6 Replies Latest reply: May 16, 2013 1:20 PM by Medickep
huces01 Level 1 (0 points)

I have plugged my mac to my 5.1  bose sound system but only the two left and right speakers are working, how can i get 5.1 sound

MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 (30,000 points)

    Are these speakers that connect to your Mac? If so, go to Audio Midi Setup (in Applications>Utilities) and use it to configure your speakers.


    If you're playing through a reciever, you might need a different setup.



  • wjosten Level 10 (94,210 points)

    Read here:



    (*Check first to see if your Mac is capable of outputting surround sound through the Mini Displayport. Most models before early 2009 are not able to output multi-channel audio)




    - Use a Mini Display Port to HDMI cable and connect the HDMI into the Blu-Ray/DVD HDMI input on the receiver and the Mini Display to the Mini Display Port on your Mac.

    - Go to System Preferences on your Mac. Click on the "Sound" icon. Then in the "Output" tab, select SONYAVAMP - HDMI

    - Then go into Applications > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup. On the left side of the window select HDMI. On the right side it then should say "Source: SONY AVAMP"

    - Click the "Configure Speakers..." button in the bottom right of the window. Click the "Multichannel" tab. Then select "5.1 Surround" from the pull down menu. Click on each speaker to provide a test tone to make sure each is connect properly. Then click on "Apply"

    - Last set is to go into the DVD Player to test it. Go to "Preferences" and click on the "Disc Setup" tab. Under Audio at the bottom of the window select "Digital Out - SONY AVAMP" from the drop down menu for "Audio output" *You now have 5.1 Channel Surround Sound from you Mac!


    Courtesy parker612


    Where it says 'Sony AVAMP", plugin your speaker system name.

  • ds store Level 7 (30,325 points)

    Mac's stereo mini port doubles as a Toslink stereo port, all you need is a standard Toslink cable and a Toslink to Toslink stereo adapter.


    There is a optical port on the back of your Bose 5.1 system, connect to that.


    In fact if you get a Airport Express, you can use iTunes to wirelessly stream to the Airport Express, then it will send the optical to the Bose system.


    Audio content has to be recorded in 5.1 surround sound in order to be played back in surround sound, and  there are different competing formats. The better receivers have all of them, yours appears to only do DTS, but this proprietary named thing they go might be decoding the popular Dolby standard as well




    http://www.crutchfield.com/S-FlJ73PueXKj/learn/learningcenter/home/hometheater_s urround_chart.html


    The Mac just passes 5.1 through, it does no processing of the surround sound format.


    The thing about iTunes music content is it's recorded in stereo (2 channel) however if you output via the optical port, the quality of the signal is better and sometimes the receiver will or can do enhancements like outputting the sound to 4 speakers and bass tones to the subwoofer instead of just 2 channel stereo , this allows the entire room to be filled with music and gives a much richer expereince.


    For 5.1 on DVD's/movies, you first have to have it and enable it in the movies menu, then the standard used has to match what your receiver is capable of decoding.


    There is software from Rogue Amoeba that will output any sound the Mac makes via the Airport Express and thus to your 5.1 system


    You really should not use the Superdrive much at all, especially for high use DVD playback. If you ever seen the insides of a Sueprdrive and how it's just thin plastic parts, you would understand it's not built to last under a lot of strain.


    IMO you should use a PS3, BlueRay or DVD player to play back DVD movies, this way it's cheaper to replace than a Mac's Superdrive.

  • Medickep Level 1 (10 points)

    In order to get 5.1 surround sound out of your Macbook Pro, you need to use a toslink cable, which plugs into the headphone jack of your Mac.  I have a HDMI port on my Retina dispal Macbook Pro and it only transmits digital stereo.  The same is true with the Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter. 


    So to get surround sound you must use a Toslink cable and connect the fiber optic end to your reciever.


    Hope this helps!

  • wclifton1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This response is pasted in every forum and is not helpful. Please stop. HDMI is only outputting stereo from applications like iTunes but the receiver sees it as 5.1 with only L/R signals. All other channels (including subwoofer) are being told to specifically play nothing. Use the optical toslink if you want your receiver to do nice things with stereo itunes audio files, including but not limited to using the subwoofer or enocding Dolby PLII.

  • Medickep Level 1 (10 points)

    I was able to finally get this to work only using a HDMI cable on my retina display. Nothing was automatic! I had to select HDMI for the sound in settings and than as well as select HDMI in the audio settings for VLC player. QuickTime has similar settings near the screen size settings when 5.1 is available. Note that on videos "acquired" 5.1 is typically dropped to keep file size at a minimum!