Surround Sound (5.1) and the new Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by keith57, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. keith57 macrumors newbie

    keith57

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Wales
    #1
    Using HDMI to get 4K 60hz into my 4K screen seems will be ok, but what about the 5.1 surround sound?

    I only want the 60hz, max 30 at the moment.

    Currently my 2014 Mac Mini outputs 5.1 surround optically through the 3.5mm jack directly into my 5.1 amplifier. It’s not clear whether the new Mac Mini does this. The only mention of surround sound is through the HDMI port.

    Checking my Sony 4K TV, there are lots of in/out sockets. Most of which I’ve never used. One is optical sound out...

    So, maybe, if I feed HDMI video and audio out of the new Mac Mini into the Sony TV, the TV will feed my surround sound amplifier via the special optical out socket, (which may use the same cable I use currently?)

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. rmdeluca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2018
    #2
    Hey Keith, the feature you want to verify your TV supports is 5.1 surround sound passthrough via optical (not ARC, that's passthrough of audio via an HDMI cable).

    RTINGS has a chart of recent, popular TV models and their support for this:
    https://www.rtings.com/tv/tests/inputs/5-1-surround-audio-passthrough

    You can also check the manual / tech specs for your TV.

    Assuming your TV supports it then yes, you can output compressed 5.1 surround sound via HDMI into the TV and plug the TV's optical output into your receiver.

    Note: when I say "compressed 5.1" I mean Dolby Digital or DTS format, not PCM. Consumer optical (S/PDIF) doesn't support 5.1 in PCM. The reason why I am making this distinction is that the typical surround sound output over HDMI is PCM, depending of course on the source. So you may have to explicitly configure whatever software you're using to output 5.1 DD/DTS over HDMI.

    This is all assuming, of course, Apple removed optical out from the new Mac Mini. To which your guess is as good as mine until the 7th.
     
  3. keith57 thread starter macrumors newbie

    keith57

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Wales
    #3
    Thanks, very interesting, we shall have to wait and see I guess
     
  4. jnachbar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    #4
    In a chat with apple sales, they told me that the new mini does support digital audio out through the 3.5 port with a mini toslink (optical) cable or adapter. I was not able to clarify the exact specs though, so I don't know the actual capability(HD audio, 96/24 or 5ch pcm, etc)...I know I can currently do 2 CH PCM 16/48 with this on my 2011 mini, so I'm guessing that is at least possible. You will have to change the MIDI settings on the mac to get this to work, which is pretty painless.

    sounds like this is what you currently do now
     
  5. keith57, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

    keith57 thread starter macrumors newbie

    keith57

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    North Wales
    #5
    Great, that would be even better :)

    If that’s the case then the new one will be a straightforward swap for the one I have now.

    Apart from those Thunderbolt ports! Will need some new cabling for one of my external drives, a Drobo 5C with a USB Type-C connector on the box.

    But not having used a Mac with Thunderbolt before (my main machine is a 2010 5,1 with lots of extras) I’m not familiar with the actual socket or cable. I’m assuming they must use the standard usb-c ports and cabling. Can’t be anything else really I guess.
     

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4 October 30, 2018