iMac Surround Sound

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Kaloyan, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. Kaloyan macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2009
    Hello everyone, first of all i just want to say Hi as I am new here. I am glad I found this forum as it seems great! Anyway I am considering buying a 24" iMac 09 and have a question as far as surround sound goes. I have a quite old Logitech 5.1 Z-5300 speaker setup and need help figuring out how to connect it to the iMac. From what I have read so far one option is the Griffin Firewave but that seems to have been discontinued, so I am not sure if it will work with the 09 iMac? The other option seems to be the Logitech 5.1 Game Console Adapter, although I don't understand if that will provide good sound quality. If anyone could clarify this and also tell me if there is a better solution I would be VERY grateful! Thanks in advance.
  2. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    You'll need a mini-TOSLINK to TOSLINK adapter for the optical audio port, and the speakers need to have an optical audio line.
  3. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I have a set of these speakers, and they're awesome - on my wife's PC.

    The only way I know of to get 5.1 out of an iMac is either through the optical out port - which the Z-5300's don't support - or an external sound card.
  4. Kaloyan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2009
    Ok thanks guys, I guess I will have to find an external sound card. Anyone know of any that work with the iMacs beside the Griffin Firewave?
  5. droobage macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2009
    I just bought an '09 iMac a couple weeks ago and after reading all about the Griffin Firewave it sounded like it should be no problem for these new macs. So I actually bought the Firewave last night off Amazon. It was only $28, and should be here in a few days (I went cheap and did the slowest, least expensive shipping possible.) After I get it and have a chance to use it, I'll post back my experience.
  6. Kaloyan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2009
    Awesome, thank you very much! I am guessing it will work fine but I am a bit worried that they discontinued the product, meaning there is no support or anything.
  7. droobage macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2009
    I have now received my Firewave, so I can give you my initial thoughts/impressions.

    First off, I got the Firewave last Thursday and was ready to get it all set up and test it out, but immediately discovered that I wouldn't be able to because the Firewave only comes with a firewire 400 cable. Because I have the newest iMac, it supports firewire 800 only. So if you decide to buy the Firewave, you should also purchase a firewire 800 to 400 cable at the same time, so you don't have to wait, like I did, to set it up. I suggest

    So I ordered that cable from monoprice, and it arrive yesterday so I was finally able to get everything set up. It took about 5 min to install the software, plug everything in and get it all configured. Super easy, super slick. Most of the controls are done through the MIDI Audio Set-up stuff, found in the applications folder of your iMac, however the Firewave software also has a few more controls.

    The sound is really great. It's been a few weeks since I've been able to listen to my speakers back when they were hooked up to my old PC, so maybe I'm remembering incorrectly, but I think it sounds better than it did on my PC. Or maybe it's just such a big step up from the iMac's built in speakers that anything will sound better. But I really like having the thump of the subwoofer again.

    I've only listened to music in iTunes so far, so I can't say anything for Dolby Digital 5.1 from a DVD source.

    As far something I dislike about the Firewave... Perhaps it's just my particular box, but it emits a high pitched, electronic sounding ring/buzz when I plug it in. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that it's being powered by the iMac (which is nice, not having to plug the Firewave into an outlet for power) but when not listening to any music the ringing is very noticeable and VERY annoying. After about 2 min I actually stuck the Firewave down on the floor, underneath my desk (away from my feet) so I couldn't hear it anymore. If your desk doesn't have a place for you to hide it, you may want to think twice about getting the Firewave (or again, maybe it's just my little box, and not all of them have this problem).

    But overall I'm very pleased with it so far. It does its job easily and requires almost no set up before you can have great sounding surround on your iMac. Hope this helps.
  8. crackbookpro macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2009
    Om nom nom nom
    you need an adapter, but the iMacs are great... I have the 24'', and it is the best desktop I've ever owned so far... I use it for a lot of graphic design, and web development. It's an A+ for those things, but when you get into 3D rendering, heavy Flash, video editing/rendering, may need to look towards a MacPro. Are you coming from PC to MAC, or do you know you just want a iMac 24"?

    I have two quick questions...

    you getting the $1500 iMac?

    ...or you beefing up the processor, and looking for the ATI Radeon and bigger HD?... and spending the :p

    Welcome to the forum Kaloyan ;)

  9. Kaloyan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2009
    droobage thanks for the nice review, it is really appreciated! I think I am going to go the same route and get the firewave.

    Crackbookpro thanks for the warm welcome! As far as the iMac I will be getting the 2.93 ghz one with the Geforce 120 or 130. I am coming from a PC but wanted to switch to Mac since it seems a lot better for work and general use. I will be mainly using it for work as I work online. By the way as far as the video cards go would you recommend paying a little more for the Geforce 130GT? I am asking since I also game casually so I wanted a decent graphics cart to use when playing games. Thanks again!

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