Use USB port for Audio Out?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Codeseven, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Codeseven macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    #1
    My MBP's headphone jack is old, warn, loose and only gets stern out sometimes.

    While using audio apps, such as GarageBand, is there a way to use one of the USB ports for audio out instead of the headphone port? Thanks
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #2
    You could use something like this. Some of the reviewers say it works fine with their MacBooks.
     
  3. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #3
    You could also use Bluetooth audio out. Google for bluetooth headphones or bluetooth speakers.

    One big Bluetooth advantage: no wires.

    Another option: a Bluetooth headphone adapter. It receives BT audio, and has a jack you plug wired headphones into.
     
  4. Codeseven, Feb 17, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017

    Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 31, 2008
    #4
    Thanks guys.

    Being more specific. I was using GarageBand out to a TC Helicon VoiceLive Play GTX via the headphone jack using a stereo to stereo cable (I have to speakers connected to the GTX's L&R Audio Out ports). I have a USB to stereo cable which I have connected from the MBP's USB to the 1/8" Aux In on the GTX, but no sound.
     
  5. mike1123 macrumors 6502

    mike1123

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    #5
    As it so happens, there is an entire market for these types of devices. They're called audio interfaces, which are basically USB DACs (Digital Analog Converters) and most will be natively compatible with OS X, no drivers needed, since they use Core Audio. Then you have the side benefit of being able to connect instruments and microphones, since many of them have 48V phantom power, which is necessary for a lot of condenser microphones.

    Here is a reasonably priced unit that I recommend: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...ett_solo_2nd_gen_scarlett_solo_usb_audio.html

    Cheers!

    EDIT: And as for the other options, Bluetooth would work, but audio quality isn't good unless the AptX codec or something else similar is used. That little dongle posted above is basically an extremely cheap DAC (USB is the digital, audio out is the analog). You will be very pleased with the sound quality of what I posted (and there are many other options, too, but I have had good experiences with this particular unit). Also check out M-Audio for entry level gear.
     
  6. Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    #6
    Thanks Mike.

    In essence, am I using the GTX as an audio interface? Actually, I connect it to my iPad Air's headphone jack and the GTX works great. I was hoping to do the same with the laptop but it's headphone jack performs unacceptably. That's why I was hoping to use one of its USB ports instead.
     
  7. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #7
    Has the MBP's headphone jack degraded over time, or was it always flaky?

    How often is the MBP moved? How many insert/remove cycles does the MBP's jack endure over the course of a week? Would the USB port need to endure a similar number of cycles per week as the headphone jack does?

    I'm asking because 1/8" jacks simply aren't designed for long life, at least not the compact ones in typical computers. You may be able to find an independent technician who can replace the jack, or maybe not.

    Sadly, USB A receptacles (the female ports on the computer) are also not designed for long life (defined as insertion cycles):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#Durability
    ... The newer Micro-USB receptacles are designed for a minimum rated lifetime of 10,000 cycles of insertion and removal between the receptacle and plug, compared to 1,500 for the standard USB and 5,000 for the Mini-USB receptacle. Features intended to accomplish [this] include, a locking device was added and the leaf-spring was moved from the jack to the plug, so that the most-stressed part is on the cable side of the connection.​

    So if the MBP gets moved around a lot, and its USB port endures lots of insertion cycles, it will eventually fail, too. It's likely to become intermittent before it completely fails, but an intermittent USB port is as useless as one that's completely failed, because no USB devices will be able to retain a data connection.
     
  8. Codeseven, Feb 17, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017

    Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 31, 2008
    #8
    It's an old 2008 MBP so the headphones port has just worn out over time.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 17, 2017 ---
    Ok, so I am losing my mind.

    Duh, the GTX has a mini USB port, so, I connected it to a USB port on the laptop, selected the GTX for Output in System Preferences, selected the GTX for Output in GarageBand, and boom, there it is.

    Sorry guys.
     
  9. mike1123 macrumors 6502

    mike1123

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    Sep 19, 2007

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