then i may just go for the 530s
Anyone have any thoughts.
 

Counterfit

macrumors G3
Aug 20, 2003
8,201
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sitting on your shoulder
The lowest priced system Logitech makes that does real 5.1 is the Z-5500. I have it, it's great. I just wish I didn't have to go through a damn M-Audio Transit to get optical. At least it will pass through AC-3 and DTS. This systems can be found under 300USD, versus the 399.99USD for MSRP.
 

matticus008

macrumors 68040
Jan 16, 2005
3,330
0
Bay Area, CA
now, would these be official? http://cgi.ebay.ca/Logitech-Z-5300e...1QQihZ014QQcategoryZ32861QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
Would it be much better then the other ones listed above?
They are better, yes, but as Counterfit pointed out, still not "official." I think a friend actually has those speakers--they look familiar, at least, and if that's them, they sound pretty good.

A CDN$300 Home Theater in a box is the best, cheapest bet to actually have the bullets fly past your head on the correct side, and to get clear vocals through a center speaker. You might check out Craigslist, depending on how close you are to a major city. People often get rid of these systems for great prices (I bought a second surround set locally for $200 that retailed for $900 two years ago, as a concrete example). Another benefit is that you can often try them out when you go to pick them up, whereas most stores don't have their cheaper setups in the "demo" rooms.

If you don't feel like spending that much, though, the second set of speakers is respectable and might be sufficient for your needs.
 

jonutarr

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2006
209
0
OZ
they wont be mixed in DD suround sound, i think its pointless haveing 5.1 speakers if they cant produce DD
 

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