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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » DD 5.1 DVD playback on a Mac?

   
Author Topic: DD 5.1 DVD playback on a Mac?
Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10618
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 10-20-2002 09:44 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've tried various Mac hardware forums and gotten no response. So I'm hoping a few of the Mac users who participate in this forum can give me a solid answer about this.

Can you buy a DD 5.1 speaker system and get multichannel Dolby Digital audio playback from a Mac? What software DVD player do you have to use? Does the software DVD player that comes with OS 10.2 feature S/PDIF output to a DD 5.1 capable speaker system?

I'm asking about this because I am trying to decide on which speaker system to buy for a new multiprocessor Mac. I'm not really into the cutesy little "pro" speakers. Harmon Kardon's sound sticks are kind of cool, as is that new 3 piece design from JVC. But if I can get a DD 5.1 speaker system hooked up to the G4, I would rather go with that.

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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 10-20-2002 10:20 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You would have to buy a PCI sound card and bypass the one that is built into the motherboard for that. If you look around online at some Mac vendors, they may be able to provide you with what you want.

Try asking on this forum:

DV Info

It is abouut Mac editing, etc, but they have a pretty captive audience and should be able to at least point you in the right direction.

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Mike Olpin
Chop Chop!

Posts: 1852
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 10-22-2002 12:33 PM      Profile for Mike Olpin   Email Mike Olpin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike The Mac-Man to the rescue!!!

No, unfortunatly at this time apple does not support 5.1 channel DVD playback.

However, it is still possable to achive this. You need to get Sonica ($90) from m-audio. Its a USB sound device that supports multi-channel. Using this device coupled with "VLC DVD" (also avialable from the m-audio site), a Linux player that "kindof" works under OS X, and a 5.1 speaker system, such as the remarkable Klipsh Pro Media THX 5.1 ($350-400), you can listen to movies in Dolby 5.1 on your Mac.

That said, here is a less expensive alternative that i opted to go with for my Mac set-up. Logitec z-560 is a THX certified 4.1 system with a great two chanel matrix to upmix the sound to 4 channels. All of my movies and music sound great on this, and it works fine with apples built in sound card (the Klipsh 5.1 does not). Bes of all it costs about half of the Klipsh + Sonica, at only $170-250.

I Hope that helps!

<------- 100th Post!


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David Stambaugh
Film God

Posts: 4014
From: Eugene, Oregon
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 10-22-2002 01:02 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Author's Homepage   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike - Now you've gone and done it! Referring to a matrixed system as 4.1 could be provocative when you're talking to Bobby!


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Mike Olpin
Chop Chop!

Posts: 1852
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 10-22-2002 05:58 PM      Profile for Mike Olpin   Email Mike Olpin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
True, it is in fact 3.1 with 4 speakers, BUT IT'S REALLY GOOD 3.1!!!!

Forgot the links-

Sonica & VLC DVD here

Logitech THX 4.1 here

ProMedia 5.1 here


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Michael Schaffer
"Where is the
Boardwalk Hotel?"

Posts: 4143
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Apr 2002


 - posted 10-22-2002 08:23 PM      Profile for Michael Schaffer   Author's Homepage   Email Michael Schaffer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike,
I think you somehow misunderstood this. That system doesn`t do any "upmixing", it decodes a matrixed 2 channel downmix which the Pro Logic decoder can prepare on the fly from a 5.1 data stream. I would find that enormously unsatisfying as a replacement of discrete 5.1.
A friend of mine has a sound studio with Macs in it and he has an 8 channel soundcard in one of them, so I would find it hard to believe that there are no soundcards which could be used for 5.1 playback. Unfortunately, he is somewhere hiking in East Asia, so I can`t ask him about it right now.
Bobby, I have worked on single G4 Macs recently and they were enormously L O U D, almost like a hairdryer. Are you sure you would want a machine like that for DVD playback?
Michael

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10618
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 10-22-2002 08:58 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a Dell Dimension setup (a "THX PC" really) featuring an Altec Lansing ADA-885 speaker system hooked up via S/PDIF to a SoundBlaster card. It is a pretty simple setup for getting discrete Dolby Digital playback in 4.1. I like it and I am spoiled by it unfortunately.

The Altec Lansing ADA-885 model has various playback modes, including a few expanded matrixed 2 channel modes. But they don't sound as good as real Dolby Digital multichannel playback. I'm not going to buy a 4.1 or 5.1 speaker setup for a computer system unless I can get real Dolby Digital playback through it. Some PC systems (such as a couple models made by Yamaha) even over DTS playback.

I think it is surprising Apple doesn't support DD 5.1 output to multichannel speaker systems at this time. I mean, really, all it takes it just being able to output S/PDIF data (without screwing around with the bitstream, dammit) to an outboard speaker system with its own built in decoders.

I realize a multiprocessor G4 tower is loaded with fairly loud fans. And even with that said, a good Dolby Digital multichannel speaker setup is going to have more muscle to get above the din of those fans than two little tiny pro speakers.

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Michael Schaffer
"Where is the
Boardwalk Hotel?"

Posts: 4143
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Apr 2002


 - posted 10-22-2002 09:44 PM      Profile for Michael Schaffer   Author's Homepage   Email Michael Schaffer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This
here

suggests that you can rout digital audio streams to USB. It is not about DD playback, I have only quickly scanned the page without reading it, but there should be a solution for your setup too somewhere in that direction.

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Mike Olpin
Chop Chop!

Posts: 1852
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 10-22-2002 11:53 PM      Profile for Mike Olpin   Email Mike Olpin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
First, I agree that a 2 chanel decode ala Pro-Logic is no replacement for 5.1 audio, but the fact remains that the mac does not currently have a good 5.1 solution. If you don't want to spend half a grand, the Logitech is an excellent, and in my opinion, the most logical choice for good Mac sound. If you have money to burn, and are willing to use an open-source DVD player, it is possable.

Apple DVD for OS X does not support DD or DTS output at this time. However, DVD in mac OS 9 does. I would like to see the following things in the next year. 1) A 5.1 soundcard for mac 2) Digital out support for os X DVD 3) Dolby Headphone in OS X DVD. Apple designs great stuff, but for a company that is focusing it's efforts on media development, i wish that thy would put more into their audio cards.

BTW- I failed to metion that the sonica only provides the digital output port, you will still need a DD or DTS decoder in addition to the pro media. Overall you're looking at $700 to get 5.1 sound.

$200 looks alot better for an incredible speaker system. I urge you to go to Best buy and give the logitech THX z-560 a listen. You won't be dissapointed.
You may also want to read the latest issue of Mac Addict. It has an article about using your mac as an entertainment center.

Micheal- Yes I do fully understand the concept of matrix surround and I agree that "upmix" was probably the wrong term to use. My Bad. I suspect that your buddy with the mac studio is using OS 9. (ProTools is not yet ported to OS X) All of my posts on this topic refer to the new Mac OS X.

Bobby - I guess the bottom line is this - If you want DD fromyour mac, you need to use OS 9. OS X isnt ready for DD yet, but if you must use it, I'm suggesting the Logitech. It absoulutly runs circles around the HK sound sticks and the JBL 3 piece creature, both in dynamic range and frequency responce.


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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 10-23-2002 01:16 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OS 9 is where you get your loud fan noise in the newer G4's. OS X is much quieter. Apple designed it this way so you would be too annoyed to use OS 9 and convert over to OS X. Even in OS X though, the fan noise does oscillate up and down a bit. Still WAY quieter than in OS 9. Once my fan went into "hyper turbo" mode, which would be the hair dryer volume. Once.

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Michael Schaffer
"Where is the
Boardwalk Hotel?"

Posts: 4143
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Apr 2002


 - posted 10-23-2002 06:07 AM      Profile for Michael Schaffer   Author's Homepage   Email Michael Schaffer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We were running OS X! Maybe hairdryer was a bit exaggerated by me, but it was fairly loud. A friend of mine has put together a high-performance PC (yes, I know, they use PCs in hell, and only Macs in heaven) with select components, special fans, damping mats etc., and it is almost silent.
Mike, I am a Mac ignorant (so I will go to hell, but let`s worry about that later), but I understood that you could run most pre-X programs under X or at least start the classic mode or something so that seems like a solution until 5.1 is possible under X.
BTW, has anyone heard a Dolby Headphone application yet?

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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 10-23-2002 01:55 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes. All PC users go to hell. Fact. Paul G Thompson told me.

My PC fan is incredibly loud. Obviously I have the wrong fan, but it is a rather popular fan. It is slightly louder than the Mac fan, but not as loud as when the G4 when into "hyper turbo" mode.

There is a fix for the loud fan noise in da Mac:

Make a connector adapter: fan socket to standard hard drive power connector. Connect the fan power lead to the 5V HD lead (not the 12 V) and bridge the free fan connector pins at the mother board with a 20 ohm 10 watt resistor. (From fan data: 12V 600 ma P= IV = 7.2W)) Plug the fan socket into the adapter and the HD socket into one of the available free hard drive connectors inside the Mac. The big fan will now run constantly but the 5V connection runs it at much reduced speed.

The resistor is necessary because the heat sensing circuit needs to see a load when it decides to supply power to the fan. If the load is not there the circuit unceremoniously shuts off the Mac, a nice safety feature, Apple! This resistor is big and needs to be mounted to the metal side wall of da Mac.

This Mac running OS 9.2.2 has been exercised for some four days now working with Netscape, Canvas, Excel and GraphicConverter open and doing their thing: Surfing, manipulating photographs, doing statistics pretty much constantly. No temperature rise to note during these operations.

Also, there are plenty of 5.1 cards for the Mac.



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