Mac Mini HTPC + Vizio VHT215 Soundbar - Can I get good sound? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-23-2012, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Just picked up a VHT215 to go with my Vizio TV + Mac Mini HTPC. I mostly use Plex to watch movies/tv shows. The sound is definitely fuller, especially in the bass department, but talking sounds flat/hard to hear, and since I started running an optical cable the speakers pop/crackle when the sound spikes like during an action scene or a loud song.

I've tried a variety of connections, but I'm unsatisfied with everything thus far. I'm wondering if there's something else I could do to get great digital sound in my setup without adding another piece of expensive hardware- although I have a feeling this is the best I can hope for with my cheap setup.

WHAT I'VE TRIED SO FAR:

I started off trying to run Mac Mini <---->HDMI<----> TV <----> Soundbar
But soundbar wouldn't play sound, would only come from TV speakers

Then I ran the 3.5mm RCA cable from the headphone jack in the Mac Mini directly to the sound bar. The sound bar worked but felt flat, especially talking/dialog.

Vizio customer service told me I should try running an optical cable from the TV to the soundbar, so I picked up a really cheap one off of Amazon. Sounds slightly better than the 3.5mm cable from the headphone jack, but now the audio pops and crackles at times.


Wondering if the soundbar is even worth keeping, considering I only run media from my MacMini (no DVD/Blue-Ray player/Cable box).
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-27-2012, 08:30 PM
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Does the Mac not have a standard audio out (analog or digital)?

If analog get an adapter that will let you go from mini-phone jack to RCA L/R and connect to the analog jacks on the Vizio.

If digital out use the proper digital adapter to connect directly between Mac and Soundbar.

Sound from a headphone jack is usually substandard as this is not a fixed output and impedence for which the amplifier in the soundbar is configured.

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post #3 of 7 Old 06-28-2012, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Mac Mini only has the 1 HDMI port, which I need to connect to the TV. The only other audio out seems to be the headphone jack.

Here are the specs from Apple:
http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-29-2012, 12:06 PM
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Looking at the specs for the Mac-Mini it does appear you really only have two options.

Mac-Mini to SB via analog headphone jack.

Mac-Mini to TV via HDMI then TV to SB via optical (or analog if your TV has RCA out jacks).

If you are hearing popping with the optical from the TV it could be worth attempting a second cable. If that does not fix the problem, it could be with either the optical port on the TV or the port on the soundbr. At this point, I would probably give up and select a different route.

If the soundbar is easy to exchange, you could also try a second sample to eliminate the possibility of a bad optical port. Vizio makes a good product for the price but has had a number of quality control issues in the pat.

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post #5 of 7 Old 07-01-2012, 04:10 PM
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I am pretty sure that your mac mini's headphone jack is also an optical out. You just need the adapter for your optical cable.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-14-2012, 01:40 PM
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Yes, the Mac Mini analog out does double as an optical out. That would be your best sound.

If the VHT251 has HDMI in, why not use that? I see you tried going from the Mac to the TV and back to the sound bar, but why not have that in the middle?

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post #7 of 7 Old 07-14-2012, 01:40 PM
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Yes, the Mac Mini analog out does double as an optical out. That would be your best sound.

If the VHT251 has HDMI in, why not use that? I see you tried going from the Mac to the TV and back to the sound bar, but why not have that in the middle?

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