Why don't Apple Pro speakers work with Powerbooks?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by KevRC4130, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. KevRC4130 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I have read that the Apple Pro speakers dont work with Apple notebooks, and only recommended for the desktops. I'm wondering why this is? I've looked at pictures of them on eBay, and it looks like they just use a normal headphone jack, which is how all speakers plug in (don't they?)?

    This is more for curiousity than anything, I wouldn't buy them.

    Thanks
     
  2. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    #2
    It's not a normal 1/8" jack. It's smaller.

    There are USB Pro speakers too--those will work.
     
  3. iLikeMyiMac macrumors 6502a

    iLikeMyiMac

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    #3
    you're right, the jack is a little smaller ( I pulled it out of my iMac to check) though you can get a usb adapter that will allow you to use them.
     
  4. MacFan26 macrumors 65816

    MacFan26

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    #4
    Yep, you can get an adaptor, but I don't know why you'd want to use them. Of course, I guess I don't know why Apple wants them to be "iMac only" speakers either, what's the purpose of them having a smaller connector?
     
  5. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a

    FuzzyBallz

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    #5
    Why not just get a nice pair of headphones for the PB?
     
  6. Finiksa macrumors 6502a

    Finiksa

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    #6
    They're digital, not analogue like normal speakers. Plugging them into an analogue audio port could damage them, hence the smaller connector.
     
  7. MacFan26 macrumors 65816

    MacFan26

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    #7
    that makes sense. thanks :)
     
  8. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #8
    I am looking for some headphones. Bose look excellent but far to pricey.

    Can anyone recommend any brands and models? Macally?

    I like the idea of noise cancelling ones but are they really that good?
     
  9. realityisterror macrumors 65816

    realityisterror

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    #9
    actually, i'm pretty sure they made a proprietary plug/port for them to carry power... some computer speakers just plug in like headphones, but any real speakers have one cord for signal and a power adapter for.. power..

    apple wanted to make things simple with one of the powermac g4 towers and used it with the imacs for simplicity and looks..

    of course, i could be wrong.. and they probably are digital... but i'm pretty sure the proprietary plug is to carry power...

    reality
     
  10. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #10
    no they wont work i have tryed my cube speakers on a few macs and i ant get them to work, it's somthing to do with them requireing some sort of special high powered usb port
     
  11. paxtonandrew macrumors 6502

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    #11
    The apple pro speakers were introduced with the PMG4 Digital Audio model, which came with a digital audio port instead of a Microphone port. I like the speakers, but i now use Harmon/Kardon ones with my PowerMac.
     
  12. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    #12
    I've gotten my Cube's speakers to work on 5 different Macs, including an iBook.

    Maybe you just can't plug them into a keyboard or a non-powered hub. That would make sense.
     
  13. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    #13
    I grabbed some Sharper Image noise cancelling headphones a couple of months ago and I love them. Comfortable, relatively inexpensive (~$50), and the noise cancelling is great.

    I fly alot, and I used to fight the volume on my PB to hear songs or movies, but with the noise cancelling headphones, I get to turn the volume down! It also reduces much of the extraneous noise on the airplane as well.

    I've also used them on the train with good results, and would assume they'd work well in other noisy environments.

    Keep in mind they don't do a great job with loud banging noises or anything like that - mainly fairly constant background sound.
     
  14. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #14
    No, they are analog. See below. The plug takes up to 20W (10W per channel), which is why you won't see them on a PB - they'd drain the battery quickly. They're nice and loud, but a PB would need a separately powered version.
     

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  15. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

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    #15
    bingo.

    it's a propietary plug which basically never caught on and was ignored, and was phased out quite quickly. to be honest, i don't know of any TRULY digital speakers, even a speaker system with optical or digital ports uses regular speaker wire to connect to the actual speakers, so isn't this still a digital/analog conversion? the speakers would need to be linked with coax or optical cables to be pure digital right?

    does anyone remember the size of the digital audio port? m-audio makes a firewire device for the apple pro speakers, but why you would go to all that trouble to use those speakers is beyond me.
     
  16. MacFan26 macrumors 65816

    MacFan26

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    #16
    Ok, so they ARE analog then. I didn't think about the power thing, but now I see why you wouldn't want them running off of a laptop.

    Yeah, I don't know, they aren't that great. It'd be worth it to pick up some cheap speakers that probably sound better.
     
  17. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #17
    Edit: Looks like this is understood now. I thought, when I wrote it, that there was still indecision as to whether they were digital.

    Just to be clear: the Apple Pro speakers (the ones you find if you look them up at store.apple.com) are analog. Not digital. If you search the Apple Store for "Pro Speakers" you'll find that Griffin makes a "ProSpeaker Breakout Cable" which lets you plug normal speakers into the Pro port via the adapter. By "normal" I mean the kind that you run 2-conductor wire to, as in traditional stereo speakers.

    The Pro speakers - unless there's an older version I'm unaware of - are NOT digital. They are analog. They are powered by the Mac in exactly the same way that stereo speakers are powered by a stereo receiver. The plug is different simply because it carries a fair amount of power and Apple wanted to make it easy to plug in. It's just a 3-conductor plug, with left channel, right channel, and ground. No fancy electronics. If you cut the cable and wired two traditional speakers to it, they'd work.
     
  18. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #18
    Actually, if you have a Mac that supports them, they sound pretty good for $60. Really. However, I think you'd be nuts to buy them and then look for an adapter to use them on a different system. Buy powered speakers!
     
  19. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

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    Jul 17, 2004
    #19
    Hey, they came with my iMac. I do not complain.

    My PowerBook, however, has a little hole next to the headphone port that looks like it would fit the Pro Speakers...let me try...

    (Bangs head on monitor)
    (Mutters a curse)

    Well, I can attest that the PowerBooks DEFINATLY do NOT have a Pro Speaker port. I have a bump on my head to prove it. So, what does that port do?
     
  20. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    #20
    Line in? RTFM?
     
  21. Miner Willy macrumors regular

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    #21
    Getting Apple Pro Speakers To Work

    Without any special adapters the Pro Speakers will not work (period). with a powerbook. To make them function you will need a firewire adaptor made by griffin called an iFire I have one and it works.... :)
     
  22. Finiksa macrumors 6502a

    Finiksa

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    #22
    The Cube's USB ports supply a higher current than the USB specs require (can't remember exactly how much) for the sole purpose of powering the speakers. So they'll work with other computers you just won't get the same volume output as from a Cube.
     
  23. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #23

    that strange i've never got a peep out of them in anything but my cube
     
  24. macferret macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2004
    #24
    Theres no such thing as a digital speaker, the term digital when refering to audio means that the analog signal has been given a digital description, and has been turned into data in the form of zeros and ones, in order to listen to digital music the data must be transfered back to an analog signal, so in truth no one ever really listens to "Digital" music, because it must always be transfered back to an analog signal in order for the human brain to process it. There are however speaker enclosures that have digital inputs that link to D/A converters that send analog signals to the actual speaker or crossover.
     
  25. Mustafa macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Shenfield, Essex, UK
    #25
    I have two pairs of Sennheisers, both bought as a result of 'Best Buy' recommendations in UK hi-fi magazines. The larger pair (HD480s -- probably superceded by now) are great on my home hi-fi, while the smaller (PX100s) sound almost as good and make good substitutes for iPod buds. I tend to use the 480s on my PB in the house. Neither are the closed type, but I don't really need them, as I fly only once or twice a year. I know Sennheiser do closed versions, though.

    I tend to group Bose products with B&O -- nice designs, but aural under-achievers. Better performance is certainly available elsewhere for less money.
     

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