rMBP Speaker Quality

Textureboy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 25, 2012
322
40
Apple claims that they have " custom speakers utilize every cubic millimetre of available space to provide high-fidelity sound with wide dynamic range and better base response." Sounds great (no pun intended) but how are they really?

I couldn't find a thread on the rMBP speakers, and I was just wondering how loud and clear they were? I've tried them at the loud Apple store and it was pretty loud to hear movie trailers on YouTube.

What is your experience on the speakers? Were they better than the non retina?
 

zackkmac

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2008
741
40
Tulsa
I like mine just as much if not more than those on my 17" 2011 MBP. I think Apple exaggerated a little but for built-in speakers they are pretty great. :)
 

Outkast27

macrumors 6502
Feb 16, 2012
319
0
Earf
They are a very noticeable upgrade in sound quality compared to older machines. They have a wider range of sound, they have a lower response than the old models. Don't expect door rattling low end bass though, its more of a lower mid range.The high end frequencies are nice smooth and clear without being overwhelming or piercing. The over all sound is very satisfying for such a thin laptop.
 

Jamesesesesess

macrumors 6502a
Nov 26, 2011
594
68
I think they're an excellent set of speakers, and I use $300 Denon AH-D2000 headphones. The sound is clear, actually it has a bit of a punch to it. It's also loud. A big improvement over the cMBP's speakers. I think they're easily the best internal speakers on any laptop. It's not like they shouldn't be, this is a $2200+ laptop.
 

nontroppo

macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2009
430
21
Comparing my 2010MBP and rMBP side by side with the same music, same OS and same player, the difference is striking, especially in the clarity of the mid to high frequencies. It is a substantial improvement and the first time I will ever bother to listen to music on built-in speakers on a laptop (still miles worse than my hifi...)
 

ZacT94

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2012
196
0
The speakers are very good. They lack some bass, but the overall quality compensates for that.
 

whitedragon101

macrumors 65816
Sep 11, 2008
1,248
269
I like mine just as much if not more than those on my 17" 2011 MBP. I think Apple exaggerated a little but for built-in speakers they are pretty great. :)
Not quite my experience. I lined up a 17" (early 2011) 15" (2009) and 15" rMBP and played the same track. The 15" rMBP is definitely an improvement on the 15" MBP but it sounds tinny compared to the 17".

The best way to find this is to play a track on both the 17" and the 15" rMBP at the same time with the rMBP in mute. Listen to half the track then swap the mute and hear the bass just disappear.

I was disappointed but I guess bass is about size and there is really no way round the fact the speakers in the rMBP are half the size of the 17". However, if you are coming from a 15" MBP or any other laptop you will love them.
 
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TLewis

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2007
1,130
0
left coast, US
The highs and midrange are surprisingly good for a laptop. However, because the highs and midrange are so (relatively) good, that emphasizes just how almost nonexistent the bass is.
 

oyebto

macrumors regular
May 26, 2008
115
0
Singapore
i was previously comparing the rmbp with 13" mba and 15" mbp and the bass, though still pretty little, is leagues better than the other 2 models. clarity and space is also way improved.
 

gokart mozart

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2011
256
1
Well, all my previous personal Macbook experiences had been with 13" MBPs and the plastic MBs. I have occasionally used a friends 17" or someone's Air. I'm quite happy with my MBPr's speakers so far. They are significantly louder than any of the previous models I've used. Used to be that when I wanted to watch something (like a move or show, not flash clips) or listen to Spotify or iTunes, I would either use headphones or computer speakers, but I no longer feel the need to do that.

Actual quality is better than most of the laptop speakers I've ever used. Not quite as good as the 2011 17" due to lack of bass (not that any of the MBPs have had that much bass) and an unnatural hollowness that I can't quite pin point. I think someone above mentioned an unnatural resonance, and that may be a better way of describing it. There is something synthetic sounding, about the quality. It lacks warmth, and it may very well be that missing bass. Not that I would want Beats audio-esque bass on my MBPr. While I think neither the MBPr nor the latest high-end HPs are balanced in the sound frequency department, I do think the MBPr sounds better. It doesn't have the tendency to get muddied by being too bassy like the Beats set ups do. It is a cleaner sound... just synthetic.

But for a laptop, it is damn good. I wouldn't expect the same quality of a 5.1 or even 2.1 speaker home set-up.
 

jsamuelson

macrumors member
Sep 12, 2008
71
2
Switzerland
Comparing my 2010MBP and rMBP side by side with the same music, same OS and same player, the difference is striking, especially in the clarity of the mid to high frequencies. It is a substantial improvement and the first time I will ever bother to listen to music on built-in speakers on a laptop (still miles worse than my hifi...)
This ^^^ !

The speakers are now good enough that I usually don't bother plugging in my Logitech USB speakers, and might get rid of them. The clarity is great, and with a touch of enhancement in iTunes the soundstage is very acceptable.

It's not audiophile quality but very listen-able!
 

tau101

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2012
58
1
I think they're an excellent set of speakers, and I use $300 Denon AH-D2000 headphones. The sound is clear, actually it has a bit of a punch to it. It's also loud. A big improvement over the cMBP's speakers. I think they're easily the best internal speakers on any laptop. It's not like they shouldn't be, this is a $2200+ laptop.
Same. I have D7000s too :D
 

mgartner0622

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2010
1,019
0
Colorado, USA
The speakers are good quality, but remember you'll never get the deep bass that external speakers with drivers that are 10x the size provide. For the size however, they do perform really well.
 

borisiii

macrumors 6502
Jul 4, 2010
358
0
They are impressively loud and high quality for a laptop, especially coming from a 13". That said, the bass just doesn't compare to any external speaker system.

The only slight disappointment is that, at the highest 4 volume notches, there is some rattle/crackling in high frequencies - although it mostly isn't very noticeable (audiophile here).
 

Pompiliu

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2012
544
0
Who the hell cares about laptop speakers? Get a nice pair of speakers or headphones.

And i'm not talking about Beats, Bose, Logitech etc.;)
 

Textureboy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 25, 2012
322
40
Who the hell cares about laptop speakers? Get a nice pair of speakers or headphones.

And i'm not talking about Beats, Bose, Logitech etc.;)
It's a nice PLUS :) Got a nice pair of ultimate ears already ;)
 

macuser2134

macrumors member
Feb 15, 2012
50
0
My opinion is that having internal speakers are never suitable for a laptop. Even with all of Apple's computer-assisted acoustics modelling. You cannot go around the fact that the cavity size is physically not nearly big enough to create any kind of audible base frequency response. There's simply no way to do it. You can make what is known as a "flat-panel" speaker. Which is very thin but has a significant area. However that configuration of speaker its not really feasable since they are inevitably highly directional. The surfaces of a laptop cannot point in the required direction(s) without some kind of pull-out mechanism. A "speaker bar" or external speaker configuration makes a lot more sense, which is actually practical from the engineering and physics standpoint. Unlike these things.

Personally, its already 100% certain that I will be jacking-in with headphones. Therefore I would prefer the laptop manufacturers just accept defeat and that they can't do this properly. Isn't that Apple's mantra that they won't touch something if they can't to it properly? The concept itself (of having them in the first place) is what is really flawed. A speaker bar or something external that connects through Airplay, which is their accepted wireless connection method. It would just sound a whole lot better.

The internal space is far too valuable to be wasted like that. Use the room for SODIMMS, mSATA SSD slot or a bigger battery. Consider that most of the time these questionable-quality internal speakers are not actually being used and are therefore electrically turned off. Compare to the other possible laptop resources, which always are being utilized to improve overall performance and no matter what the exact circumstances are.
 
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icanboogie

macrumors regular
Nov 12, 2008
160
5
Berlin
I've compared the rMBP speakers to the pre-unibody 17 MBP (model 4.1) speakers, which to my taste were the best speakers in any Macbook up to date, also better than the following unibody machines.

the rMBP speakers are much clearer, more detailed and feel "wider", although they lack a bit of bass. but this is only noticeable in direct comparison, otherwise the rMPB speakers sound very very good.
 

gmanist1000

macrumors 68030
Sep 22, 2009
2,649
185
Just wanted to have some input here, I absolutely think the new speakers on the machine are amazing. For being laptop speakers, the sound is very clear and loud. The sound definitely sounds "wider" as other have said.

I have used the speakers on my iMac quite a bit, and the speakers on the rMBP are much better.
 

tau101

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2012
58
1
I think the quality of the speakers is actually quite understated in general. They are incredible for what they are.
 

Textureboy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 25, 2012
322
40
Enjoying me rMBP speakers, I don't expect any bass on them. They are loud and clear love it :)
 

gbit

macrumors member
Aug 20, 2012
56
0
for a laptop - GOOD
no chance against any other "normal" audio devices of course