iMac Surround Sound with Logitech X530

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sstt, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. sstt macrumors newbie

    Nov 19, 2011

    I have read many posts regarding this issue, but I can't find a solution that has been said to work. I have a 21.5" 2011 iMac running lion with Logitech X530 speakers. I would like to get surround sound working for movies, has anyone had any success with this?

    I understand I may need an external sound card or possibly an adapter of some sort, but I am unsure what is required that will work on the mac system. I do not run windows, only mac os.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    iMac support 5.1 bitsream audio format (Dolby Digital/DTS) from mini TOSLINK (built in into 3.5mm speaker input) to TOSLINK connection. So, to get full advantage and 5 channel discrete audio, you have to get an active surround decoder. It can be a sound card, or external decoder like surround receiver

    X530 is an active 5.1 speaker with no built in decoder (just like most of 5.1 computer speaker), so assuming you don't have the speaker yet, you better off with Logitech Z5500 or Z906 as they have on board decoder and TOSLINK input. Hassle free, just get the right connection and you're ready to go.
  3. sstt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 19, 2011
    Thanks for your reply, but I have had the speakers for some time. Can you suggest a decoder that will work? :)
  4. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    External Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi seems work just fine.

    But to me that's kind of waste because you can't use mini TOSLINK that actually has been available onboard in your iMac. It's digital interconnect anyway, buying $500 external decoder don't make it sounds better unless you upgrade your speaker/cables.

    If I were you, I'd try to sell your current Logitech speaker and upgrade into Z-5500 or Z906 I mentioned earlier, because one way or another you'll still have to spend some more money to get it to work the way we wanted. So why not solve the whole thing instead, once and for all?

    I'm sorry if to you it may sounds "Geez .. why should I replace this whole fine speakers just to get it work on my iMac!"

    But really, an integrated system like Z-5500 is really useful, just like HTiB system, not only you can use it with your iMac, it has multiple inputs so you can also hook up your DVD player, iPod/iPhone, or game console just fine with it .. and instantly enjoy digital interconnect without thinking about sound card, external decoder blah blah blah.

    After you get the Z5500, you only need to do a bit sound tweaking on system preferences, and buy mini TOSLINK to TOSLINK cable (mouthful, huh :D) connect both sides and kaboom for your games/ movies.

    Sound quality wise? Well let's just say this Z-5500 is great for a multimedia and mini theater system.

    Your choice man :)
  5. Blake1 macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2011
    I came across this thread looking for some of my own answers. I just wanted to ask something to make sure I was on the right track. I am also trying to get surround sound out of my iMac, only I am using a headset instead of speakers. My headset supports Dolby Digital. It worked great for movies because most moves have a dolby digital track built in. But when it came to games, It would not work.

    If I understand correctly that is because most games do not have dolby digital tracks. Most of the time the use LPCM, right? So in order for that to work I would need to get a external sound card that supports Dolby Digital Live encoding, right?

    That Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro that was recommended seems perfect for my needs. I just wanted to make sure I was on the right track....


    Also, just curious. Do you have any other recommendations for external sound cards? Would it be better to see if I can find one that uses firewire? Does having an external sound card effect the performance of my iMac?

  6. Saint305, Oct 2, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012

    Saint305 macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2012
    A Solution to your Problem


    I know it may be too late, but I have just purchased the Logitech x530 speaker set earlier this afternoon. Upon hooking everything up I found that surround sound escaped me and I sought a solution.

    First off, I'll start with listening to music because it isn't recorded for 5.1 Dolby surround sound. So, what I elected to do was to take an audio splitter and I hooked up the black and orange plugs into it and then plugged the splitter into my headphone/speaker jack. This gave me the three front speakers and the subwoofer for music. You could use the green plug instead of the orange for the 2 front and 2 rear speakers if you'd like.

    Now, to get surround sound out of my system, which is a 2011 15" Macbook Pro, I used a Behringer U-Control UCA200 with the included adapter from my speaker set. I plugged all three jacks (black, orange, & green) into the adapter. On the other side of the adapter I used some RCA cables I had laying around and plugged the into the OUTPUT on my Behringer USB Audio Interface, matching the red with red and white with white of course, and then plugged the audio interface into my Macbook Pro. Once I had everything setup I went into my sound settings through system preferences and clicked on output. I then chose the USB Audio CODEC option and now when I watch movies I have surround sound. There are different kinds of Behringer USB audio interfaces, but just do a search through Amazon and you can probably use any you find, but I'm not too sure. Anyway, this is what I did and it does work. I'm watching Deliverance as we speak and I'm enjoying it greatly! I wanted these speakers because watching Netflix streaming was starting to be a drag with the crappy 2.1 speakers I had.

    When I am not watching movies I unplug the Behringer interface and I just use the audio splitter to listen to music and watch Youtube videos. I switch back and forth as needed.

    I hope this helps and if you need any specific information or assistance I'd be more than happy to help you out. I hope you still need this information, this thread is old, LoL. Good luck.
  7. Muscle macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2010
    Reviving an old thread. On the hunt for an external soundcard (USB preferred) that supports Dolby Digital Live.

    I understand the X-Fi Surround Sound 5.1 Pro does not support OS X, but there were work arounds (but it dates back to pre ML). Was wondering if owners of this specific card could chime in now that we're on Mountain Lion.
  8. joeycool macrumors member


    Jan 14, 2013
    Just like to clarify SO the Logitech Z906 5.1 Channel Speaker System will just plug straight into the iMac I have the new 27inch ?

    What about Mac Books if these speakers are bluetooth they should connect to all your devices ? looks like good solution
  9. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Yep it is, just remember to make the most out of it, DO NOT use regular 3.5mm headphone jack.

    Buy mini TOSLINK to TOSLINK cable like this:


    And also set your audio output in System Preferences/Control Panel to Digital out instead of regular headphone jack.

    For the second question, system like Z906 won't work with bluetooth, you need wired connection, unless you buy another audio receiver which support A2DP bluetooth streaming. But for sure, bluetooth connection is not fast enough to do Dolby/DTS decoding.

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