What is the Optical Digital jack on my iMac for?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PatriotInvasion, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #1
    Ok so I should know this, but was is the other mini jack on the back of my iMac used for? Is this an input for a guitar or something like that?

    Also, the iMac tech specs list the headphone out jack as also being an optical digital audio output. My understanding is that the external speakers I have plugged into this jack gives me a standard analog axillary audio connection.

    I've never seen computer speakers with optical digital inputs so how would I ever use this jack in that fashion? Also this doesn't appear to be a TOSLINK type connection so I'm just confused on how it is considered optical digital:confused:
     
  2. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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  3. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #3
    It sounds like you're describing the minijack input which is analog and digital (mini toslink) just like the headphone output minijack.
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #4
    As there are users out there, who don't use computer speakers, but their Hi-Fi sets with optical-in, this plug has a use to connect to such optical input.

    And most guitars don't have an optical out, they still use analog outputs to connect to whatever you want to connect it to.


    Proper cables: http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10229#1022902

    3.5mm end
    [​IMG]

    TOSLINK end
    [​IMG]

    from http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...=1022902&p_id=1556&seq=1&format=2#description
     
  5. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #5
    Right, so what would one use the input for? And what would you hook up via mini TOSLINK using the output? - a Home Theater system? I don't get it.
     
  6. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #6
    A receiver with digital input, like most 5.1 systems.
     
  7. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #7
    Exactly. I sometimes hook my MacBook up to my HT system to watch something on the HDTV using the optical out.
     
  8. IceB macrumors newbie

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    Oct 20, 2010
    #8
    Most receiver have the TOSLINK version... Is there any adaptor or a cable with diferent connection at each end?
     
  9. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #9
    Oh I see...but you would still need an adapter to hook up a TOSLINK cable right? And also, I would imagine you'd use the OUTPUT on the iMac to hook up to a receiver...but, I still don't get who would use the INPUT on the back of the iMac with a TOSLINK adapter....instruments?
     
  10. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #10

    You mean these?



    Devices with a digital output, like digital field recorders that still use tape (DAT).
     
  11. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #11
    Most likely equipment that has to do with them or any type of audio input. Garageband does come with any Mac purchase.
     
  12. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #12
    Yea, figured it had something to do with GarageBand. So, I have a 2.1 speaker system hooked up via the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. This is an analog connection.

    If I had a 5.1 home theater system with TOSLINK digital optical in, would I hear a noticeable difference in sound quality due to the digital connection? (aside from the 5.1 vs 2.1 obvious difference)
     
  13. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #13
    Noticeable? ... maybe. It's certainly technically better but not all people can hear a difference as cheap analog outputs are much better than they used to be. The most notable is that it sounds cleaner with no hiss when cranking the volume.
     
  14. IceB macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Exacly!:D
     

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