Computer->Toslink->Receiver Issue

Discussion in 'Beginners and Audiophytes' started by fuzz092888, May 29, 2012.

  1. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    3,838
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    So I got my macbook pro here my Onkyo 3009 over there and my new toslink cable with adapter and, darn it, if the sound just doesn't want to travel from the computer to the receiver. So far I've gone into the onkyo menu and changed the digital input on the PC tab (the pre-set I plan to use for........well......my PC) so that it is supposed to be receiving digital input from the corresponding optical port that I plugged the new toslink cable into in the back. Turn music on, cue receiver, and I got nothing. I currently use toslink in the other optical port for my TV so I turned the TV on and got it going so I could hear sound, unplugged the TV optical and replaced it with the computer optical. Still nothing. Lugged my old logitech Z-5500 system out from the storage room and plugged it in and reconnected the control module with no speakers. Plugged the new toslink into the control module and voila the subwoofer springs to life. So now I know the receiver works. I know the toslink cable works and is delivering audio through it. I have no idea why it wouldn't be delivering audio to the receiver.

    Any ideas? I hate to think that A) I bought this cable and adapter for nothing and B) I'll have to go with plan B and that involves spending more money. No me gusta. Help please.
  2. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    32,016
    Likes Received:
    11,845
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    Hi. Have you checked the Sound panel in your System Preferences? Make sure that it shows the optical output and that it isn't muted with a checkbox.
    Adam,
  3. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    3,838
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    Yup, everything should work, I did the old switcheroo after I had setup everything for the PC tab on the receiver I popped in the optical cable for the TV and there was perfect sound. Then I put some music on, on the computer and swapped cables and no sound. Then swapped the computer toslink to the Z-5500 and there was sound.

    Very confusing. The only idea I have is that the cable is too long perhaps? I definitely see that the tip of the TV cable glows a lot brighter than the super long one I now have for the computer.
  4. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    32,016
    Likes Received:
    11,845
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    I imagine that you're now connecting the shorter TV cable to the MB to test that theory, right? :)

    If that doesn't work, Google "macbook pro no sound from optical." I didn't read enough to find a sure solution, but there are a number of people with an issue. Seems to have happened after software updates last year-ish.
    Adam,
    • Like Like x 1
  5. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    3,838
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    No no, I should've been clearer. Ok, so here goes again. There is definitely sound coming from the macbook. All the switching was done only with the ends of the respective cables that would be plugged into the receiver. So the one end of the TV toslink never left the TV and one end of the MB toslink never left the macbook.

    So let me try again. I plugged the new toslink into the MB and then into the receiver. I set up the receiver so that it was supposed to be receiving audio from optical 1 (where the new toslink was plugged into). So I hit play in iTunes and the receiver should have been receiving music but I got nothing. So to test the new toslink and to see if the MB was delivering audio I unplugged the new toslink from the receiver and plugged it into the Z-5500 and never touched the MB and as soon as I plugged the new toslink into the Z-5500 there was instant sound. So I knew the MB was delivering audio.

    My next step was to see if optical port 1 was busted. In order to do this I took the TV toslink out of optical 2 and plugged it into optical 1 while the tv was on. Now there was sound coming into the receiver and everything was working great even though the receiver was set to PC and not TV.

    I hope that makes more sense.
  6. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    32,016
    Likes Received:
    11,845
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    Ahhh, sorry for my confusion. Let me see if I've got this now. Your MB is outputting digital audio over optical (verified by using the Z-5500), and your Onkyo is set up correctly to use the optical input for the PC source selection and it works (verified by using the TV). Correct?

    If so, it seems like an issue with the format being output by the MB compared to what the Onkyo can interpret. You can check the format in the MB's "Audio MIDI Setup" panel (and maybe other places).

    EDIT: Either that or, and as you mentioned, the signal is too weak for the Onkyo. That's what I meant by hooking the MB up to the TV's cable, because I'm assuming that it's shorter - and you might be able to verify if it's the cable length causing the issue.
    Adam,
    • Like Like x 1
  7. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    3,838
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    So I tested out the shorter cable, then immediately afterwards a surge struck and down went the laptop. Anyways alls well that end well with the MB and it survived. The good news is the problem is solved, the bad news is I don't know what to do meow.

    The cable length is the issue, the signal strength coming from the MB just isn't strong enough for the onk. Soooooooo, now what? Headphone DAC? Booster?

    Interestingly enough the TV seems to deliver plenty strong enough signal through the long toslink.
  8. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    12,104
    Likes Received:
    4,876
    Location:
    Benedict MN
    I think you have a poor quality cable. A good optical cable should be far less affected by distance than wire.
  9. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    32,016
    Likes Received:
    11,845
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    I was thinking that, too. Which cable did you get?

    Also...and not to be patronizing, but it happens...did you take the plastic dust caps off of both ends?
    Adam,
  10. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    3,838
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    I disagree, only because I swapped cables. New toslink to TV and then to the Onkyo and it works perfectly. Soooo I'm assuming that means theres something wrong with the headphone port on the MB?

    I got this one. Hahahaha yes I took the end caps off :p:eek:

    I'm thinking it has to be a weak optical out on the MB since I've now tested the cable and it works just fine when connected to the TV.
  11. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    12,104
    Likes Received:
    4,876
    Location:
    Benedict MN
    Your cable is a 100 ft plastic one. Apple devices will only transmit 15 ft with a plastic Toslink cable, and 26 ft with a Quartz glass cable. A Quartz cable will set you back about $200 for a 26 ft length.

    A lot of other devices will just about make 100 ft with a plastic cable.

    So you will need a Toslink booster.

    That is what I found out from my researches.

    Toslink is the lowest form of life among optical cables. It is Toshiba junk.

    That is why the new AES 42 optical cabling standard has been developed.

    Any decent optical cabling system should be able to run up to 25 miles.
  12. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    3,838
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    My only issue with that is it transmits audio just fine, but to a different output device. When I use that same cable with the same macbook I get audio to my dinky old logitech Z-5500 system. From what you're saying this shouldn't be possible. Any ideas?
  13. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    12,104
    Likes Received:
    4,876
    Location:
    Benedict MN
    I suppose the sensitivity of the receiver device is also an issue.

    However it seems Apple devices only reliably transmit 15 ft through a plastic optical cable.

    I only have one Toslink cable in my whole system and its fairly short. When I looked into this I see problems like yours are common.

    I guess that is why Tolsink came in for such harsh criticism at our last AES meeting.
  14. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    3,838
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    The other thing is, as stated above, the cable works fine when connected to the TV and then to the Onkyo.

    So if it works fine from macbook to logitech and from TV to onkyo, I just can't come up with any reason why it isn't working from Macbook to Onkyo. The problem doesn't seem to be the cable at all.

    From what I can see and my experiments the problems lies somewhere in the Macbook~Onkyo interaction, not the cable itself.

    I could be way off, but based on my experiments it seems like the logical decision.
  15. MDS Audioholic Spartan

    MDS
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    6,691
    Likes Received:
    863
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    What sampling frequency and bit depth is the Macbook using? If it is like Windows 7 and is by default set to upsample everything to 24 bit/48 kHz that could be the problem. Change it to 16/44.1.
    MDS,
  16. jonnythan Audioholic Ninja

    jonnythan
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,105
    Likes Received:
    448
    You're using a cheap 100' fiber optic cable and it hasn't occurred to you to try a different, shorter cable? Come on man! :)
  17. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    3,838
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    Played around with sampling rates and that didn't seem to work.

    A shorter cable wouldn't do me any good when the receiver is way over yonder and I'm way over here ;). Plus the cheap cable works with everything else and even works with the macbook to certain outputs. Everyone hatin on my cable :p but it just it doesn't seem to be the whole problem here :roll eyes:

    I currently have a toslink running from my TV to the receiver and it's much shorter (6ft?) and that worked fine. Although I'm still not ready to completely blame the cable when it seems to work with the when I connect the TV and receiver and then with the macbook and the logitech.
  18. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    32,016
    Likes Received:
    11,845
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    I think that you should just buy another MB to place closer to the Onkyo. :D
    Adam,
  19. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,846
    Likes Received:
    3,838
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    Thank you for moving me in the completely opposite direction of trying to save money :D

    Believe me, if only.........
  20. jonnythan Audioholic Ninja

    jonnythan
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,105
    Likes Received:
    448
    When troubleshooting why something doesn't work, the cable is usually the first thing I try to elminate as a suspect.

    You're using a laptop. Bring the laptop over to the receiver, use a shorter cable, and see if it works. If it does.. bingo. Your 100' $25 optical cable is the culprit.

    The fact that other things work with the cable is completely irrelevant. Every diode and processor is going to have a different minimum functional level.

Share This Page

  • rbhsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • Emotiva.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
  • CEDIA