Imac Optical Out, no sound whatsoever

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ThomtheEditor, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. ThomtheEditor macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
    Hi, just got in my new imac; hooked up my audio via toslink & mini-to-optical adapter. This is running thru an optical switcher into my receiver, but i'm not getting any passthru at all.

    Checked at the end of cable for red light; coming thru super strong; checked audio settings in midi setup; only stereo is selectable, no multichannel.

    Though maybe the cable was too long; plugged in an old PC usb sound card w/ optical out and it plays fine thru that. (i would just use that, but no mac drivers, so while the sound comes thru, no way to get 5.1 output)

    Tried going straight into receiver bypassing switcher, still nothing.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
  3. ThomtheEditor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
    yeah it changes from internal speakers to digital out whenever i put in the cable + adapter, and then recognizes the removal as well when i remove it; tried all the basic stuff to no avail.
  4. ThomtheEditor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
  5. ThomtheEditor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
  6. djcorrosive macrumors regular

    Feb 22, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Stop spamming, no one will help you if you keep going.
  7. ThomtheEditor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
    it's been up a week with no responce; it would appear that no-one is helping me now
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    You need to look up the word "spam" because you clearly don't know what it means. ;)

    You need to tell us what software you're using and what content you're trying to play back. If you play songs through iTunes, do you get music from your receiver?
  9. macryan1 macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2009
    This might apply. When connecting to an HD TV you need two cables. The HDMI (DVI) does not carry the audio. You need to tap into the audio out on the Mac and connect to the audio in on the external component.

  10. ThomtheEditor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
    I can't get any audio to come thru at all; not from itunes or quicktime or safari.

    Ryan, yeah i have my video going downstream over vga to my tv no problem; it's the audio that won't work; i'm running an optical cable w/ minilink adaptor to fit the macs output to optical switcher to surround reciever; i know the setup & cable length are fine as i can run it off my old usb hub thru the same setup w/ audio passthru & i'm pretty sure the optical connector is working as i'm getting a very strong red beam thru the cable to the switcher.
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    OK, let's isolate your problem. Do this:

    Mac > Optical Toslink > Receiver > Speakers

    When you do this, you get no sound at all from your Mac (e.g., iTunes)? If so, that usually means you have not activated optical input on your receiver. For example, my Onkyos came from the factory set for analog (RCA) input for each channel (DVD, Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, CD). I set Video 1 to optical input using the Onkyo's menu.

    What is your receiver's make and model number?
  12. ThomtheEditor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
    Yeah, been an audiophile for years; tried all the basic stuff:

    We can rule out the speakers & receiver as the optical is coming thru a switcher that has other optical devices that all play fine; also the switcher is fine b/c i can run this same optical cord thru an old pc usb card from the mac (which should also rule out cord condition and length).

    I thought maybe it was the adaptor that i have; but if i unplug the mac input to the switcher the red optical light shines thru very brightly. Using this adaptor:

    Which makes me think it's the mac; any thoughts?
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I think you need to try it directly from the Mac to the receiver (i.e., bypass the optical hub).
  14. sloburnt macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2009
    vancouver, bc
    anyone else encounter this problem? I've had no problem before with a previous iMac, but now my new one with 10.6 is not detecting the output source. It disables sound, but digital output is enabled when the mini-toslink is connected.

    Checked all the regular possibilities, and have noticed here that others have had no luck either, and siting software with 10.6.

    any sugg's appreciated. If it is in fact, 10.6 - how much feedback must Apple receive before they initiate response to the issue?
  15. ThomtheEditor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
    i've stopped trying altogether. I had an old usb sound card from my pc days that the mac recognizes via plug and play; it's not true 5.1; but my receiver doesn a pretty good job decoding it as pro-logic and the drivers on my pc-bootcamp partition work just fine. Great for gaming on my tv running a wireless xbox controller!
  16. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Quicktime is pretty junky. You should try Plex with one of your 5.1 movies. It automatically senses optical and will switch to Dolby Digital 5.1 (in m4v) or DTS (mkv) by optical output.

    What is your receiver model and can you point to its online manual (e.g., PDF)?
  17. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    I am using a Mini toss/toss to my receiver and it has worked perfect from day one. I am using a 12' cable and have never had an issue. I simply plugged it and and it worked. I have not tried using it in bootcamp however, only in OSX.

    Sorry I can't suggest a fix, just wanted to let you know it does/has worked on a 27" iMac.

    Good Luck. :eek:

    For the record, using this cable:
  18. ThomtheEditor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
    Cave Man; yeah the problem isn't what type of signal i'm getting; it's the fact that no signal whatsoever is coming thru; like i said i have a decent workaround for what i'm doing, thanks for the replies though!
  19. coxjon macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    I have the exact same setup as you and the same problem. I used to use a mac mini plugged in to an optical switcher so I didn't need to change the input setting on the receiver. I have since replaced the mac mini with my iMac and there is no sound. When I play a DVD the little PLII symbol on my receiver doesn't change to the double D logo so I know there's no good signal.
    I tried switching out the iMac with my Macbook pro and lo, it works fine.

    It appears the optical out on the imac is indeed weak, which is strange considering the mac mini worked perfectly and the mac mini is more of a budget computer than a personal computer.

    I compared the optical out light from the imac with my xbox and it was quite a bit weaker.

    Unfortunately for me, I cannot go straight to my receiver since I need it for the 360 and PS3 so I am glad you found a workaround, since I'll need to do a similar thing.
  20. ThomtheEditor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2009
    My best suggestion then is to find a plug and play usb sound card like the X-Fi

    unfortunatelly it only has drivers on the PC side; so i don't know if you'll get true 5.1 out of it (on my reciever Pro-Logic sounds pretty great for most things) or if you have the money to spend; the M-audio transit which supports dts & dolby 5.1 on both macs and pc's. (

    With either option you get the added bonus of being able to just switch to internal speakers on the system settings sound tab if you even need to without having to unplug everything every time you want to switch back and forth (as the optical out overrides internal speaker settings).

    Good luck, let me know what you choose!
  21. Johnnnny macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2007
    That set up sounds a bit messy. I suggest googling kanex. They make optical in + mdp adapters straight to 1.4 hdmi.

    For now, go into audio midi setup and make sure your digital out is set to default, on 2 channel 16 bit settings with 48.000 MHz.

    Let me know how it goes

    sent from my iPhone
  22. KeyserSoze88 macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2010
    iMac Optical Out, no sound whatever

    Have had my new iMac for 3 months now. Used a toslink optical cable to connect to my Creative Inspire 5.1 Digital 5700 speaker system.
    Have had no problems with playing sound from any applications except Skype. When using Skype and making or receiving calls there would be no ringing sound. So I went to System Preferences > Sound > Output and made sure Digital Sound was highlighted/selected. Then I went to Sound Effects and where it says Play Sound Effects Through, I selected Digital Out. Now I get the ringing sounds when using Skype. I did NOT touch any of the settings in Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup as having done the previously mentioned settings it changed them in Audio MIDI.
    I know this is not the exact same problem you had, but the above might help in the Sound Effects selection to help you get your sound working.
  23. warzinak macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2010
    oh man im so frustrated too....ive got the same problem but with my macbook....ive tried different cables (switched directly from my digital tv box)...different receivers...and get no sound whatsoever....ive tried everything i can think receiver is set to receive digital sound pref it says digital audio midi setup the source says digital out...and ive tried all the options (not many) and nothing...i tried the genius bar but they could not help me (had nothing with a digital in)....i too gave up about a year ago and watch my movies through stereo..but its frustrating as hell because i have a great system and im wasting the 5.1 on 10.6.....ive tried every program...front row...itunes...plex....vlc.....ive searched online an about 5-6 people have the same thing and no1 knows how to help...i dont want to have to buy a soundcard because i bought a macbook knowing it has optical has never worked for me...(btw yes ive tried all the basic stuff...yes the red light comes through...on both ends....its not muted... receiver is on digital..ive tried different cables/adapters...different receivers...what the hell are we doing wrong?

    atm trying with a onkyo 507 with B&W 600 series and can only use "fake" surround stereo....have no use for my onkyo (bought it hoping to hook it up to my macbook.) atm my macbook is hooked up to my NAD stereo amp.

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