imac pro...no more audio digital out ?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Msbeezy, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Msbeezy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    #1
    I just connected up my new imac pro to replace my imac 5k and wadda ya know...it appears apple nixed the digital audio output..i previously had a toslink connection from the headphone jack to my high end stereo system and now it appears that option is gone with no more digital output from the speaker jack..
    Can anyone offer a solution...possibly a go between the headphone jack and my receiver connection ?..I suppose I could use the dac in the amp..

    help ??
     
  2. ColdCase, Apr 22, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #2
    I noticed that too when looking at the iMac Pro specs. I found that the ~$250 - $300 thunderbolt 3 docks that CalDigit and OWC sell have an optical audio output. If I needed/wanted digital out I was thinking about using a Doc.
     
  3. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #3
    Ditto with my frustration in this regard. I dialed in a latest-gen AirPort Express that I tote with me from my home office to my field offices, works flawlessly and I'm happy again. See Ken Rockwell's review of the 2014 Express to see that it's TOSLINK output is pretty much "perfect". I use the Express at my home office with TOSLINK with zero issues or either my Grado SR325e cans or Sennheiser/Massdrop HD 6XX cans and forget the world exists for a bit. The Express extends my Synology RT2600ac's wireless network at my field offices and an Extreme at my home office (also connected via Ethernet to an RT2600ac).

    My Express is an iMP wireless "dongle" that's a lot cheaper than an hour of therapy... Apple should bundle an Express with each iMP IMHO!
     
  4. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #4
    Same in the 2017 iMac. Sound Blaster Omni USB card is the way to go for my 5.1 system.
     
  5. ajmichmac macrumors member

    ajmichmac

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2018
    Location:
    N.E. Michigan
    #5
    Just got an AudioQuest Dragonfly Red for my iMac Pro 27" 2017... connected to the headphone out, it sounds fantastic, either with cans or driving external speakers.
     
  6. imacken macrumors 65816

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    Feb 28, 2010
    #6
    Stereo only though, right?
     
  7. HDFan macrumors 65816

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    Jun 30, 2007
    #7
    I use the Meridian Explorer (supports Tidal MQA):

    iMac USB > Meridian > 2.1 speaker system


    but yes, just stereo.
     
  8. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #8
    The Sound Blaster Omni is a full featured 5.1 card with Dolby Live and can be hooked up to an optical port on your receiver or use direct input 6 channel output to your receiver. Has a nice Control Panel in both macOS and Windows, and has mic inputs etc.
    And, only costs around £70!
    https://us.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-omni-surround-5-1
     
  9. tu2thepoo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2017
    #9
    FYI the SB Omni only does Dolby Digital Live in Windows:
    So if you just need DD/DTS passthrough in MacOS (like from movie playback), it'll be fine. If you need a stereo signal upmixed to surround sound, or DD5.1 encoding from a game, you're probably not going to find a Mac solution. The only other Dolby Digital Live product I know of (that's still widely available) is the ASUS Xonar U3, and that is also windows-only for DDL.
     
  10. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #10
    Correct, so all Windows users who dual boot on their Macs, like me, can use it!
    Simply not true, the Omni has direct speaker output in 5.1 channels, and surround sound works perfectly in Mac games. That's why I bought it!
     
  11. tu2thepoo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2017
    #11
    Analog output, sure. But if we're talking digital output - and last I checked the title of the thread is "imac pro... no more audio digital out?" - it might be something OP wants to know before spending the money.
     
  12. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #12
    I really don’t know why you are nit picking here. We’ve answered the question about there being no optical output from recent iMacs.
    The Omni offers the option of having optical digital output or direct speaker output to receivers.
    I really don’t understand why you are continually fighting on this.
     
  13. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    If you want "digital out", the easiest way to obtain it is through the USB ports.
    There are numerous USB digital/analog devices out there, from cheap to very expensive.
    Pick one that suits your needs and budget.
     
  14. imacken macrumors 65816

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    Feb 28, 2010
    #14
    With surround sound? Not so sure.
     
  15. ajmichmac macrumors member

    ajmichmac

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    Location:
    N.E. Michigan
    #15
    Yes I believe so, just stereo -- but it does an amazing job of it!
     
  16. Internet Enzyme macrumors 6502a

    Internet Enzyme

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    #16
    I too use a digital audio to amplifier setup, but I use my macbook’s thunderbolt 2. See, i use my laptop in closed display mode, plugged into a 4k tv via a displayport to hdmi 2.0 adapter. This carries my audio and video to the tv, and then the tv is set to only output audio through its optical out, which then goes into the amplifier. This has very little to do with your situation, but I wonder if the notion of a thunderbolt 3 to toslink adapter exists. Probably not, but you may be able to do something like what i do if you have an external monitor, or some kind of device that supports the type of “pass through” that i do.
     
  17. imacken macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #17
    Guys, I can only repeat again, that the Sound Blaster Omni 5.1 USB card has an optical toslink output for inputting to your receiver. It also has direct speaker 5.1 output as well, so you have best of both worlds for about £60.
     
  18. giggles macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2012
    #18
    Back when we had Macs with video-only mini-displayport (yes...they existed), there was an adapter that could mix the 5.1 audio from the 3.5” toslink out to the DP video from the mini-DP (it also needed power from
    a USB to work) into an audio+video HDMI out to the TV. Then my tv would output said 5.1 DD/DTS audio from the TV’s toslink out (sadly some TVs have it limited to 2.0 stereo for some reason, but not mine) to the receiver. (and really this is the best way to do it if you don’t want to constantly change inputs on the receiver...every device send to the TV via hdmi, then the TV sends to the receiver via toslink, and controls the receiver volume via one HDMI ARC/CEC input...of course you can’t do HD/lossless surround audio via toslink out, though)

    So I wonder if the toslink 5.1 out from the Soundblaster could be mixed into a frankenstained HDMI with the adapter described above. But it’s probably easier to just use a usb-c to hdmi 2.0 adapter that relies on the DP alt mode to convert DP1.2 to HDMI 2.0. So if I read correctly one user here (Internet Enzyme) confirmed that such adapters would pass DD/DTS compressed 5.1 from a Mac (under macOS) to a TV (which then in turn could pass it to a receiver via toslink out). He uses a TB2 adapter but the same should apply to TB3, both would work via DP alt mode. It’s important to know because honestly if the Mini line is discontinued I may be tempted to use an iMac as an HTPC VESA-bolted back to back to my big screen tv.
     

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