Categories Mac OS X

Adjust the sound quality of your speakers under MacOS X


In the same way as for Windows, you need to set up your sound card to make the most of the possibilities offered by your installation, i.e. the speakers built into your iMac/MacBook or an externally connected 5.1 system for example.

Start by opening Audio and MIDI configuration via Spotlight.

Default use case: built-in stereo speakers

In the left column, click on Integrated output. In the right column, use both drop-down lists at format level to define the maximum sound quality i.e. 96,000 hz, 2 channels, 24 bits.

Capture d'écran - Configuration audio et MIDI sous MacOS X
Screenshot of screen — Audio and MIDI setup on MacOS X

You can also set the power in dB (decibels) of your speakers separately.

Use case: external sound card + set 5.1

It is quite regrettable that the iMac does not integrate (even optionally) a sound card 5.1 see 7.1 as is the case on any basic PC. One solution is to plug in a 5.1 sound card externally compatible MacOS: and the builders don't rush to that level. Hercules offers the Muse XL Pocket LT3, only sound card to date (except my mistake) able to make 5.1 on Mac, all in jack cables.

Carte son Muse XL Pocket LT3 de chez Hercules
Hercules Muse XL Pocket LT3 sound card

Even if their site indicates that the map only offers stereo on Mac, I will show you the opposite of that step. In the window Audio and MIDI configuration, click on Muse Pocket LT3. In the right column, click on the tab Output if the latter is not active. As before, use drop-down lists to define sound quality, either 48,000 hz, 6 16-bit channels for 5.1. Here again, you have the option of adjusting the sound of each speaker separately (rather convenient to boost the rear for example).

Capture d'écran - Configuration audio et MIDI, cas de la carte son 5.1 Muse XL Pocket LT3
Screenshot — Audio and MIDI setup, sound card case 5.1 Muse XL Pocket LT3

Note that the sound card is not capable of producing a quality above 16 bits (e.g. 24 bits), which is the case on Windows. It’s too bad...

Then click on the button Configuring Speakers.

Capture d'écran - Configuration des haut-parleurs sous MacOS X
Screenshot of screen — Configuration of speakers under MacOS X

Check first (if not), Multichannels (top) and select from the drop down list 5.1 surround.

This window allows you to test the positioning of each speaker. To do this, click on centre for example, to hear a sound in this speaker only (think to lower the sound before clicking). Then use the drop-down lists to change the order.

Click on Apply then Finish to validate your changes.

Finally, don't forget to set your sound card as the default output audio device:

Capture d'écran - Définissez votre périphérique audio de sortie par défaut
Screenshot of screen — Set your default output audio device

Now insert a DVD into your Mac’s optical drive and play it using VLC, downloadable for free below:

VLC (19.1) MiB, 5,122 downloads)

Why don't you use the DVD Player app? Strangely, only VLC is capable of restoring sound 5.1.

Your installation, stereo or 5.1, is now correctly configured: you get the best sound quality ever!

13 comments

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  • Maxime

    Hello, I tried your tutorial, only I can't get the sound out of the 5 speakers, always only through the 2 frontals... (with itunes for example).

    I wish I could use all the speakers provided with the xps kit, if you could help me, thank you.

    • Benjamin Denis Post author

      Good morning,

      only a 5.1 source file is able to use all speakers as is the case for DVD and Blu-Ray (as indicated in the article, you have to go through VLC and not QuickTimes or DVD Player for it to work), not the music that is recorded in stereo.

  • Antoine

    Okay, so it’s not possible to listen to music from Itunes on the four satellites and the bass box? I just bought the sound card this morning hoping to use my 5.1 set on itunes (not in the idea of having a 5.1 sound, but to use at least 4 satellites and the box)... I think I should have read the comments...

  • big Nemo

    I was given the pocket LT muse, but it is not recognised on my pac (under osX 10.7), and on the site of hercules I do not find a driver mac, only PC....deja that I can no longer install my tascam US 224 for the same driver pb...I start to curse osx lion....

    • Ceara

      Big nemo greetings and Benjamin.
      I have a Hercules 5.1 system on my Mac. It has been connected to the machine via a Hercules muse pocket LT sound card for 1 year. For Benjamain: Don't get tired looking for drivers or drivers on Mac (CA DO NOT EXIST). For Big Nemo, you have an installation disk with the sound card but only for windows. When the Mac branch recognises it without having had any information in return. To make 5.1, the “vire” the built-in drive and you charge VLC or another (MPlayer) and you try. It’s not won. The top of this story is that I have a windows 7 pro partition and this one MARKET AT POIL. I'm reading my DVDs on windows, it’s a big deal.

  • Joussa

    Thanks for the answers!But the Logitech X-540 are perfect For and it is accompanied by a 5.1 Hercules sound card!?

  • Ceara

    Good morning.
    Still in my quest for his 5.1 under pimp with my card hercules and my 5.1 speakers, I found a tip. Actually, DVDs with config 5.1 come out right but no surround. But I found a trick. When you plug the green cable onto the sound card, you have to put a DEDOUBLOR Jack. The green cable is connected to an input and a second cable is connected to the second input which is connected to the 5.1 remote at the indicated location and there, Ho miracle the Surround works.
    Cordially