Does Mac OS X support running digital signals to multichannel audio systems beyond 2.1 sound systems via optical audio outputs. Eg 5.1 surround sound, 7.1, etc speaker systems?

I have found a guide from 2008 for setting up some stuff, but it looks like it requires set up first in Audio MIDI setup???. Configuring 5.1 Surround Output in Mac OS X. Is this how it is still done on Lion?

2 Answers 2


The optical output (Mini TosLink) does support multi-channel sound, up to I think 7:1 - but the standard 2.5mm doesn't.


Re: surround sound

Jan 30, 2012 2:49 PM (in response to parker612)

I was able to fix this problem, my speakers are connected to my pioneer receiver and I used it to create surround sound. iMac has toslink output which is connected to my receiver. iMac however gives only 2 channels and doesn't have option for surround sound on every track. It will not create surround sound from mp3 songs like some sound cards can. However if I play dvd that has surround sound then iMac will output 5 channels.

Thanks for the reply.

Edit: second post down here explains it.


In Lion, and previously in Snow Leopard and earlier, it has always worked for me simply by using a TOS-Link cable and the 3.5 mm jack adapter. Just plugged it in, optical out will automatically be enabled.

However, some video players will have to be configured to send the digital signal instead of some downsampled 2.x signal.

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