Issue with headphone audio distortion

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by zxcvb, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. zxcvb macrumors regular


    Sep 14, 2008
    I recently got my MBP and I noticed there's a issue with headphone audio distortion.

    When I plug in my earphone or headphone without any sound playing, there's a clear whining noise like zi zi zi sound which is really clear, sounds like old 80s radio noise. when I play the music, of course it was covered by the sound of music but it really bugs me out knowing that I cannot listen the pure sound of my music. The volume of this distortional noise would not change while I turn up or down the volume of my MBP.

    I asked someone professional, he said it's a famous issue of screen frequncy disturbing audio in macbook pro.

    So, my question are all or most of MBP like this? and how should I fix it? . thanks a million.

    PS. I made sure it's not problem of my earphone/headphone.
  2. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    Not sure if there is a real fix, but the best way I've found to get around this is to use USB instead. You can use one the several USB pods to plug in your current stuff, or get new USB equipment.

    Sorry, that's all I can think of.
  3. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    Unfortunately it's a design flaw with the current MBP. My wife's 2007 MBP does it, as does my Penryn MBP. It's super annoying, but a reason to upgrade to a new MBP tomorrow? :p
  4. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
  5. MowingDevil macrumors 68000


    Jul 30, 2008
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
    They're all like that?
  6. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    The MBP uses the same not-amazing sound chips as well as being susceptible to analog audio interference as other low-cost Windows notebooks. The chip is no worse than many on the market, but it - and the analog signal routing - is also not the best you can get.

    Actually, it's kind of ironic - but perhaps typical in the never-mind-if-it's-only-skin-deep 'quality' of the Apple hardware - in that the 'Pro' machines for supposedly Pro media creation (I can only assume, since it's not anywhere near Pro in a general business sense) would have such inferior built-in sound on both laptop and desktop.

    It remains to be seen whether the new ones improve. Given the task <-> reality disparity of the previous machines though, there's no guarantee.

    I'd suggest using an in-line volume attenuator (picked up from Radio Shack, etc like this one) to increase the load on the headphone jack. Although you'll have to turn up the Mac's volume more (maybe even to full), the perceived interference should be less.
  7. MGLXP macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2005
    My first MacBook Pro (Core Duo 2GHz), second MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz) and MacBook Air all have this problem. I have no idea how this sort of issue gets past the design phase, it's like they don't even listen to the thing because it's so obvious (if your ears aren't totally damaged). It's sort of a shame since my cheap old Acer and Asus Eee PC have crystal clear sound and do not produce this distortion. You have to use an external USB soundcard to get rid of this problem.
  8. jhkuo macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2009
    Unfortunately, my new 2009 unibody macbook pro has this identical problem, so it has been solved in the new models.

    Strangely my white macbook and macbook air are perfectly fine...
  9. jhkuo macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2009
    The service center sent my MBP back, indicated there was no fault with it. I was ready to give up and live with it... To cut the long story short, after more testing in various locations, it turned out the the whiny headphone noise was caused by the electrical interference from the powerline ethernet adaptor (which was plugged in the wall socket 2 meters away!) in my home office. As soon as I move the MBP away from the adaptor, the whiny sound disappears.

    My MBA and white macbook were not affected by the same powerline ethernet adaptor.

    If your new unibody MBP is suffering from the headphone noise, maybe you could check for source of the electrical interference in your room, as MBP seems to be more susceptible to it. Hope this finding might help someone.

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