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View Full Version : Digital Audio out of my Mac Air to a Stereo Receiver (Thunderbolt???)



Rickman
02-26-2017, 08:18 PM
Other than my headphone out (from my Mac) to my stereo receiver, is there a digital solution? My receiver has optical in, HDMI in, RCA in and 3.5mm in (Headphone size cable).

Is there a USB to Optical cable out there?

Can I use Thunderbolt as an audio out??

Is there another solution I am not aware of????


My 2012 Mac air only has USB out, headphone out & Thunderbolt (I know nothing about Thunderbolt) :[

pm-r
02-26-2017, 10:24 PM
I'd suggest you do some googling for some of the options you might have available, but right off for wired access I'm sure a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter would work and I'm sure there are others, and if you want to go the wireless route, anything like the basic Airport express should work, or even AppleTV type stuff, and then use AirPlay or whatever wireless name it is that Apple calls it.

And yes I'm sure there are several USB methods, even thinking of the old iMic type of connections/adapter pre-amps etc. and their various jacks and combinations.

Sorry to be so vague but you know better what exact equipment you have that you seemingly want to use, and how much you can or want to spend.






- Patrick
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Slydude
02-26-2017, 10:37 PM
If your receiver has HDMI connections the Thunderbolt to HDMI connection works quite well. Even if your receiver handles multiple HDMI connections available and switches among them it should work. I use that regularly.

The Apple TV method to play things wirelessly also works quite well.

pm-r
02-26-2017, 11:31 PM
If your receiver has HDMI connections the Thunderbolt to HDMI connection works quite well.

I just suggested doing a google search as I recall there were some audio problems with some cables/adapters, something like this:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5516016?tstart=0

Just a thought to be considered… ;)






- Patrick
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Slydude
02-27-2017, 12:33 AM
Thanks fro that reminder Patrick. that is indeed well worth remembering.

@Rickman We can give better recommendations if you tell us exactly which Mac you are using. It would also help to know the exact make and model of receiver that you will be using. That will not only affect which ports are available to connect the Mac too but may open up numerous other options. Here's just one example: The settings on some receivers allow the video from one port to be combined with the audio from a different port. One could, for example have video carried from the computer to the receiver via HDMI and the and the sound carried from the computer to the stereo via audio digital audio in.

Rickman
02-28-2017, 12:06 PM
@Rickman We can give better recommendations if you tell us exactly which Mac you are using. It would also help to know the exact make and model of receiver that you will be using. That will not only affect which ports are available to connect the Mac too but may open up numerous other options. Here's just one example: The settings on some receivers allow the video from one port to be combined with the audio from a different port. One could, for example have video carried from the computer to the receiver via HDMI and the and the sound carried from the computer to the stereo via audio digital audio in.

It's going in a Yamaha receiver which accepts HDMI & Optical. I just called the Apple store looking to see if they sold a Thunderbolt to optical cable, and he said they don't. But he said an optical cable will plug into the macs headphone jack and you will see it light up. Cant wait to get home to see if that is true.

Yes I heard the headphone out was digital, but had no idea it is also optical. Anyone ever heard this???


I'm sure a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter would work and I'm sure there are others, and if you want to go the wireless route, anything like the basic Airport express should work


I didn't want to go the HDMI way, as I have the mini port and would need the adapter. I have the airport, and now you got me rethinking using it again.


Txs again for letting me bend your ears guys.

RadDave
02-28-2017, 12:33 PM
It's going in a Yamaha receiver which accepts HDMI & Optical. I just called the Apple store looking to see if they sold a Thunderbolt to optical cable, and he said they don't. But he said an optical cable will plug into the macs headphone jack and you will see it light up. Cant wait to get home to see if that is true.

Yes I heard the headphone out was digital, but had no idea it is also optical. Anyone ever heard this???



Sure - check this Apple Support Article (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202730) - assume that your Mac Air 2012 will be compatible w/ the lower sampling rate - good luck and let us know - Dave :)

Slydude
02-28-2017, 01:00 PM
I'm using a Thunderbolt adapter that handles DVI, VGA, and HDMI video. The HDMI connection feeds to a Yamaha receiver and from the receiver to the TV. I just started testing this connection recently and it works will. If the TV set is on and the receiver set to the right input I can use the TV as a second screen.

Here is the only the only oddity I've found and I just realized this as I was typing this post. If the TV set is on the name that shows in the Sound preference pane matches the make for my TV. If the TV set is off the name that appears matches the make and model of the receiver.

Check the settings on your receiver to make sure that the HDMI port you connect to is receiving the right audio. On mine the HDMI port could, if set differently, pick up audio from any of the other inputs.

pm-r
02-28-2017, 02:04 PM
But he said an optical cable will plug into the macs headphone jack and you will see it light up. Cant wait to get home to see if that is true.


I'm pretty sure your 2012 Macbook air does NOT have or support a TOSLINK connection, and I did a quick check at http://www.everymac.com/ previously and before replying.

You can also check out the comments here:
"I just found out that the Macbook Air does not have the combined optical out port like the MacBook Pro."
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/5-1-optical-out-from-macbook-air.1388879/

Personally I'd use either an Airport Express (or Apple TV) as we did and now do that's connected to play through our Yamaha 5.1 receiver. And no cables to worry about oozing from your Mac air. :Smirk:


EDIT:
Gheese Apple!!! Why in H____ did I have to use a google search to find out if the AirPort Express (new or refurbished) was still even available. It was as new at the apple.ca Canada site. But sometimes they show up in the refurbished section that almost hidden to save a few $$.







- Patrick
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Rickman
02-28-2017, 08:53 PM
Well, got home and there is no way optical cable works with the headphone out. (WTF was the Apple tech telling me)

So that leaves me with the 2 other options. The Airport Express & HDMI.

The AE will give me wireless, but the cable from the AE to the receiver will not be digital will it? It will just be a headphone 3.5mm :Angry: (I can't confirm, as it is at my sons house at the moment).

HDMI will be digital the whole way, but will not be wireless. :Angry:




Txs again guys for your input.

Rickman
02-28-2017, 09:22 PM
I'm pretty sure your 2012 Macbook air does NOT have or support a TOSLINK connection, and I did a quick check at http://www.everymac.com/ previously and before replying.

Why doesn't that surprise me Patrick... :Angry-Tongue:

I guess this is what the Apple guy was telling me: https://www.amazon.com/KabelDirekt-TOSLINK-Optical-Digital-Audio/dp/B00GZQWLF0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488331078&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=mini+toslink+cable&psc=1

cheers,
Rick

Rickman
02-28-2017, 09:38 PM
The AE will give me wireless, but the cable from the AE to the receiver will not be digital will it? It will just be a headphone 3.5mm :Angry: (I can't confirm, as it is at my sons house at the moment).


Well I'll be damned. I think I answered my own question. According to this link, I can use a mini-Toslink from my AE to my receiver: http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/airport-express.htm

Slydude
02-28-2017, 09:52 PM
I think you're right. I meant to include that option in my previous post.

chscag
02-28-2017, 10:52 PM
I think you're right. I meant to include that option in my previous post.

Another good topic for this Sunday night? ;D

pm-r
02-28-2017, 11:20 PM
Well I'll be damned. I think I answered my own question. According to this link, I can use a mini-Toslink from my AE to my receiver: http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/airport-express.htm



Gheese Rickman, that's one of the options I've been suggesting and trying to tell you to use!! :Shouting:

BTW: I dare say that regardless of the connection used, I'd doubt if you could even tell whether or if some analog or digital method was actually being used from your Mac source to your Yamaha 5.1 receiver, and even if it has been setup and calibrated properly. :|







- Patrick
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Slydude
03-01-2017, 12:30 AM
Another good topic for this Sunday night? ;D
You really are trying to give me a first class headache aren't you?:Grimmace:

Actually, that would be a good topic. It has the potential to be very confusing though.

Rickman
03-01-2017, 12:11 PM
Patrick your post is the reason I decided to go back to the Airport Express! Once I determined I could use a digital cable, I was sold. As far as testing to see if it will be digital or not will be a good test for me, as I am kind of content with just the 3.5mm headphone out I presently use with my (iPod). I just figured if going (wireless with my mac air), might as well go all out. I can get those optical cable for $5-10, so I might as well give it a go.

https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=Mini+TOSLINK+Optical+Digital+Audio+Cable+

Txs again for everyone's input, I'll report back when I order one of those cables