Mac Pro to Receiver - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-15-2012, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
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i am trying to hook up any of my 2 mac pros (early 2008) to my receiver via optical audio out. (i don't care much about picture, i just want surround sound) it looks like the ports on the computers are not working and i am looking for an alternative way.

(my cable is fine, i can plug it into my dvd player and it works on the same port on the receiver.)

hdmi seems to be the sexy thing these days but my computer has only dvi, and dvi does not carry audio, so an adapter makes no sense.

are there audio cards - internal pci or external firewire/usb - that would give me either a working optical audio out OR hdmi that can carry sound?

(i want to play concert recordings on the computer, some in surround, some not, and there is of course the itunes library)

any help appreciated.

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post #2 of 17 Old 03-16-2012, 03:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarciaFunebre View Post

i am trying to hook up any of my 2 mac pros (early 2008) to my receiver via optical audio out. (i don't care much about picture, i just want surround sound) it looks like the ports on the computers are not working and i am looking for an alternative way....

any help appreciated.

Seems very unlikely that both would be bad. Make sure you have S/PDIF enabled by opening System Preferences:Hardware Sound: click on Output button, scroll down and Highlight: Digital Out - Optical digital-out port.
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-16-2012, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
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yes, it is enabled. it just does not output any sound.

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post #4 of 17 Old 03-16-2012, 10:10 AM
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Just want to make sure you have your TOS link cable plugged into the Headphone jack and not the Line In/Digital In port on the MacBook Pro. These jacks are both analog and digital jacks. If you plug it into the headphone jack, you should be able to see the light coming out of the other end of that TOS Cable.

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post #5 of 17 Old 03-16-2012, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DoyleS View Post

Just want to make sure you have your TOS link cable plugged into the Headphone jack and not the Line In/Digital In port on the MacBook Pro. These jacks are both analog and digital jacks. If you plug it into the headphone jack, you should be able to see the light coming out of the other end of that TOS Cable.

it is not a mac book pro - it is a mac pro (and i have two). there is a separate line out toslink. and yes, the red light is glowing on the end of the cable when plugged into the mac.

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post #6 of 17 Old 03-16-2012, 11:38 AM
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The only other thing I can think of is to check under the Audio Midi Setup in the Utilities folder to make sure the Optical output is setup there.

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post #7 of 17 Old 03-16-2012, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DoyleS View Post

The only other thing I can think of is to check under the Audio Midi Setup in the Utilities folder to make sure the Optical output is setup there.

yes, it is set there... however - while in the system settings the volume slider - while greyed out - is set at the max, in the audio/midi settings it is at zero, but greyed out as well. i don't know if that matters.

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post #8 of 17 Old 03-17-2012, 04:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarciaFunebre View Post

yes, it is set there... however - while in the system settings the volume slider - while greyed out - is set at the max, in the audio/midi settings it is at zero, but greyed out as well. i don't know if that matters.

This is correct. Make sure your Format is set to 44.1K or 48K and 2ch-16 bit and Configure Speakers to Stereo. Then use iTunes to play a song and see if you can get audio.

In iTunes if Multi Speakers is in the lower right corner click on it and make sure Computer This Computer is checked and the volume sliders are all the way up.

Also do you get audio with to the Internal Speaker and have you tried Line Out (analog) too?

Just to be sure there is no chance you are plugged into the S/PDIF input on your Mac Pro?
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-17-2012, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by William View Post

This is correct. Make sure your Format is set to 44.1K or 48K and 2ch-16 bit and Configure Speakers to Stereo. Then use iTunes to play a song and see if you can get audio.

In iTunes if Multi Speakers is in the lower right corner click on it and make sure Computer This Computer is checked and the volume sliders are all the way up.

Also do you get audio with to the Internal Speaker and have you tried Line Out (analog) too?

Just to be sure there is no chance you are plugged into the S/PDIF input on your Mac Pro?

i made sure it is plugged on the optical out, unless it is labeled wrong :-)
i do get audio through analog and internal. (i am actually using a firewire audio interface for analog connections and recording)

i do not see any option for "multi speakers" in itunes. am i missing something there?

in the next few days i will add another hard drive and will install mac osx lion on it (i really do not want to upgrade the whole thing as my snow leopard installation is otherwise working smoothly and lion does not add any features that i need). but maybe the issue is in the system, so i will find out what happens under lion.

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post #10 of 17 Old 03-17-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarciaFunebre View Post

i made sure it is plugged on the optical out, unless it is labeled wrong :-)...

i do not see any option for "multi speakers" in itunes. am i missing something there?...

Facing/looking at the back output S/PDIF is on the right (input on the left).

On iTunes in the Menu bar click on Window and select Multiple Speakers. Then in the lower right corner right click on the blue icon (in my pic) and select Multiple Speakers and the selection should appear. Make sure that Computer: This Computer is checked and volume slider is up (and the Master Volume slider too).



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post #11 of 17 Old 03-17-2012, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post

Facing/looking at the back output S/PDIF is on the right (input on the left).

On iTunes in the Menu bar click on Window and select Multiple Speakers. Then in the lower right corner right click on the blue icon (in my pic) and select Multiple Speakers and the selection should appear. Make sure that Computer: This Computer is checked and volume slider is up (and the Master Volume slider too).

for whatever reason those options/buttons are non existent in my version itunes (latest). maybe that is a mac os lion x only feature?

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post #12 of 17 Old 03-17-2012, 07:12 PM
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for whatever reason those options/buttons are non existent in my version itunes (latest). maybe that is a mac os lion x only feature?

When you don't have any remote or Airplay-eligible speakers on the network, iTunes doesn't give you that option, it doesn't show you the icon. If you don't have an Airport Express, an Apple TV or an AVR or speaker dock which supports AirPlay, you won't see the option.

At this point, if I were you, I'd start investigating your AVR and its settings...or try to borrow a different AVR to connect to. If you've verified the optical cable is good, and selected built-in optical out in both Sound preferences and AudioMIDI, and both of your Mac Pros are similarly affected, that's all that's left.
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post #13 of 17 Old 03-17-2012, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

When you don't have any remote or Airplay-eligible speakers on the network, iTunes doesn't give you that option, it doesn't show you the icon. If you don't have an Airport Express, an Apple TV or an AVR or speaker dock which supports AirPlay, you won't see the option.

At this point, if I were you, I'd start investigating your AVR and its settings...or try to borrow a different AVR to connect to. If you've verified the optical cable is good, and selected built-in optical out in both Sound preferences and AudioMIDI, and both of your Mac Pros are similarly affected, that's all that's left.

right, i don't have any airplay devices. and somehow i think i have to rule out my receiver also, because

a) on the same input port on the receiver, i can hook up a dvd player with the same cable and it sounds flawlessly which means the receiver IS able to receive sound via toslink on this very port.

b) i have spoken to onkyo tech support extensively, and again with no clear answer because according to them too, it should work.

i am down to two steps:
either a test installation of the dreaded iLion or investigating into another soundcard/external interface that features a toslink output (seems to be not very common, and then often the specs say it cannot pass 5.1 audio through for whatever weird reasons).

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post #14 of 17 Old 03-17-2012, 10:42 PM
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Can you pass a plain stereo audio file via the toslink connection?

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post #15 of 17 Old 03-18-2012, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

Can you pass a plain stereo audio file via the toslink connection?

not from the computer. i get no sound from the mac pro via toslink. but a regular dvd player works.

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post #16 of 17 Old 03-18-2012, 12:57 AM
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...and somehow i think i have to rule out my receiver also, because

a) on the same input port on the receiver, i can hook up a dvd player with the same cable and it sounds flawlessly which means the receiver IS able to receive sound via toslink on this very port.

Most of what you'll pass from iTunes to an AVR is stereo PCM, whereas with a DVD player it's usually AC-3/DD 5.1 and DTS, but you're right, most AVRs by default should be able to receive either, determine what kind of stream it is, and switch back and forty accordingly. You didn't mention how far away the Mac is from the AVR or the length of the optical cable, so I wouldn't limit your hardware troubleshooting just yet...if it is a longer cable, like 25' to 50' then use a shorter one, say 3-6' and try the Mac going into a different optical input on the AVR, if not into a wholly different brand of AVR. And temporarily disconnect the FireWire audio interface as well (and any drivers you may have installed for it.)

I know you're resistant to trying a different AVR or lugging a Mac Pro over to a friend's house, do you have any friends with an Intel Mac laptop you could invite over for a quick test?

Couple other thoughts:

When you start playing a stereo audio file, something imported from a typical redbook cd as AAC or ALAC in iTunes like William and sivadselim asked over optical, does the track time counter start increasing or stay at 0:00?

Most of your testing so far has been with iTunes, right? So just for kicks, try playing a dvd of a commercial movie with Apple dvdplayer.app and switch between its different audio tracks...As you switch does your AVR react to the signal being stopped and started by blinking and then locking onto it, i.e. some recognition of say DD 2.0 versus DTS?
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post #17 of 17 Old 03-23-2012, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks chefklc for the additional thoughts. i think i have figured it out now. i must have gotten lost in the cracks of the complexity of the whole thing. assigning the input and outputs correctly - i am still not 100% sure what was going on, but it seems to work now. i can switch between sources and it works now. it also helped that i managed to hook up a computer monitor inorder to use the on screen menu which was much, much easier to navigate.

i am still working on the AVR to correctly "see" whether it is dolby digital, dts or whatever. sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. i guess for now that means a bit more experimenting (though i wish i did not need to spend so much time on all that...) :-)

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