Need help with 5.1 surround on iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by marcel-v, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. marcel-v macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
    Hi all, I currently have a set of speakers which are 5.1, the problem is that there are 3 jacks to plug in and my iMac only has a single optical input slot. Are there any converters for this?

    Any help would be much appreciated, thanks! :)
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I know of no such converter. What's the intended use of your 5.1 needs (e.g., movies)?

    This is one of the most significant differences between Macs and PCs. The PC guys pass off their computers as "5.1 Surround", which they are, but they are analog 5.1 surround, thus (oftentimes) requiring discrete inputs. Most speaker manufacturers capitulate to this rather antiquated technology (i.e., market forces), thus the speakers you have.

    If you want 5.1 from your Mac's optical port, you need an amp or receiver that can take digital optical input. Onkyo makes a nice 5.1 surround (Dolby Digital/DTS) HTIB (HTS600) for about $240. It provides 100 watts per channel, including to passive LFE subwoofer.
  3. marcel-v thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
    Yeah, its mainly just to listen to 5.1 music (SACD and DVDs). Thank you for your advice. Are there any good online shops for this sort of thing or perhaps eBay?
  4. darthmullet macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2006
    Sort of... Like the above post recommends, an A/V Receiver is the option that uses the built in output. Alternatively, you could purchase an external USB or FireWire soundcard.

    Look at the Griffin FireWave (about $60) or the Miglia HarmonyAudio. This features 2 input channels (stereo) and 8 output channels (7.1 or 5.1, etc., using Apple's Audio Midi Setup) for a lower price ($50 on amazon).

    I purchased the Miglia device several months ago for precisely the same purpose (I have a Logitech z5300 speaker set with three miniplugs) and it works perfectly.
  5. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    B&H Photo sells the Onkyo HT-SR600 for $240 (plus shipping) and it will decode true 5.1 surround (Dolby Digital and DTS) via TOSLINK cable, and offers Dolby Pro Logic II for decoding 5-channel matrix surround (e.g., DVD to Quicktime MPEG4 using Handbrake) via TOSLINK or RCA stereo cables. I have this unit's predecessor and it works great with my Mac Mini home theater (see link in sig).

    Can't help you with SACD, but I think your player has to have discrete outputs (which the Onkyo supports).
  6. designtemple macrumors newbie


    Jan 12, 2006
    deepdish, illinois
    I am ready to get the HT-SR600...what kinds of cables are included in the box?
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Only speaker wires are included - no cables as far as I know. If you check the B&H link there's a tab that lists all the included items. All your components should have included some cables (probably only RCA), but for the optical connection you need to get a Toslink cable. MacConnection sells them, but so do your local stores, I'm sure (e.g., Target, WallyWorld, etc.).

    Remember, for DVD Player to do passthrough, you have to launch it and set the preferences before you open a DVD. It will stay on passthrough until you set it otherwise.

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