Hey there I am looking for some help on how to get my surround sound speakers working on my computer.

The surround sound system uses 4x 3.5 mm headphone jacks. (it looks something like this: enter image description here

(with the USB being used for power only)

What I am trying to do is run those through a receiver or converter so that I can convert them to a single toslink SPDIF optical cable that I can run into the back of my iMac.

I have found this device which can do it for 5.1 one, but have been unable to find a similar device for 7.1: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Optical-SPDIF-Coaxial-Dolby-AC3-DTS-Digital-to-5-1-2-1-CH-Analog-Audio-Decoder-/261103761583

Sony also makes a receiver that I think should be able to do it in theory (http://store.sony.ca/7.2channel-4k-wifi-network-a-v-receiver-zid31-STRDN1040/cat-31-catid-All-Receivers-Speakers-and-Stereo-Components), however it does not have 3.5mm headphone jacks in the back, rather the large analogue audio inputs. Is there some sort of adapter that I can use with this device?

I currently am using the Diamond Xtreme 7.1 USB sound card, however, it has been having severe driver problems since the release of Mavericks and has never had the greatest sound to begin with. Which is why I am looking at these alternative options that can run directly into the audio port rather than depending on USB audio drivers which may or may not work very well.

Any other advice would be very welcome, I have been googling for hours trying to figure this out but I am more than likely just googling the wrong thing.

  • Are you saying that the Diamond box you have now does do what you want, it's just having unrelated issues?
    – JoshP
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


You cannot run SPDIF cables on an iMac , simply because SPDIF use RCA connectors .. Your data will get scrambled if you use an adapter on it. If you want to use 7.1 your iMac. The only way you can do it is with a significant quality AD/DA Convertor (Sound Card), which works a primary sound card for your iMac.

Your iMac will generate outputs only based on what hardware its connected to or what drivers are installed on your system.![enter image description here] You can preview your devices in the AuDIO MIDI SETUP shown in the images below.

enter image description here

Secondy you can add devices and change speaker configuration accordingly.

enter image description here

  • Thanks, ya that is what I am doing and have been doing, however, the problem is that there aren't many sound cards out there for mac and the one that I have hasn't updated it's drivers in years. On Mavericks those drives crashes often. I can only listen to audio for 15-20min with it before it crashes the driver and I have to reboot the computer If I want further use. (plus the sound quality kind of sucks) I did find this other Asus one that claims Apple support but I have a feeling it won't be any better: amazon.ca/gp/product/B00CP53ML2/…
    – rcooper102
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 16:37
  • there are a ton of sound cards EXT. Sound cards you can buy which are compatible with mac (Some even exclusively made for mac). these are MBOX, Focusrite Sapphire/Scarlett, M-Audio, Native instruments. These are some company and brands alike. Check them out you'll find what you need there. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 9:28

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