Surround Sound Setup for Imac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Imac Sam, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Imac Sam macrumors 6502

    Imac Sam

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Location:
    Harrisonburg, Virginia
    #1
    Can anyone recommend a good low price surround sound 5.1 speaker system that makes use of the Optical Audio Out of the Imac 27(2011)?

    I can't see to find much without purchasing a home theater receiver and associated speakers. Which seems to drive the cost up over $300 or $400.
     
  2. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #2
    300-400 isn't even that much money to spend on an entire surround system. If your budget is seriously limited, consider getting a 2.0 system, that will still get you quality in the 3-400 price range. Anything else for 300-400 will be junk, even 2.1 systems. You can eventually upgrade from the 2.0 system when you get more money later down the line, but it assures you start out with a solid foundation.
     
  3. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Location:
    California, United States
    #3
    This is what I have:

    http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=HTX-22HDX&class=Systems&p=i

    I love this little system and a truly minimal solution for 5.1 on your Mac in my opinion. I wanted a compact setup that had the AV receiver and the subwoofer built in to one so I didn't have to have a control pod or extra device sitting on my desk, like how the Logitechs do (I personally dislike those things). I connect mine via MDP to HDMI out and it works great for surround sound in games. With an optical connection, you won't get native surround sound support in your games at all in OSX. Also with the HDMI connection, this little system believe it or not, supports all the high def surround sound codecs (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio), so if you had a bootcamp windows partition, external blu-ray disc drive, and appropriate playback software, you can utilize high definition audio in movies.

    Anyway, it comes in a 2.1 standard configuration but Onkyo offers the speaker expansion if you want to upgrade this set to 5.1: (http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=SKS-22X&class=Speaker&p=i). I spent less than $350 for the entire surround set up. It's quite a low powered system (25 watts per channel) but its great for small rooms. The quality of the satellites are pretty entry level so personally I'm going to be upgrading just the sats to some higher quality Paradigms later. But I couldn't be happier with the receiver/sub unit.
     
  4. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    #4
    Logitech Z5500 or Z906 is still the best bet if you want an instant surround sound system for your computer. It sounds great for movies, or games or anything involving boom and big bangs. But don't get your hopes up too much for music though, it's a lame musical speaker.

    Other than that, I can't find any better solution besides separated receiver and speaker system, which costs you much higher
     
  5. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #5
    I found this thread while searching the web for solutions for 5.1 surround in OS X with the Logitech z906.

    I bought the z906 yesterday and it's a good system and you do get what you expect. The entire system is plenty loud for the room I have it in (my bedroom) and I constantly have to turn it down of respect to those I live with.

    Anyway, I do get surround sound when I play content that was encoded in 5.1 surround (iTunes and DVDs). However, there is no native 5.1 surround supported at the os level, which is very disappointing and something that Apple really needs to look into.

    Does anyone know if Netflix streaming streams in 5.1 surround? And if it does, and I'm playing a movie or a show on my iMac, will I get 5.1 surround via Safari?
     
  6. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Location:
    California, United States
    #6
    Of course 5.1 surround sound is supported in Mac OS X. Otherwise, you wouldn't get surround sound when watching in DVD player or watching a 5.1 encoded movie or TV show purchased from iTunes. Not sure what you mean by that? :confused:

    Also, as I mentioned above, if you connect via HDMI output on the more recent Macs, you get native surround sound in many high budget games for OSX. Surround sound in Call of Duty 4 and Amnesia, for example, sound beautiful.
     
  7. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #7

    I meant that 5.1 surround sound support seems to be at the application level rather than at the os level. iTunes and DVD Player are applications that obviously playback 5.1 encoded content. However, once you quit those applications, 5.1 surround goes with them.

    Assuming that you have a setup like mine where I have my z906 connected to my iMac via a TOSLINK cable and you go to Applications>Utilities>Audio MIDI Setup and attempt to configure a 5.1 surround sound system you will find that it can't be done. You will also find that if you go to Applications>System Preferences>Sound that you will have no options there either.

    Other than the HDMI option, do you know of any way to configure a system similar to a z906 to be recognized systemwide in OS X via a TOSLINK (optical audio) cable?
     
  8. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Location:
    California, United States
    #8
    You spoke of Safari, but I haven't actually tried Netflix streaming to see if surround sound worked in that, but I'm wondering what reason would there be for you to use surround sound other than those media apps and games? It all depends on your source material of course. If the source isn't encoded in 5.1, then it just won't play in 5.1, discreet anyway.
     
  9. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #9

    The reason why I'd like for 5.1 surround to be supported at the os level is because I would imagine that it would be easier to configure the speaker system at this level than at the app level where you can't configure anything anyway. No one should be inserting a DVD and use DVD Player(.app) to ensure that the rear sparkers are indeed working.

    I know that the only time 5.1 will be used is when the content that's being played is encoded in it, and I'm fine with that. However, Dolby and DTS decoding should be happening the moment OS X starts up and not only when iTunes or DVD Player is running with 5.1 surround content, wouldn't you agree?

    Also, Netflix streaming at 5.1 is dependent on the content, well at least when it's streaming to my TV. I'm not sure if 5.1 is available via a web browser either. And if that's the case, I highly doubt that any content streamed through a browser isn't going to be in 5.1 surround since it's handled at the app level.
     

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