Basic Sound Output Questions

  • Hey All.

    Bit of a noob here and finding the whole Sound Output thing a little confusing...

    I want to send out multiple (4 or more) channels of independent sound to various speakers around a room, what's the best (least expensive) way to do this?
    I have been trying to do this with a Yamaha surround amp ; thinking that at some point I would just identify the sound channels as front, back, center and sub.... and have my independent channels.
    I don't think this is going to work.

    Thanks for your time.

  • Izzy Guru

    Do you have a multiple output sound card?

  • Great question... lol.
    I'll have to check....

    On my MacPro I only have the built-in; headphone / line out / Optical digital audio output.

    I guess that's a needed audio upgrade?

    Thanks for your time.

  • Izzy Guru

    Optical digital audio output generally can support 5.1 (surround sound) but you need a box; an external soundcard to split the digital output into physical Jack/XLR, etc. 

    I haven't got the time right this second to search google for you to find an example but someone on here may post a link for you.
    Hope this helps for now.

  • It very much helps... thanks.
    Now that I know - to the google I go...

  • I've always been fond of MOTU (Mark of the Unicorn) products, since I am a composer and need a high quality sound input/output device. But while their products are high quality, they are not the cheapest options. (Their Audio Express might be right for you - 2 inputs and 4 outputs at US$395.)

    If you only need four channels, then you might go with something like the M-Audio [M-Track Quad]( - about US$250 in the US. M-Audio has been around for a long time and makes quality gear.
    I also found the the [Scarlett 2i4]( -- again 2 inputs and 4 outputs, but for about $200\. They also have something called the [8i6]( that runs about about $250. (I don't know the company at all, so do your research on this one.)
    This [list]( might provide some things to choose from.
    Well, hopefully that will get you going.
    Best Wishes,

  • Avid makes MBox - very high quality pre-amps with good, clean sound:

  • i have an Edirol FA-101. made by Roland. it has 10 channels of in and out and is much easier to use than the M-Audio interfaces i have owned before.

  • been using Presonus Firebox (firewire to keep usb free)

  • Thanks for all the feedback and links.

    But I am still a bit confused...
    I see most of these units have a 1/4 phono out. Once I connect the Edirol FA-101 (for example) to my puter, do I run 1/4" cable to every corner I want sound and plug that cable into an amp with speakers attached?

    Thanks Kindly.

  • Yes, the 1/4" outputs are each standard mono analogue signals.  You could run them all into a standard mixing board, or directly into an amp, or run long 1/4" cables and use 4 powered speakers.  Be aware though that some non-powered pro audio speakers also have 1/4" jacks for input.  You cannot plug directly from the Edirol into the speaker, as the former is a "line level" (un-amplified) signal and the latter is a "speaker level" (amplified) signal.

    You might also be able to use your Yamaha home stereo amp.  Look on the back and see if there are inputs labelled "direct to amp" or something like that.  There should be 4 or 5 inputs (as opposed to the usual stereo pair) labelled as front left, front right, surround left, etc.  In this scenario you cannot use the surround sound decoder on your amp, since the Edirol (or any of the others mentioned) do not send out surround encoded sound.
    I know it's all a bit confusing, but I hope this is a sufficient explanation.

  • Thanks Craig... my thick head is starting to understand  :)