S/PDIF audio on mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MacPC, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. MacPC macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    #1
    Hi,
    As far as I understand, the Mac mini headphone port also serves as a S/PDIF output. Am I correct?
    If so, what equipment do I need to take advantage of this S/PDIF? Do I need to get
    a decoder? Any kind of special cable...
    Sorry I don't know so much of digital audio.

    TIA :)
     
  2. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #3
    Your understanding is incorrect. That output is mini-toslink optical. You can get an adapter for coaxial S/PDIF but I've never heard one that doesn't compromise the sound at least somewhat. Some are horrible.
     
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    Just wondering....

    What are you trying to connect _to_?

    What kind of inputs does it have?
     
  4. Hirakata macrumors 6502

    Hirakata

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    Location:
    Burbank, CA
    #5
  5. cyber16 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    #6
  6. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #7
    It is so funny to see gold plated optical cables. Black plastic does not oxide either and nothing has to conduct electricity. I just use a basic black cable for 3$.
     
  7. cyber16 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    #8
    The metal helps keep the plastic tip from damage to a point, that's all :)
    Going the tip route only allows you to use ANY optical cable
     
  8. MacPC thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    #9
    thank you all for the replies. I understand the cable part.

    So I need a amplifier with a toslink input, from there I can hook up to my speakers, right?

    Also does the amplifier have to have 5.1 or 7.1 output? and does this setup make any different if I only watch Netflix or Hulu movies online? Right now I only have a pair of
    decent powered speakers, it sounds fine. I wonder if it's worth to spend the money to use S/PDIF.

    Thanks again.
     
  9. jwhazel macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    #10
    >So I need a amplifier with a toslink input, from there I can hook up to my speakers, right?
    Correct

    >Also does the amplifier have to have 5.1 or 7.1 output?
    No. SPDIF carries 2ch just fine.

    >and does this setup make any different if I only watch Netflix or Hulu movies online? Right now I only have a pair of decent powered speakers, it sounds fine.
    Then it won't make any difference. SPDIF makes connecting multi-channel easier (1 cable instead of 6 analog ones for 5.1 channel).
     
  10. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #11
    Most amps these days have a toslink input.

    I've used it on my mac mini and my Yamaha receiver which is probably 10 years old.

    While it's great for music and movies, it doesn't work well for playing virtual instruments in Logic or Garageband because there's a bit of extra latency-- though that is most certainly the fault of my Yamaha receiver buffering and decoding the signal.

    I could probably buy a newer receiver and lower my latency, but instead I just got a nice thick shielded coax 1/8" to RCA analog cable from monoprice. I just have a 2.1 channel setup anyway on my mini.
     
  11. t2stone macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2013
    #12
    There are those cool optical cables that don't use glass so they aren't near as fragile. But I agree. I also have a hoot when I see silver and gold plated USB/HDMI/etc cables and they try to tell the consumer that 'these look/sound so much better'.
     

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