MacBook as a desktop replacement

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by slashjunior, May 23, 2007.

  1. slashjunior macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2007
    So I have finally decided that I love my Mac so much that I want to start using my MacBook full-time.

    I have already decided on the Samsung SM 215TW 21" Widescreen LCD which I will connect to the MacBook with DVI. I understand I need a mini-DVI converter as well.

    I am having problems deciding what to do regarding speakers though. I really enjoy the quality I get from my Windows PC and am not prepared to sacrifice that. Simply plugging a standard RCA cable into the headphone socket is not an option, so I have been looking at 5.1 speakers with optical inputs. If I simply took an optical cable from the MacBook to the speakers, would that work in both stereo and surround sound in good quality, or would I have to buy something separate?

    Alternatively, I have been looking at the possibility of this AirTunes, maybe connecting wirelessly up to my existing analog speakers or my hi-fi. I am assuming I get this to work by plugging in the cable from the speakers into the AirPort Express then plug it into the mains, then my MacBook will detect it in iTunes and will play music through that? This seems the cheapest and best option so far, but I only want to go that route if the sound quality is good, compression rates and everything aside. The only problem I see is this only works with iTunes so watching DVDs in VLC would be a pain unless there is a hack to get AirTunes to work with everything.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, Dave.
  2. notsofatjames macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2007
    Wales, UK
    I love AirTunes for my music and my macbook, but i wish other applications could use the speakers (any quicktime based app would suit me fine). I've never come across a hack, but I've never really looked to be honest. The sound quality over AirTunes is ok for me, but ive only got them hooked up to a 2.1 setup, so you might noticed a difference, especially as you seem to want a full 5.1 wth good quality.
    If its a possibility, go to an apple store and ask for a demo. I dont know if they will, I'm not priveliged enough to have an apple store nearby.

    A second alternative would be a USB sound card, but I know nothing about them, but a bit of googling will probably turn something up. But that might be more expensive.
  3. islandman macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2006
    You are right about the AirTunes. The sound quality is great and it's really convenient. I'm not sure about a hack to get AirTunes to work with everything though.

    I don't know the answers to your other questions. Sorry :(.
  4. sniken macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2007
    Maybe Airfoil is what you're looking for?
  5. notsofatjames macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2007
    Wales, UK
    Good find!!!, but right at the bottom, it says due to latencies with video, its not reccomended for video playback. But i'm gonna give it a go anyway.

    EDIT: After trying this out, works well, but video playback is badly out of sync.
  6. slashjunior thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2007
    Hey, thanks for that. I don't know how I would cope with that though going between applications all of the time, because I regularly listen to stuff on the net. I suppose I could just make do with my MacBook speakers for online material like YouTube and use that program for switching between VLC and iTunes.

    As much of a great idea AirTunes sounds I think it would be better in the long run going the optical route. I will need to try the analogue first. I have never been impressed with speakers going out the headphone socket. Is there a way to make the headphone socket act more like an analogue line out socket? Optical would be nice, but I don't desperately need 5.1 only 2.1, but there are no 2.1 systems with digital inputs. Ideally I would just like to use my existing analogue 2.1 speakers without sound quality to be compromised by going through the headphone socket. Whatever happened to the good old line out socket?!
  7. Shaduu macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2007
    I don't know if you know but both the MacBook and MacBook Pro's have an optical audio out via the standard 3.5mm headphone out jack. No adaptors needed as long as you have an optical cable with a 3.5mm male attachment.

    In my experience, sound quality out of the 3.5mm out into a set of 2.1 speakers is hardly downgraded. Unless you're an audiophile, I doubt you'll notice much, if any, difference in audio quality.
  8. slashjunior thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2007
    Hey thanks. Yeah I know, it's just the question whether to upgrade my speakers to ones that can support optical, which is going to cost around £200, money I don't have. Or whether my existing analogue 2.1 speakers will be sufficient.

    Judging by your experience though, the upgrade is not worth it. I am by no means an audiophile, as long as it sounds good to my amateurish ears then that is all that matters. When I get home I will test it out, see how it sounds, have a mess around with some settings. I'm really hope it sounds great, because my current speakers are fine and I don't really want to buy new speakers unless I can help it. Plus I can't wait to get rid of my Windows PC ;)

    Thanks to everyone for their quick and helpful responses. I will keep you posted and will post a pic in the setup forum when I am done creating my new desktop :D
  9. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    How about something like this.

    It's basically a FireWire sound card. I know the MB only has one FW port, but this has 2 firewire ports on the device itself so you actually end up gaining a firewire port!

    It says that it will work with any number of speaker configurations, so I'd assume that a 2.1 setup will work as well (though I'm not sure how your speakers connect). But it also supports 5.1 so if you ever decide to upgrade, you're set.
  10. lil' brudder macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Doesn't DVD player have some kind of automatic audio latency setting to delay or push audio forward? I know some dvd playing programs do.
  11. OdduWon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 4, 2006
    MBP as a replacement for PMG5

    can anyone tell me if, or when, the MBP will be as powerfull as a PMG5 w dual 2.7 (wrt processing power not GPU)? I would love to have a portable as powerfull as this, though it may not be comperable yet. thoughts?:)
  12. deadpixels macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2006
    VLC has audio latency control so if you push the audio forward, you can fix the problem :D
  13. Nicolasdec macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2006
    São Paulo
  14. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    A 2.33Ghz MBP will be as powerful, if not more powerful than a Dual 2.7Ghz G5.
  15. slashjunior thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2007
    Genius! Why didn't I think of that? I remember now I had an external USB Creative soundcard on my old laptop. I think I may have it around somewhere. I am not sure whether it will be compatible with the Mac though, if it isn't that FireWave looks great and affordable.

    UPDATE: Been playing around with my existing speakers and got it sounding pretty good. I am happy with it for now and if I stumble across some money then I will upgrade. Thanks for all the help. Can't wait to get my monitor now!

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