Mac Pro Sound Card?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by strausd, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. strausd macrumors 68030

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    #1
    I have a quick question, is there a sound card out there for a Mac Pro that supports 6 channel direct and digital optical? I know the current Mac Pros already support that but not 6 channel direct. Any links would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #2
    To my knowledge, there isn't a multi-channel sound card that has supported OS X drivers. That said, once I get a Mac Pro, I'll probably be getting the Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD PCI-e card by Creative for use in bootcamp, as Creative sound cards are only supported for Windows. Here is a link to the new card. It's slated for release anytime now:

    http://sg.creative.com/corporate/pressroom/releases/welcome.asp?pid=13137

    Unfortunately, I know the reputation that Creative has, and it's not good, and I know there are many people who will probably not recommend them. Their driver support is sh*t, even on Windows. I'm not that huge of a Creative fan myself, but as far as options go, consumers really don't have too much of a choice in the consumer sound card market. I only plan to use the card for gaming under bootcamp and I get the results I need for that.

    But to ultimately answer your question, I doubt you will find any consumer grade 6 channel direct via 1/8" output sound card that you can hook up to your desktop surround system and expect surround support. Driver support just isn't there.

    But maybe with the new announcement of Steam, sound card manufacturers like Creative may yet soon change their stance on the Mac platform. I'm hoping anyway...

    The only type of surround sound you're likely to get, aside from the AC3 signal via digital out, is to step up to professional audio interfaces, but that will cost you a hefty amount, as you'll have to have powered speakers to connect to, which don't come cheap as satellites.

    Hope that helps, and sorry if my answer is a little bit convoluted. :eek:

    Edit: Here is a forum discussion of the card: http://forums.creative.com/t5/Sound...8;jsessionid=D5374EAA9DFF3630D1804D46E92E36BD

    Unfortunately, it's quite expensive and again, Creative products are always under fire by it's users due to lack of support. I'd actually like to see some other alternatives to Creative myself.
     
  3. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #3
    That was extremely helpful! Since a sound card is out of the question, do you know if there is a cheap way to go from 6 channel direct to digital optical, or at least fairly cheap?
     
  4. voyagerd macrumors 65816

    voyagerd

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    #4
  5. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    No problem! Yea, not that I know of....Like Voyagerd has mentioned, there is the Griffin Firewave, and that definitely has 6-channel direct, but the problem is it has been discontinued and is no longer supported by Griffin, so ebay is probably your only bet.

    What software do you use that actually supports and play 6 channel direct signals? I know iTunes and Quicktime only do AC3, and I believe even iTunes doesn't support AC3 out of the box...
     
  6. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #6
    Sorry for missing the question completely :p

    Do you mean going from your MP's digital out to your audio receiver's 6 channel input? That sounds like a bit of a mess really. I'm not sure of any way you're likely to pull something like that off...
     
  7. voyagerd macrumors 65816

    voyagerd

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    #7
    The main thing I use with it is VLC to play 1080P HD movies since I don't have Blu-Ray. It works great plugging it into my home theater system's receiver. I use three stereo-minijack to RCA cables to plug it in. The FireWave supports 6-Channgel 24-bit 96KHz audio as well as Encoded Digital Audio in the Dolby Digital format which most movies seem to have. I also get surround sound out of some games like Quake 4 and Unreal Tournament 2004.

    For applications that are limited to stereo, the FireWave Supports Dolby Digital Pro Logic II which creates the other channels based on the stereo channels. Here's what the software looks like.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #8
    Very nice! Got it, so VLC then. I bet Plex probably utilizes 6 channel out then too.

    The Firewave seems to have a nice amount of options. I really wish Griffin would start up the Firewave again. I remember when I was looking for the same exact Mac OS X sound card solution before, thats when I finally discovered the Firewave and it had already been discontinued. Anyway, since Mac market share has been on the constant rise, I'm pretty sure they have a better chance of finding a market for the device again.
     
  9. hyram macrumors regular

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    #9
    The optical is a little tough, but the direct channels is actually quite common... that is if you want to go with a firewire (or optical) interface. Most of them are pro or pro-like interfaces from a plathora of companies like M-audio, Sapphire, Apogee, PreSonus, etc. Most can do multiple channels in and out.
    Google is your friend. But you could start with Musician's Friend (.com) and then go from there.
     
  10. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #10
  11. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    There is, but it's definitely a professional card and not at all what the OP wants:

    http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_hdspe_aio.php

    I just felt compelled to point out that one exists, as a lot of people are not aware of it. But given what it is, it may as well not exist. It's a pro card for people who make a living on this stuff, not people who want to watch movies.
     
  12. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #12
    Yea, what I meant is, a consumer grade sound card that doesn't require the user to have 1/4" jacks or XLR cables :)
     
  13. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #13
    It has SPDIF, among other things. He did say he was looking for digital optical.

    At any rate, my point is, try not to be so absolute. If you mean no consumer cards, say no consumer cards.

    I know it's nitpicking to bring up communication issues, but...one should try to communicate effectively, especially where advice is concerned.
     
  14. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #14
    :eek: Apologies, no intent of miscommunication, but I did mention all those things, maybe not so prominently, but I did.

    From my first post:

    On the record, I cannot say with absolute certainty, 100% that there are no consumer cards out there for the Mac platform; only a strong doubt, which I'm sure is not the same as being absolute. I don't have knowledge of every single sound card on the market. Do you know of all the sound cards out there? Maybe there is something I missed. Who knows? :confused:
     
  15. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #15
    First line =\. Has way more prominence. I also mistakenly inserted "external" when you mentioned interfaces. Let's just say that we could both work on our communication and leave it at that.

    OP, the probable most effective, though certainly not cheapest, way for you to get surround would be to use an external firewire or USB interface that can carry it out to your speaker system.
     
  16. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #16
    is there something that goes from 6 channel direct to digital optical?
     
  17. hyram macrumors regular

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    #17
    Several.... but you'll learn more if you search for yourself:D. Start with Musician's Freind, They've got just about everything available in a wide range of prices.
     

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