Hey guys I just wanted to know how i would connect my 5.1 speakers to my iMac since it only has an audio jack, and my speakers have 3 leads. I normally plug these 3 into the back of my 7.1 motherboard on my PC, but since the imac only has 1 audio jack i was wondering if i need some sort of external converter, e.g the THX external sound card. Problem is that i dont really want to be spending more than £30 on this, will this affect sound quality? and what are good models to go for? THanks!
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I believe some of the audio jacks on Macs have optical out in the same port as the 1/8 in stereo plug. I've never tried it myself. The optical out lets you get 5.1 out but using a stereo jack only gets you stereo out.
The optical out only supports surround sound for audio tracks that have embedded digital surround. It works great.
I use a mini TOSLINK adapter ($2.99) and it works great. You will need an app such as Soundgarden to control the volume/dither if you use optical. For a little more money you can buy a TOSLINK cable with a mini end for use with Mac's.