Sonica Theater M-Audio, sorta works...

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by unity, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. unity macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2005
    Green Bay, WI
    I have a new intel iMac and had this Sonica Theater laying around that I had forgot about. The drivers SUCKED under Tiger and caused a WHOLE LOTTA crashing. So I did not use it much.

    Enter the new iMac and I figured I would give it a spin. Turns out the drivers are a no go from M-Audio (big surprise). Instead I used the "Apple" ones, that is that Leopard recognizes it just fine.

    The problem is I would like surround sound with a DVD with my Klipsch 4.1 system.

    I found out that VLC will do the surround and Apple's Audio MIDI setup app will let me config the speakers. Apple's DVD payer will not do surround.

    After trying a few configurations I set it up as Quadraphonics (4 speakers only). VLC needed no setup/changes from defaults.

    Bingo - I have surround sound, well 4 channel with sub.

    Problem: In the Audio MIDI Setup I can control left front or right volume, but even though it shows I can adjust the rear left and right channels, it does not. I turn them all the way down, even all four in fact, and the rears play at full volume.

    Any audio experts have a clue on this one? If I try a 5.1 setup, etc, VLC will give out the center channel and I end up with no voice track. With the Quad setup I am getting true front and rear stereo separation so I am happy, but would like to tone down the rears a bit.
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Wait. This is the m-audio Sonca Theater USB that hasn't worked right for me under 10.3 and 10.4?!

    Edit: No surround sound, but WOW. It's working.. now to find a sound source that outputs to 5.1 for testing...
  3. unity thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2005
    Green Bay, WI
    Well it is surround in the sense that I have four very distinct channels. MUCH better than the "simulated" M-Audio drivers ever did with my Sonica Theater USB. The problem being that with the M-Audio software you could even listen to music in "surround". With this setup, only true multi-channel sources will "work".

    I should add, that part of the problem of not being able to lower rear volume is that this is at system level. So when I lower system sound, not VLC sound level, only the front channels lower sound! So if I use VLC audio volume control, fine, but if I use system level the rears are always at full until mute! lol

    I guess I can live with it. Just nice to have surround!

    And if you really do have a 5.1, it will work fine. Not for me though, like I said when I did I lost center which is usually voice.

    So if you have a 5.1 system, set it up and use VLC, should be good to go!
  4. mfearon macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2008
    Got going in 10.4.11(!) w/ Audio Midi Setup v2.1.1

    I upgraded to a mac mini intel recently,
    and got an old sonica theater going in Leopard,
    then got it working in Tiger- but it was trickier...

    What I got going was "DVD Surround sound 5.1" via VLC (NOT Dvd Player)
    I didn't get "Quad" to work from a DVD.
    Note- I am using the analog outputs on the sonica theater-
    not the RCA digital output of device!!!
    I did NOT load any M-Audio drivers!

    Here's the setup:
    10.4.11 w/ security update 2008-004 (all system updates as of 9/22/08)
    Core duo 1.66GHz (Had failed on 550MHz Cube last year- see below)
    Audio Midi Setup utility version 2.1.1
    VLC 0.8.6i
    DVD 4.6.5
    Itunes 7.7

    In Tiger (but not in Leopard), when you first run Audio Midi Setup,
    it looks like you can't "configure speakers" to do 5.1 (!)
    Audio Midi -> Properties -> Sonica Theater
    On "Audio Output" side of panel have "Format"- select:
    "44100" and "8 ch 16 bit" ...and "configure speakers" comes alive!
    Hit "configure speakers" button and select "Multichannel", then
    pulldown to find almost all the options are NOT GREYED OUT!
    Select "5.1", as this is what most DVDs can send out -Disney anyway-
    "Lion King 1 1/2" was tested at the DVD source of 5.1 sound.
    I also tried "Quad" but got nothing out the 2 of the 4 speakers.

    You must also have Audio Midi Setup -> both audio output selections set to:
    "Sonica Theater"
    Probably also in Sys Prefs -> Sound -> output set to Sonica Theater

    I used VLC 0.8.6i right out of the download- without any setting changes-
    to get the 5.1 surround sound from the DVD to the sonica theater.

    I tried to bring up DVD Player 4.6.5,
    it plays non-surround sound fine thru the sonica theater "headphone"
    output if it is set up as the regular "default" sound output
    (in the DVD Player preferences),
    but trying to select "digital output -> sonica" didn't work for me-
    and it really fouled up the system so there was no sound,
    and I had to reboot and redo Audio Midi Setup to get things running again.

    I know I tried this many months ago on a 550 MHz mac Cube and
    it didn't work well- the main problem was bad sound transitions
    when switching between different applications-
    speaker-destroying pops and squeals-
    when switching between DVD and EyeTV and Itunes, etc.
    The Core Duo 1.6GHz has none of these problems so far...
    the 1.6 GHz horsepower must count for something!
  5. sherab108 macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2011
    Working in 10.5.8!

    Just a very late-in-the-game follow-up here.

    The Sonica Theater software (1.6) written for 10.4 is running well on my PPC G5 running 10.5.8!

    I recently uncovered a Cyber Acoustics 5.1 set that I had and wanted a cheap way to get surround on this second computer that resides in my bedroom.

    The SW is more stable and problem-free than it ever was in 10.4. As I remember it was very glitchy in 10.4...crashes, kernel panix, dropped sound...been running it for a few days and haven't had any grief whatsoever :)


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