Retina MBP - No more digitial audio output? (FIXED: STILL HAS IT!)

markusberger

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
67
51
Update: So according to this http://www.tuaw.com/2012/06/14/attention-world-the-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-does-have-o/ the new rMBPs still have it!

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I don't know if this has been covered yet or if I'm just mistaken but it seems that the new Retina MBP doesn't have a digital audio in-/output anymore. Maybe this is rather a niche thing, but what I really love about my early 2011 17 inch MBP is the fact that I can buy a Toslink adapter (like this http://www.elektro-planet.com/shop/catalog/images/ao-tb35.jpg for like one euro) and hook it up to my Harman Kardon soundsystem and have a digital and noise free PCM signal for really high quality music as well as 5.1 dolby surround sound - the new Retina MBP doesn't seem to give you that anymore which is really a pitty for the audiophile/movie loving crowd IMHO. Or am I missing something?

Best,
Markus

Sources:

http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs/

Headphone port

Support for Apple iPhone headset with remote and microphone
Support for audio line out

http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs/13-and-15-inch/

Combined audio line in/out (digital/analog)

Audio line in (digital/analog)
Audio line out (digital/analog)
 
Last edited:

Zorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 14, 2006
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Ohio
I'm not really an A/V guy, but I imagine an adapter is possible via the HDMI port that's now on the machine.
 

benji888

macrumors 68000
Sep 27, 2006
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United States
I am wondering about this also...

Using the hdmi out for the audio only is lame, what if I already use this port? ...having to get any adapter for digital audio output is lame for apple, how could they go backwards to analog audio output?

...can (or does) someone make a thunderbolt adapter? If so, then this is likely apple's lame excuse for leaving out toslink output.
 

Zorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 14, 2006
1,045
606
Ohio
Using the hdmi out for the audio only is lame, what if I already use this port? ...having to get any adapter for digital audio output is lame for apple, how could they go backwards to analog audio output?
...well if you are already using the HDMI to output video, you could also just send the audio over that to the same source? Unless you are talking about wanting to send the video via HDMI to a TV/receiver but then wanting the sound to go to some other source? Doesn't seem like something that would come up very often
 

TheHoff

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2008
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I asked Apple online store support this and they said, without hesitation or question, that the headphone jack on the MBP Retina does have digital out integrated into it just like previous MBPs.
 

benji888

macrumors 68000
Sep 27, 2006
1,785
361
United States
...well if you are already using the HDMI to output video, you could also just send the audio over that to the same source? Unless you are talking about wanting to send the video via HDMI to a TV/receiver but then wanting the sound to go to some other source? Doesn't seem like something that would come up very often
Yes, I'm talking about a separate source for my audio system....is this really a "niche"?

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I asked Apple online store support this and they said, without hesitation or question, that the headphone jack on the MBP Retina does have digital out integrated into it just like previous MBPs.
I hope this is true, however, as stated already, this is not in the tech specs. I will check this out when I get to the apple store over the next week.
 

markusberger

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
67
51
If it turns out that it doesn't have it built in:

$24.95 http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/sound-cards/audio-advantage-micro-ii.aspx

That would be a bit sad though. I never use it on mine but I think it's a really clever feature to have built in.
That actually is a clever thing - even though they only seem to sell it in the USA/Canada ... either way I hope for some real clarification soon.

Since I have been misinformed by Apple sales people a few times I don't really trust that info so much anymore ... and it is still a little strange that they just "forget" to put in in the specs since it is there on the "old" new MBPs....

Either way it would be really sad if this feature goes, it always amazes me that this works on my "old" MBP without any flaws and without any extra hardware...
 

Zeov

macrumors 6502a
Apr 1, 2011
634
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Odense
to this day i still have no idea what the Line in does, i've tried googling it but with no luck, it did not work with my Steelseries Headset microphone.


what does it do?
 

colour

macrumors regular
Mar 13, 2009
189
0
the new airport express will have an digital / analog audio output and as we know mountain lion will have the new integration of airplay so I hope that this can solve / simplify your digital audio needs.

Proposed setup

Pros:
No more cables.
Possibly better integration and internal audio control via OSX

Cons:
Not so portable only within wifi range
$100 cost for new airport expresss.
Possibly have to adjust your setup over apples f up
 

markusberger

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
67
51
That is - at least for me - a reason to stick with my MBP for a while. I don't understand why they remove such a feature that made the MBPs really stand out as I don't know of other laptops with that capability.

The Airport solution is a work around - it will deal with latency issues over wifi and for sure won't be able to deliver dolby/DTS 5.1 sound that is in sync with the video output.

I have googled around and actually (or maybe I just didn't find the right thing yet :confused:) but it seems as if there is no simple adapter solution available.

The only thing I found is a HDMI audio converter http://octavainc.com/HDMI 1x1 Audio Converter.html for $169 (!!!) ... that actually makes me sad seeing this genius feature go from the ":apple: Pro" series ... I really don't get it :(

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That *really* sucks. I use my spdif out daily.
me too :(
 

TheHoff

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2008
434
0
That is - at least for me - a reason to stick with my MBP for a while.
If there actually existed a Thunderbolt docking station that you could purchase right now, it theoretically would also have SPDIF-out capability. The recently announced Sunix uses it as a selling point:

http://www.sunix.com.tw/cc/en/e-DM/2012_COMPUTEX-banner/sunix_thunderbolt_dock .html

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I hope this is true, however, as stated already, this is not in the tech specs. I will check this out when I get to the apple store over the next week.
How can you tell in-store unless you have a portable SPDIF device? Maybe you do?
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
That is - at least for me - a reason to stick with my MBP for a while. I don't understand why they remove such a feature that made the MBPs really stand out as I don't know of other laptops with that capability.

The Airport solution is a work around - it will deal with latency issues over wifi and for sure won't be able to deliver dolby/DTS 5.1 sound that is in sync with the video output.

I have googled around and actually (or maybe I just didn't find the right thing yet :confused:) but it seems as if there is no simple adapter solution available.

The only thing I found is a HDMI audio converter http://octavainc.com/HDMI 1x1 Audio Converter.html for $169 (!!!) ... that actually makes me sad seeing this genius feature go from the ":apple: Pro" series ... I really don't get it :(
I agree. It seems crazy to take it out. What audio equipment are you connecting to? I would consider putting in a DAC with USB input, such as the ARCAM rDAC, or the AudioLab one if you're feeling more flush, but it does have a headphone amp built in, optical toslink output and coaxial output.

Unfortunately that means you now have to spend even more money.
 

markusberger

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
67
51
I agree. It seems crazy to take it out. What audio equipment are you connecting to? I would consider putting in a DAC with USB input, such as the ARCAM rDAC, or the AudioLab one if you're feeling more flush, but it does have a headphone amp built in, optical toslink output and coaxial output.

Unfortunately that means you now have to spend even more money.
My beautiful (10 year old, imagine that in todays age for electronic stuff - and still working perfectly) Harman Kardon AVR 3000 ... before my MBP I always used external USB soundcards with a digital output to get PCM/5.1 etc. and I was so happy and amazed how it worked with my 2011 MBP ... thanks for the info by the way, so I could make it work but seriously, spending that amount of money on a laptop and then additionally even more for external equipment/docking stations just to achieve the same standard as before is rather frustrating...



 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
My beautiful (10 year old, imagine that in todays age for electronic stuff - and still working perfectly) Harman Kardon AVR 3000 ... before my MBP I always used external USB soundcards with a digital output to get PCM/5.1 etc. and I was so happy and amazed how it worked with my 2011 MBP ... thanks for the info by the way, so I could make it work but seriously, spending that amount of money on a laptop and then additionally even more for external equipment/docking stations just to achieve the same standard as before is rather frustrating...
I can understand the frustration. I don't understand the decision to take it out either, but I don't think it's functionality that is used by a large percentage of buyers and it probably saves them like $5 for every MBP. It does suck though because thanks to the SPDIF out, the MBP has been the choice of audiophiles.

The best thing to do would actually be to just buy a 2011 Mini refurb. it will cost about the same as these Thunderbolt docks or external DACs. Which is frightening and funny at the same time.
 

KohPhiPhi

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2011
763
194
It's the same reason as of why they've removed the ethernet port: because only 1% of their customer base would need it.

For quite some years already, Apple has been moving from a "professional niche" focus towards a "mass market" focus, and let's face it: the average Joe won't need it, so out it goes.

Apple is now a average-consumer-centered brand guys...
 

markusberger

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
67
51
I can understand the frustration. I don't understand the decision to take it out either, but I don't think it's functionality that is used by a large percentage of buyers and it probably saves them like $5 for every MBP. It does suck though because thanks to the SPDIF out, the MBP has been the choice of audiophiles.

The best thing to do would actually be to just buy a 2011 Mini refurb. it will cost about the same as these Thunderbolt docks or external DACs. Which is frightening and funny at the same time.
You're right - 98% of the users don't care and they save a couple of bucks and maybe (?) space ... I'd really like to like the new Retina MB but - since they even got rid of the kensington lock - it seems much more like a consumer product than something "pro" which IMHO should also cater "niche" demands.

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It's the same reason as of why they've removed the ethernet port: because only 1% of their customer base would need it.

For quite some years already, Apple has been moving from a "professional niche" focus towards a "mass market" focus, and let's face it: the average Joe won't need it, so out it goes.

Apple is now a average-consumer-centered brand guys...
Couldn't agree more, especially when I think about all the ports (and even express card) my 17 mbp offers...
 

TheHoff

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2008
434
0
Good news, thanks! I was on the fence about the rMBP because of this. Apple online support was right after all.
 

RSully

macrumors member
Mar 6, 2011
93
0
Is it an output only? I don't see anything about audio input besides the iPhone earbud mic
 
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