Why are Mac laptop built-in speakers not that great?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by princealfie, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. princealfie macrumors 68030


    Mar 7, 2006
    Salt Lake City UT
    I love my Powerbooks, iBooks, and Macbook but I noted that the built-in speakers of Apple laptops (except the Pismo which is awesome) have rather weak and not-quite audiophile quality on their speakers.

    I was wondering why Apple doesn't improve upon the quality and volume of their laptop speakers. (I tend to use external speakers or headphones for my Apple laptops)?:apple: :apple: :apple:
  2. SamIchi macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2004
    Macs in general have crap speakers. I use external speakers all the time for my MacBook.
  3. mick4394 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2006
    Flyover country
    Here are the reasons I can come up with.

    1. Apple puts a premium on style over substance. They do not want speaker vents to be seen, so Mac laptop speakers, basically, shoot the sound in the opposite direction of where the user would be.

    2. Cheap/small speakers. Apple wants their computers to be as thin as possible. As such, they put very small speakers in their computers. I tend to put the emphasis on cheap, in this example, because I have had cell phones with smaller speakers than my Macbook that output stronger sound.

    3. They don't care. They think that most people will be using headphones on a portable any way.

    Sound quality in Apple laptops has always been a problem, and it seems to be getting worse. My iBook had much better sound output than my current Macbook. I hope the next generation of Apple laptops produces stronger sound than the current models, heck I'm not even asking for high quality sound. I just want to be able to hear it.
  4. siurpeeman macrumors 603


    Dec 2, 2006
    the OC
    if you want "audiophile quality" sound, you should be using external speakers or headphones like are you. a laptop's main purpose is to be a portable computer not a portable jukebox.
  5. coffey7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2006
    My 6 year old T-23 IBM has a better and louder sound than my macbook. You can buy a Hp with Harmon speakers that kick tail. I guess they just do it to save money. Lame. I guess your best bet is to buy some over priced speakers at the apple store and carry them around with you in your apple bag.
  6. kevinliu4 macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2006
    I don't know about the older laptops and the MacBooks but the speakers on my MBP are very good imo.
  7. dadsgravy macrumors newbie


    Feb 20, 2007
    I agree with that. apple built a computer not a stereo. Use headphones or external speakers. I have mine hooked up to my home stereo and it is loud as h***. Besides, if the speakers were top quality there would be some turd at starbucks or school blasting is hippidy hop and who wants that.:apple:
  8. CRAZYBUBBA macrumors 65816


    Mar 28, 2007
    Whatever, I shouldn't be straining to watch a movie or listen to music on my PB... Apple are you listening???

  9. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    it isn't rocket science to get good sound out of a small space. Apple really outta do something. Steve? Steve? can you hear us? No, he's using an MBP and doesn't have his headphones on...
  10. zephead macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2006
    in your pants
    I was disappointed with my MacBook speakers when I first got it as well, but I found this iTunes plug-in called Volume Logic that really puts a lot more 'umph' in my speakers. I know the point is "Why should I have to buy something extra for something my Mac should already have?", but the plug-in works very well. It's $20, but there's a coupon code TUNE54G that'll knock $5 off the price. There's also a month of free trial.

    :eek: That sounds like one big ad. Oh well, hope it helps. :eek: :)
  11. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Speaking of "science"... :p

    Did you know:

    In simple terms: Tiny little 1 inch speakers stuffed into a laptop will always sound like crapola, compared to "real" speakers.

    Go out to a club and listen to real musicians play, and make note of how they're not using a couple of 1-inch speakers for their PA. Small speakers = crapola. ;)
  12. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    Shhhh. Don't tell Bose.

    Yea, I get that club sound outta my home stereo speakers alot. People always tell me it sounds just like the club.

    The point is that Apple's speakers suck. No one said they could get club quality out of a laptop, but hearing the sound shouldn't be out of the realm of the possible. I'll be mounting those club speakers on my laptop post haste.
  13. Edwin the Elder macrumors member

    May 4, 2005
    Ottawa, Canada
    It's not just the speakers, it's also the built-in amp. I find it can barely drive my Bose tri-port headphones even with volume at max.

    I connect the MacBook to my Apple iPod Hi-Fi through an optical cable and it sounds fine.
  14. PCtoMac-change macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2007
    Da same hardcore gangsta's dat put dem 24's on their rides, and think my '67 Shelby GT500 is crap :) .
  15. iLoveMyMBP macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2007
    New York
    my speaekers (internal) are excellent the bass hits very nicely i couldn't be happier!!
  16. swinneyn macrumors member


    Oct 17, 2006
    san francisco, ca
    I agree that apple laptops have crappy speakers, but if your on a train or in a cafe, or anywhere you should actually be using a laptop, have some decency and put headphones in. I don't want to here your hippidy hop, or your action movie, or what ever the h*** your listening to (or is it too?)! When your at home just hook it up to some external speakers. Problem Solved :D .
  17. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    The 17" MBP has 4 speakers - it's very full sounding, especially considering the space restrictions. It's noticeably better than the 15". I imagine the MacBook that much less [than the 15"]. But - it's hard to compare to most external speaker systems (though, I think they're better than my iPod IM3 Altec Lansing)

    The MBP (and even back to Aluminum PB's) have improved GREATLY over the titanium PB's. My 17" PB was OK, but the MBP 17" is noticeably better - no comparison to the original G4's. Just pointing out they haven't entirely ignored the speakers.

    They really aren't intended to be room-filling...

    edit: they actually had designed a bass-port system back in 1997 for the 3400c and original PowerBook G3 (Kanga). Of course, it was 7.5 lbs, and 2.4" thick (for a 12.1" display) http://www.stratos.com/HTML/work/apple-powerbook-ee.shtml
  18. WillMak macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2005
    use vlc and overdrive the volume at 400%. it usually makes it sound better and louder.
  19. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I like that model as well.

    It's huge compared to a MBP. Everything comes at a price. In my case, I prefer a smaller computer rather than quality sound when it comes to a laptop.
  20. Xeem macrumors 6502a


    Feb 2, 2005
    Nicely done!

    But to everyone saying "use headphones" or "laptops aren't stereos," I think Princealfie's complaint is that Apple laptop speakers fall short even when only compared to other laptops (including, as he said, even older Powerbooks). My 15" Aluminum Powerbook speakers were definitely inferior to my girlfriend's entry-level 15" Toshiba laptop; a budget laptop featuring a Celeron and Intel Extreme Graphics 2 shouldn't come equipped with better speakers than a laptop from Apple's flagship line. Apple really needs to step it up here.
  21. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    it'd be a laugh to see, though :D
  22. chosenwolf macrumors 6502a


    Feb 4, 2006
    Los Angeles
    IMO, the 17" Macbook Pro produces quality sound and can be considered loud for a notebook/portable.
  23. faintember macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2005
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    Sound quality aside, the amp for the MB/MBP speakers is somewhat weak. If I want quality I'll hook up my FW audio interface, but for on the go, I just need to be able to hear what I am playing.

    I guess we can partially blame audio editors for over-compressing everything.
  24. jmsait19 macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2004
    you mean blaming poor mastering engineers... but thats another discussion for another time...

    but seriously. a nice pair of headphones will make you forget that you even have speakers on the computer...

    but if you are referring to the output volume of the speakers, i agree. i don't need thumpin' bass, because obviously that isn't going to happen. but i want to turn up the volume to a level where i could hear and decipher speech... i think the speakers fall short in this area. anything more than standard room noise can drown these things out.
  25. deasine macrumors member


    Mar 19, 2007
    Well I have to say that Apple is just not investing into this. But then there are many devices now with tiny speakers but has excellent sound quality, the PSP for example. Maybe Apple should begin to look into this.

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