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I have a mac mini 2011 with OSX Lion. And I have connected my monitor (with integrated speakers) through hdmi port. The sound is working fine, but the volume keys on the keyboard don't work. When I press one of them the volume image appears on the screen but with a prohibited signal.

Is there a way to fix this and make my keyboard keys change the system volume?

By the way, they work very well when I use another audio output device

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Why in windows it is possible? –  user20071 Mar 13 '12 at 15:36
Even more - what if I want to control the volume remotely from the web? –  Cawas Aug 7 '12 at 17:15
Because Microsoft sees things differently, and dislike industry standard. LOL. Anyway, Apple's way of not letting people adjust the volume is correct, though not user-friendly. Basically you can think HDMI as DVI + Optical + sometimes Ethernet. –  Shane Hsu Apr 6 '13 at 18:48

4 Answers 4

The audio signal over HDMI is encoded. Encoded audio streams should be normalized to 0 dB. You cannot change this behavior as the audio signal would not be normalized anymore. You can only use the volume controls of your TV set.

Some programs (like iTunes) have volume control themselves, those can be used to change the volume of that specific program. (Although this goes somewhat against the principle that HDMI audio should be normalized.)

See also this discussion on Apple Support Communities (same answer).

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So would this explanation be similar to analog signals where line out is expected to be an absolute signal where the headphone jacks increase and decrease volume by design and not necessarily be fit to the "line level" constraints? –  bmike Mar 13 '12 at 15:40
While this is a nice excuse, it's a bad answer because we still can't control it and it's a pain being unable to. –  Cawas Aug 7 '12 at 16:29
Exactly @cawas. Windows, BTW, can control HDMI audio perfectly using the keyboard volume keys - when a monitor is the selected audio device, the volume controls the internal amp. –  mikemaccana Oct 31 '14 at 12:46

See a solution here for the problem - http://www.vanetta.net/2012/07/enabling-hdmi-audio-controls-on-2011.html

Requires the free third party app - https://code.google.com/p/soundflower/ but it works perfectly.

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FYI, latest compiled binary is at rogueamoeba.com/freebies/soundflower –  kobaltz Oct 24 '14 at 12:51

A solution using the free version of Sound Siphon

To solve both of these issues: Launch the Sound Siphon app. In Sound Siphon’s preferences select your output device as the pass through device. Turn Sound Siphon on.

Sound Siphon processes the audio before it goes to your output device. Now you can use your keyboard to control the volume"


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Soundflower produces audio lag though so it's not a really good alternative since every 5 minutes you feel like you're watching a dubbed movie.

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Why downvote? Not true? –  yusf Sep 10 '13 at 15:08
Downvote was probably because this is not an answer... It should be posted as a comment to the actual answer. –  Cawas Nov 5 '14 at 21:55

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