Retina MacBook Pro - External audio static

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by RSully, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. RSully macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2011
    I got my Retina MacBook Pro today from Fedex and all has been amazing. I just noticed a problem when I went to hook it into my desk with all my equipment.

    As soon as I plugged it into my speakers and it made sound there was a static/hiss that filled the channels. I figured it is electrical issues so I unplugged everything from it except for the audio, and it is continuing.

    One thing worth pointing out is I am using analog speakers (3.5" headphone jack). Also when noise stops for a while the line goes completely dead until something needs it again, but as soon as the audio is activated the hiss comes back. It is much less noticeable when I use my iPhone headset. But I still can just barely tell its there.
  2. zachnelson macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2010
    I've noticed this before on other equipment, I'm sure youve tried this but its worth me saying this.

    I have a 2.1 channel system which plugs in via 3.5mm jack. The system has its own external volume control, both on the woofer and for the split L/R speakers. If that volume control is at 100% and my Mac's volume control is at ~10% there's noise.

    Trying turning your macs volume all the way up, and using you're external volume console as the integral changer for loudness, is there still noise?

    Also, is there still noise if both volumes are at 0%? If so it leads me to believe there is electrical interference that is getting through the shielding on your cords.


    Especially interference from live/amflied coax cables (how you get your TV if you have cable) really bothered my system.
  3. RSully thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2011
    Regardless of my Mac's volume, the external volume control is what controls how loud the hiss is. If my external is ~10% and my Mac is 100% I can use it without too much distraction, but I can certainly tell it's there. If my external is 100% and my Mac is 0% (or 100%, whatever) the whole channel is hiss and unusable.

    What is weird is that this only happens when the Mac's audio circuit/driver is in use. After ~10 seconds of silence the whole channel drops dead. As soon as my Mac makes noise it comes to life, hiss and all. Sometimes the audio (iChat sound, for example) is so short I don't even hear it by the time the system kicks in.
  4. ulfnicz macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2012
  5. ewellein macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2012
    same thing for me

    hi, i just tested my new macbook retina with a new set of good quality earbuds - same thing, the static is there as you describe / whenever sound is called for.

    hope a solution comes soon, maybe in an update eh?

  6. bruss147 macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2008
    I just noticed this as well, but thought it odd because it didn't use to make the hiss. Then I realized what's different right now is I'm plugged into a knock off power cable with the magsafe to magsafe 2 adapter (When I usually only plug in at work and with the power cable that it came with). If I unplug the cheap power cable, the static noise goes away instantly. I realize you say you unplugged everything, but just in case that didn't include the power cable...
  7. DTKblaster macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2012
    I noticed the hiss too, maybe its connecting to the whole metal case being electrically charged when not properly grounded (not using the included power extension cable) as in you can feel that vibrating feeling when running the back of your hand lightly across a flat surface.

    When I can be bothered, I'll see if it hisses in windows too.
  8. mrphil1 macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2012
    MacBook Pro non-retina

    I have just purchased a MacBook Pro (non-retina model) and I have the same problem. I am using Harman Kardon Sound Sticks and as soon as a system notification (such as an incoming email) comes, I get loud noise for approx 10 seconds.

    Even muting the audio output has no effect on the noise.

    After 10 seconds the noise disappears and clean normal sounds come through. This usually happens after the Mac has been unused for a little while.

    Really hope to see this issue get resolved.

  9. dazza139 macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2011
    Exactly the same problem with the thunderbolt display. A hiss that only occurs when sounds has been called for and lasts for a 10-20 seconds afterwards as well. A software fix would be great!
  10. mrphil1 macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2012
    Problem solved

    Today I called Apple Customer Support and although they are not aware of this issue they suggested a solution, which seems to have worked for me.

    There were two procedures.. reset the SMC then reset the NVRAM & PRAM.

    Firstly I reset the SMC as per

    If done correctly your MacBook should not turn on... it should remain off. Make sure you follow the correct procedure in the above link. I was advised to do the following for my Mid 2012 MacBook Pro...

    Note: Portable computers that have a battery you should not remove on your own include MacBook Pro (Early 2009) and later, all models of MacBook Air, and MacBook (Late 2009).
    1. Shut down the computer.
    2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.
    3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
    4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
    5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.
    Note: The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

    However.. don't carry out step 5 just yet.. go and reset the NVRAM & PRAM since your Mac is already off.. as per (copied below for convenience)..

    1. Shut down your Mac. (not necessary because it should still remain off from above procedure).
    2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
    3. Turn on the computer.
    4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.
    5. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
    6. Release the keys.

    Since doing both procedures I have not heard any static noise (so far 6 hours of use). Although the problem was random and not easy to reproduce, I used to hear it very regularly so I'm confident it has solved it for me. Now I have my Harman Kardon Sound Sticks at a nice loud volume.

    Thanks to Angela @ Apple Support :)

  11. mrphil1 macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2012
    .. False positive

    My previous assumption that the problem was solved was unfortunately wrong... However I have since found the cause of my issue.

    During my telephone call with Apple, they advised me to disconnect every device (USB / Thunderbolt / PSU).. as it transpires, it was a USB cable that was causing the noise as it has again reappeared now that I have connected everything.

    Although the USB cable bears the USB logo (which means in theory it should legally comply to USB specification testing) I have no idea of the quality of this cable. I swapped it for another cable and the noise has disappeared.

    Neither the old or new cable had a ferrite clamp fitted to filter noise, however I would have expected the MacBook to be resilient to USB noise getting into the audio circuit regardless of the USB cable quality and I would expect only the USB speed performance to take a hit with a poor cable.

    C'est la Vie..

    With my replacement cable the noise has completely gone.

    I have a call scheduled with Apple in a couple of days (due to travel arrangements) and will post an update following that call.

  12. affenpincher macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2012

    I wanted to thank you for this post, it helped my problem and let me listen to my tunes again. I am sure the static will reappear occasionally, but at least now I have something I can try other than stomping my feet in a bad mood because I am missing the drum solo... never mind...

    I registered only to tell you that.

    It was especially helpful that you wrote all the steps out, so I didn't have to chase it all down. So never think you are stating the obvious. People like me need that. Heck, you should have seen me trying to figure out how to push down 4 keys, and the 'on' button...:eek:
  13. Enjoi03 macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2009
    Hopefully it's ok i resurrect this thread =X

    Anyway, I just started having static on my rMBP through an external dac and amp. It's kinda been happening at an increasing rate and the volume seems to be getting louder. I've checked all my equipment and i'm pretty sure they're not the problem.

    Going to try resetting my smc right now.
  14. No-Me macrumors 6502a

    Jul 3, 2011
    I just bought a pair of Shure SE535's, and immediately heard the same static noise, unfortunately resetting the SMC doesn't work, does anyone have another solution?
  15. Skigaist macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2013
    Seems to be a grounding issue. Disconnecting the charger works for me.
  16. No-Me macrumors 6502a

    Jul 3, 2011
    No, it ended being a problem of the audio output of the MacBook Pro. My headphones are high dependency headphones, the MacBook pro has a low dependency output. Using a external soundcard right now and the problem is gone.
  17. afigen macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2013
    rMBP audio problems following latest update

    I have a 15" macbook pro retina that I have been using mainly on desktop attached to a thunderbolt display. Few days ago, I started hearing terrible crackles and distorted audio (youtube, itunes..). Each one of the 4 outputs (internal speakers, ATD speakers, B&W MM-1 external speakers and my headphones) having the same problem. So it definitely is not related to any of the speakers. Unchecking "automatic graphic switching" did not help. Resetting the SMC and PRAM did not either.

    Then I tried windows 7 on bootcamp and tried, no problems at all both on youtube and itunes. Clean sound from all the outputs. Clearly this is not an hardware issue.

    So I really wonder if it is due to a Macbook retina update of a few days ago that is causing it. Since I am a new to Macs, I wonder whether it is possible to go back to a date prior to the update and restore from there? Or any suggestions?

Share This Page