Does Perian support AC3 on Mountain Lion 10.8? How to fix?

The Issue

With the release of Mountain Lion, many OS X 10.8 Lion users only to find that when they play MKV, AVI, MP4 or any video files with AC3 stereo audio, AC3 5.1 surround with Perian Player, no sound is played, only the video portion is played.

Interesting thing is if you convert the MKV, AVI to MP4 or M4V and passthrough the AC3-audio, the QuickTime 7 can play the file fine.

In fact, it is not strange at all if you get to know that Dolby Digital audio AC3 is a paid audio codec. QuickTime has got an ac-3 decoder from Apple, but other apps like VLC, Perian can’t use the AC3 codec due to copyright issue.

How to Fix Perian AC3 Support on Mountain Lion

Then is there no way that Perian can play AC3 audio codec?

The question is definitely yes. By doing some tricks, the Perian can still play AC3 audio codec on Mac Mountain Lion. But only in multi-channel (stereo), no 5.1 surround sound (6 channels) can be supported right now.

If you haven’t download Perian, you can download Perian 1.2.3 from Perian official site.

Step 1: Download the a52codec.component

Step 2: Unzip A52Codec

Unzip it. It should replace the one in /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components or ~/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components (the Library folder in your Home folder).

For users of OS X 10.9 Mavericks: Simply press Command+Shift+G and type in /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components to locate Components folder and then replace the files.

Step 3: Select “multi-channel output” in Perian preferences.

If you wish play MKV AC3 in 5.1 surround sound on Mountain Lion, you will need to convert MKV to MP4 AC3 5.1 or MP4 AAC 5.1 by some professional tool.

Click to learn how to convert MKV to MP4 AC3 5.1 or MP4 AAC 5.1 on Mountain lion


70 comments on “Does Perian support AC3 on Mountain Lion 10.8? How to fix?

  1. nyolc8 says:

    Before when I installed only Perian:
    quicklook played all files with sound perfectly, but not in quicktime player.

    After I used the linked a52codec.component, and overwrited mine:
    quicklook played all files with sound perfectly, but not in quicktime player.

    So this isn’t worked for me at all.

  2. Al says:

    Works fine with QT7, thanks a lot.

  3. Peter says:

    This is great, thank you!
    i’m really curious to know what you changed or how you obtained your a52codec.component
    did you recompile from a source?
    Just trying to learn as much as i can 😉

  4. Luca says:

    It works!!! TY!!!

  5. TGB says:

    Thank you very much. Bookmarked. The recommendation to “just use VLC/MPlayer/Movist” people keep throwing around is pathetically useless and ignorant when you don’t want to *play* in QuickTime Player 7, you want to *edit* in QuickTime Player 7. By which I mean frame-by-frame, track manipulation, and exporting. I *have* VLC. I know it *plays* them fine. But that’s not what I want; none of the aforementioned do editing. I don’t care so much about Dolby vs Stereo, I just want to be able to work on my edit projects. And now I can. Thanks again.

  6. paxvap says:

    thanx !! it works !!

  7. Sayam Aggarwal says:

    Worked for me! Thanks a ton!

  8. Cass says:

    Thank you SO MUCH!!!!! I was freaking out when I updated to Mountain Lion – I figured something would happen. But this originally really frustrated me. Last night I tried it with no problems. SO thank you.

  9. laura says:

    I’ve downladed the codec but no unzipper I have on my mac will open it for me!

    • IsobarBrokenFlame says:

      You Mac may have already unzipped it. Just place it in Macintosh HD\Library\Audio\Plug-ins\Components

    • admin says:

      Hi, laura, press and hold the Control (Ctrl) key while you click the mouse button, you will see “Show Package Contents” Option. Click on it and you will see a folder named “Contents”. Then open the folder to copy and paste to /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components.

  10. Anonymous says:

    nevermind the unzip… just replace the file directly to the folder where it is mentioned above…

  11. GMoney says:

    Scoured the web. Troubleshot this for days. This trick you provided was the only piece of advice that actually solved the problem.

    Uninstalled Divx.
    Installed Perian 1.2.3 for OSX 10.8
    Downloaded this AC3 codec (renamed it and appended the “.component” to it, and dropped it in the audio component folder and the quicktime folder.
    Changed the sound output to multispeaker on perian preferences.

    Worked! Happy. Thanks!

  12. ALIS says:

    I’ve downladed the codec but no unzipper I have on my mac will open it for me!

  13. Cordell says:

    Can someone please guide me through windows vista? I can’t find the folders to extract to

  14. bg says:

    I have a Mac and i can’t unzip A52Codec. What should i do?

  15. Kirsten says:

    When I try and unzip A52Codec.component I get a message saying There is no application set to open the document “A52Codeccomponent”
    Can someone explain what one has to do to open this and get it working?
    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi, Kirsten, press and hold the Control (Ctrl) key while you click the mouse button, you will see “Show Package Contents” Option. Click on it and you will see a folder named “Contents”. Then open the folder to copy and paste to /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components.

  16. Zena says:

    I have the same problem as Kirsten. When I paste the folder name above into spotlight, nothing comes up, so I’m not sure where to put it. Help?

  17. Felipe says:

    It worked just fine! Thank you very much!

  18. Adrian says:

    Worked… thanks.

  19. Anonymous says:

    thanks a lot! it worked like a charm in osx 10.8, qt pro 7.6.6.
    greetings from italy!

  20. marco says:

    It works fine for me!
    Thanks a lot

  21. Delia says:

    Hi

    My problem is like this, I recently bought myself a Mac and I usually use utorrent to download movies, so this time i did the same. Later when the download was completed I tried to play my movie, but apparently QuickTime doesnt work with avi types, so the program showed me this link where it helps me figure all out with the programs i may also use. So I download divx, it all works perfectly, but a few seconds after the movie starts, this window comes out saying AC3 audio is not working and i should visit a certify site, so i do as they say, download the program Perian and follow all the steps i should. Now having my fingers crossed i opened the file hoping it works, but guess what, it doesn`t. And i dont know what to do anymore. Can anyone please help me ?

  22. Ricardo says:

    Thank you so much! It works!

  23. Arthur says:

    Thanks! Downloading this component resolved my audio issue watching AC3 avi on my OSX 10.8.3

  24. Bimmer says:

    It works for me. Thank you!!!!

  25. Dipesh Shrestha says:

    Thanks, Worked for me too!!!

  26. Dipesh Shrestha says:

    It worked for me. Thanks!!!

  27. Tomer Sinai says:

    Works beautifully 🙂 Thanks!

  28. Kim Fear says:

    Can someone tell me please where and how to find the folder Macintosh HD\Library\Audio\Plug-ins\Components ?

    • Michelle says:

      to find the Library folder on OS 10.9, so for those, who’ll have the same struggle – open Finder then press command+shift+G, type in /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components.

  29. Simann Reasey says:

    how about Mac OS Mavericks? Does it work?

  30. John in Toronto, Canada says:

    I was unable to play AC-3 files using Quicktime player 7.6.6 after updating to Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks. I normally use Subler to re-wrap videos as MP4 and, when needed, also transcode AC-3 audio to AAC for use in the MP4 container. This quicktime component restored that workflow perfectly. I can now enjoy videos on my iDevices and ATV again. Many thanks to you for sharing the fix method, and the component! cheers from Canada!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much! I finally solved this annoying AC3 problem.

    It was a bit of a challenge for me to find the Library folder on OS 10.9, so for those, who’ll have the same struggle – open Finder then press command+shift+G, type in /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components.

  32. Luis M. says:

    Thanks “Anonymous” I solved the problem with my OS 10.9!!

  33. Joseph says:

    Okay so I downloaded Perian and the codec. I have OS X 10.9.2 on my mac and I installed Perian. Afterwards I highlighted the codes in my files and pressed (Command+Shift+G) and placed the codec in the /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components and nothing happens. I went to the Perian preferences and switched to Multi-Channel Output and tried to watch the movie in DivX Player and Quicktime and DivX Player says it can’t run AC3 Dolby Audio and Quicktime tries to convert the file and takes days to do it and doesn’t move after a certain point. I am probably doing something wrong but I don’t know what. Help please!

    • admin says:

      Joseph, please follow the steps to have a try:
      Uninstalled Divx player.
      Uninstalled Perian.
      Installed Perian.
      Downloaded this AC3 codec and place it in the audio component folder and the QuickTime folder.
      Set “multi-channel output” in Perian preferences.

  34. Joseph says:

    Help having an issue after downloading and moving files. Nothing happens and noting changes for the file not being able to play. DivX Player says it won’t allow AC# Dolby Audio to be played and doesn’t recognize it. And Quicktime is converting but won’t complete. Help Please!

  35. constantine says:

    it works, thank you

  36. Anonymous says:

    Thanks a lot!

  37. vital says:

    thanks a lot

  38. Anonymous says:

    Wow!
    i can’t believe:
    1. that this worked and
    2. that i was able to do this myself!!!
    thanks!!!

  39. Dina Zaitman says:

    Worked for me!

  40. Jacky Sia says:

    Wonderful! It works for me !! Thanks a lot!

  41. Katya says:

    Worked! Great! Thanx!

  42. BerkeleyBernie says:

    Couldn’t get sound in DivX plug-in player in Google Chrome playing streaming MKV files. Following these instructions did the trick. THANKS!

    Truly a massive FAIL for DivX on Macs not to include all the components to provide proper functioning.

  43. Mia says:

    Worked! Thank you, been trying to solve this for some time!

  44. MW says:

    Worked! Great!!! Thx so much!

  45. Mark says:

    Works for me on DivX player…. Thanks!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for all the advice I found here.

    I am not a computer geek or anywhere near it, so it took me a while to figure out that you have to keep the search words in finder with capital letters.

    Thank you.

  47. Scifecta says:

    Worked for me in OS X 10.9.5. Thanks!!

  48. Stefan says:

    thank you sir

  49. Amyee says:

    hi please help.. how to find /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components? just need to copy paste the code

    • admin says:

      Hi Amyee, the folder is under Finder -> Devices -> Mac OS -> Library -> Audio -> Plug-Ins -> Components. Also please make sure you’ve already downloaded and installed Perian.

  50. Richard says:

    Thanks for this.. It works on OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite as well.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Awesome! Excellent instructions. Works perfectly.

  52. simon says:

    Happy new year, easy to follow and works perfectly

  53. Den says:

    Thank a lot for this staff.
    It works for me on DivX player on OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite as well.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Excellent workaround even without needing Perian installed. I will be archiving this component for future use. A huge thanks

Leave a Reply