How can I connect my 5.1 speakers to my 2017 iMac

ChaChing

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 24, 2017
5
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The previous generation of iMacs had optical digital out through the headphone jack. This was one thing I had to have when purchasing a new computer. Apparently Apple decided to remove this feature on the 2017 iMacs. Does anyone know if it's possible to connect 5.1 speakers through some sort of adaptor or something? Here is where I found out that optical out is no longer supported.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204392
 

Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
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What unit did you originally connect the optical TOSLINK to? If it is an AV receiver / integrated amp then check if it has USB DAC input, if so you can just connect the iMac to it with a simple USB A to B printer cable.

It is also possible that AirPlay is supported on this machine, if audio delay is if no concern then AirPlay audio output from macOS is a solution.

If it is some 5.1 package system with a simple breakout box or the powered sub being the input box, and the only digital input is TOSLINK, the you need some USB audio interface that has TOSLINK output.
 
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ChaChing

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 24, 2017
5
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My previous computer was an early 2009 Mac Pro. The speaker system I'm trying to connect to is an old Logitech Z-5500.
 

Chancha

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Mar 19, 2014
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Okay then the cheapest solution is to get a simple "USB to Optical" or "USB to TOSLINK" adaptor, even the good ones are 15 bucks or less. Since the signal is still digital and you only need one output, you don't need fancy DAC / interfaces / splitters.
 

Chancha

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Mar 19, 2014
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For a desktop, it is relative trivial to add some external audio interface specifcally catered to your connecting needs, and macOS tends to work with them trouble free unlike Windows. So the loss of auido input on an iMac is slightly less upsetting than on an MBP where a built-in aux/TOSLINK can be a life-saver in some situations.
 
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Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
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The previous generation of iMacs had optical digital out through the headphone jack. This was one thing I had to have when purchasing a new computer. Apparently Apple decided to remove this feature on the 2017 iMacs. Does anyone know if it's possible to connect 5.1 speakers through some sort of adaptor or something? Here is where I found out that optical out is no longer supported.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204392
I've been connecting my 2012 iMac to my receiver (now sound bar system) simply with HDMI. I stopped using TOSlink back around 2010, or whenever Macs started shipping with mini displayports. If your receiver supports HDMI, then getting 5.1 couldn't be easier. I get full on, true 5.1 surround sound for iTunes, and for both macOS and Windows games. I simply use this:

https://www.apple.com/us_edu_21669/...fedc118752c12381ef1b1558dde8cd4dd6d58e959414e
 
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SaSaSushi

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2007
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Takamatsu, Japan
I've been connecting my 2012 iMac to my receiver (now sound bar system) simply with HDMI. I stopped using TOSlink back around 2010, or whenever Macs started shipping with mini displayports. If your receiver supports HDMI, then getting 5.1 couldn't be easier. I get full on, true 5.1 surround sound for iTunes, and for both macOS and Windows games. I simply use this:

https://www.apple.com/us_edu_21669/...fedc118752c12381ef1b1558dde8cd4dd6d58e959414e
I don't think that will work with the 2017 iMac's Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports even if you were to buy the Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter ($49) because apparently they've removed Mini Display support.

Also, I don't believe the OP's Logitech Z-5500 has HDMI. :(
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
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I don't think that will work with the 2017 iMac's Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports even if you were to buy the Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter ($49) because apparently they've removed Mini Display support.

Also, I don't believe the OP's Logitech Z-5500 has HDMI. :(
Yea, it should still work. The cable I linked to obviously won't work on the 2017 iMac because they dropped the mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt connector, but all you need now is a USB-C to HDMI, like this:

http://www.belkin.com/us//F2CU038/p/P-F2CU038/

And yea, the Logitech systems don't do HDMI unfortunately. I got the new compact LG SJ7 sound bar with detachable rear speaker that does 4.1, but any sound bar with separate rear speakers with HDMI input will bless your iMac with simple and true 4.1/5.1 surround sound. You can always do the traditional 5.1 receiver connecting to satellite speakers but I'm done with that spaghetti mess!

TOSlink connected surround systems won't yield you true surround sound in games, if thats what the OP is looking for. But it will do the AC3/Dolby Digital stuff for movies and TV shows just fine and dandy. But you're saying they removed that too? Bummer. I guess they're here to push USB-C/HDMI. Though it is far easier to connect and gives you better quality and more surround sound options.
 
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ChaChing

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 24, 2017
5
1
Okay then the cheapest solution is to get a simple "USB to Optical" or "USB to TOSLINK" adaptor, even the good ones are 15 bucks or less. Since the signal is still digital and you only need one output, you don't need fancy DAC / interfaces / splitters.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I've search on Amazon for what you recommended but I am having darndest time finding one. They all seem to be digital to analog converters. I did however came across this on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A2QJK5I/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Any thoughts if this may work? I have a digital coaxial input on the Logitech. This has a usb input and coaxial out.
 

furbzv1

macrumors 65816
Sep 17, 2014
1,221
747
im facing a similar issue. On my previous iMac (21.5 Late 2013) i was able to use an optical audio cable with my Logitech Z906 system. I am finding out that this setup no longer works with the 27 iMac 5K (2017) models?

What would my options be? I thought about adding the Logitech Bluetooth adapter but i dont know if this would give me full 5.1 SS.

https://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/bluetooth-audio-adapter
 

Hirakata

macrumors 6502
Mar 17, 2011
306
399
Burbank, CA
im facing a similar issue. On my previous iMac (21.5 Late 2013) i was able to use an optical audio cable with my Logitech Z906 system. I am finding out that this setup no longer works with the 27 iMac 5K (2017) models?

What would my options be? I thought about adding the Logitech Bluetooth adapter but i dont know if this would give me full 5.1 SS.

https://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/bluetooth-audio-adapter
That Logitech adapter is only stereo. The Sound Blaster I referenced above would work for you, though.
 

CHefEd

macrumors newbie
Aug 14, 2017
1
0
I have the exact same computer and the z-5500's as well. I plug the z-5500 control via optical into this:

https://www.amazon.com/Creative-Bla...8497066&sr=1-1&keywords=5.1+usb+sound+blaster

Then the soundblaster goes into the USB port of my iMac. I get 5.1 in MacOS and Windows 10 - Bootcamp.
Hey, I have a 2017 Imac, and the Z5500 Logitech Sound System. Is this Soundblaster the Solution to the problem for the Optical to the Headphone jack of the Imac?? Please let me know.
 

Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
940
817
Hey, I have a 2017 Imac, and the Z5500 Logitech Sound System. Is this Soundblaster the Solution to the problem for the Optical to the Headphone jack of the Imac?? Please let me know.
The headphone jack is not involved. iMac > USB > Soundblaster > optical > Logitech
 

ChaChing

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 24, 2017
5
1
The headphone jack is not involved. iMac > USB > Soundblaster > optical > Logitech
I opted for Hirakata's solution with the external soundblaster sound card. I was only able to get 5.1 sound using analog cables, the optical cable only gave me 2.1. With the soundblaster, the separation between channels front to rear isn't as good as what I had with my Mac Pro with the optical cable. Also with the soundblaster you need to install their drivers plus I had to update the firmware on it before MacOS Sierra would recognize it and that update had to be done on a Mac running Yosemite or lower.
 

Hirakata

macrumors 6502
Mar 17, 2011
306
399
Burbank, CA
Hey, I have a 2017 Imac, and the Z5500 Logitech Sound System. Is this Soundblaster the Solution to the problem for the Optical to the Headphone jack of the Imac?? Please let me know.
If you mean "problem" as in the iMac no longer supports the optical, then yes.

iMac > USB > Soundblaster > Optical > Logitech control device.
 

Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
940
817
I opted for Hirakata's solution with the external soundblaster sound card. I was only able to get 5.1 sound using analog cables, the optical cable only gave me 2.1. With the soundblaster, the separation between channels front to rear isn't as good as what I had with my Mac Pro with the optical cable. Also with the soundblaster you need to install their drivers plus I had to update the firmware on it before MacOS Sierra would recognize it and that update had to be done on a Mac running Yosemite or lower.
I don't use the Soundblaster personally, but if it behaves like a normal USB audio interface, then in macOS, you can use Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup to individually config each channels' output level to your liking. There may even be 3rd party calibration tool apps that you can use to achieve it more accurately with a microphone.
 

imacken

macrumors 65816
Feb 28, 2010
1,232
123

imacken

macrumors 65816
Feb 28, 2010
1,232
123
OK, so I bought one of the USB sound cards I linked to above, and the optical out just didn't work. Line out was OK, but nothing form the optical, which is what I need.
I contacted the German support guys, and they say, only supported in Windows.
So, does anyone know of a external sound card that definitely outputs via optical/toslink for macOS?
 
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