Diego commented on my last blog posting about the sound issues some users have noticed with the MacBook Pro’s. I think it’s best to post about this separately instead of in the comments, so here goes. Diego asks…
I was wondering whether you’ve noticed any problems with the right speaker? I’ve seen some comments from others where there seems to be some distortion/vibrations coming from the right speaker. Just curious. Some of these comments were on the Apple discussion forums.
Let me qualify myself before answering this question. I am a bit of an amateur audiophile…I know what good music sounds like, and I’ve listened to music on speakers costing upwards of $10k/pair. These high-end brands like B&W, Klipsch, and even a few Mirage and PSB systems sound a lot better than your average JBL or Polk setup (though JBLs pro series are excellent in large areas such as for concerts). Sony speakers aren’t even close to this league. I have an M&K home theater system here, and really enjoy kicking back and listening to some music (2 channel, not surround) with my eyes closed. However, with all this said, I’m not an audiophile in the sense that I’ll spend tens of thousands of dollars on a setup. Many audiophiles probably wouldn’t even consider me to be one.
So to answer the question, my right and left speakers do not sound uniform. This is one of the first things I tested when the MacBook Pro arrived. The right speaker doesn’t sound distorted as much as it sounds like there is a lack of bass. Chris Liscio has documented this over on his blog complete with acoustic measurements, and his observations match what I am hearing.
Oddly enough, when the balance is set in the center, the sound combines pretty well. The speakers aren’t far enough apart to give good stereo separation, so really it’s close to just being monaural. I would have never known there was a problem if others hadn’t mentioned it and I hadn’t tried adjusting the balance all the way to the right and left myself. They sound like laptop speakers. 🙂
I’m sure Apple will respond to this issue since I believe it probably effects most, if not all, the MacBook Pros that have shipped. Like Chris, I hope it is a software problem. If they don’t respond to this, then I’m not going to worry about it. 99% of the time the deficiency won’t even be noticeable.