MacBook Prof Mid 2009: Speaker distortion

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Nick Jinks, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Nick Jinks, Apr 12, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017

    Nick Jinks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #1
    I have a 13.3 mid 2009 MacBook Pro, and recently the speakers have started distorting. It seems to be both speakers [changing balance from mid to left or right doesn't entirely eliminate the distortion, although seems to be more prominent on the right], and using headphones does solve the problem.

    I've tried looking for solutions but Google isn't very helpful. Does anyone have suggestions on how I might fix this? I reset the PRAM data [I think that's what it's called] but I'm not sure what else I can try.

    Any info or advice would be appreciated. I like this MacBook, but between one USB port, the battery, the Wifi card, the DVD drive and now the speakers, it seems to be dying. I'd prefer to continue using it rather than purchase USB speakers if I can avoid it.

    Thanks!

    Edit: Haven't recently installed new software, hardware or made other changes that might account for this.
     
  2. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    If they are physically damaged you will have to replace them.

    Have you recently installed any audio utilities that might pushing a custom EQ curve to the sound and causing it to distort?
     
  3. Nick Jinks thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #3
    Thanks for the reply. I've made no recent software changes at all other than any automatic software updates from Apple.
     
  4. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #4
    Did the problem appear after one of the OS updates? Looks like your machine isn't officially supported for Sierra.

    Otherwise, could be hardware, though it would be odd if both speakers started deteriorating at the same time. Have you played them very loud?
     
  5. Nick Jinks thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #5
    You're right, my Mac won't support Sierra. I don't think the problem started after a specific update, it was this weekend. And I usually have the speakers at 50-100% max volume, so 75% average. I'm not sure why that would cause damage though.
     
  6. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #6
    Old speakers are more prone to damage from being played loud, though I don't know if that's a common issue with the ones used in the old MBPs. It only takes a moment to damage a speaker with high volume of a kind it has trouble with. The quality of sound signal also affects that, if you were trying new sources. Something as simple as a faulty resistor could also lead to damage.

    I didn't realize they're still updating pre-Sierra OS.
     
  7. Nick Jinks thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #7
    I don't feel I've been playing my speakers especially loudly. I presume that the OS maximum volume would not be damaging to the hardware anyway.

    I usually watch movies, use Skype or play iTunes music, I'm very boring. Maybe the speakers are simply old, the MacBook is nearly 8 years old by now. Kind of wanted to run it until it completely died.
     
  8. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #8
    You could probably get the speakers replaced, but you'd get better sound with external speakers (via the headphone jack is also an option) for the same money, probably, if portability isn't a big factor.
     
  9. Nick Jinks thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #9
    I can get a set of USB speakers for £15 on Amazon, it'll be much better than replacing the internal speakers on a dying laptop.
     
  10. thesaint024 macrumors 6502a

    thesaint024

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Location:
    Republic of California
    #10
    Well kept speakers should last much longer. If your MBP was subject to elements or temp variation they could be more susceptible to blowing. That said, it's still not a sure thing that the speakers will handle any content you put through it. Distorted sound or extremely low frequencies could easily blow speakers that are outside their range. Sorry, none of this helps you, just don't keep playing distortion on these speakers if it's the source sound and not the speaker that's causing it, because it could damage the speaker.
     
  11. Nick Jinks thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #11
    Thanks. I guess I'll buy some cheap USB speakers, as I doubt anything I've done has caused the damage. Are there any other suggestions or tests I could run that might fix the problem please?
     
  12. thesaint024 macrumors 6502a

    thesaint024

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Location:
    Republic of California
    #12
    I had/have the '09 MBP. It was/is an awesome computer and I plan to keep using it to some degree for years. However, the speakers on it were typical s**tty laptop speakers so I rarely used them for anything. It's a blessing in disguise that you can use decent speakers instead!

    Not sure if I'm clear on whether these are blown or if it is some other hardware or even software issue. If you've confirmed they are physically blown, don't bother fixing and get a set of speakers like you said. If you are still unsure, the only thing I'd try are other audio sources like iTunes vs. local mp3 file vs. video. That will narrow down if it's software. If it's not blown and not software, I don't even know how to begin troubleshooting possible cable connections etc. If you're adventurous, maybe you can open it up and see, but I wouldn't have the b**ls to do that myself since you might damage something even more important than the speakers. On the bright side, if something had to break, it might as well be crappy speakers instead of something that makes your MBP unusable. Sorry.
     
  13. Nick Jinks thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    #13
    Thanks for the reply. I don't know how to check whether the speakers are physically blown, but the distortion persists in Quicktime, iTunes, Safari, youTube etc but NOT in earphones. Therefore I presume that it is a speaker rather than soundcard issue.

    I'm adventurous, but not stupid. Cost of uSb speakers = £15'ish. Cost of repairing the internals i myself: Replacing the entire laptop when I screw it up.
     
  14. macmacmacr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    #14
    It may not be your speakers. I have a Macbook pro 2010 running Yosemite and it is also doing the same thing. The startup sound is slightly slower wobbly sound and when I play videos or sound there is a low rumble. This started to occur in Aug-2017
     

Share This Page