iMac hookup to stereo receiver question

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Darl Bundren, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. Darl Bundren macrumors newbie

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    Oct 25, 2009
    #1
    In my living room I have a nice home theater set-up--big old TV, PS3 for Bluray, and a quality 2.1 speaker system.

    When my new i5 gets here, I am kind of planning on setting it up in our downstairs area and using it for computing and listening to music and, on occasion, maybe watching an occasional movie. I am wanting to connect the iMac to an AV receiver that I already have and using that to drive some bookshelf speakers.

    What would the best-sounding connection be from the iMac to the receiver?

    Is the only audio out on the iMac the little headphones jack deal? Is that called a 1/8" jack? Or is there a cable that will get me from USB to RCA ins? Or does the iMac have a digital out that I don't see on their little "Ports for everything" screen?

    Thanks.

    Edit: Here's a link that shows the back of the receiver: link
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #2
    The headphone jack on the iMac doubles as an optical out. Use a mini-toslink to toslink optical cable from the iMac to the Yamaha and you can get full 5.1 sound out of your iMac.
     
  3. knewsom macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    If the OP only has a 2.1 system, 5.1 won't help him... HOWEVER, just using the optical will allow your computer to output 24-bit 96kHZ audio in stereo, which is far superior to the analog output, and your hardware will upconvert lower sample rates to make them sound better.
     
  4. Darl Bundren thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
  5. knewsom macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    bingo. Unless you already have a TOSLINK optical cable kickin' around, then you just need a little adapter which should only cost a buck or two on Amazon.
     
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #6
    The receiver will also down mix the 5.1 to 2.1 which standard stereo can't provide.
    That's the one.
     
  7. knewsom macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Not really a big difference between stereo and 2.1.
     
  8. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #8
    Depends on your speakers (OP is using bookshelf) and whether or not you wish to hear the LFE channel in a movie.
     
  9. knewsom macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    The receiver should separate the lower frequencies and send them to the subwoofer in any case.
     
  10. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #10
    IIRC, Dolby drops the LFE channel in stereo downmixes by default.
     
  11. knewsom macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    What, on a receiver? Or in the computer? Because I'm pretty certain the computer includes the LFE channel in its downmix.

    Unless the receiver is in DIRECT mode, it should separate out the low frequency sounds and play them through the sub.
     
  12. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #12
    On the iMac since that is where the decoding is done. There may be an override (which I doubt) or Dolby may have changed things in the last year or two. I know dropping the LFE on downmix was part of the original spec which is why I always try to go 5.1->2.1 rather than 5.1->2.0->2.1. At any rate, its only important for movies but I gather that was what the OP wanted to do.
     
  13. knewsom macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Well, I'm sure the OP wants music as well, but 5.1 music is rare of course.

    Well, if the Dolby software decoders drop the LFE, that's pretty weaksauce. Then again, most DVDs are also included with a stereo track that's PCM - I have to wonder if that would sound better than a downmixed 5.1 to 2.1 - might be worth a test.
     
  14. Darl Bundren thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Thanks again. I actually have a toslink cable right here, so I'll try to track down an adapter. I hadn't thought about the possibility of buying an adapter instead of purchasing an entire new cable. I really appreciate your help.

    And, present plans are primarily for music, but I may throw a sub into the mix to watch movies on that sweet display.

    :)
     
  15. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #16
    I'm pretty sure all the Mac does is send the digital signal out the port. It is the responsibility of the receiver to decode the digital signal. That's why they come with Dolby Digital or DTS algorithms.
     
  16. Darl Bundren thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
  17. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    #18
    The Mac sends PCM audio, not DD/DTS. The exception is for those apps that know how to <optionally> send the AC3 data transparently, eg: DVD Player.

    A.
     
  18. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #19
    I was thinking about the downmixing and conversion to stereo analog. Obviously this would be done on the iMac.
     

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