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jesse_ray

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 19, 2021
2
0
Hey there. I am trying to play 5.1 audio files from my 2009 iMac to my Sony digital AV receiver. I have a toslink cord going from the headphone port to the digital input on my receiver. I keep reading various threads that talk about either just playing files in VLC (but I don't see any way to change the settings to surround sound in there) or using the midi audio program in utilities, but when I open that and click on configure it only has an option for stereo. I thought the toslink cable was supposed to somehow make the midi program recognize that I have 5 speakers hooked up to my receiver but that doesn't seem to be happening. I have no problem getting 5.1 sound from my Bluray player, it would just be nice to be able to play surround audio files from the Mac. Is it possible my iMac just isn't capable of doing this? Do I need more hardware or something?
 

joevt

Contributor
Jun 21, 2012
6,841
4,133
Hey there. I am trying to play 5.1 audio files from my 2009 iMac to my Sony digital AV receiver. I have a toslink cord going from the headphone port to the digital input on my receiver. I keep reading various threads that talk about either just playing files in VLC (but I don't see any way to change the settings to surround sound in there) or using the midi audio program in utilities, but when I open that and click on configure it only has an option for stereo. I thought the toslink cable was supposed to somehow make the midi program recognize that I have 5 speakers hooked up to my receiver but that doesn't seem to be happening. I have no problem getting 5.1 sound from my Bluray player, it would just be nice to be able to play surround audio files from the Mac. Is it possible my iMac just isn't capable of doing this? Do I need more hardware or something?
I found this https://www.instructables.com/How-To-Enable-Dolby-Digital-AC3-Passthrough-In-Mac/
but it's old. Even so, it may give some clues. I remember I installed Perian a long time ago. I haven't done much QuickTime stuff in a decade though.

The Mac doesn't do 5.1 over TosLink by itself. You need some kind of app (e.g. DVD Player) that outputs an encoded stream (AC-3 or whatever) from the media (movie or audio file) which is converted by the receiver to 5.1. This is because TosLink is relatively low bandwidth and the 5.1 needs to be compressed beforehand.

I remember there was talk of an audio driver that does present to the Mac a 5.1 setup and does the encoding in real time to send over TosLink. I don't remember if it existed though.

Another way to do 5.1 is with DisplayPort or HDMI audio. Some receivers have HDMI inputs. There also exists HDMI to 5.1 audio extractors. I have one but haven't tried it for surround sound. I do have a 5.1 computer speaker setup that I could connect and I have a DVD to test a 5.1 speaker setup...
 

Nguyen Duc Hieu

macrumors 68030
Jul 5, 2020
2,929
970
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Hey there. I am trying to play 5.1 audio files from my 2009 iMac to my Sony digital AV receiver. I have a toslink cord going from the headphone port to the digital input on my receiver. I keep reading various threads that talk about either just playing files in VLC (but I don't see any way to change the settings to surround sound in there) or using the midi audio program in utilities, but when I open that and click on configure it only has an option for stereo. I thought the toslink cable was supposed to somehow make the midi program recognize that I have 5 speakers hooked up to my receiver but that doesn't seem to be happening. I have no problem getting 5.1 sound from my Bluray player, it would just be nice to be able to play surround audio files from the Mac. Is it possible my iMac just isn't capable of doing this? Do I need more hardware or something?

1. Check in System Preference to set the correct audio output. (Must be optical or digital output)
2. When you have activate digital output from System preference, then you can make adjustment in VLC or other video playing apps.
I prefer KODI for this. KODI menu is easier to understand.
 
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