New 2017 iMac 27" Speakers Sound Bad

HyQuality

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 8, 2008
117
4
NYC
I just updated from a Late 2012 iMac to the new 2017 iMac and the sound quality from the internal speakers is very noticeably worse in the new model. I don't really know how to describe it, other than to say that it sounds "muffled" and not as crisp and clear. I tried installing equalizer software (Boom 2) to try and fix it, which helped a little, but it still sounds far inferior to my old iMac's speakers. Is there some kind of "burn-in" period until the speakers will sound their best? Or is there something else I should do? Thanks in advance for your help!
 

Stefan johansson

macrumors 65816
Apr 13, 2017
1,294
606
Sweden
I use a wifi connected stereo amplifier with pro loudspeakers,get perfect sound quality from all my devices.
Guess the new loudspeakers installed in your Mac is something Apple try to save money with,as they want to sell you headphones.
 

guibo

macrumors member
Jun 8, 2017
64
20
it's apple's way to make the imac pro speakers sound better....

maybe yours are defective? Are you sure all packaging is removed and the ports are clear?
 

fokmik

macrumors 68040
Oct 28, 2016
3,760
3,061
USA
Maybe because the imac is not sitting as low as the last gen,so the sound bounce desk is lower
 

starwager19

macrumors newbie
Jan 1, 2016
27
6
Maybe because the imac is not sitting as low as the last gen,so the sound bounce desk is lower
Huh? Is that actually true? The dimensions specified on Apple's website are the same as the previous generation (20.3" high).
 

Trebuin

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2008
1,491
266
Central Cali
I've always used external speakers & was surprised how well it actually sounded compared to my much older 2007 iMac. I still went back to the externals which consist of two creative speakers & one Sony srx-55 for a boost of the bass. I split the audio out via a Y cable & tweaked the sound using boom 2 (now 3d). Honestly, I would rather just go with the sony & the internals, but I can't do both at the same time.
 

tich

macrumors member
Mar 8, 2012
62
36
Los Angeles, CA
I've always used external speakers & was surprised how well it actually sounded compared to my much older 2007 iMac. I still went back to the externals which consist of two creative speakers & one Sony srx-55 for a boost of the bass. I split the audio out via a Y cable & tweaked the sound using boom 2 (now 3d). Honestly, I would rather just go with the sony & the internals, but I can't do both at the same time.
You can, actually. Just make an aggregate device: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202000
 

Trebuin

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2008
1,491
266
Central Cali

tich

macrumors member
Mar 8, 2012
62
36
Los Angeles, CA
I tried that, but I will try again.
[doublepost=1497484591][/doublepost]
it only allows for "built in output" which goes between the headphones jack or built in audio. I still cannot get both to output.
Ah, I see. The only way around it as far as I can tell would be to get a cheap USB audio interface for the Sony, then create the aggregate device with that + built-in audio...but at that point you might as well pick up some better speakers too ;)
 

cptn.nemo

macrumors regular
Jun 20, 2016
113
39
Speakers in any computer are really a joke, especially a desktop. A set of $30 speakers on amazon has better sound, I wish imac would just ditch the speakers to make room for expanding something else. Anyone serious enough to buy a Mac Pro is going to have much better speaker systems anyway so what's the point
 

bcortens

macrumors member
Aug 16, 2007
58
27
Ontario Canada
Speakers in any computer are really a joke, especially a desktop. A set of $30 speakers on amazon has better sound, I wish imac would just ditch the speakers to make room for expanding something else. Anyone serious enough to buy a Mac Pro is going to have much better speaker systems anyway so what's the point
This sounds like a terrible idea. I bought an iMac to have an all in one device, that includes speakers, which, really, aren't all that bad, they may not be astounding but they do the job and do it with enough quality that I've never felt the need to add speakers on. It's one of the reasons I prefer the iMac to more modular solutions. I used to have a PC tower hackintosh (from 2010-2013 upgraded several times) but ditched it for the iMac, which offered equivalent performance in an all in one chassis. I like that everything is integrated into a single box. People are free to upgrade with their own add-on speakers but for those of us who like their all in one because it is an all in one I hope Apple doesn't remove the speakers anytime soon.
Though yes, a Mac Pro doesn't need internal speakers....
 

Trebuin

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2008
1,491
266
Central Cali
Ah, I see. The only way around it as far as I can tell would be to get a cheap USB audio interface for the Sony, then create the aggregate device with that + built-in audio...but at that point you might as well pick up some better speakers too ;)
The external speakers are excellent, I don't need to buy new ones of those. The problem is the audio output is controlled by hardware on the iMac. There's a possibility I might be able to do that with bluetooth, but I don't know.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,170
5,530
"there's got to be a better explanation for this besides "Apple got cheap on the speakers". Is anyone else noticing a difference in speaker/sound quality?"

Occam's razor.
Maybe that IS "the explanation"...
 

m.gansrigler

macrumors regular
Mar 19, 2011
111
52
Vienna, Austria
I must say, switching from a 2012 rMBP to the new iMac 27'' 2017, the speakers are a vast improvement and don't sound bad to me at all - nice bass, to be honest.
 

Half Rick

macrumors member
May 28, 2017
31
11
There's a clear difference between my 2015 and 2017 iMac speakers. Can't put my finger on exactly what's wrong, but when I got the 2015 I put away my external speakers - I'm about to bring them back now...
 
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Trebuin

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2008
1,491
266
Central Cali
The speakers can be tunes with software to sound really well. I personally used Boom2 in the past, but there are other software.
 

dsc888

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2010
299
59
Boston, MA USA
I have to agree with the OP here. I ordered but had to return 2 separate 2015 iMacs and they both had better sounding internal speakers than the 2017 that I'm typing from now. The sound is hollow and bass response is worse than the outgoing model. Looks like I have to dust off my old Cambridge Soundworks 2.1 Satellite speakers and Sub from my basement.
 

Half Rick

macrumors member
May 28, 2017
31
11
The speakers can be tunes with software to sound really well. I personally used Boom2 in the past, but there are other software.
True, that's one solution. But it's also somewhat besides the point. The new ones are worse. A company that spends time and money on changing the composition of the material underneath the Magic Mouse because "it didn't sound right" when dragging it on different surfaces after the weight changed due to using an internal battery would probably not miss the fact that the speakers are worse.

So what are the logical explanations here? Is it just a question of bad luck where Apple have never come across a unit with bad sound whereas the four 2017 iMacs I've tested that have lacked the crisp sound of the 2015 iMacs just come from a bad batch? Or have Apple chosen to accept a degradation of the sound for some reason?

The only reason I didn't return it is because mine doesn't stand out from the other three so I believe replacing it would just be a waste of time.