New Mac Mini output HD Audio?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by WiiDSmoker, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. WiiDSmoker macrumors 65816

    WiiDSmoker

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    Sep 15, 2009
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    Hermitage, TN
    #1
    Does the new '11 Mac Mini out HD Audio through HDMI? Looking for Dolby True HD, DTS HD High Resolution Audio, DTS HD Master Audio.
     
  2. keeper macrumors 6502

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    Apr 23, 2008
    #2
    I pretty sure the answer is no.
    However I've listened to both and if you search on the AV forums I think the response is its very hard to hear an improvement in DTS or HD audio.
     
  3. WiiDSmoker thread starter macrumors 65816

    WiiDSmoker

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    #3
    I have a set up where the difference is hugely noticeable.....anyways, guess the Mac Mini idea is gone :(
     
  4. BlackMangoTree macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #4
    Hugely noticeable? Once level matched you will be hard pressed to hear a difference.
     
  5. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #5
    The 2011 Mini's with the discrete AMD Radeon GPU do support HD audio through the GPU. However it's not supported by the Mac OS. Although I'm not certain it should be available under Windows if you choose to also install that OS.

    Just to add I would have to say to me it's not hugely noticeable.
     
  6. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #6
    I'm pretty sure the optical out could handle it though, as it seems to be able to do 24/96 SPDIF (as reported by Audio MIDI setup) at least on my 2009 MBP. Could you pipe in audio via toslink instead of HDMI?

    Ruahrc
     
  7. jdmagoo1 macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2010
    #7
    Nope you cannot run HD audio over optical, not possible.

    Anyway to quote somebody over at xbmc forums, the HDMI port is capable of playing HDMI audio but it needs to be running through windows for it to work.

    Also, I too have a very expensive ht setup and the difference between hd audio and older formats like DVD DTS audio etc is night and day, comparable to blu ray video over DVD video
     
  8. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #8
    Here is a nice explanation of HD Audio formats and which connections can support them.

    http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/s..._FAQ:_Blu-ray_and_HD_DVD_Audio_Explained/1064

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    I assume that this is true for both the Intel HD 3000 and AMD mini versions?
     
  9. Oneman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    #9
    In a nutshell, no Mac computer can bitstream HD audio *unmodified/converted* from commercial HD movies. Why, because Apple has not provided the drivers for Core Audio to support commercial movie HD audio bitstreaming. Even under windows in Bootcamp there is still no *unmodified/converted* HD audio support on a Mac because Apple would need to provide drivers for the necessary Protected Audio Path to enable HD bitstreaming. You will notice I wrote *unmodified/converted* because it is possible to convert HD audio i.e. extract the DTS core from DTS-HD tracks or decode Dolby TrueHD to PCM stereo or FLAC using programs like MakeMKV and if I am not mistaken Handbrake now has the capability. Someone on another forum claimed to have gotten HD audio to bitstream on a 2010 Mac mini under Ubuntu (Linux), but the consensus is what he enabled was not the native HD audio but a converted signal. Here are some links: 1, 2

    Technically most if not all Mac computers since late 2009 have the hardware necessary to output HD audio from HD movies, and all that is needed is for Apple to provide the hooks for Core Audio to provide a Protected Audio Path to enable HD audio bitstreaming as required by the Advanced Access Content System. (It is a DRM issue. As Steve Jobs said ‘Blu-ray is a bag of hurt’.) Its been rumored that the iTunes will have full HD movies(1080i/p) sometime this fall. We can only hope that Apple will add HD audio bitstreaming natively, but then again maybe not. If it does happen it might be full HD video and not HD audio as well, in iTunes movies.

    Additionally if Apple were to provide the necessary drivers, *unmodified/converted* HD audio from HD movies cannot be output through the optical jack (as some have suggested), because it do not have enough bandwidth.(Optical out is capable of 6 channels at 24bits/48khz or 2 channels at 24bits/192khz but not HD audio from HD movies which can be 8 channels at 24bits/96khz or even 6 channels at 24bits/192khz) HD audio would be output through the HDMI port or Thunderbolt/Mini Displayport.

    I have seen this question asked several times on this forum. Perhaps this will give those interested some insight on the HD audio situation. Currently if your want *unmodified/converted* HD audio you would need a windows machine (other than Bootcamp/Fusion/Parallels on a Mac) with the right hardware and most importantly the right software. To the best of my knowledge Ubuntu (Linux) can not bitstream HD audio *unmodified/converted* from commercial HD movies yet. Hope this helps.
     
  10. jdmagoo1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #10
    To add, the 2010 Mac minis do not have the hardware to support HD audio, this changed in the 2011 models. In fact, the 2011 models have a v1.4 HDMI port which supposedly supports fullhd 3d (I'm waiting on somebody to test for me over at plex for this one). But certainly the hardware supports full hd audio under windows running either power DVD or total media theatre as confirmed by somebody over at xbmc forums.

    As the above poster has said, hd audio is possible but not under lion or snow leopard, but under windows.
     
  11. jdmagoo1 macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2010
    #11
    If I understand you correct, you are saying that hd audio (bit streaming DTS-MA for example) is not possible under windows? If I understand you correctly then you are wrong. I will use the 2011 Mac mini as an example. The 2011 mac mini has a graphics card (either hd3000 or 6630m) that's supports hd audio bit streaming, however you must have windows installed, you must have the latest windows video drivers installed and you must have either power DVD or TMT playing the blurry or BR rip. Again, this has being proven by somebody over at xbmc just do a search.
     
  12. Oneman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    #12
    I believe this is the thread at xbmc you are referring to. Link. Posts #77, #79, #89 and #113 might be of interest. You will notice some posters say it is possible in one post, then it is not in another post or vice versa. There are people trying to get it to work, mainly in windows. I would very much like it to work in OS X or windows.

    What I am stating is that if you play a HD movie which has HD audio and you output from the HDMI port on a Mac and input to a receiver which can decode HD audio streams, it will not display the audio as Dolby True HD or DTS HD High Resolution Audio or DTS HD Master Audio. It will instead display regular Dolby Digital or regular DTS. For the vast majority of people HD audio bitstreaming is not something they are interested in. But for some of us like the original poster it is something of value. So to that extent you are right. It is possible to extract the core audio streams from a HD audio stream and output that to a receiver.

    Here is an image from Anandtech.com showing that Sandy Bridge processors are capable of bitstreaming HD audio.
     

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  13. jdmagoo1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    #13
    Thanks for your reply, these are interesting conversations. Anyway you are correct as the link in the post above is what I was referring to. If you read post #123 on that forum you will see the member stating inexplicity that the difference between the 2010 and 2011 models is that 2011 can bitstream hd audio by the HDMI port, whilst the 2010 models can't. I agree that bitstreaming is important because with my ht setup you can tell the difference, I have ordered a mini based on the fact it can bitsream so will be interesting to test when it arrives.
     
  14. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #14
    Interesting information, everyone. I didn't know that SPDIF was insufficient to handle HD audio bitstreams.

    I'm going to get my 2011 mini server next week, I have also ordered an external blu-ray ROM drive that I wanted to use to experiment with some blu-ray playback. My audio setup is only 5.1, and the decoder is a little older with only DD5.1 and DTS decoding. Hopefully I will be able to get it to work by outputting the SPDIF bitstream to the decoder. As my system is not HD-audio capable I'm just interested in multichannel output.

    Ruahrc
     
  15. brandonx76 macrumors regular

    brandonx76

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    #15
    Bump - what is the deal here - anyone know? Can the new Mac Mini's play DTS/HD audio in Windows OS?

    Seems like anyone paying attention to the audio quality may have a concern here...
     
  16. prophetizer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    #16
    i have used the XBMC Audio Branch and TMT under windows 7 bootcamp to play HD Audio, and my receiver says DTS-MA or TrueHD, it does work, and there is a noticeable difference in my theater. ofcourse, my wife can't tell the difference
     
  17. Osamede macrumors 6502

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    Oct 28, 2009
    #17
    What year model and version?
     
  18. prophetizer macrumors newbie

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    Oct 9, 2011
    #18
    2011 with core i7 and AMD
     
  19. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #19
    I'm necroposting, sorry. I have a 2010 MBP 13" and I was wondering what is the best way to send DTS Master Audio down the HDMI pipe as Linear PCM without actually converting it? I mean I honestly don't see how there is not more support for this...and bit streaming HD audio seams like it would be easier than decoding it on the computer as L-PCM and then finally sending it. Advice? Thoughts?
     

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