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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 5.1 sound system with my macbook pro

5.1 sound system with my macbook pro
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Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Jan 28, 2008, 09:22 PM
I just got the Logitech Z-5500 sound system setup for my macbook pro. I'm trying to hook up the digital output using mini-toslink to toslink cable and digital coaxial audio cable.

However, my Logitech control screen says that it does not detect any digital data. Under my sound settings in system preferences, I can see the digital out. And when I go to Audio MIDI Setup--> Configure speakers, the 5.1 option is shaded out. It's the same when I select Encoded Digital Audio under the Audio Output.

Right now, my speakers can play sound but it's not 5.1 and there's no sound coming out of the center channel and the rear channels. The Macbook Pro should be able to automatically detect the 5.1 system shouldn't it? Or is there a problem with my digital output? Any help would be great. Thanks.

nevermind.. figured it out.i just need to adjust my Logitech Control "effect" settings to DPLII Movie/Music.
( Last edited by Remxed; Jan 28, 2008 at 09:59 PM. )
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Jan 28, 2008, 11:08 PM
Yeah you're only going to get 5.1 with DVDs, since everything else is just a stereo source. Even that logitech "effect" is just some algorithm to spread stereo over 5.1 channels. Nothing wrong with that, it will probably sound good, but you'll actually probably want to turn that off when you watch a movie with DVD player.
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
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Jan 29, 2008, 02:04 PM
DPLII= Dolby Pro Logic II - spreads 2 channels to 5.1. Pretty good effect for just music.

As slpdLoad has already said, only AC3 audio that is already 5.1 will be true 5.1 out through the speakers. This is mostly DVDs, but also some other movie files (I know VLC supports it for a bunch of movie files). It doesn't work with realtime audio such as games, because no Mac has the chip required (a so called DDL or DTS Connect chip) and as far as I know there exists no Mac hack that do it in software.

Note that this is standard in the business - very few PCs can generate 5.1 audio through the optical out. When they advertise 5.1, it is through multiple analog, which the MBP doesn't have.
( Last edited by P; Jan 29, 2008 at 02:11 PM. )
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Jan 29, 2008, 06:06 PM
Just to be redundant, digital audio doesn't support more than 2 channels through the line by nature. To get surround sound, some sort of encoding/compression is used which needs to be supported by the decoder, which, in this case, is built into the speaker system. The software is responsible for sending the 5.1 compressed stream to the decoder so this is why you'll only get 5.1 with DVD Player.app and similar programs.
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