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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

iMac - Surround sound on a Mac?

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Hi folks,

I've decided it's time to upgrade my PC and since I've got on so well with my iBook I've decided to get a new iMac to complement it. I was going through just checking it would do all the things I currently use my PC for and I ticked off everything on my list... everything but one thing which I'm not sure about.

Sound. I know the iMac has built in speakers and I bet they sound pretty fine for built in speakers but I have a lovely set of surround sound speakers that sound fantastic and I'd hate them to go to waste. The big question is, do macs support surround sound?

I thought this would be an obvious yes but on the Apple Store site there are no sets of surround speakers under iMac accessories.

Obviously with a single line out on the back I'm not getting surround like that. I was interested to note that there is also the option of optical out but it didn't mention whether that was surround or stereo. Does anyone know?

If it's just stereo, as I suspect, I guess I'm going to need an external sound card, which is a great shame as it spoils the "all in one box" thing the iMac has going on. But nevertheless, does anyone know of a Mac compatible one of those (preferably that looks as lovely as the iMac!).

I know this is a long post - sorry about that. Hope someone out there can help! Cheers...
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Member Since: Jun 11, 2006
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There is optical out as you said, this sends a digital singal with the correct adapter. So if you have a 5.1 reciever or optical input surround sound system , you can have surround sound.

I use an external soundcard that takes my windows machine and mac audio and sends it through the same surround speakers. :headphone
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Yes. It does support 5.1 surround sound. You have to buy 3rd party accessories though. In this article you will find some interesting info.
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Oh well that's just grand! So surround is supported natively... all I need now is an adapter to convert optical digital to analogue with spdif. Interesting article by the way, very good read.

Just by the way, does anyone have any experience with playing DVDs / video full screen on a secondary monitor? Does it work like a dream or does it go squiffy (like a lot of programs I've used on Windows...)
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