Contribute
Register

How to enable 5.1-channel analogue audio in OS X

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Messages
2,862
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H
CPU
i7-3770K @4.2-4.4GHz
Graphics
GTX 660 Ti
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
surround_sound.pngBack in 2010, I put together a small guide as to how to enable 5.1-channel audio in OS X and it's high time to update it. As such, we did a screencast this time that provides a better overview as to what steps you have to take to get multi-channel analogue audio out of your CustoMac. There are a few pre-requisites though which will go over quickly to start with.

For starters you need to have working audio and in this case we're talking multiple outputs. It's possible to create less and potentially more than 6-channels of audio, it simply depends on how many outputs OS X detects. One way would be to use multiple USB audio interfaces, but this is something we haven't actually tested. Generally speaking, if you have onboard Realtek audio, you should be able to get this working quite easily. Secondly, system sounds will continue to be in stereo, but multi-channel encoded audio in say a movie will work as intended.

Head over the Utilities folder and start the Audio Midi Setup utility, as this is what will allow you to set things up. As you can see in the video below, the next step is to click on the plus [+] sign and select Create Aggregate Device. This will add a new audio device and we re-named it 5.1-channel audio to reflect what it does.

The next step is to select all the outputs available, or at least enough outputs to create the desired amount of audio channels. In this case we selected three output devices. The selected devices should appear if you click the small triangle next to the large blue plus sign and this means that we're ready for the next step.

[video=youtube;po-_c7eHrkg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po-_c7eHrkg[/video]​

Click on the Configure Speakers… button and a new menu will appear. Click on Multichannel and select 5.1 Surround from the dropdown menu (as you can see, other options are also available here). Finally you need to select the three Stream devices at the top, as each stream is assigned to a specific speaker. You can manually adjust which stream goes to which speaker, something that might be handy for example if the sub and centre speakers are reversed. Click apply and then Done and you're almost set to go.

The final step is to Control/right click on the aggregated device and select Use this device for sound output and Play alerts and sound effects through this device. This means that you don't have to muck around and swap between the stereo output for non-surround sound audio sources and all the system sounds will play through your front speakers. The only thing you lose this way is software volume control, but usually you'd have some kind of volume control on your speakers anyhow.

As pointed out in the original guide, for those of you that want to use the S/PDIF out, select it as the output device in the Sound settings in System Preferences, play back some audio and it should start working. Hopefully you've found this updated version of my multi-channel audio guide useful. Any feedback is welcome in the comments below, especially if you spot any mistakes.

Related:
Universal 5.1-channel analogue audio
 

Attachments

  • surround_sound.png
    surround_sound.png
    125.3 KB · Views: 6,429
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Jun 18, 2012
Messages
1
Motherboard
Rampage II Extreme
CPU
Core i7 920 @ 3.9GHz
Graphics
Sapphire HD 5850
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
  2. Other
it is a nice tutorial but missing 1 step, you must setting volume to max all satellite speaker except front left & right , default is 50%
 
Joined
May 2, 2012
Messages
59
Motherboard
DC3217IYE
CPU
i3-3217U
Graphics
Intel HD4000
Article: How to enable 5.1-channel analogue audio in OS X

Sadly it is not working for me. I can hear all speakers in the config pane of the 'united 5.1 device' and they are all assigned correct. But if i try the output i have only stereo sound. (i have 1x internal speakers and 2x line out similar to the video / using ALC888 with ALC888 v100202 Legacy & OSX 10.8)
The hint from fusionist gives no better result for me.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Messages
2,862
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H
CPU
i7-3770K @4.2-4.4GHz
Graphics
GTX 660 Ti
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Article: How to enable 5.1-channel analogue audio in OS X

it is a nice tutorial but missing 1 step, you must setting volume to max all satellite speaker except front left & right , default is 50%

I think that depends on your speakers, as I get the same volume level on all three outputs.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Messages
2,862
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H
CPU
i7-3770K @4.2-4.4GHz
Graphics
GTX 660 Ti
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Article: How to enable 5.1-channel analogue audio in OS X

Sadly it is not working for me. I can hear all speakers in the config pane of the 'united 5.1 device' and they are all assigned correct. But if i try the output i have only stereo sound. (i have 1x internal speakers and 2x line out similar to the video / using ALC888 with ALC888 v100202 Legacy & OSX 10.8)
The hint from fusionist gives no better result for me.

It ONLY works with 5.1-channel encoded audio, it doesn't work with system audio or regular music. Try using VLC and some 5.1-channel encoded audio and you'll see that it works just fine.
I've edited the guide to reflect this.
 
Joined
Apr 6, 2012
Messages
55
Motherboard
see signature
CPU
see signature
Graphics
see signature
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Messages
2,862
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H
CPU
i7-3770K @4.2-4.4GHz
Graphics
GTX 660 Ti
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Article: How to enable 5.1-channel analogue audio in OS X

When choosing the created device in Sys Prefs -> Sound I can't controll its volume etc., seems like sound without audio patch.
My audio driver setup matches the MultiBeast settings from http://legacy.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=81&t=59052 => Non-DSDT HDAEnabler/ALC887/888b & the patched HDAEnabler888b.kext from http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=63854. May this cause the problems? My regular audio works flawless.

As mentioned "The only thing you lose this way is software volume control, but usually you'd have some kind of volume control on your speakers anyhow."
It's an OS limitation and not something we can fix.
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
20
Motherboard
P8z68v-pro-g3
CPU
i2600k
Graphics
asus hd 6870
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Yep, play a 5.1 movie with VLC and bingo!!
Volume control via keyboard "command + up down arrow keys" works fine

thanks
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top