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How do macs do audio?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I thought audio in macs was a standard 16 bit, 48.1 khz stereo affair. But now I've twice read that under OSX macs can supply 32 bit 5.1 channel sound. Granted I read it in non-mac mags, but what's going on?

Do macs support 5.1 channel sound? Do they do it in software? And if so, what's the system resource penalty for doing it this way?
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post #2 of 6
All I know is that some researchers concluded that OSX is the best OS for audio work. Apparently, it has increadibly low latency, even under heavy use.

S'all I know.
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post #3 of 6
BeOS is more responsive, especially on legacy hardware. As quick on an old 6100 as a modern Power Mac feels.
post #4 of 6
Mac OS X is capable of processing audio at 32bit, 96khz, more than enough for DVD authoring (24bit, 96khz). It will do 5.1 aurround, and yes, has very low latency. Very good for audio.
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
So why are people always bitching about consumer audio cards? Is this done by the main processor, or is there some sort of programable chip on the motherboard that OSX has taken better advantage of?

How many simultaneous channels can the mac generate. If it is done primarily in software, what is the performance hit associated with this method.

PS. How would someone go about outputing 5.1 from their mac to their home stereo, or 5.1 speaker system?
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post #6 of 6
Ah, here's the rub.

Mac OS X can HANDLE professional audio, but the hardware needs to be capable too.

Current iMacs, iBooks, TiBooks, and (I think) G4's, only handle 44.1khz, 16bit through the built-in sound on the MOBO.

You have to get an audio card or an audio interface to capture and play back audio at higher sample/bitrates. Currently I know of very few audio cards for audiophiles wanting THX or 5.1 surround output from their computer. Most of the hardware I know of is for producing music/audio.

I think.
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