Mac Pro - Optical and Analog Audio out Q

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by FarvasNumberOne, May 22, 2008.

  1. FarvasNumberOne macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    Can the Mac Pro output audio to optical and analog simultaneously?

    I want to run the audio to 2 receivers simultaneously.
  2. fatcat23 macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2008
    If this did work, the two sources would most likely be time delayed, slightly enough to ruin the sound. And sort of tiny time delay would be noticeable and would be even more evident as you increased the volume. Unless your running the exact same equipment twice over, then it might work. But i highly doubt it.

    If you already have a mac pro and the proper setup, you should try it yourself and post the results. :p
  3. FarvasNumberOne thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    I would really really like to be the owner of a Mac Pro but not quite yet.

    I want to run one audio source to a whole house amplifier but also run audio to my HDTV when I switch to watching HTPC video and audio. The catch is the whole house audio amp is not going to control the home theater audio so there need to be 2 separate signals.

    I suppose I could just Y split the analog signal with some degree of signal degradation but I wanted to utilize any 5.1 the optical could offer.
  4. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    I don't have a MacPro yet, so I checked the manual. It doesn't state clearly if these will both work at the same time, though I suspect they will. Hopefully, someone who has a MacPro will chime in.

    I doubt that there is a noticeable time difference between the two. If there were, though, it would only matter if you could hear both sources at the same time.

    By the way, an AppleTV is great for getting sound from your computer to your HT setup. I use both the analog and optical out on my AppleTV similar to what you're talking about doing. I don't notice any time offset from this (I'm also doing the whole house thing).
  5. fatcat23 macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2008
    Can you clarify what you mean by simultaneously, Do you mean two recievers in the same room, where you can hear both at the same time? Because that is what i original thought of, and thats when you would have the time delay in the two signals(sounding horrible), but if your running them in two separate rooms where you cant hear the other signal, then it would be ok for sure. In my experience when i have y split an analog signal and tried to playback to two systems in the same room, there was a large delay which ruined the sound. And I'm quite sure the difference in a digital and analog outputted signal would also cause a delay.

    What kind of HTPC are you planning on running? If you have the money for a mac pro :D, perhaps consider a Apple TV also as mchalebk mentioned. It might serve you well since you could then be running two optical signals(one from mac pro and another from the apple tv). Also this way your mac pro could be doing something else while someone else in your home is watching videos(movies, whatever) on the apple tv.
  6. FarvasNumberOne thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    apple tv cant do itunes visualizers.

    that is my one and only reason for not using such a setup.
  7. Amigalander macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2008
    In Mac OS X, you can't have analog and digital audio outputting simultaneously. You can if you're running Windows on the Mac Pro tho.

    Using 3rd party apps, it may be possible. For example, with VLC, you can choose digital audio output for your video, while iTunes is playing music over the analog output.
  8. AngryMacVGNerd macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2008
    What exactly is the point of what you are doing? If you can tell us why you want to run multiple audio streams simultaneously, I can give you some advice.
  9. drftjgoj macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    I was actually wondering the same thing.

    Just bought an iphone and want to control my computers itunes library with remote (in my bedroom) and play it through my HT receiver and speakers in the living room. Was thinking of running an optical cable from my computer to receiver, but in order to do this now I would have to disable my regular computer speakers in the bedroom, since they are connected via the standard stereo out.

    There a way to do both at once? I say "at once" meaning having both devices capable of outputting the signal, not necessarily having them both playing at the same time. Signal delays aren't an issue, since I'll really only be playing one at a time.

    I just dont want to have to dig through system settings each time I switch rooms.
  10. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    I still don't know the answer to the original question, but it sounds to me like you might be a perfect candidate for an Airport Express. You can then use AirTunes to stream audio to your home theater.
  11. drftjgoj macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    Thanks for the heads up. I was hoping for a $0 solution, but i guess that would work too!
  12. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    You can output to multiple sound devices at the same time, but not the same source - that is to say, you can't do a systemwide output to analog and optical. You could, for example, tell Final Cut Pro to output to analog and have your system output be on the optical (I've done this). The issue is that you can't have all sound do that, and a lot of apps don't support output selection, but rather just ride on your system output. Pro apps are usually fine for this. Other apps, not so much. If it's a deal-breaker, you'll probably need some kind of splitter box or something.
  13. drftjgoj macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    Thanks for the explanation! Much appreciated.
  14. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    I know you're looking for a "cost-less" option, but one that will cost, however, not a bunch, is an outboard sound card. USB or Firewire.

    I use Edirol products, both the UA-25 (USB) and the FA-101 (FW). The 101 gives me 10 in/10 out capability, certainly more than you need, but it is simultaneous and gives you the option to hook many more sources into your audio stream, including instruments, mics, turn tables and tape decks for archiving old sound, etc. The UA-25 is only 2 in 2 out buy I think (at work right now and not looking at it) it has toslink as well (the 101 does) as Hi and Lo-Z input and phantom power for mics.

    There are also many $30-$50 options as well. Look at the imic or Audio Genie, Behringer U-Control (I have all three, all plug and play, all bulletproof, and all reasonably priced, under 50 bucks).

  15. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    You can send your alerts to one output and everything else to a different one. So i assume its technically possible you would just need an application written to let you do this.

    EDIT: out of interest DJ-1800 lets you do this however thats not what your looking for. But this proves it can be done.
  16. drftjgoj macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    Wow. The Edirol stuff looks a little overkill for what i need, but the behringer looks perfect. Thanks again.
  17. Settlage macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2002
    Enable both Optical and Analog out

    I've been trying to get this to work since I replaced my Power Mac G5 with an early 2008 Mac Pro.

    Here's why I need this: The optical out goes to my home theater system in another room. The analog out goes to the speakers connected to the computer. Sometimes, I want to listen to iTunes on the home theatre system. It is cumbersome to launch Audio MIDI Setup and toggle the audio out to optical when I want to listen on the home theater system and then back when I want to use the computer.

    Additionally, with the Power Mac G5, both the optical and analog outputs were active at the same time.

    Any idea why this capability was there with the G5 but not with the Mac Pro? More importantly, is there a way to enable both on the Mac Pro?
  18. rtrt, Sep 17, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  19. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    Maybe you're thinking of Rougue Amoeba's free SoundSource menu application, I used to use this one to switch audio outputs .
  20. rtrt, Sep 17, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011

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