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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Macbook and 5.1 Surround Sound

Macbook and 5.1 Surround Sound
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Nov 14, 2006, 05:39 PM
 
I know macbook's dont have the necessary sound card for 5.1 Surround sound speakers, but would it by worth it to buy one for $50 and buy surround sound speakers? Does anyone have any experience with this?

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Nov 14, 2006, 06:52 PM
 
Buy one what for $50? A MacBook (way more than $50) or some type of USB solution?

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Nov 15, 2006, 10:18 AM
 
Hey, I've got an old.. (read 3 years old) Creative USB sound card. It was like $50 at CompUSA, but it had the optical out for surround sound. Now when I dock my Macbook I plug in 2 usb hubs and the sound box is on one of those. Works like a charm every time. I will say that you will have to make sure that when you're logged into your account, if you plug it in, it doesn't automatically change the settings in the Pref Panes for the sound from BUILT IN to USB.

Other than that, its a good solution.
     
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Nov 15, 2006, 11:06 AM
 
Someone should correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the MacBook *is* capable of 5.1 sound if you connect it via optical TOS link to a capable device or speakers. The headphone jack doubles as an optical out. My MBP certainly does 5.1 sound without a hitch and I can't imagine that an audio device capable of optical out (such as the MB's) would not be able to do surround.
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Nov 15, 2006, 11:10 AM
 
Apple - MacBook - Technical Specifications

The MacBook does have digital/optical out. You just need a TOSLINK adapter IIRC.
     
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Nov 16, 2006, 12:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by jamil5454 View Post
Apple - MacBook - Technical Specifications

The MacBook does have digital/optical out. You just need a TOSLINK adapter IIRC.
may i know what's that "TOSLINK adapter IIRC."
     
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Nov 16, 2006, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by samsontan View Post
may i know what's that "TOSLINK adapter IIRC."
Its a standard optical audio connecter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOSLINK). For the MB, you'll need a little optical->mini-optical converter (which allows you to plug it into the 3.5mm jack)-- which I think is the aformentioned "adapter".
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Nov 20, 2006, 04:38 PM
 
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Nov 26, 2006, 04:56 PM
 
I have these speakers at home, they are pretty good value for the money. But those speakers have seperate audio inputs for each speaker, so you cant connect get surround from a macbook with that. You would need a soundcard with multiple audio outs.
     
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Nov 26, 2006, 05:04 PM
 
You'd like something like the Griffin Firewave, which can be had for about $60.

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Nov 26, 2006, 06:51 PM
 
I'm lost ... I don't see where it says you need an adapter for optical out.

Originally Posted by Apple
Audio
Built-in stereo speakers
Built-in omnidirectional microphone
Combined optical digital audio input/audio line in (minijack)
Combined optical digital audio output/headphone out (minijack)
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Nov 26, 2006, 07:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by stefanicotine View Post
I'm lost ... I don't see where it says you need an adapter for optical out.
"(minijack)"


there is an adapter that takes a normal toslink cable and makes it a minijack toslink cable.

AD101 - Toslink Female to 3.5mm Minijack Male - Only 2.49 at www.tvcables.co.uk

something like this.
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Nov 27, 2006, 04:33 AM
 
Ah, gotcha. Thanks!
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Nov 27, 2006, 11:15 AM
 
Make sure you change the audio settings for whatever app you use (DVD player, for example), to 5.1 sound. Otherwise, you'll just get high-quality stereo
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Nov 27, 2006, 02:20 PM
 
     
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Dec 14, 2006, 07:57 PM
 
I have an older Logitech (I think) 5.1 speaker system with the standard yellow, green, and black 3.5mm connectors. Back before I switched to Mac (I'm lovin' the switch, baby!) I plugged these into a 5.1 card I had in my PC.

Now that I have a MacBook, I'd like to get true 5.1 stereo sound out of it. I read the previous posts in this thread, and I'm not sure I quite get it yet. Could someone run through it for me? I need to know what adapters/hardware to purchase to make it work.

Is it possible for the MacBook to output true 5.1 through the optical port, or must I purchase something like the Griffin FireWave?
     
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Dec 14, 2006, 08:38 PM
 
the macbook will output 5.1 sound (even DTS with the right program) out of the optical port. I tried it when I got my new receiver all set up this week.

As for the little adapters, I bought a cheap Phillips brand optical cable from walmart for $6 and it came with 2 of the 3.5mm optical adapters.
     
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Dec 15, 2006, 09:52 PM
 
So it sounds to me that a USB sound device would be the best option.

I did hear this has optical out (i'm going from a dual proc G5) but of course my optical out calbe won't fit in the ports on the side of the notebook. so that adapter that you guys linked to will work?
     
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Dec 16, 2006, 02:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by adamjackson1984 View Post
So it sounds to me that a USB sound device would be the best option.

I did hear this has optical out (i'm going from a dual proc G5) but of course my optical out calbe won't fit in the ports on the side of the notebook. so that adapter that you guys linked to will work?
USB won't be as clear as optical.
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Dec 16, 2006, 05:23 AM
 
It works fine on the my MacBook, use an optical cable straight into my AV amp.... tell the system to do 5.1 and of you go (but I think everyone has said this before... bit late )
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Dec 16, 2006, 05:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by stefanicotine View Post
USB won't be as clear as optical.
Let me tell you something Even coax is better than optical, when listening to music for example, but USB is just magical, compared to the two "standard" audio digital output mode.
I've got an external DAC in my stereo system with coax and USB input, and the USB input blows the coax input out of the water. With USB the chance of getting the jitter is minimal to zero, the digital data will have no clock frequency, the data is transfered in data "packages".
And CDs ripped in Apple Lossless format played from the hard drive sound more pleasing to the ear, showing less stress! This goes for Firewire as well of course! If you have a TC Electronics Konnekt 24D for example and connect it to a Macbook via Firewire, and the digital coax output of the konnekt 24D is connected to an Altmann DAC...boy, will you find yourself in audio heaven
     
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Dec 17, 2006, 01:54 AM
 
Jeebus almighty, can't anyone give the poor OP a simple, complete answer??

The MacBook has a headphone type jack for sound output. It can be used as a "normal" headphone jack, or as a 5.1 (even DTS capable) output jack. Of course, since it's a headphone (3.5mm) type jack, you'll need an adapter to attach optical cable to it.

Once you've got the adapter, just plug it in and set the preferences of the app that's making the sound (for example, DVD Player) to 5.1.

It's really just that simple.
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Dec 25, 2006, 04:19 PM
 
I think this is what is causing confusion: there are two basic kinds of surround systems. At the high end, you can get a full stereo system, which includes an amp that has some kind of digital input (TOSLINK, usually). This can be easily adapted to the headphone/optical jack of the MacBook.

There are also more basic desktop surround systems (like the Loogitech Z-5300e). These systems are not digital and have multiple stereo miniplug (headphone) jacks that plug into a computer/sound card that has separate outputs for the various channels. (Laptops don't have these multiple outputs.)

In order to use the latter setup with a MacBook, you would need to find an external device that connects to the computer via USB/FireWire and gives you the various analog channel outputs. (A poster mentioned the Griffin FireWave.)

An amp would plug right into the headphone/optical output, but such a sound system would be much more costly than an all-in-one type kit like the Z-5300e.
     
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Feb 16, 2007, 12:22 PM
 
Here's the rub - Macbook's don't have Firewire. The griffin firewave would connect with firewire - so that's out.

Anyone know a USB solution?
     
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Feb 16, 2007, 12:26 PM
 
Actually I'm staring at a Firewire 400 port right now on my 13" MacBook.
     
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Feb 16, 2007, 12:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by nitro088 View Post
Here's the rub - Macbook's don't have Firewire. The griffin firewave would connect with firewire - so that's out.

Anyone know a USB solution?
Is your Firewire port broken? All Macs have Firewire.
     
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Feb 16, 2007, 02:53 PM
 
I am currently running 5.1 surround sound out of my Macbook.
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Mar 7, 2007, 07:52 AM
 
whats the "optical" about? i thought audio inputs/outputs were either "digital" or "analog"?
     
   
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