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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > real 5.1 audio adapter for mac

real 5.1 audio adapter for mac
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Jul 30, 2008, 05:39 PM
 
I'm not actually an audiophile, instead I'm trying to make a homemade gadget that is controlled by USB (an X/Y laser scanner).

What I want as far as hardware, explained in a diagram:



I've found some products that seem to do this, but their mac compatibility is questionable. For example there is the Vantec USB External 5.1 Audio Adapter which apparently only supports stereo on macs, and also there are several differently labeled products of the same shape that (I'm guessing) have the same internals and don't support mac (the vendors don't mention whether they do or not).

Has anyone connected a 5.1 system to their mac? How? Is it actually sending 6 completely independent signals that could be hacked onto whatever 6 speakers with just some stripping and soldering ?

And here is a long explanation of why I want this:

To make the laser scanner work I need at least 3 analog signals coming from the mac, and if I want to support more than one color I will need 4 or 5. As far as I can tell the easiest way to do this is through 5.1 audio, because it seems straightforward to create a C++ plugin for the game engine I use that takes in vector information and puts it out as 5.1 audio to the system's audio driver, which would then send it to the usb device and finally to my improvised galvo scanners. (Galvanometers are basically devices that are like speakers, but they rotate instead of moving in and out. I will be using a laser and mirrors with these to draw pictures).
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Jul 31, 2008, 06:12 AM
 
*Any* USB or Firewire audio device should have assignable channels via the Audio/MIDI Config Utility.

Select "Properties for:" your audio interface, click on "Configure Speakers...", and then assign the audio channels for multi-channel output.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
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Jul 31, 2008, 04:01 PM
 
Ok I have the solution.
     
Posting Junkie
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Aug 1, 2008, 11:50 AM
 
It will work with *any* USB or Firewire audio interface, since 10.3
     
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Aug 2, 2008, 05:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by forestjohnson View Post
I'm not actually an audiophile, instead I'm trying to make a homemade gadget that is controlled by USB (an X/Y laser scanner).

What I want as far as hardware, explained in a diagram:



I've found some products that seem to do this, but their mac compatibility is questionable. For example there is the Vantec USB External 5.1 Audio Adapter which apparently only supports stereo on macs, and also there are several differently labeled products of the same shape that (I'm guessing) have the same internals and don't support mac (the vendors don't mention whether they do or not).

Has anyone connected a 5.1 system to their mac? How? Is it actually sending 6 completely independent signals that could be hacked onto whatever 6 speakers with just some stripping and soldering ?

And here is a long explanation of why I want this:

To make the laser scanner work I need at least 3 analog signals coming from the mac, and if I want to support more than one color I will need 4 or 5. As far as I can tell the easiest way to do this is through 5.1 audio, because it seems straightforward to create a C++ plugin for the game engine I use that takes in vector information and puts it out as 5.1 audio to the system's audio driver, which would then send it to the usb device and finally to my improvised galvo scanners. (Galvanometers are basically devices that are like speakers, but they rotate instead of moving in and out. I will be using a laser and mirrors with these to draw pictures).
ANY 5.1 system will work that has it's OWN decoder. It can work via USB, Firewire, or the Optical output ports that on most macs today. You just need an external reciever that will "receive" the signal from the mac, decode the information, Amplify the signal and send it to the speackers. Logitech makes a 5.1 system that will do all this in a small package. You can check out it's link here:
http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/sp...s/224&cl=us,en
     
   
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