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  1. #1


    Member Since
    May 26, 2007
    Posts
    3
    5.1 surround from Mac Mini
    Hi

    I have a 5.1 surround set connected to my Pioneer surround receiver. Now I want to buy a mac mini and still be able to use the speakers....is it possible? I need to get rid of the receiver because it is too big, I wanna keep it simple!!

    What do I need to succeed?

    /Mick

  2. #2

    joshbrez's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 29, 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    199
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 15" 2.33 GHz 3 GB RAM
    The Griffin FireWave would probably fulfill your needs quite well.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    May 26, 2007
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by joshbrez View Post
    The Griffin FireWave would probably fulfill your needs quite well.
    Could you plz tell me what kind of output there is then?

    Anyway, I still need an amplifier for my speakers right??!?

    Then I think it may be easier just to buy an active sub with two speakers....then I just need the "miniToslink to Toslink" cable....

    Or anyone have a better suggestion??

    /Mick

  4. #4

    joshbrez's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 29, 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    199
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 15" 2.33 GHz 3 GB RAM
    Ah, my bad. You're right - with the FireWave, you are indeed going to need speakers that are amplified, either via a powered subwoofer or some other means. A powered 2.1 set as you suggest would work just fine out of the Mac mini's output. If you really wanted a surround sound system, you could either keep your existing receiver and use that or pick up a powered surround system from, e.g., Klipsch or Creative and use it with the FireWave.

  5. #5

    bryphotoguy's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,978
    Specs:
    Quad 2.8GHz Mac Pro, Edge iPhone
    Yea, you're going to need something to keep those speakers powered. Either keep the receiver or get a smaller system.
    Bryan

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  6. #6


    Member Since
    May 26, 2007
    Posts
    3
    Anyone then know if the minitoslink output on the Mini Mac by standard supports 5.1?? I read it on a danish Mac-forum, but I could not find it on apples homepage...

    Mick

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Jul 21, 2008
    Posts
    7
    5.1 on Mac Mini
    Hello All

    I've setup my Mac Mini as an htpc and have it connected to a Sony STR 1200es via a Toslink. I get perfect 5.1 when playing a dvd, however only linear pcm 48 with all other sources, eg, divx, itunes tracks.

    I have tried perian, the passthroughenable fix but have still not found a solution. I used to have Vista pc and it was able to play itunes/divx in 5.1. I have even resorted to installing Vista using boot camp. Even in Vista, it doesn't list 5.1 as a selectable channel. As far as I understand it, the mini (or any mac using optical via toslink) is not able to encode the 6 channels into the reqd 2 to send to the amp.

    Has anyone been able to find a solution for this? There doesn't seem to be solutions on the forums. As I have specifically moved to the mini to use as an htpc, I would really like to find a solution.

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Aug 15, 2005
    Posts
    154
    Specs:
    20" iMac core2Duo 2.4Ghz 4GB ram
    The mac mini is probably just sending the raw data over the optical connection. So if you are playing a source that has 5.1 (dvd), you will get it, but it wont upsample a 2 channel source (music). There are some soundcards on the PC side with Dolby Digital Live and the such that will do this, but the mini wont do it. All is not lost, though. There should be a setting on your reciever to upsample to 5.1. It wont be like "real" 5.1, but you should be a able to get sound coming from all speakers.

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Jul 21, 2008
    Posts
    7
    thanks for the reply aeiou. You are right about it playing the 5.1 source when its given one. Is there no s'ware based solution that can code the ac3 content into the 2 channels required for optical output? Also is this an issue with the way mac os works or is it the mini h'ware. Reason I ask is because I have tried bootcamp on the mini and get the same result in Vista. thanks

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Aug 15, 2005
    Posts
    154
    Specs:
    20" iMac core2Duo 2.4Ghz 4GB ram
    Its the hardware, and I'm not aware of any way to do it using the optical out. The point of having the optical out is that you get the raw data coming out of the mini so that it can be processed outside of the computer. There are a few sound cards on the pc side that can do what you want over a digital connection, but not many. I you were using analog out of the mini (you would have to use something like the firewave) it would probably work as you describe, but not with digital, and that would not be practical in your case.

    Look for dolby prologic on your receiver and you should be able to get it to work with all channels.

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Jul 21, 2008
    Posts
    7
    hello all, quick update on the 5.1 stuff. I tried getting it working on the Vista partition (bbotcamp). Initially I had no luck (posts above). But then I installed a software called ffdshow which basically can be configured to pass ac3 to spdif. This WORKS. I now have full 5.1 surround from divx/avis. The blue light on my amp lights up and the the lcd read dolby digital 5/1 ;-)
    So for a start we can now confirm for a fact that its now hardware. Its the mac os itself that is preventing passthrough. I cannot find a similar solution though for mac. I now need to figure out how to pass mp3/wmas via ffdshow rather than using in-built system codecs.

  12. #12


    Member Since
    Jul 21, 2008
    Posts
    7
    I came across this that might also fix the mp3 raw output to the decoder by using ffdshow. By default wmp already has an mp3 codec so it will not use ffdshow. By disabling the mp3 codec for wmp, in theory it should use ffdshow (if you've set it up as below ie)

    In the ffdshow audio codec click the 'Codecs' Sections. Set 'Uncompressed'-->'All Supported'.
    Next go into Cwindows\system32 and rename 'mfpmp.exe' to something else or delete it (I recommend renaming the extension)
    This will allow you to use ffdshow for mp3s, theoretically allowing you to use any mp3 decoder.

    Btw to move/rename the above file in vista, you will need to 'take ownership' of the file..good old windows ;-(

    Here are the steps to do this
    1. Click the Start button.

    2. Click All Programs.

    3. Go into Accessories.

    4. Right-click on Command Prompt.
    5. Select Run as administrator.

    6. When the UAC Prompt appears, click Continue.

    Once you have your elevated command prompt, follow these steps:

    For our example, we are going to use the Bubbles screensaver file (Bubbles.scr)

    1. At the command prompt, input takeown /f filepath (takeown /f cwindows\system32\Bubbles.scr).
    2. Press Enter on the keyboard.
    3. A message will be displayed that this completed successfully.
    4. Now input icacls filepath /grant yourusername:f (icacls cwindows\system32\Bubbles.scr /grant shamanstears:f).
    5. A message will be displayed that this completed successfully.

    You will now be able to modify or replace the file. When you are done, simply remove the permissions to keep the file secure.
    Remember to then goto the sys props of the file by rightclick and add perms to the user

    Rightcick in vista on a mac = 2 fingers on teh keypan and then press the keypad button no need to re-map
    I will try this over the w'end and update accordingly.

    getting this to work in vista makes it all the more frustrating that it doesn't in mac os. I had called mac support and the guy initially even denied they had optical out ;-( and then asked me to contact my amp manuf for a driver !! If only we can at least get a similar 3rd party s'ware like ffdshow

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