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iMac Output Connections

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iMac Output Connections

Postby KenA » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:43 pm

I am considering the construction of a Hauptwerk organ, hoping to make use of an underused 27” iMac and some existing speakers. The iMac has 32GB, has four USB 3 ports and two Thunderbolt ports and has the latest OS. According to all the Hauptwerk literature I have read, Apple computers are easier to set up with Hauptwerk. However, I can’t seem to find anything about the details of connecting an Apple computer to the audio and touchscreen systems. I will likely start with up to 4 speakers plus a subwoofer and two touchscreens. One of the USB3 ports will be used for the Hauptwerk dongle, another for the daisy-chained midi input from the console and the other is connected to a 2TB external hard drive. I assume I may require a USB Hub. The question I have is; where do the five audio outputs and the connection for the 2 touchscreens come from on the iMac? This all may seem simple to an Apple expert, but I had never heard of a Thunderbolt port until I read the specs for my iMac.
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Re: iMac Output Connections

Postby IainStinson » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:06 pm

These notes might help...

Audio
The Mac can support stereo output through the built in sound system. If you want to support more than stereo output (front and rear stereo plus a sub for example) you need to add a multi channel audio output system. There is a lot of information about the audio interfaces which HW users have used on the forum. These devices connect to the computer over a USB connection or for some devices via a Thunderbolt connection. These audio interfaces support multiple independent output channels to which HW can send audio: the outputs from the audio interface connect to the amps and speakers. The number of outputs depends on the device (from 2, 4, 6, 8, to many...), the costs and quality vary widely. You need to decide how many output channels you want and how much to spend. You probably need at least 6 channels...

Monitors / touch screen
You need a USB port for each touch screen (for the touch input). With Macs people find they need third party touch screen drivers (Touch-base) for them to work reliably. The video for the screens each need an independent connection. The Mac’s video out may support two monitors or you may need to connect one of them via Thunderbolt or via USB.

Possible USB usage
USB 1 external disk
USB 2 Audio interface
USB 3 Powered hub a. Touch 1, b. Touch 2, c. Hw dongle d. Console midi
USB 4 Second monitor

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Re: iMac Output Connections

Postby chr.schmitz » Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:00 am

macOS is a rock solid platform for Hauptwerk. Some time ago, when I had no dedicated Hauptwerk computer, I used my Notebook to connect to my Hauptwerk console. At that time it was important not to have too many connections, I used a Dell docking station (e.g. Dell Business Dock WD15), which worked like charm. I was able to connect the Hauptwerk console with a single USB 3 cable! Everything -- console, Hauptwerk dongle, two monitors (each two connections: video and USB) -- was connected to the dock.

As the iMac has no touch screen functionality, you will probably connect two additional touchscreen monitors. I have two Acer T232HLAbmjjz, which are on the market now for many years. As Ian already pointed out, for two touchscreens you will need some third-party drivers (e.g. Touch-Base -- although expensive highly recommended). Although officially never advertized, macOS supports one touchscreen out of the box. When you connect a second touchscreen, macOS does not know, on which screen you tapped. A tap on the one screen will engage a function on the other screen.

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Re: iMac Output Connections

Postby chr.schmitz » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:55 am

I just found a web page with some very helpful information about the use of the Touch-Base drivers on macOS Hauptwerk systems:

http://support.touch-base.com/Documentation/50497/Hauptwerk-organ-usage

If you start a macOS system for the first time on a portrait screen, the screen is rotated by 90° or 270° until you change the rotation in the screen options. It is a little bit tricky to steer the mouse pointer on these rotated screens. One little trick: rotate the trackpad or the mouse also by 90° or 270° and life becomes easy :D

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Re: iMac Output Connections

Postby KenA » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:23 pm

Thank you all for your very informative replies. These will be a major help as I try to figure out my final system. One remaining question, do I require 2 Touch-Base drivers for the two touchscreen monitors?
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Re: iMac Output Connections

Postby Grant_Youngman » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:42 pm

No. One driver will support multiple screens
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