Help with Mac mini HDMI audio - Denon receiver conflict!! HELP!


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 11, 2008
My A/V guy finished my home theater install on Friday and we ran into a problem with the Mac mini integration via my Denon processor. Basically, all of my music has a bit of a hiss and some extra artifacts when we play it through the Denon but this doesn't happen at ALL from my digital cable box or other sources. The A/V guy said that it has something to do with the way the Mac mini's audio is output through the HDMI. He wants to know if there are any ways to get more control over the audio output.

Thoughts? Please help me - my music sounds like crap on my brand new Totems :(:(:(


macrumors member
Jun 15, 2010
Do not connect your Mac Mini to Denon AVR. That is wrong for variety of reasons. Instead, connect Mini directly to your TV using the input on your TV that is designated for PC connection. Then connect Mini to Denon using toslink optical cable. A universal remote (such as Harmony) will allow you to switch inputs effortlessly.

Your Mini is a computer. It outputs a video signal using RGB 0 -255. Most consumer electronic devices such as BD players and cable TV set-top boxes output 16 - 235. Your TV expect the 16 - 235 input on all inputs except those dedicated to PC connection. If you connect your Mini to the Denon together with multiple other devices, and then feed one HDMI cable to your HDTV, you will most likely experience subpar picture quality from the Mini. Specifically, your blacks will be crushed (loss of detail in dark areas), and your highlights will be blown.

The other problem with this connection is overscan. Your HDTV will normally apply some overscan to get rid of assorted junk that sometimes appears along the very edges of video signals in TV broadcasting. Consequently, the picture you are seeing from set-top box is likely scaled. You don't want that with your Mini. Instead, with your Mini you want to get perfect 1:1 pixel mapping (no scaling) especially if you care about sharp text and icons.

So, flip through your TV manual, find the input that can accept PC signals, and connect your Mini to that input. You don't have to to anything extra to get perfect sound via optical output (using mini-to-Toslink adapter).


macrumors member
Jun 15, 2010
If you are determined to connect Mini to Denon AVR, you may be able to adjust video output to send 16 - 235 range. Or perhaps the latest NVIDIA driver is smart enough to detect display device via HDMI and send the correct signal. But I wouldn't bet on it.

You would still need to deal with picture scaling. If text on the screen appears hard to read or looks fuzzy, you most likely don't have 1:1 pixel mapping.


macrumors regular
Nov 30, 2007
I have a Denon AVR-3806. I had a problem of the blacks being crushed (couldn't see any shadow detail at all), and the whites being blown out because the Mac Mini can only see the Denon connected and not the plasma which is connected to the Denon. I installed Black Light and checked the box for 16-235 luminance. Then set it in your login items and you will be good to go. I now have a perfect picture.

Hooking into the Denon first and using it as a HDMI switcher to feed HDMI video out to my TV is ideal for most people because:

1. The mini can output 7.1 PCM only through HDMI. You can only get 5.1 max from optical.
2. It is easier to deal with only one HDMI cable going out of the mini into the Denon AVR.

As for your static over HDMI, I can't speak to that. Sounds like some kind of interference. I would try another cable. And make sure the Audio Output in System Preferences is set to HDMI.
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macrumors 68000
Oct 2, 2013
So what's the best way to connect a mac computer to a receiver/projector setup?


macrumors newbie
Mar 5, 2015

I'm curious how things worked out for you. I also want to run a mac mini as a media hub through my Denon Receiver. Were you able to make this work? I have had several handshaking issues in the past between my receiver and Projector. The other option I was considering is just forking out some more cash for an apple tv and connecting via air-play. If you wouldn't mind letting me know what you ended up doing I would really appreciate it. I'm on the fence as to whether or not to pull the trigger. Thanks!
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