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How to regain optical audio out on later Mac devices

Let me start off by saying it was a surprise (and not a pleasant one) to have bought a Mac mini 2018 to find out that the surround sound wasn’t working for some reason.

 

The answer was simple - Apple no longer have optical out on any of the newer hardware. None.

 

The last devices that have TOSLINK capability are:

 

MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013) through MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013) through MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)

iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2014) through iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2014)

iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, Late 2015)

iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014) through iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)

Mac Pro (Late 2013) 

Mac mini (Late 2014) 

 

That gave me a dilemma. My Logitek surround system relied solely on the optical audio feed.

 

I wasn’t about to give up so an hour of Googling ensued. After a few blind alleys I hit on a possible answer - HDMI which supports 8-channel/24-bit audio at 192kHz, Dolby Surround 5.1, and traditional stereo.

 

Now I just needed a “hole” to plug the TOSLINK into.

 

Again, there were quite a few - but all with limitations (stereo only etc.)- except one:

 

 

 

https://www.ellies.co.za/product/hdmi-to-hdmi-toslink-audio-extractor/

 

Specifications:

 

https://e-systems.co.za/System/FabSheets/0BPHDAE.pdf

 

The important part is “Supports digital audio format: DTS-HD/Dolby-True HD / LPCM7.1 / AC3 / DTS / DSD.”

 

The device is manufactured in China which Ellies brand as there own.

I’m trying to discover the true manufacturer and I’ll post an update when I do.

 

The price? R800 ($55) locally. I’m convinced this price has been loaded.

Tags: optical, toslink, mac, S/PDIF, digital audio

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