Looking for: Optical Multichannel Audio Solution

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hachre, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. hachre macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2007
    Since the new Air doesn't have optical digital out anymore I am no longer able to hook it up to my system to transport multichannel audio...

    Does anyone have a good solution that is buyable from Europe? I have bought 2 USB sound cards with optical audio out, but both are incapable of pass through so they are useless and going to Ebay...

    It seems they support HDMI Audio out, but is that not restricted to Stereo also (on the Air)? If it isn't it should be quite easy to get the two pins from the HDMI connector and get the digital signal onto a normal RCA plug, but then it still isn't optical and my whole system is based on optical toslinks :/

    Any ideas?
  2. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    My gosh they nerfed that too?

    I'm glad they got the price lower than the original Rev A $1799 starting price, I really am. But me? Personally? I wish it cost $100 more and included the ambient light sensor, backlit keyboard, optical digital output, etc.

    Of course, if you need anything of those things Macbook Pro blah blah blah.

    The Air just went from a super premium thin laptop to an 'inexpensive' thin laptop. (I put inexpensive in quotes, I realize it ain't cheap)
  3. hachre thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2007
    Same here ;)
  4. andrew upstairs macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2009
    Downtown Los Angeles
  5. Daud macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2008
  6. hachre thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2007
    The Apple site doesn't say anything about digital or optical anymore so I guess so. I ordered my MBA 13" already, but it has a 10 day shipping period... I will know for sure when it has arrived... From the pictures I have seen though (disassembled) the port is too small to handle optical at the same time, so I guess it's true.

    I have bought 2 sound cards for USB by now. Both don't support pass-through. At least that's what the driver claims... One of the two I can force via Plex (http://www.plexapp.com) to output AC3 and DTS, and it works!!

    It isn't a perfect solution though because only Plex is capable of doing that, not VLC, not Quicktime.

    If anyone is interested I'm talking about the Terratec Aureon Dual USB.

    More info on the card from the Terratec site:

    If anyone knows of a better card that is also fairly cheap (Terratec is around 30 Euro) let me know, please!
  7. lespaul85 macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2010
    On my MBP 17" I've used both the optical solution and external audio interfaces (both USB and Firewire based), and I will say a USB solution even is way far and above what the intenal optical could do. The only limitation is the extra delay the interface introduces. If delay is not a big issue for you (i.e. for recording instrument parts in real time), then just search google for "usb audio interface". Then when you need multichannel, you just plug it in. Interfaces can be had from places like Best Buy for as little at $40-$50 and go well beyond the power and scope of what the old optical port can do on MBP's.

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