Apple iMac, sound quality.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DarkGashX, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. DarkGashX macrumors member

    DarkGashX

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #1
    One question I have wanted to ask for some time and couldn't find an answer to, is; do the Apple iMacs have good/great sound quality?

    On a PC, a standard sound card/on-board sound and speakers are total rubbish and I would like a "user's" opinion on the sound quality.

    Thanks.
     
  2. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #2
    it's not great but it is certainly better than any of Apple's portables. if you're a serious audiophile, you'll want to invest in some quality external speakers.
     
  3. DarkGashX thread starter macrumors member

    DarkGashX

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #3
    Is there any "mac style" speakers on the market? If I were to pick some out I would only want 2.1. So any information people can provide would be great.

    Cheers! :)
     
  4. Sean7512 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    #4
    Well it depends on which iMac you get. The 24" one has better speakers I believe (anyone agree, or did i make that up). Our 24" sounds great to me, but again I am not an audiophile and the majority of my albums are ripped at 128 AAC, I just recently started 192 AAC. They are more than adequate for me :) My ex g/f had a 17" iMac G5 (the revision before isight), and hers didn't sound horrible to me either. And yes, there are mac style speakers but I do not know which are good as I don't use them. Head over to apple.com, they have speakers, and a physical apple store also has them.
     
  5. DarkGashX thread starter macrumors member

    DarkGashX

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #5
    I have an X-Fi card in my *cough* PC right now, when I got it in replacement for my on-board it was a big difference. I just want clear sound. Not tinny or crap or dull sounding.

    As long as movies make a "WOW" impact on you when your watching an explosion or high motion movie. Then, they are great for me :).

    Hope this clears it up a little.
     
  6. Sean7512 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    #6
    My suggestion to you then is to just use the iMac without the external speakers, and then if they do not WOW you then head on over to the Apple Store. As I said, I have a hard time noticing different audio quality so it doesn't take much to WOW me, haha....

    When and what iMac are you getting anyways, you'll enjoy it!
     
  7. jesteraver macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #7
    If you can get your hands on Wharfedale Diamond 8.1's you will be very pleased.
     
  8. tominated macrumors 68000

    tominated

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2006
    Location:
    Queensland, Australia
    #8
    i reckon the speakers are great (unless they have been downgraded for the core2duos)
     
  9. dylan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    #9
    I think they sound fine for most uses. I have better speakers but I use the iMac's built in speakers for simplicities sake. The sounds is great, for the size, and it's nice having just one chord attached to the computer.

    Also after the 10.4.9 update they are much louder.

    The sound card has an optical out and is pretty good quality. I doubt you'll notice a difference coming from a Creative card.
     
  10. DarkGashX thread starter macrumors member

    DarkGashX

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #10
    Just what I wanted to hear, thanks everyone!

    If anyone can provide links to speaker sets 2.1+ then please, go ahead! Im all for it!

    Thanks again.
     
  11. FullCollapse macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    Location:
    Oneonta, NY
    #11
    http://www.klipsch.com/products/details/promedia-2-1.aspx

    i have these speakers and i love them. i'm not sure what your price range is or if you're into the speakers matching your imac, but these ones really are great. i was lucky enough to be able to find mine on ebay for a lot cheaper than the website lists. if i remember right, best buy was selling them for less than that as well. anyway, that's what i recommend hope it helps. i know a lot of people here use the creatures and soundsticks.
     
  12. jesteraver macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #13
    Depends how much you want to spend on a good system too connect to your computer.

    A good setup imo and not going overboard would be.

    Wharfedale Diamond 8.1 (pair) - $250 USD
    Cambridge Audio Azur 540R - $699 USD [optional]
    Velodyne DLS-3500R - $399 USD

    Sure its going to cost you an arm and a leg. It be well worth it. True you don't have to buy the A/V receiver you just plug the speakers into sub and plug the sub into your computer and your good to go seeing Apple has Burr Brown in it even Denon uses Burr Brown so you cant really go wrong
     
  13. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #14
    i have Creatives that i attach to my MBP when i'm not traveling.

    i have the I-Trigue 3200s and they are good enough for me. i think i paid around $60 when i got them in 2004.
     
  14. milky23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    #15
    I've been using the iMac's speakers now for about a year and a half. They leave a little to be desired; there's very little bass to speak of. The sound quality could be described as simply average, but they will suffice until you can get better speakers. I myself am looking at these:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16836113140
    Altec Lansing FX6021 - very Apple-esque, getting good reviews. Do research before you buy, as always...
     
  15. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #16
    All Macs come with pretty decent sound cards built in. My MacBook Pro outperforms the Dell in my studio which has an M-Audio Delta 44. The iMac will be even better.

    You'll really struggle to find a decent pair of 2.1 speakers, by enlarge they all sound pretty pants. If you want really good sound, you'll have to look at some larger speakers, like Wharfdale Diamonds (good starting price). The styling is pretty poor though.

    If you can stretch to the (pretty high) price, your best bet would be B&O BeoLab 4000s.

    [​IMG]

    They can mount in loads of directions, and come in loads of colours, plus sound awesome and have built in amps (they go really loud). Very pricey though, twice as much as an iMac...
     
  16. DarkGashX thread starter macrumors member

    DarkGashX

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #17
  17. dmied macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2005
    #18
    Harmon Kardon Soundsticks for me

    I've had Harmon Kardon Soundsticks for about 6 years (the same set) and they sound great to me. If you turn up the subwoofer it gives great bass too. My music is 128kbps, but these speakers are a fair improvement over the stock speakers. I've had them with a G4 Cube and an iBook G3, and they've worked fantasticly with all three.

    They've been out for a while, so you might be able to get them used on eBay, or here's the results of a Google search I did:

    http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=soundsticks&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
     
  18. jesteraver macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #19
    The B&O speakers are good but you can get as good speakers for less the price though.

    There are many company's out there.

    I hope you find what your looking for :)
     
  19. milky23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    #20
    Is a Mac capable of powering a Wharfedale Diamond 8.1 on its own?
     
  20. jesteraver macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #21
    Yes and no.

    Depends which ones you get.

    The ones I have are running into a subwoofer than into my computer threw like a iCable (L / R Audio cable).

    There is also the Wharfedale Diamond 8.1 Pro Active speakers which I think you still need the iCable to plug both speakers into the computer.

    I have really ****** subwoofer from Altec Lansing that I am using right now until I get my toslink cable so I can connect my speakers to an old Denon A/V receiver to power the speakers better.
     
  21. milky23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    #22
    I'm pretty confident that all speakers that work on a PC will also work on a Mac... unless you get some pretty retarded speakers.
     
  22. CRAZYBUBBA macrumors 65816

    CRAZYBUBBA

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto/Houston
    #23
    these are old school... lol but still my faves.. i love the blue backlights (When you use the speakers)


     
  23. Dizzyfish macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #24
    Poor

    Like all Apple products, the native sound quality of MAcs is very poor. I have a £2000 iMac and when I plug studio headphones into it the sound is flat and lacks any bass or treble.

    This is similar to the iPods. Compared to my Sony Walkman, they are flat and dull. With no real sound processing this is always going to be the case. The Walkman has three sound processors and produces market leading sound quality. To this day, I have no idea why Apple choose not to add these features.

    Note: any built-in equaliser is NOT sufficient sound processing and will not give you good sound (unless you aren't fussy).

    Apple's commitment to sound is underlined by the headphones they supply which are at best poor when compared to basic models available on the market.

    iTunes has an equaliser which can make the sound slightly better but distorts it sufficiently to impair enjoyment of the music.

    If I pass it through my Creative X-Fi on my PC the sound is great so if you want decent sound from an iMac you'll need to put it through some heavy post processing. This will set you back another £100 or so which grates after paying the 100% Apple Tax to get the device in the first place.

    So.. Apple sound quality is very poor. Post processing can correct it, but then it can correct it from any device. Speakers make a difference, but you really need an external sound module or amp.
     
  24. tpg macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    #25
    If you're even slightly serious about quality of sound output, you need an external DAC (digital->analogue converter) and amplifier. These aren't cheap, but you can get a very decent one for under £200 that'll last for a very long time and give you hi-fi quality audio. You can hook it up via optical to your iMac.

    This plus a decent pair of headphones will fix any and all problems that exist with onboard sound cards!

    Also, post-processing is pretty much a con. Once you've lost the information, you can't get it back again, no matter how many gadgets you put it through. You can fiddle with it and make it sound brighter with more bass, with artificial 'crispness' - but, as they say, "garbage in, garbage out". :)

    (EDIT: For reference, I use a Beresford Caiman DAC, connected by optical toslink to my macbook. Using AKG 702 studio headphones, it sounds amazing)
     

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