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Can Max/MSP output 5.1 sound via SP/DIF port?

February 19, 2010 | 10:35 pm

Hi there, I’m working on an installation that has a 5.1 surround soundtrack sync’ed to video.

I’ve built patches that manage unified playback via a Firewire audio interface, and it works fine.

However, the computer that we’re using for playback has an SP/DIF output, and I was wondering if we can use that instead. The venue has a receiver that takes SP/DIF input, so that would be really straightforward.

As far as I can tell, Max/MSP sees the SP/DIF output as a stereo output, not 5.1 (which looks like it requires AC3 encoding?)

Is there any way for Max/MSP to use the SP/DIF output for surround sound?


February 20, 2010 | 7:52 am

I suspect not. The problem is you will need a dolby digital encoder, and the license for that costs some bucks, so most sound card mfg, and apple don’t build that in.

some newer pc sound cards have something called dolby digital live, which is an onboard dolby digital encoder. if you have a pc, this may be the route to go. I have a creative labs card that has this, and i’m able to get multi track audio from games encoded into ac3 and decoded by a standard head unit. I havent tried it with max.


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