more speculation ...

i don’t know if you can really call it speculation, but ever since the mac mini was announced people have been drooling over the idea of the perfect home theater box. i for one could not agree more with the idea and am doing a little searching to find the perfect equipment that will work alongside the little machine to make it the perfect digital jukebox/moviebox.

the very first thing that needs to be tackled is the sound. yes, the mac mini has a stereo plug in the back, but what good is a 2 channel plug going to do when 5.1 has become the minimum anyone wants and 7.1 is the sound that people desire to have. well, the option is now simple really. the mac mini features some other very useful ports on the back, firewire and usb. since the mac mini doesn’t exactly have any pci slots to fill up, we have to go with an external soundcard. let’s look at our options:

griffin technology firewave - i mentioned this a few days ago when i initially talked about the possibility of the mac mini becoming a home theater system. this little box allows for 5.1 surround sound, and being from griffin, is mac compatible straight out of the box.

m-audio high resolution 7.1 sonica theater - this external soundcard is a usb interfaced soundcard that is fully powered by usb and offers up 7.1 surround sound in addition to the standard dolby digital 5.1 and dts.

terratec aureon 7.1 firewire - this looks to be the box i want, although i have yet to confirm mac compatibility. this beast gives out 7.1 surround sound through firewire and allows you to connect to it with analog line and phono inputs (with preamp) or digital i/o (s/pdif, optical). it has a headphone jack with separate volume control, a mic input with a gain knob, and a master knob to control the overall volume. an added benefit: it also comes with a remote.

sound blaster audigy 2 nx with remote - another one that i have been unable to confirm mac compatibility as all that is said is that it is the requirements are pc specs. this one is highly unlikely to be mac compatible, but certainly worthy of a mention. it has a usb interface, comes with a remote, and in addition to offering 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound, claims to improve cd and mp3 playback through eax acoustic enhancements.

next up: using the tv as your monitor (dvi, s-video, etc) and how to interface with the mac mini wirelessly.

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