Optical out to Logitech Z5500 question

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by straks, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. straks macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2010
    Leuven, Belgium
    I am planning to buy a mac mini for a couple of reasons, and i am planning to use it as a media server/player for my TV as well.

    My setup would be the following:
    - HDMI connection to TV
    - Optical out audio to Logitech Z5500

    I have one question with this thou: Is the optical out capable of sending 5.1 sound to the Z5500 (stereo as normal audio, DTS/Dolby should just pass through, the Z5500 can handle these)?

    I want to use my Z5500 optimally of course, so it would be great if someone could ensure me it works (and maybe how it should be done).

    I have searched for an answer, but i get a lot of inconsistent results, some say it should work, some say it doesn't work, both parties with equal conviction... So, here i am, hoping for a clear answer ;)

    Also, what are the write/read speeds on the 500Gb 5400rpm HD?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. ACiB macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2010
    When I started using my MBP as a home theater PC with Plex I had the exact same question. I have an old RCA 5.1 audio receiver which doesn't support HDMI, only optical audio in. No DTS, only AC3. Now here's the thing: optical out DOES support AC3 and DTS pass through. You will get 5.1 digital audio out of it. Caveats: you get an about 1 second delay before the sound starts each time the sound stops for more than 5 seconds completely. This means you won't notice it in movies or tv shows since there is always some kind of noise or sound, but maybe in some videos where there is absolutely no sound at times, when the sound resumes you get about 1 sec delay before it starts again. That's number 1, and number two is that optical out does NOT support DTS-HD Master Audio and it also doesn't support TrueHD Dolby Audio.

    Those last two formats are, say, the equivalent of 1080p in audio (bad analogy, but It'll work for now) so, if you have some blu-ray rips in your Mini you want to play, you will get 1080p video through the HDMI directly to Tv connection, but the audio signals will be downmixed from DTS-HD Master Audio to DTS and TrueHD Dolby Audio to 5.1 Dolby Audio (AC3).

    Now, truth be told, one has to have either 1) REALLY REALLY REALLY good hearing to notice any difference between DTS-HD Master Audio to DTS and TrueHD Dolby Audio to 5.1 Dolby Audio (AC3), or 2) a 6000+ USD sound system, which if you or me had, this posts would be pointless :p

    But I digress. Your Z5500 does support 5.1. Whether it's AC3, DTS or both I do not know. Now get your rip mode on, get Plex, and welcome to the wonderful world of Mini HTPC. :)


    I didn't read your last question.

    I bought the low end mini two weeks ago. It works absolutely flawlessly for 1080p playback. My setup is Mini connected to my external storage devices via FW800. Mini to RCA via optical. Mini to TV via HDMI.

    The HDD isn't fast at all (though it's perfectly fine for video playback) in fact I'll be getting the Samsung 830 64Gb SSD any time now, and the kit for installing the second HDD, which ill use only for storage, and the SSD for the OS and apps. Samsung 830 series are not cheap, but reasonably priced IMHO. The real bottleneck in this model though is the RAM... it comes with only 2GB. I bought the 8GB Kingston pair, they're on their way, I'll post the improvements when I get them, but it should be massive. Only 55 bucks.
  3. straks thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2010
    Leuven, Belgium
    ACiB: Thanks for your great reply!

    My media is all placed on a NAS (dual gbit interface), so no need for a big HDD, or a really fast one. I was just wondering about the performance of the HDD. I can always replace it with a SSD if i find it insufficient.

    For my other plans with the mini, i was already planning to get the dual core i7 with 4Gb ram and the better GFX (only reason why i'm not going for the server version).

    It will be used as mediacenter and as software development platform (well, mostly as testing platform) as one of my clients is a company developing (lightweight) software which will be used daily on TV's and should be easy to use, while stable.

    The Z5500 has, according to cnet, the following decoders:
    Dolby Digital,
    DTS decoder,
    DTS 96/24,
    Dolby Pro Logic II

    So i guess it'll do a fine job. The 1 second audio delay won't matter that much, i can't think of much tv series or movies which should give issues with that, neither would the other tasks which i have for it. (either no audio or constant audio)
  4. Evostar*, Nov 18, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011

    Evostar* macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2009
    hi. i have a 2011 mac mini. and i cannot get any sound via toslink optical to the z5500 at all. i have spent ages in the midi settings and the main lion settings but cannot get anything to play sound wise.

    the best i can get is passing the audio to my samsung tv via the hdmi then using the tvs optical out to the z5500 . but alas the tv only outputs dts 2.0 (stereo)

    if you have this setup working could you please pass on your settings?

    many thanks.
  5. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Out of curiosity, I grabbed a 1/8 to Toslink adapter and plugged my Z-5500 into my 2009 mini (running Lion). I set the 5500 to use the optical input, I made sure that Digital Out was selected in Sound Preferences and hit play on iTunes. Music came out.

  6. keema macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2011
    hi i bought this toslink adapter for a friends mac mini..

    from what i have seen in youtube videos, when the adapter is plugged-in there should be a light coming from that adapter. Mine, is not. Is my adapter damage? or i read somewhere that some optical out on the audio setting needs to be turned on first?

    my friends mac mini is the base model.

  7. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    It effectively works like this:

    When you plug the plastic adapter into the headphone jack, OS X detects that there is something in there, and that it is not metal. It turns on the optical hardware and you see the visible red light which is the optical signal. In System Preferences/Sound the Headphone port goes away and the Optical Output shows up and is selected if you were using the headphone output before.

    If all this does not happen, then there could be a hardware problem at the headphone jack, or some mysterious software problem that causes OS X to not detect the change. Try a different adapter, plug and unplug a regular headphone connector in there a few times, or call Apple.

    I've had two Mac minis with the optical out, and it's always worked as I described. Getting OS X or iTunes to do the right thing was sometimes difficult (you had to use Perian or hack in some other software), but with later releases of iTunes things work pretty smoothly: you can select Dolby Digital right in iTunes and it pops right out of the optical output.

  8. Evostar* macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2009
    nope i get nothing. i have mini with connected to toslink cable (with strong red light) plugged into z5500 (Display reads "No Digital Data") no matter what combination of settings i use. if i plug same cable straight into ps3 bam there i have sound. just not the mini.... strange huh!?

    Can you 100% confirm the 2011 mini is compatible with the logitech?

    thanks for you help btw. ;)

    p.s where is the dolby digital option in iTunes?





  9. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Not unless you send me one :)

    If you play a compatible movie (I tested with a movie from the iTunes store, but movies created with Handbrake work), there will be a little chat bubble in the on screen display. If you click it, you will see audio choices, e.g.:

    Attached Files:

  10. Evostar* macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Ha! i can send you a link where to get one :p hehe

    Hmmm. thing is i don't get any sound at all e.g System Sounds. General iTunes music playing etc. i have been playing with the latest night build of vlc and told it to use the optical also. yet nothing...

    i have iron man 2 from iTunes (official) the surround option is greyed out!! and normal sound does not work with logitech.

    damn this is ticking me off now.
  11. karurosu macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2008
    I have the same setup.
    Here is a summary of what you can and cant do:

    -2 channel audio supported up to 24/192. Any application.
    -DTS/DD passthrough from a well encoded movie (AC3, or DTS encoded sound track) use Plex or VLC
    -DTS Master and such: not supported by the Z5500, they will be downgraded to DTS or DD
    -AC97 must be re encoded (use Plex for on the fly encoding)

    To make it work:
    -Under settings select output to built-in output device
    -For plex: digital output and select built-in output device
    -VLC: select built-in (encoded output)

    If you cannot get audio from your mac to the z5500 (but you can get from any other source) then chances are that you have a crappy cable. They are very delicate and sensitive to cracks, dust or bad build quality.

    Forgot to mention: mac mini 2011 supports DTS-Master and similar, but the Z5500 wont play it.
  12. Evostar* macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2009
    thanks for the info mate. i will test this when i get home. shame the logitech doesn't support the nicer formats...

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