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Old October 14th, 2006, 05:24 AM   #1
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Macbook Pro 5.1 Surround Monitors

Assume I know nothing about audio!

Could somebody please recommend a cost effective solution for 5.1 surround sound monitors for a Macbook Pro? I plan to do some 5.1 mixing in Logic for two shorts I'm shooting.

The sort of level I'm looking for is the M-Audio LX4 sytem. What would I need to be able to connect the MBP toslink to the M-Audio LX4 speaker system?

Are there any other solution worth considering?

I am not producing for broadcast nor have any pretentions to do so. I just want something one or two steps above the ubiquitous "Creative 5.1" speaker systems.

Any advice will be gratefully received.

TT
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Old October 16th, 2006, 06:32 PM   #2
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Can anyone help?

Much Karma will be had....

TT
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Old October 24th, 2006, 11:23 AM   #3
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Well

I sold myself a dummy by trying to find something to convert Digital IO to analogue 5.1.

What I required was either a USB or Firewire Audio Interface. The market is flooded with 'em so there is lots of choice!

So for anyone else who knows as little about audio hardware as I did just look for an Audio Interface that suits your own connectivity requirements.

I've decided to get one from Focusrite but M-Audio, Edirol, et al make several to suit low end to high end needs.

I'm sure most people reading this thread will already know this info but for any audio noobs like me looking for a portable 5.1 monitoring/mixing solution.

Hope this info helps someone! :)

TT
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Old October 24th, 2006, 02:53 PM   #4
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Tony,

I am not familiar with the MacBook Pro - I have an Intel iMac which has a 3.5mm audio connector that includes an optical digital output. I haven't heard much about how useful this output is. I would think that at least in theory it should be possible to hook it up to a (consumer) audio receiver with a Dolby Ditigal decoder, and then connect the appropriate number of speakers. What I don't know is if editing software such as Logic is able to create the AC3 encoded audio in real-time on the fly such that you hear it with an acceptable latency, especially since I bet the decoding in the receiver adds some more latency by itself.

I have no doubt that you have chosen the technically superior solution; what I still don't know (maybe someone can explain this) is if the optical digital link would even work for this.

May I ask how satisfied you are with the Focusrite interface, and with the M-Audio monitors? (Thinking about getting the same monitors for my iMac.) I am also curious why you chose USB over a FireWire interface; was it mostly cost driven?

Thanks for letting us know about your solution!

- Martin
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Old October 24th, 2006, 04:37 PM   #5
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Martin

My understanding is that Logic cannot produce a realtime AC3 or DTS stream.

By going for an audio interface the 5.1 mix can be heard in realtime with minimal latency. The real reason for going for an audio interface was to be able to use better quality speakers than the de facto Creative/Logitech 5.1 systems. I couldn't find any "monitor" quality digital systems and nobody posted anything in this thread.

I haven't actually purchased the equipment yet. Having just worked what it was that I needed I spoke to a rep at a audio equipment supplier and was recommended the firewire Focusrite Saffire LE. Its claimed it has quieter pre-amps than the M-Audio box.

As for the M-Audio LX4s I've seen them recommended here on these fora and elsewhere. Again they fit my tight audio budget. :) All they need to be is just good enough!

When I put it all together in December I'll put an update on the end of this thread with what I think of the system.

Cheers

TT
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