Coriolis Systems Aura


Coriolis Systems Aura

It’s a little-known feature of most Macs that the 3.5 mm headphone port actually doubles as a optical S/PDIF port, which means that given the right cable, you can get a high-quality PCM audio stream right into the optical input on your stereo receiver. Unfortunately, since macOS lacks native support for advanced codecs like Dolby Digital AC-3, you’ll be limited to two-channel audio unless you’re using an app like DVD Player. This is where Coriolis Systems’ new Aura comes in — it’s a little $20 utility from the developer known for iDefrag and iPartition, which runs in the background to encode multi-channel audio from your Mac into a Dolby Digital AC-3 stream that can then be handled by any compatible receiver.

While there aren’t a ton of apps that support 5.1 channel sound on the Mac, it’s still a cool idea, and you can easily check it out with some Test Tones from Dolby Labs. Nevertheless, native 5.1 Dolby Digital AC-3 support is something we’ve been waiting for on the Mac for a long time, and it actually turns out that the real reason has been the vagaries of patent and licensing issues — Aura was actually ready four years ago, but it’s only recently that it’s been possible to actually release it.

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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.