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Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (18,780 points)
Anyone know if this is possible on the new mini?

I currently use an AppleTV with HDMI to TV and optical digital to my older surround processor which does not accept HDMI.

AppleTV is useful in that it outputs audio simultaneously over all audio connections - I suspect new Mac Mini might only allow single audio output at a time.

Mac Pro 8x3.0GHz 14GB, Mac OS X (10.5.8), iPad, iPhones, otyer Macs, various non-Mac computers
  • MacProCT Level 2 Level 2 (365 points)
    Alley_Cat wrote:
    ....I suspect new Mac Mini might only allow single audio output at a time.


    Correct. This is true for all Macs.

    One alternative would be a toslink splitter. Feed one tap to the tv, the other the receiver.
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (18,780 points)
    MacProCT wrote:
    Alley_Cat wrote:
    ....I suspect new Mac Mini might only allow single audio output at a time.


    Correct. This is true for all Macs.


    It's a shame then given the inclusion of an HDMI port.

    It would probably not be difficult to implement - AppleTv OS is a Tiger variant and outputs audio over HDMI/analogue/optical simultaneously. I guess this could be all done in hardware with the AV chip having a single input signal and processing or passing through to each of three outputs. If it's done in software however, it may be feasible on any Mac.

    One alternative would be a toslink splitter. Feed one tap to the tv, the other the receiver.


    TV has no optical in unfortunately.

    I assume by saying this you're implying you can deliver video over HDMI but audio over toslink through the line out i.e. audio out to non-HDMI destinations is not automatically disabled by an active HDMI connection - that would then allow HDMI video to TV, toslink to AV processor, and analogue audio from AV processor to TV analogue audio in to use when you only need the audio via TV speakers. A small utility/script might be feasible to toggle between the two on the Mini.
  • MacProCT Level 2 Level 2 (365 points)
    Alley_Cat wrote:

    TV has no optical in unfortunately...


    Yeah, I should have thought about that more. I haven't seen any tv with optical audio in. Many of them have optical output, but not input.


    ...I assume by saying this you're implying you can deliver video over HDMI but audio over toslink through the line out i.e. audio out to non-HDMI destinations is not automatically disabled by an active HDMI connection...


    Correct. You choose your audio output in the sound control panel (or Option-click on the sound icon in toolbar).


    ...- that would then allow HDMI video to TV, toslink to AV processor, and analogue audio from AV processor to TV analogue audio in to use when you only need the audio via TV speakers...


    I doubt the TV will take an analog audio in at the same time as HDMI video in. It likely only accepts analog audio on inputs that are also analog for video (component, s-video, composite).


    ...A small utility/script might be feasible to toggle between the two on the Mini...


    Yes, entirely possible.

    Another option would be to do what I do: Disable the TV speakers and use the receiver for all sound. Since TV speakers suck, this is a great option. I haven't used built-in TV speakers for at least 15 years.
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (18,780 points)
    MacProCT wrote:
    Alley_Cat wrote:
    ...I assume by saying this you're implying you can deliver video over HDMI but audio over toslink through the line out i.e. audio out to non-HDMI destinations is not automatically disabled by an active HDMI connection...


    Correct. You choose your audio output in the sound control panel (or Option-click on the sound icon in toolbar).


    That's ideal then really.



    ...- that would then allow HDMI video to TV, toslink to AV processor, and analogue audio from AV processor to TV analogue audio in to use when you only need the audio via TV speakers...


    I doubt the TV will take an analog audio in at the same time as HDMI video in. It likely only accepts analog audio on inputs that are also analog for video (component, s-video, composite).


    You're right, unlilely to be configurable for HDMI, there might be the odd set that allowed something like this but in general most wouldn't.


    ...A small utility/script might be feasible to toggle between the two on the Mini...


    Yes, entirely possible.

    Another option would be to do what I do: Disable the TV speakers and use the receiver for all sound. Since TV speakers suck, this is a great option. I haven't used built-in TV speakers for at least 15 years.


    I generally do that too, just sometimes for late night listening when others are in bed I switch to the TV speakers, but actually it'd be far easier with no TV audio as you'd not run into those instances when both TV and hi-fi are outputting and messing up the audio effect entirely.
  • MacProCT Level 2 Level 2 (365 points)
    Alley_Cat wrote:
    ...sometimes for late night listening when others are in bed I switch to the TV speakers...


    This is one reason I'm glad to have a recent receiver. My Denon AVR has dynamic range compression and it works totally awesome for nighttime listening/viewing.

    The DRC has three levels and I use the "low" mode when my wife is watching a tv show with me. When we watch a movie together, I use "medium" and when she's sleeping I engage "high" so that the sound carries less and the subwoofer is restrained. Works awesome at keeping her happy.

    This feature may not be a reason unto itself to upgrade, but darned close.
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (18,780 points)
    Good thought - my old Yamaha processor has some similar settings buried in it's menus somewhere.

    Another reason for TV sound I forgot to mention is energy consumption - I've always tended to leave my hi-fi separates switched on, in accordance with the old advice or myth that the components can take several hours or more to reach some kind of functional equilibrium, and anecdotal or not, I've always felt hi-fi sounds worse when it's been turned off until it's warmed up.

    Fact is I rarely have time to use my hi-fi these days and I suspect I'm spending a not inconsiderable sum on leaving these devices on.

    I may enjoy stuff via the hi-fi, but much of what gets played is for the kids and that can be annoying enough via TV speakers, let alone through the hi-fi!
  • MacProCT Level 2 Level 2 (365 points)
    Alley_Cat wrote:
    ...in accordance with the old advice or myth that the components can take several hours or more to reach some kind of functional equilibrium, and anecdotal or not, I've always felt hi-fi sounds worse when it's been turned off until it's warmed up...


    Eh, I hear only a slight difference.

    My receiver goes on when the TV goes on, via universal remote macro. It goes off when the TV goes off. Never had ill effects.

    But to each their own.
  • capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)
    I don't have an optical cable that will fit the mini's headphone jack, but I did connect my Bose earphones to it while playing Internet radio and the audio continued to play through the HDMI port and not the earphones. When I selected Headphones as the output device, HDMI audio stopped and the audio played through the earphones.

    From that it would appear that you cannot have audio play simultaneously through both HDMI and optical, although you can use optical for audio with HDMI video. However, from the tech specs on the Apple web site, it's not clear if the optical audio port supports multichannel audio. That may only be available through the HDMI port.
  • MacProCT Level 2 Level 2 (365 points)
    capaho wrote:
    ... From that it would appear that you cannot have audio play simultaneously through both HDMI and optical...


    OSX cannot provide audio through more than one output port at a time. On a Mini, your 4 possible choices are: internal speaker, analog (headphone jack), optical (mini toslink), HDMI.

    While using HDMI, you are not locked into using that interface for your sound output. You can choose any of the other 3 outputs.

    ... However, from the tech specs on the Apple web site, it's not clear if the optical audio port supports multichannel audio. That may only be available through the HDMI port...


    As has been discussed in other threads on this forum, the Mini supports multi-channel digital audio through toslink. The Mini has had this capability for at least 2 years (it's not just a 2010 feature).
  • Ziatron Level 4 Level 4 (3,755 points)
    I suspect new Mac Mini might only allow single audio output at a time.


    True, but WHY are the audio outputs crippled?

    Doesn't seem very consumer friendly to me.
  • MacProCT Level 2 Level 2 (365 points)
    I believe it's a limitation of the operating system, that is a carryover from the past. Historically, very few people have had a need for dual audio outputs on Macs. It's only because the Mini being introduced to entertainment systems that this is changing.

    I suspect that Apple provided simultaneous sound outputs on the AppleTV in order to simplify installation for Joe America, who installs his gear with a beer in one hand and can't be bothered to read the manual.

    Will they modify OSX to allow all Macs to have simultaneous audio outputs? They will likely only consider it if they receive lots of requests for it.

    So go to the Apple feedback page and ask nicely for it.

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macmini.html
  • capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)
    I suspect that Apple provided simultaneous sound outputs on the AppleTV in order to simplify installation for Joe America, who installs his gear with a beer in one hand and can't be bothered to read the manual.


    Considering how glitchy the ATV is, there's no way of knowing if that was by design or just an unintended result when they stripped down OS X Tiger to make the ATV OS.
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (18,780 points)
    capaho wrote:
    I suspect that Apple provided simultaneous sound outputs on the AppleTV in order to simplify installation for Joe America, who installs his gear with a beer in one hand......


    Sounds good to me.....with a beer in my hand.....listening to some old LPs

    Considering how glitchy the ATV is, there's no way of knowing if that was by design or just an unintended result when they stripped down OS X Tiger to make the ATV OS.


    It may of course be a hardware feature and not require much effort on the part of the driver.

    IMO it's one of AppleTV's hidden gems - there's no real downside just added flexibility.
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (18,780 points)
    MacProCT wrote:
    Will they modify OSX to allow all Macs to have simultaneous audio outputs? They will likely only consider it if they receive lots of requests for it.

    So go to the Apple feedback page and ask nicely for it.

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


    Yes, I nearly made that suggestion myself.

    It would be a worthwhile option at the very least.
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