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Laptop Digital/Optical Audio Out Confusion

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by bym007, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. bym007

    bym007 Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I have an Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi laptop which has Digital Audio Support. My confusion is, being a newbie with Audio, I don't know if it will have a different/specialized output socket or a normal Audio Out Jack.

    All I can see is a typical 3.5 stereo out jack in front of laptop :rolleyes:

    Though, after speaking to acer support lately, they told me that the laptop does have digital output support.

    I want to connect my laptop to my Pioneer 1016 rcvr. So could you also kindly elaborate which cable connection will give me good results for surround audio.

    Any and all help will be appreciated.
    Regards


    ----------------------------
    Oh sorry, forgot to add any confusing term 'SPDIF' Audio Output it supports...

    By the way, here is a a quick link to its specs;
    http://reviews.cnet.com/Acer_Ferrari_4000/4507-3121_7-31466278.html?tag=sub
  2. clockworks

    clockworks Active Member

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    The specs you linked to aren't very informative - I'm not surprised that you're confused.

    Your laptop appears to have a combined analogue/digital output, using a single 3.5mm socket. This will supply a stereo analogue output to headphones or an amplifier. It can also supply a digital signal, using a suitable lead.

    The first thing you need to know is, is this an optical or electrical signal? If you can't find the specs anywhere, try eyeballing the socket, while playing a DVD. If you can see a red light inside the socket, it's optical. It's a laser, so don't stare at it for too long!
    If you can't see a red light, either it's electrical, or the digital output is disabled - check in the soundcard properties to make sure that the digital output is enabled (sometimes labelled "AC3" or "DD" or "5.1").

    Once you know if the signal is optical or electrical, you need to make sure that your amplifier has a matching input.
    You then need a suitable cable. For optical, it'll be a mini-toslink to toslink cable. Mini-toslink is an optical connector that fits in a 3.5mm headphone socket.
    For electrical, you need a 3.5mm jack to phono (RCA) cable, with the correct pin on the jack wired-up. You'll probably find that a normal mp3 player cable will work - try both RCA plugs, one of them should be wired correctly.

    On the modern laptops that I've seen, the output has been optical. The electrical connection is more commonly found on Creative soundcards.
  3. bym007

    bym007 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Thanks for your input. I will try to look at the 3.5 Jack, for Optical Output. In the meanwhile, I have attached a screengrab of my sound card output options for A/D Output. Does it give any clue ? :( No hints to me.
  4. clockworks

    clockworks Active Member

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    If it can do analogue and digital at the same time, through a single socket, the digital output must be optical.

    My laptop (Fujitsu-Siemens) uses the same setup - a single 3.5mm output (optical digital and analogue stereo), and a Realtek AC97 chipset.

    There is a limitation on mine - the optical output will only work with 5.1 audio (DVDs or DVD rips), not with stereo (CDs or mp3s).

    As well as enabling the optical output on the "soundcard", you'll probably have to configure your DVD player software as well.
  5. bym007

    bym007 Well-Known Member

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    One more thing though, I am not too sure if this TOSLink cable can fit in this 'standard-looking' 3.5 Jack on my laptop. Any comments ?:rolleyes:

    [​IMG]
  6. Reiner

    Reiner Member

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    You need one of those: Optical cable with 3.5mm plug (right side)
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. bym007

    bym007 Well-Known Member

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