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MSM126 Level 1 Level 1

What are the known issues with HDMI audio with Lion and the new Mac minis?


I'm in the process of swapping out an older Mac mini that was connected to my home theater (Pioneer SC-05 reciever, Pioneer TV), with a new 2011 i5 Mac mini.  The old Mac required use of a minidisplay port to HDMI adapter, and a toslink adapter to get audio to receiver through an optical cable.  Previous setup was working fine, but with the new 2011 Mac mini swapped in with the direct HDMI connection to the Pioneer SC-05 receiver, I'm not getting 5.1 audio.  The video is fine and is being passed through to the TV, but the receiver is only doing dolby prologic audio, even though the movies are Dolby Digital 5.1.


I'm using Plex .934 on the Mac.  Audio on the Mac is set to HDMI.  Plex is set to Dolby (AC3) digital capable receiver, etc.

  • MSM126 Level 1 Level 1

    Update: I spent quite a bit of time with AppleCare today.  Did an SMC reset, and tried a few other changes to resolve the issue; none of which worked.  I'm waiting to hear back from next level of support.


    Can anyone confirm that they are successfully getting Dolby Digital 5.1 audio out through HDMI on a 2011 Mac mini?

  • MSM126 Level 1 Level 1

    I've yet to find anyone here or in other forums that is successfully getting pass through of multichannel audio (AC3 dolby digital and/or DTS) out of the HDMI port on 2011 Mac mini.


    My AppleCare case was escalated to the next level of support, and I spent some time with them trying to get audio to work using Audio MIDI Setup and some other steps.  None worked.


    Please reply if you're successfully getting pass through of multichannel audio with your 2011 Mini.

  • Fouad Abbasi Level 1 Level 1

    I am interested to find this out too

  • woodmeister50 Level 5 Level 5
    Servers Enterprise

    Try setting in Audio Midi Setup under the HDMI

    selection, set audio to 2 channel, 24 bit.  Do not

    set to one of the multichannel modes.  Dolby and DTS

    are "encoded" streams and not independent channels.


    When you set to multichannel in Midi Setup, the source

    is expected to be multichannel PCM.  Encoded signals

    will not pass in this case.

  • Ziatron Level 4 Level 4
    I'm not getting 5.1 audio.  The video is fine


    As a test (to eliminate some of the unknowns) try to play a DVD movie.


    If you get audio with a standard DVD, we can look at software issues.

  • MSM126 Level 1 Level 1

    Ziatron, I assume you're referring to playing from a DVD through the receiver to test audio?  If so, the receiver properly handles Dolby Digital, DTS, TruHD, etc all fine through the bluray player, and Dolby Digital fine from Directv.


    Woodmeister, Apple support took me through all of the Audio Midi setup questions, and it is set correctly.


    Thank you both for the suggestions.

  • Fouad Abbasi Level 1 Level 1

    I just setup the Mac mini to multichannel 8bit not sure as to what kHz just took the lowest.

    Under 8 channel I was getting to choose option as to what speaker setup I have.

    I selected 5.1 and tested the speakers one at a time. The Mac sends test signal to each speakers and it passes!

    Any comments? Suggestions?

  • MSM126 Level 1 Level 1

    Woodmeister50, setting Audio Midi Setup to 2 Channel, 24 bit just results in a 2 channel stereo at the receiver -- at least in my case and according to what I was told by Apple Support.


    I've spent a couple of weeks on this with Apple support (Case 239621624), and after multiple escalations of the issue up to engineering, the answer I received is that what I want to do is not supported by Apple software.  Here's a summary of what I want to do:

    • Connect my 2011 i5 Mac mini through HDMI to my Pioneer SC-05 stereo receiver
    • Have the Dolby Digital and DTS audio processed / managed by my the receiver


    Apple's recommendation:

    • Use Audio Midi Setup to set audio to 8 channel, 24 bit
    • Click configure speakers option in Audio Midi Setup, and set to 5.1 audio


    The Apple recommendation works fine with Quicktime, VLC, DVD playback.  Unfortunately, it does not work with Plex as simply launching Plex causes the audio settings to immediately default back to 2 channel stereo.

  • MSM126 Level 1 Level 1

    Confirmed today with both of the new i5 Mac mini's that even the toslink setup that used to work with the 2007 mini, no longer works to get encoded Dolby Digital / DTS signal to the receiver.  In other words, I reverted back to the same setup I had with the 2007 Mac mini:

    • Video through HDMI
    • Audio through toslink to optical adapter to the stereo receiver


    The toslink connection now results in the same behavior as HDMI -- only way I can get multichannel audio to the receiver is to set Audio Midi Setup to 8 channel, 24 bit with speaker configuration set to 5.1.  As with HDMI audio, this works fine for VLC, Quicktime and DVD player; but as soon as Plex is launch audio settings revert back to 2 channel stereo.


    It seems like multichannel audio out is #$%Q with OS X Lion and at least the mini's I'm working with.  The 2007 mini running Snow Leopard continues to work flawlessly.  Hopefully a software update or 3rd party tool will fix this.


    BTW, Apple did suggest I try Perian and Soundflower ... neither worked for my setups.

  • woodmeister50 Level 5 Level 5
    Servers Enterprise

    Lion is not the issue, it is the new 2011 Mac Minis that are the issue.


    I am running just fine with Lion 10.7.1 on my 2010 MacMini.

    I get Dolby and DTS passed through to my receiver from

    all app sources (iTunes,PLEX,XBMC,VLC) without the use of

    any third party software.  All the audio is send over HDMI

    with video to my receiver.


    I'm not defending Lion, as I had my issues with it which

    have been solved, but that the new Mini's weren't ready for

    prime time.

  • remkofromnl Level 1 Level 1

    Hi All, I have the new 2011 macmini to replace the 2010 version. I had issues with HDMI sound as well, but it turns out the issue lies in having AND the HDMI cable in AND a toslink/headphones cable.

    In the 2010 version you could select the Sound output to go via HDMI or Analog.

    In the 2011 version (if you have plugged-in a cable in the headphones) the HDMI sound output is impossible to choose. It is only selectable when you have unplugged the headphones cable. So what is the use of the Output settings if you cannot select anything if you have more than 1 output.....


    The guy form AppleCare told me this is a firmware bug that 'should' be solved.....


    When I unplug the headphones and start a movie in Movist, I have DTS and DD. With VLC it does not work, but that has to do with the upgrade to Lion (see the VLC forum).


    I assume the firmware upgrade will come soon otherwise I will be VERY dissapointed in Apple quality this time and will certainly stop buying new Apple gadgets when they come out. As this was the reason why I switched from Microsoft to Apple......

  • woodmeister50 Level 5 Level 5
    Servers Enterprise

    remkofromnl, this sounds very familiar.  I do recall, even

    with my 2010 Mini, earlier this year trying to debug some

    audio issues, I had found that if you plug in an optical

    cable, it "overrides" the HDMI, at least on my Mini.

    Seems some similar firmware/software carried over

    to the new Mini.

  • Lexiepex Level 6 Level 6
    Mac OS X

    Although "roaringapps" says that Plex 9 is Lion compatible, there are audio problems discussed in the Plex Forum, especially the 2 channel/8channel thing. I have seen rather complicated workarounds with kextinstallers and pacifist. Too complicatef for me.

  • remkofromnl Level 1 Level 1

    Do you know how to fix this myself? I saw there are applications like Soundflower and JackOSX that can take care of audio outputing.

    Is this a way to overrule Apple's firmware/software? Any experience with this?


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