Sound card for 5.1 audio on desktop Macs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Macillus, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Macillus macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2006
    Several months ago I purchased Griffin Technology's FireWave to listen to surround sound speakers on my G5. The performance has been spotty, at best. Two weeks after updgrading to Tiger (10.4.11--the recommended system software for FireWave), it ceased running at all. (Yes, I tried all the usual fixes). Now, I'm ready to try something else--something that works. Has anyone had any luck with other sound cards (internal or external) other than FireWave?

  2. mrwizardno2 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 19, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    I generally just use the optical out on my machine for 5.1, and it seems to work pretty well - did the G5 not have optical digital out?
  3. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Same here, I have the Optical out going to my Logitech Z-5500 system & it's flawless.
  4. Macillus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2006
    - did the G5 not have optical digital out?[/QUOTE]

    I know little about the sound capabilities of my computer or the hardware needed for surround sound. But I do have optical digital out because it's an option listed in my System Pref>Sound>Output. How do I use it? My speakers have the standard cables (that I'm currently plugging into the non-functioning FireWave) and I assume there's some hardware needed to use optical digital?

    BTW, I appreciate the help. Thank you.
  5. Macillus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2006
    I could, but then I'd lose the center and rear speakers. The Cambridge Audioworks speaker system features 3 cables that plug into the sound card: front, center, and rear. So any solution will need to allow a connection to that cable configuration. But thanks for the idea.
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    You need a Toslink cable and a decoder capable of handling an optical input (like a home theatre amp). The Logitech set mentioned above has a built in optical decoder.
  7. jjholly macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2008
    You plug all 3 jacks in to the port and the same sound comes out of all the speakers but it still sounds good.
  8. BigYellow macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2006
    Same here, I had my G5 hooked up with the optical out. If you need an oldschool surround hookup (RCA or 1/8" plugs for each channel), then I'd, well, suggest new speakers.
  9. Macillus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2006
    I followed your link to the full explanation. Hmmm... tough call. True, it eliminates the separate channels, but it works, its easy, and it's probably a heck of a lot cheaper than going optical. I'll research the optical option and evaluate the costs--see if it's worth it. Thanks!
  10. darthmullet macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2006
    miglia harmonyaudio
    perfect for up to 7.1 via miniplugs. I use it with my logitech z5300e and it works great.

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