Macbook Pro 5.1 Surround Sound Options

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MediaRyan, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. MediaRyan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #1
    I have my new MBP (merom) and want to hook up to pure 5.1 surround sound. My PC had a sound card that had 3 colored outputs that went directly into their respective channels for true 5.1 on my thundering logitech z-5500s. I want....I need it.....on my mac.

    Anyone know about optical out options for 5.1 on the mbp? I've heard talk that the headphone jack (which is optical out) can actually output 5.1 as long as it is received correctly...?

    Also, anyone know much about leopard issues with Griffin's Firewave? Looks like a nice device, but seeing as how it appears to only be compatible with OS 10.4, are there any other similar options?
     
  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    #2
    If you just want 5.1 in OS X, you're good to go. The capability is built into the MBP. You just need a toslink with mini toslink adapter. That goes into the headphone jack, and works with the Z-5500's.
     
  3. MediaRyan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #3
    So the mini toslink goes into the headphone jack, then that plugs into a toslink cable? And then that cable goes into whatever I want it to play on right?

    Does a toslink cable have any other names? Digital coaxial?
     
  4. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #4
    this is what you need.

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...=10229&cs_id=1022902&p_id=1572&seq=1&format=2


    I wouldn't even contemplate getting the firewave, since you already have the z-5500's with the optical out. Its the same reason I ordered a set of z-5500's myself.

    I am curious: how do your like the z-5500's? I will be using it to watch the occassion dvd's but i am more interested in how they perform when listening to mp3's
     
  5. MediaRyan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #5
    Well, I am no audio expert (as evidenced by my lack of knowledge about inputs/outputs on my computer and speakers) so hard to say.

    Certainly quality speakers, the Z-5500s. I have a pair of 2.1 $35 logitech speakers that sound amazing to me and I've used them for 3 years almost now. The z-5500s honestly don't necessarily blow me away. I've only done a little serious loud volume stuff and they sound fine and all. The bass almost seems a little muddy. My friend that owned them and convinced me to get them admits hes seen reviews that say the same thing about the bass. Again though, I'm not expert and someone that does know might roll their eyes at me. :rolleyes:

    From http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/article.asp?SCID=88&CIID=22626

    But what does it sound like? Liquid gold, to be honest. The highs are crisp and clear, the midrange rather impressive given the satellite drivers, and the sub is loud and powerful enough to punch a hole in your floor. Unfortunately this is something that lets the kit down as the bass from the sub is excessive and a little muddy.​

    So, they're fine, but I guess they're still just "computer" speakers you can hook up to anything and they have a ton of power. Sound quality seems about as good as decent quality computer speakers...just in surround. I'd go read reviews at Amazon or NewEgg and stuff.

    I do love the remove control and the "control panel" thing...

    Anyways, thanks for the link to the toslink cable I need. I look forward to making my MBP a truly universal entertainment & media creation machine.
     
  6. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #6
    hey sorry to butt in but is anybody aware if the mbp CD (yonah??) has the 5.1 capable audio slot??
     
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #7
    Yes, it does. Calistoga chipset (MB, Mini CS and CD) was the first to have it.
     
  8. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #8
    oh ok thanks so much for the input :)
     
  9. MadDog31 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    #9
    For those of us that saw this thread and DON'T have those lovely Logitech speakers but own other systems w/o optical output, I gotta at least catch those up with what I've been working with.

    I e-mailed Griffin regarding their FireWave and they stated that it indeed does work with Leopard, just that a small group of users are experiencing an issue where if the Mac is put into sleep mode and woke back up, the FireWave has to be unplugged from the USB and plugged back in. Yes, pain in the ass, but at the same time, they said most other users are experiencing no such issue at all even when their Macs are put to sleep. Shutting down the Mac has no buggy effect - it works as normal so it's just the sleep issue they're trying to iron out.

    They haven't certified it with Leopard yet because of this outlying issue. I for one would be willing to give it a shot. I own some GREAT Klipsch ProMedia 5.1's that I don't want to unload for something that's either the same or inferior. I wish they had optical, but that just wasn't the case when I bought them back in '01 or '02 (can't remember exactly when). While I wish there was a way to run a TOSLink from the MBP to a converter and then run it to my analog speakers, I simply can't find a single thing. It sucks. For some reason I have a mental block about running sound out of the USB...either quality loss or unnecessary overhead on the computer's processing power (anybody want to debunk this issue for me and make me feel better?)

    Anyhow, sorry if this is a thread hijack, but I wanted to sorta clear things up regarding the FireWave because I have been working with them figuring out why it hasn't been certified for Leopard yet.

    Here is the thread where I quote a couple of their e-mail responses to me:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=446499

    Ian
     
  10. MediaRyan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #10
    Hey, thanks for the Firewave info. That is very relevant.
     
  11. ScottSyrNY macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    #11
    Not meant to hi-jack..... does anyone know of quality bluetooth speaker systems for our new Penyrn MBP? I hate anything more than the occasional (but obviously necessary) power cord coming out of my portable machine. I assume bluetooth speakers would have their own power cord yet transmit the necessary audio signal via bluetooth. How much sound quality degradation is there, if any? If this is too far off the topic thread....just give the nod, lol. Just thought there are some knowedgable audio people perusing here. Thanks
     
  12. zepharus macrumors 6502a

    zepharus

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    #12
    Dude.. the Z5500s are pretty much godly at their price point. they sound better than Home theater systems costing over $1000. Bass is incredible and the set is THX certified which is not easy to get...

    you cannot go wrong with Z5500s
     
  13. auero macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    #13
    I have them and they're AMAZING. I hooked up my 50" Samsung plasma to them and its great.

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=2604093&sku=B20-7132

    I have that, you can't beat it.
     
  14. MediaRyan thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 26, 2007
    #14
    Alright. Like I said I'm not an audio expert. :)
     
  15. sigan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    #15
    I can verify a couple of things:

    a) I have firewave, and it does work with leopard, but as noted, once the mac wakes from sleep, the sound stutters through Firewave. Direct sound still sounds fine. Restarting the mac will "repair" the sound, but it's annoying to have to restart after sleeping every single time. Strange Griffin hasn't bothered to update it.

    b) The z5500 are what I use, and I think they're OK. I agree with the statement that the bass is muddy. They're good computer speakers, but don't expect any more than that. I'm not an audiophile, but I do like nice speakers. if you're looking for high quality sound, I don't think these will do it for you. Just my opinion.
     
  16. zepharus macrumors 6502a

    zepharus

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    #16
    Again, I am going to defend the Z5500's here. Read ANY review you can find on these. Amatuers to Audiophiles LOVE these things. Im no audiophile either but they sound incredible. the Bass to me is crisp and punchy. Its all a matter of preference.. just read the reviews youll see. Remember also these speakers are 5 years old and still considered the best...

    http://www.hardcoreware.net/reviews/review-298-1.htm
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1753499,00.asp
     
  17. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #17

    Are you going by the reviews, or your own personal opinion?

    My set shipped to me last week, and i've got to agree with Sigan...they are "OK"

    I was expecting higher quality sound, especially since i have connected them via digital out.

    Highs/treble is nonexistant, and this was to be expected...since there are no tweeters in the satellites. Mid range sounds mediocre. Bass is muddy. I am returning mine.

    z-5500 is pure muscle...but you wont find any refinement.
     
  18. zepharus macrumors 6502a

    zepharus

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    #18

    Im talking on experience. I replaced a set of Klipsch Promedia 5.1's with Z5500s and they sound better.

    We will never agree here, I find it insane that you would return them becasue they do not sound good to you. Please remember that these can be had for $220 after rebates from Newegg. If you anything that sound better at that price point I will crap in my hat...
     
  19. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #19
    you know, i will actually agree...you might be on to something. My subwoofer outputs minimal bass, and i from what i hear, the z-5500's bass is supposed to be monstrous, overpowering. I think I may have a faulty subwoofer, or control pod. I have also noticed that sometimes, the buttons on my control pod are highly unresponsive. I got mine for $145 off amazon with free shipping and am returning them :eek:
     
  20. MediaRyan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #20
    I wonder if some systems are simply different. I cannot imagine that a set of speakers with muddy bass would be as well loved by average joes and professional reviewers alike. I am guessing that some of us truly are naive on the audio side and can't recognize what is good or our z-5500s simply are the rare exceptions.

    Speaking of which, I plugged in a mini-toslink cable to toslink (?!) into my mbp and hooked the optical plug into the z-5500s. Couldn't get sound. Settings were on "optical input" on the z-5500 but on my mbp the volume controls were disabled when the mini-toslink was plugged in.

    This is what I'm using.
     
  21. gothamm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #21
    I have that exact same cable, and it works fine. It disables my keyboard volume controls, so the only way to control volume is via the logitech control pod.

    go to system prefs--> Audio to check if it says digital output or something along those lines.
     
  22. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #22
    i just use the RCA-3x3.5mm plug hat came with my logitech 5.1's.

    i got MBP->3.5mm-RCA cable->RCA-3x35mm plug->speakers. its not 5.1 surround, but at least all speakers play.
     
  23. pionata macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal
    #23
    I'm waiting for the shipping of the same cable, but I plan of sending the optical signal throught a optical/coaxial (SPDIF) converter (my PS3 already uses the optical on my Sony system). I hope everything works well, but from what I've read it should.
     
  24. mgacam2 macrumors regular

    mgacam2

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    #24
    I had the exact same setup, my Macbook Pro with my Z-5500 speaker set and it worked perfectly. Just use an optical cable with the mini optical port. The "amp" sorts everything out and you wont have any problems.
     
  25. DocSmitty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    #25
    Did you even read those reviews? They both mention the muddy bass. Neither of them would I call a review that LOVES them, what they do both say is that *for the price* they are hard to beat. Anyone who is used to high quality speakers will probably not like them, particularly for music. It's harder to tell the difference in quality when playing a game or watching a movie.

    I'm not an audiophile, but I am an audio professional.
     

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