Macbook compatible with 5.1 Surround Sound Systems?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MaskedPhantom, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. MaskedPhantom macrumors regular

    MaskedPhantom

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York
    #1
    Hello all,

    I own a base configuration white Macbook and I'm looking for a speaker system that is compatible with my Mac, as the built-in speakers are less-than-amusing to listen to. I'm looking at the Logitech G51 Surround Sound Speaker System as a possible choice. Whilst looking at the system requirements, I noticed that it says that I need a Mac with "at least 6-channel sound capability (for discrete surround sound)". I am wondering if the base config white Macbook supports this, and if not, is there any way I can fix this?

    Thank you.
     
  2. jsgrabo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    #2
    The macbook audio out is only two channel. You would need some type of firewire/usb device to make it true 5.1. The logitech page says it has "matrix mode" where it kinda converts the 2 channel to 5.1. Just using that mode would be the cheapest way to go.
     
  3. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #3
    Your MacBook has a dual-function analog (R&L) and digital (optical) output. If you (1) have a receiver capable of optical input and (2) media content encoded in a digital format (e.g., Dolby Digital, DTS) you can not only get 5.1, but 7.1, 9.1 or whatever is encoded in the media.

    The speakers you listed take 6 discrete analog inputs, so they are not compatible with your MacBook for 5.1 surround sound without purchasing other hardware. Personally, I think you should just consider buying a HTIB system. I have two Onkyo systems for our Apple TV and Mac Mini home theater and they were not only cheap (less than $250) but sound fabulous.

    If you're not sure what you're talking about, you probably shouldn't say anything. ;)
     
  4. MaskedPhantom thread starter macrumors regular

    MaskedPhantom

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York
    #4
    But that doesn't sound like it would be true 5.1 sound.

    What about connecting it to my computer? Does it use the audio output jack? If not, maybe I'll just forget about this one... I don't wanna have to buy anything extra.
     
  5. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #5
    Not only is it "true", it is typically better than what you normally find on PCs (the 3 plugs that are analog). What are you intending to do with this surround sound system? Watch movies? Play games?

    Yes, you simply need a Toslink fiber optic cable with a miniplug on one end. They go for less than $10 at a variety of places. This cable plugs into your MacBook's audio port and its insertion automatically activates the digital optical circuitry in your MB. The other end of the cable plugs into your receiver's optical port.

    You can spend $200 on a so-so Logitech system, or you can spend $250 for kick-@$$ sound system. Choice is yours.
     
  6. MaskedPhantom thread starter macrumors regular

    MaskedPhantom

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York
    #6
    I intend to listen to music.

    Well, you see, I actually only will be paying about $130 an Amazon if I get this, and that I'm afraid is my limit. (Excluding peripherals such as a Toslink cable)
     
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #7
    There's probably no reason to get anything other than stereo, since music is only encoded in two tracks anyway. Digital surround sound is really for movies in a home theater.

    That would put you out of the digital optical receiver/amp range. Probably a good buy, but you won't be able to connect to two of the three ports (Rr/Lr, Cnt/LFE) - only the R&L ports will be useful to you.
     
  8. jsgrabo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
  9. ten-oak-druid macrumors 68000

    ten-oak-druid

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    #9
    Surround doesn't seem to work

    I have a macbook with a dual out port. I purchased a mini toslink cable believing I could output surround sound to my receiver. The receiver recognizes that the audi is digital. But thats it. I play surround sound DVDs and I get two channel digital output.

    I don't believe the macs are configured to put surround sound out.
     
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #10
    Rip a DVD using Handbrake and it's Apple TV preset. Install Plex and run it, then open the file you transcoded with Handbrake and select the Dolby Digital (or DTS) track for audio. That will tell you if you're getting 5.1.

    You can also set DVD Player to do this, but it's been so long since I've used that app I can't remember how it's done.

    The problem with Quicktime and its surrogates is that Apple seems to have gone out of its way to impede our ability to get 5.1 surround.
     

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