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Aggregating channels in OSX for Denon Multi-In?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Wonder if anyone could help me out - I'm quite stuck!

I've got a Mac Mini 2011 connected via HDMI to my Denon AVR-1910 with 5.1 channels for my HTPC setup. OSX Lion is configured to see the Denon as 8ch out and speaker setup is set for 5.1 surround mode. All channels work, DD/DTS bitstreaming/passthrough works fine and Surround audio sources also work fine.

The problem I have is that no matter what setting I use on the Mac, the Denon only ever sees a multi-channel input (i.e. MULTI-IN etc) and I think its because OSX/the hardware doesn't switch the HDMI to Stereo mode for stereo sources - it just keeps it in 5.1 mode and outputs stereo through the FL/FR channels. Because of this, the subwoofer doesn't get anything for Stereo audio (iTunes etc). Even selecting things like Virtual 5ch stereo mode on the Denon doesn't work because its still seeing a Multi channel source.

I've looked at solutions with Soundflower, Jack and Apples own Audio Device Aggregation (Audio/Midi setup) but all these seem to do is allow you to aggregate devices/route channels rather than route multiple channels into one - so I thought about doing FR-> FR, FL -> FL, FR -> Sub, FL -> Sub but that wasn't possible.

Does anyone know of a way I can get around this problem, so that I can use the subwoofer for Stereo audio music?


Many Thanks

Simmo
post #2 of 13
Quote:
Does anyone know of a way I can get around this problem, so that I can use the subwoofer for Stereo audio music?

On my AVR I just switch to any one of the 5 or 6 modes meant to create that from a stereo source, like Dolby PL II Music or Logic 7. I do not try to apply this before it leaves my Mac. I'm not an expert in this, but what I've thought all along is this: it's either there, inherently, in the audio...waiting to be extracted or extrapolated by an AVR...or it isn't. It's how you have set your AVR up which determines when or if your sub will be active.

Quote:
OSX Lion is configured to see the Denon as 8ch out and speaker setup is set for 5.1 surround mode.

Simmo, this has been coming up on a lot of threads lately and maybe this is part of your problem? Why are you configuring Lion to "see" the Denon in a certain way? Why not just let your Mac (and its various software players) pass stereo music from iTunes as stereo music, i.e. two channel PCM, 2ch 16 bit in AudioMIDI, and then have your Denon process it the way you want it processed--if you want it to be simulated 5.1 a la Dolby ProLogic II then let your Denon apply that...that way when you want DTS or DD 5.1 from video passed through untouched it will still be passed through because AudioMIDI should automatically switch to "encoded digital out" and pass it to your Denon untouched. Then your Denon lights up as DTS or AC3 instead of "Multi-CH IN." You're only gonna get iTunes music in the front L and front R and not the sub unless you tell your AVR to put it there, too. And that's a setting on the AVR, not a setting in Lion.

Or am I misunderstanding things?

Quote:
I think its because OSX/the hardware doesn't switch the HDMI to Stereo mode for stereo sources - it just keeps it in 5.1 mode and outputs stereo through the FL/FR channels.

You can test this, keep MIDI open, when you play iTunes stereo music, what output format is displayed? It'll probably be something like 41 2ch 16bit or 48 2ch 16 bit. Your AVR should see this as 2 ch PCM. What happens to it at that point is up to you and the AVR.

Clarify this for me--you do or do not want to hear iTunes music in the L and R? That is stereo mode and that's what Lion is supposed to do with a stereo source. If you want the sub to also be active, that's up to your AVR to "create."

What I'd want to confirm is, if I were you, are other Denon owners, who have not made any changes in AudioMIDI and simply connecting to their Denon over optical, hearing the same thing and seeing the same speaker behavior, i.e. FL and FR, when they play iTunes music? What lights up for them...is there a 2 ch PCM "light" or does it also show up Multi-CH IN? You could also test this yourself, try your iTunes over optical, what happens on the Denon side processing-wise?

Perhaps un-do those "configure speakers" settings you applied and try iTunes again? Is there a difference? I suspect not, I think stereo, as 2 channel PCM, will be output the same--then it is up to your Denon to create the mix with your sub and route audio where you want to "hear" it.

Now,

Quote:
DD/DTS bitstreaming/passthrough works fine and Surround audio sources also work fine.

what exactly does this mean? What software player are you using and what content are we talking about, something other than iTunes, right?

You mentioned Apple's "aggregate" device, well, there's also a new option in Lion, creating a Multi-output device within AudioMIDI, you could combine optical and HDMI out, for instance, and they'll both be active simultaneously. Not sure that'll help you but it is an option to experiment with if for some reason you can't get what you want over HDMI alone.

But the first thing I'd try is restoring all AudioMIDI settings like "configure speakers" to default, close iTunes, within AudioMIDI set output format to 41kHz/2ch 16bit, then open iTunes and play some music. Then see what happens on the Denon side.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the detailed reply, have gone through and checked each one but still to no avail Really bizarre. Have added comments below. Not really sure how to move forward with this one. Any ideas?


Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

On my AVR I just switch to any one of the 5 or 6 modes meant to create that from a stereo source, like Dolby PL II Music or Logic 7. I do not try to apply this before it leaves my Mac. I'm not an expert in this, but what I've thought all along is this: it's either there, inherently, in the audio...waiting to be extracted or extrapolated by an AVR...or it isn't. It's how you have set your AVR up which determines when or if your sub will be active.

(SIMMO) I've tried each of the Dolby modes etc but none of them get the sub going under playing stereo music. When I play a 5.1 audio file, this works fine so I think the AVR isn't taking the source as stereo its still thinking its a multi channel source and ignoring the SW channel.


Simmo, this has been coming up on a lot of threads lately and maybe this is part of your problem? Why are you configuring Lion to "see" the Denon in a certain way? Why not just let your Mac (and its various software players) pass stereo music from iTunes as stereo music, i.e. two channel PCM, 2ch 16 bit in AudioMIDI, and then have your Denon process it the way you want it processed--if you want it to be simulated 5.1 a la Dolby ProLogic II then let your Denon apply that...that way when you want DTS or DD 5.1 from video passed through untouched it will still be passed through because AudioMIDI should automatically switch to "encoded digital out" and pass it to your Denon untouched. Then your Denon lights up as DTS or AC3 instead of "Multi-CH IN." You're only gonna get iTunes music in the front L and front R and not the sub unless you tell your AVR to put it there, too. And that's a setting on the AVR, not a setting in Lion.

Or am I misunderstanding things?

(SIMMO)Ok, gave that a try, set the mac to auto determine the speaker set up and the result was still the same. I even tried forcing the mac to stereo and still the avr said MULTI IN


You can test this, keep MIDI open, when you play iTunes stereo music, what output format is displayed? It'll probably be something like 41 2ch 16bit or 48 2ch 16 bit. Your AVR should see this as 2 ch PCM. What happens to it at that point is up to you and the AVR.

(SIMMO) Yeh I thought it should do that but it still says MULTI IN

Clarify this for me--you do or do not want to hear iTunes music in the L and R? That is stereo mode and that's what Lion is supposed to do with a stereo source. If you want the sub to also be active, that's up to your AVR to "create."

(SIMMO) I do, for some reason the mac isn't switching the HDMI audio signal to 2 channel stereo, its leaving the HDMI mode in surround (multi channel) and outputting the music through FL and FR

What I'd want to confirm is, if I were you, are other Denon owners, who have not made any changes in AudioMIDI and simply connecting to their Denon over optical, hearing the same thing and seeing the same speaker behavior, i.e. FL and FR, when they play iTunes music? What lights up for them...is there a 2 ch PCM "light" or does it also show up Multi-CH IN? You could also test this yourself, try your iTunes over optical, what happens on the Denon side processing-wise?

(SIMMO) Optical would work but unfortunately the mac mini 2011 doesn't have an optical out anymore - only hdmi and display port.

Perhaps un-do those "configure speakers" settings you applied and try iTunes again? Is there a difference? I suspect not, I think stereo, as 2 channel PCM, will be output the same--then it is up to your Denon to create the mix with your sub and route audio where you want to "hear" it.

Now,



what exactly does this mean? What software player are you using and what content are we talking about, something other than iTunes, right?

(SIMMO) So when I play a 5.1 film in Plex, it bitstreams/passes through the Dolby Digital or DTS track straight to the AVR for processing (if there is an audio track in that format) but iTunes sends audio as straight audio signals

You mentioned Apple's "aggregate" device, well, there's also a new option in Lion, creating a Multi-output device within AudioMIDI, you could combine optical and HDMI out, for instance, and they'll both be active simultaneously. Not sure that'll help you but it is an option to experiment with if for some reason you can't get what you want over HDMI alone.

(SIMMO) I did try the multi output device but for some reason I didn't get any audio out of it, and iTunes wouldnt play when it was selected. Very bizarre. But this wasn't with optical (as it doesn't have one) but with a combination of HDMI and Soundflower.

But the first thing I'd try is restoring all AudioMIDI settings like "configure speakers" to default, close iTunes, within AudioMIDI set output format to 41kHz/2ch 16bit, then open iTunes and play some music. Then see what happens on the Denon side.

(SIMMO) Gave it a try but the same thing happened
post #4 of 13
The 2011 mini does indeed have optical.

I'd stay away from creating multi-out until you know what you're doing, but do test with optical only to your AVR and report back. And stay far away from Soundflower, Jack and creating an aggregate device, because you're just making things a lot harder on yourself than they should be.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I don't understand why you are saying that it does have optical - there is no optical port on mine, even the apple website doesn't list the current mini as having the optical. Mine is the 2011 core i5 mini.
post #6 of 13
Simmo, rest easy, all Intel minis have optical. Look at the specs here:

http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html

under Audio see where it says "Audio line out/headphone minijack (digital/analog)" the "digital" part of that wording means your mini has optical, you just have to snap a little adaptor tip on the end of a regular optical cable or buy an optical cable with a minijack tip built-in.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=4
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow I didn't know that; cheers - will order one now Thought it would have to have a spdif square port, didn't even though about the 3.5mm option!


Cheers
post #8 of 13
Late to the party. Your AVR has a sub setting option in the setup.
Menu setup-Speaker setup-Subwoofer mode-LFE+Main(solved)
Mac mini HDMI out default Multi ch. In on AVR. 5.1 audio (DD/DTS) tracks flags the AVR and displays accordingly. Stereo show up as Multi In but tracks are in stereo. Hope this helps.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BriHiFi View Post

Late to the party. Your AVR has a sub setting option in the setup.
Menu setup-Speaker setup-Subwoofer mode-LFE+Main(solved)
Mac mini HDMI out default Multi ch. In on AVR. 5.1 audio (DD/DTS) tracks flags the AVR and displays accordingly. Stereo show up as Multi In but tracks are in stereo. Hope this helps.

Fantastic cheers for the info, worked a treat - didn't even know about that option!


Cheers, Simmo
post #10 of 13
I know this is an old thread, but i wanted to help others that may the same problem.

When running with HDMI, OSX outputs Multi Channel Audio as default.
The problem is that when listening to stereo (music etc.), you can't use Dolby Pro Logic II, DPLII Music etc.
It can also be a problem with a subwoofer, as the reciever thinks it is getting a multi channel audio signal (including subwoofer LFE). But in reality the signal is only a left and right (The rest is just silenced)

The fix is getting OSX to output stereo instead of multi channel audio.

The tool "Audio MIDI Setup" can be found in the Utilities folder in Applications.

Select the HDMI tab.

Set output to 2 channel 16 bit and 44.100 kHz.

Dont worry... DTS, DD etc. still works as supposed, as these are passed through as they are smile.gif
post #11 of 13
Is this issue even a problem if you're using a player designed for audio such as Pure Music? I can't imagine it is, otherwise those products would be next to useless..
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebu311 View Post

I know this is an old thread, but i wanted to help others that may the same problem.

When running with HDMI, OSX outputs Multi Channel Audio as default.
The problem is that when listening to stereo (music etc.), you can't use Dolby Pro Logic II, DPLII Music etc.
It can also be a problem with a subwoofer, as the reciever thinks it is getting a multi channel audio signal (including subwoofer LFE). But in reality the signal is only a left and right (The rest is just silenced)

The fix is getting OSX to output stereo instead of multi channel audio.

The tool "Audio MIDI Setup" can be found in the Utilities folder in Applications.

Select the HDMI tab.

Set output to 2 channel 16 bit and 44.100 kHz.

Dont worry... DTS, DD etc. still works as supposed, as these are passed through as they are smile.gif

I had to do this tonight too, but figured it out before stumbling on this thread. Wish I'd found this earlier! What's strange is that everything was working fine under 10.7.2 and sometime after upgrading to 10.7.5 and a new Plex beta, the Mac Mini started only outputting MULTI CH IN for all 2 channel content. It had to be something in the OS, because even with Plex closed it still would display as MULTI CH IN.

But, I think what some people are missing in this thread by saying "just set your AVR to encode to PLII" is that the Denon won't let you do that when it's receiving the MULTI CH IN source from the Mac Mini.

Forcing the audio output via Apps->Utilities->Audio Midi Setup into 16-bit 2-channel is what got me working again. DTS and DD are still passed to the AVR to be decoded. The only problem I might see with this is if I listen to some of by 24-bit FLAC files in Cog, but I do that so little that it's more important to have 2-channel content in Plex encoded to PLII by my AVR. Small sacrifice.
post #13 of 13
Old thread I know... With Mac outputting over HDMI is there a configuration that switches between 8ch and 2ch, based on the source? (Ie, when it's a dolby 5.1 source, it sends audio as multi channel but when iTunes or XBMC or Plex are playing stereo media, it switches output to 2 channel, thereby allowing the Denon to offer appropriate options (ie, Pro Logic)?
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