2016 MBP (TB) does not support 96 kHz audio output

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by eklkrl, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. eklkrl macrumors newbie


    Apr 19, 2010
    I've discovered this the hard way, i.e. after purchasing one. Setting aside the issue of whether 96 kHz is useful as a delivery format, for those of us doing audio production who mix in 96 kHz, it's always been great to be able to work on sessions with just the Macbook Pro and a pair of headphones. With this new machine that's impossible. If you look at Audio MIDI Setup, you'll see that 96 kHz is supported for the built-in speakers (strangely), but as soon as you plug in headphones or a direct line out, that option disappears. This makes it impossible to run a session in any audio program (Pro Tools, Nuendo, whatever) that's in 96 kHz, without also having to pack an external audio interface. Obviously I use an interface in the studio, but the whole idea of a laptop is that you can be portable. So with the new Macbook Pro, it seems that in addition to the dongles, I also need to carry an external interface/DAC.

    Could there possibly be a software fix to this or, as seems more likely, is this a cost-saving hardware issue made without the needs of pros in mind?
  2. Clint_Barton macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2016
    Unfortunately it would seem that you are correct, that is too bad, but there are some inexpensive AMP/DAC solutions out there.
  3. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    They gimped the 3.5mm port from the TOSLINK/analogue combo in/out jack to just analogue to save cost. There is absolutely no benefit to the customer as this likely isn't making internal space or saving battery, it is purely lost functionality.

    My guess on the 96kHz issue is that the speaker and jack are taking signal from different places on the main board. Normally the internal DAC should feed the same abalogue line to the respective amps.

    The simplest solution for now is a small USB DAC + headphone amp unit. For light monitoring purpose the dongle sized ones should suffice. I am also curious if the W1 enabled Airpods could pass if it has better latency than typical wireless earphones, but for high sampling frequency it probably won't.
  4. Clint_Barton macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2016
    to be honest, i am happy that it does not have the optical out, because on my old computer the optical switched borked, and it gets stuck
  5. verstaerker macrumors newbie


    Jul 21, 2011
    I found that out the hard way too ... it's extremely annoying to me ... I'm often traveling and with my previous MBPs I always could finalize my recordings I made in the studio with 96 kHz . Now I can't do that anymore.

    I contacted apple by phone and writing with the support on twitter. No one is aware of this issue. By the answers they give I can see they're just googling around in their knowledge database and find no proper answer. They can't even tell me that this is not supported anymore.

    Did anyone find a solution? Maybe this can be hacked somewhere in an plistfile or something like this
  6. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    Maybe it is possible through the video output.
  7. verstaerker macrumors newbie


    Jul 21, 2011
    I spoke today more than 1h with the apple support about that ... they do not know anything.
    A'll I got was a link to this :
    wich has nothing to do with my issue. I'm seriously pissed.
    I have a laptop for 5k and it can't do anymore what the previous one did.
  8. macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    Things like this hurt a lot.
  9. evec, Nov 27, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017

    evec macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2016
    No way.
    The DAC of headphone / Line out begun from 2016 MacBook pro change from CS4208 (Class AB headphone out) to
    CS8409(HDA+Digital in/out)+CS42L83A(Low power DAC+Class H headphone out)
    which only support 44khz/48khz output.
    However, the sound quality of headphone output is improved as it better detail that previous 96khz output.
    (As i opinion is 48khz lineout is better that previous 96khz analog output, so i suggest just use 48khz)
    If you require better sound quality, better to get professional sound interface.
  10. verstaerker macrumors newbie


    Jul 21, 2011
    Thanks for the tech-details. How do you know that - why can't the Apple Support give me such an answer?
    Why is 96 kHz available to the internal speakers?

    But for your understanding: I have a professional Sound Interface in my studio. I'm recording and editing at 96 kHz.
    As I'm often traveling for my job I'm used to finish editing my music on my laptop in the train. Wich requires the availability of 96 kHz. Otherwise the Music-app downsamples all material in realtime to 48 kHz - wich is not a great quality.
    What pisses me off - is that I would now need to buy another interface just for traveling. I don't mind much as such interface are not necessarily pricey - but it's not comfortable having to carry another thingy with me (plus usb-c adapter)and the space in trains is usually little. I bought a laptop for 5k and I expect that it is able to do such a basic thing (wich the previous model was able of). And Apple nowhere communicates that. It's so secret that not even the Apple-Support knows about it.
  11. Ma2k5 macrumors 65816


    Dec 21, 2012
    Haven't you heard? They stopped doing real Professional laptops after 2015 ;).
  12. evec macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2016
    Apple's Genius will not give you true answer as Apple don't want tell customer.

    I get the schematic of MacBook / Pro from my friend which working on Apple relative supplier , and i am software and electronic engineer, so i know that the design have been changed. I also working on amateur music creative so i know the technical of music reproduced.

    Internal speakers in MacBook Pro use of SSM3515B for each speaker, so totally 4 SSM3515B, and this IC support up to 192khz digital input directly drive of speaker, so why the internal speaker support 96khz and headphone out only support 48khz.

    As headphone out is a analog output, new MacBook pro require convert 96khz to 48khz when play 96khz material,
    my opinion is not affect of most users especially non-professional usage as my listen experiment new design with better sound control especially for bass though headphone, however it may not enough for professional line-out.
  13. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Well, nobody really needs more than 48khz going to the speakers/headphones: anybody who thinks they can tell the difference just has a good imagination. The point of using higher rates is that if you're creating/mixing/mastering audio then you need the extra headroom to put the audio through multiple processes that could amplify/aggregate the otherwise inaudible artefacts in 48k.

    Still, if you're working at 96k then it makes sense to have the whole chain running at the same rate...
  14. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I have no experience doing this myself, but would it be possible to use a compact, USB bus powered USB-to-analog/digital audio adapter and still have 96k available ??

    You could then connect this small adapter, and connect your phones to the adapter (instead of the analog headphone port).

    Again, never tried it myself (my audio stuff is done at 44.1khz).
    But it might serve as a "workaround" without having to carry a full interface.
    "What works.... works."
  15. evec macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2016
    No whole chain when you need transfer Digital to Analog and later transfer back from Analog to Digital, so that it better working on all sound process inside digital area and working on just one DAC transfer.

    Yes, 24bit 48khz is more that enough for audiophile, however, some DAC require feed upsampling 96khz for best operating, so that why somebody thing 96khz sound better that 48khz, however some old age expensive 44.1khz DAC sound better that some DAC require feed 96khz with very high spec THD.

    The DAC of MacBook Pro is actually rebrand CS42L42 (may with higher headphone power) which also use in Lighting to 3.5mm adaptor, budget sound interface / usb sound card is highly possible Sound WORST that the headphone out because
    Apple use low noise LDO and special filter for analog power, and external sound interface may introduced additional noise especially the sound interfaces require external power supply.
  16. verstaerker macrumors newbie


    Jul 21, 2011
    that would work .. anyone knows such really tiny interface?
  17. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
  18. verstaerker, Nov 29, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017

    verstaerker macrumors newbie


    Jul 21, 2011
    believe it or not, I can use the amazon search ... I was more asking for recommendations ... preferably with usb-c

    so far I couldn't find anything

    the ones with usb-c seem to be for Android Devices
    --- Post Merged, Nov 29, 2017 ---
    I found a solution ... if I create a new combined device , use soundflower as clocksource I can set the combined device to 96 kHz

    it's clear the sound quality won't get any better but I can at least finalize and render my mixes in 96 kHz

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