How to change to computer audio even with optical cord in

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Schtibbie, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. Schtibbie macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    #1
    I have a late 2013 iMac 21.5" with one of those 1/8" audio ports in back that doubles as a headphone jack and an optical digital audio out. So, I got a stereo recently and set it up nearish to the computer and plugged an optical audio cable from that port to the input on my receiver. Works perfectly. BUT: i can't see any way to (from the computer) switch back to the iMac speakers if i wasn't going to use the stereo. Use case: my wife doesn't want the computer audio to ALWAYS require that she turn on the stereo. She wants to be able to use the speaker symbol up in the menu bar and switch to iMac speakers. But near as i can tell there's no way to do that! I think you have to reach behind the computer and unplug the cable, then plug it back in when you want to use the stereo. That's a non-starter. We'd be doing that multiple X per day.

    Oh, and I'm using MacOS High Sierra, latest version.
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    You don't have this options when you click the speaker icon on the menu bar?
    Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 16.58.03.jpg
     
  3. jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #3
    is that from your mac pro? The imacs have slightly different ports.
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #4
    Yes, that's from my Mac Pro. I didn't deal with iMac for quite a few years already. But the OS itself should be the same. There is no such audio options for you? Or it's there but doesn't work?
     
  5. jerwin, Feb 17, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018

    jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #5
    imacs of this vintage have a combination jack-- plug in a 1/8 stereo miniplug and it acts as a headphone jack; plug in a minitoslink cable, and it acts as a optical output. In either case, it shuts off the speakers.

    [​IMG]

    bootcamp gives a clue that this sort of thing is controlled at the mixer level-- it's not all hardware, but I don't know how one would go about toggling this option.
     
  6. Schtibbie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 13, 2007
    #6
    No! How the heck did you get THAT menu? I only get a greyed out speaker icon and the only two options listed are "digital out" and "apple TV front" (which is my appletv in the other room that has the TV). No "internal speakers", which is EXACTLY what i want to be able to choose!
     
  7. jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #7
    "Proof" that it is technically possible to use both the optical out and the speakers, given the appropriate software and drivers. Capture.PNG

    and yes, I have tested this.
    The Bootcamp experience is kludgy and delicate, though.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    I could be wrong, but I don't think the Mac OS offers any way to use the speakers when the Mac "senses" that something is plugged into the audio-out port. This is probably a combination of hardware/software. It's been that way for a long time.

    Probably the only way to "get around" this is to use a USB audio-out device (such as a DAC), and see what options you have that way...
     
  9. jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #9
    yeah usb audio is your best bet. It's easiest if you don't need dolby digital/dts.
     
  10. FredT2 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 18, 2009
    #10
    Here I have headphones plugged in but sound from speakers.
    Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 7.54.09 AM.png
     
  11. Schtibbie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 13, 2007
    #11
    Ok HOW are you seeing that? I don’t have that. Maybe you have a newer iMac that LACKS the optical out inside the jack? And to the USB DAC option: I don’t really want to convert to analog before my amp. It has a decent DAC and optical input. I’d probably need a USB-to-optical if that exists. Or: Apple could make the OS more flexible with what i’m Trying to do.
     
  12. FredT2, Feb 17, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018

    FredT2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #12
    It's just the Volume menu from the menu bar. If you plug in headphones what do you see?

    Edit: Hmm, I just checked my 2014 iMac and it doesn't have the same option, so I guess you're right about newer iMac.
     
  13. jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #13
    Is the iMac Pro "newer" than your imac?
     
  14. Schtibbie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 13, 2007
    #14
    Yes, my iMac is from 2013. And strangely, Apple *removed* the optical portion of the audio output on *newer* iMacs (current ones). So I wouldn't have this "problem" if and when i upgrade to a new iMac, but then i also won't have a digital audio out that i can use to move audio digitally to my receiver. Progress!
     
  15. jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #15
    https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/6510/use-internal-speakers-with-others-plugged-in

    it gets messy and involves the use of kernel extensions.

    I guess that if there's a real need for speakers that are less awesome than your stereo, you have three possibilities
    1. buy a set of desktop speakers that use bluetooth or usb.
    2. buy a usb to spdif adatper and use that-- the major hiccup being dts/dolby digital.
    3. something involving airplay from your imac to your stereo. Obviously you'd have difficulty with dts/dolbly digital.
     
  16. J.Gallardo macrumors regular

    J.Gallardo

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Location:
    Spain
    #16
    So... I see there're differences depending on model. Yes, but every mac I've met has something that looks hardware related: when you plug a jack in "audio-out", sound is routed out; internal speakers & line-out are considered as one, as @Fishrrman points.
    I can (and you could) choose sound way-out because I've implemented a second device through USB (a DAC, but a simple USB-line-out should work. Do you remember Griffin's iMic? It was used 'cause we hadn't line-in in older macs; we're again in same situation: 2017 iMacs have only line-out. In iMacPro combined line-in-out is preserved, +optical out).

    BUT, a lot in software side can be done. Just check how you can still choose to drive system's sounds to internal speakers in Preferences. Sound produced by apps will go to line-out (& external speakers or earphones). So... it should be possible to choose easily between internal/external speakers!
    I went the USB way... which is IMHO the easiest way (& cheapest, perhaps).
    Software I tested (time ago) was too complicated... (SoundFlower...etc).
    The other day, I saw this in AppleStore: Mac App Store link
    BeQuiet main features:
    - Check internal speaker's status and mute them in real time.
    - Saves and sets speaker's volume automatically before and after running.
    - Animated menu icon.
    - No need for any additional hardware.
    - Headphones' mute status and volume can be freely adjusted.

    I'm not sure, but it could be a solution to OP question.
     

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15 February 16, 2018