I'm not getting any sound out of my transcodes on my mini, but both play fine on the Mac Pro.
OK, so far you've tried ripping two blu-rays with MakeMKV, using the stock Handbrake Universal preset. Just out of curiosity, have you ever done any standard dvd Handbrake transcodes and played them back successfully with the mini? Or were you mainly using FR to play back VIDEO_TS folders?
I've been successfully playing DVD rips in Frontrow for ages.
That's good, so with VIDEO_TS in FR you do get audio passthrough to your AVR, including proper DD 5.1, DTS, and you also hear good old PCM stereo from iTunes as well? What AVR model do you have and does it have indicator lights to tell you when you switch between, say, an AC-3 DD 5.1 track to a DTS track to a PCM track? So just by looking at it you can tell when it's processing something as PCM or ProLogic II or DTS?
I even tried playing the rips in Plex just to see if I could get any sound.
So nothing else on your mini--Plex, VLC--can successfully pass the audio over optical to your AVR from those transcodes either?
My Mac Pro uses a standard PC speaker cable. The Mini works fine for all other audio through my AVR; I play VIDEO_TS files just fine with it. It's connected through a perfectly functioning Toslink cable.
At this point I have to ask, what exactly is the all other audio--what else beside VIDEO_TS and iTunes music has worked?
The Mini is connected to my AVR via optical cable, and the AVR can handle most audio codecs.
Well, over optical from the mini, your AVR is either getting the encoded digital AC-3/DTS stream or it's getting stereo PCM, that's usually it...for most of us that means the first AAC audio track of a Handbrake transcode will be received and processed as Dolby PL II. What you have to figure out is why your AVR isn't detecting this.
The Mac Pro is not optical out...which means your Mac mini 1) Front Row 2) MakeMKV rip or 3) Handbrake transcode problem may not be related to FR, MakeMKV or Handbrake at all.
Using the Mac Pro to play the file means there is audio on it--that's good to know--but since it isn't connected over optical to your AVR you can't learn too much else from the Mac Pro comparison. Back to the mini--is there a chance you can swap out the optical cable--and replace it with the analog cable the Mac Pro uses--and then re-try that file in Front Row? Will your AVR play audio in this case?
Is there a chance you messed up AudioMIDI somehow in the past, maybe trying this terminal hack to get AC-3 passthrough working in Front Row:http://www.cod3r.com/2008/02/the-cor...ith-quicktime/
What OS and Perian versions do you have on the mini? Which HB version are you using?