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  1. #1
    Weird Audio Performance - Replaced Motherboard - Late 2013/Mid 2014

    Member Since
    May 11, 2020
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    Weird Audio Performance - Replaced Motherboard - Late 2013/Mid 2014
    Hi Team - I am a little perplexed given my situation and could use some insights from others.

    Original Specs - Late 2013, 15in MBP, 2.3, DG, 16gb

    Issue - After using an unofficial charger, the MacBook started to experience bad audio quality via the onboard speakers. Both speakers sound tinny and top out quite badly, especially at high volume and in the mid's to treble's. Audio output via the headphone jack or thunderbolt is not effected. There are no other performance/ functionality issues.

    What I have done thus far in order -
    1) Switched the speakers with a donor Mac - No change in audio quality on the original Mac. The original Mac speakers functioned normally (no tinny/ topping out) in donor Mac
    2) Swapped motherboard for 661-00679 (Mid 2014, 2.5, DG, 16gb), formatted HDD and clean install of 10.15.4 - No change to speakers
    3) Changed battery (cycle count over 1000) with a quality replacement from Louis Rossman Group - No change to speakers
    4) Changed microphone array with used OEM part - No change to speakers
    5) Changed I/O board with used OEM part - No change to speakers

    Other Considerations -
    - I have run diagnostics and get the all clear code "ADP000".
    - I have reset the SMC, then PRAM, then SMC again between every hardware change

    See why I'm starting to go crazy? Short of the screen, trackpad, WiFi card, SSD, or MagSafe connector, I essentially have a new Mac. Yes, others can discern the tinny audio and it is even more apparent when playing side by side with another Mac - I'm not crazy .

    Thus far I have only invest $120 USD into this refresh/ repair (sold the original board at a premium over the replacement) but from here on out, the other components start to add up quickly in value. Yes, the Mac is roughly 7 years old and some might say it's time to pony up for a new Mac. But to me, I do not see the need (it can drive a 4k screen @ 60hz, can render casual games with no problem, has excellent IO, and doesn't show its computing age outside of 4k video renders). I originally imagined a ~$200 USD refresh would be more worthwhile than ~$2500 USD replacement but here I am, still with tinny speakers.

    Any ideas of what could be amiss here? I tried to be methodical in replacing my components but it seems that I've failed in my endeavor to fix the issue.

    Warm regards,
    AKA Wallace
    Last edited by wahugg; 05-11-2020 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Added further information.

  2. #2
    Weird Audio Performance - Replaced Motherboard - Late 2013/Mid 2014
    jasongoldworthy's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 28, 2017
    Wales, UK
    Your Mac's Specs
    iMac 27" 32GB i7 2.25TB Fusion OSX 10.15.4 late 2012
    Rep Power
    hi the only thing I could suggest is replacing the charger with an official one ?

    maybe its the charger all along,

    but then again re reading what you have posted may mean you have already done that,

    the only other part to replace is the DC in board and see how it goes

    it wouldn't be the screen causing the issues the wifi card or the trackpad in that sense even the ssd wouldn't cause this issue,

    but its a strange one as its not present when using headphones ??
    iMac Late 2012 27"
    Intel Core i7 3770 32GB Ram
    2.25TB Apple Fusion Drive
    OSX 10.15.4

  3. #3
    Weird Audio Performance - Replaced Motherboard - Late 2013/Mid 2014
    iggibar's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 20, 2009
    Your Mac's Specs
    A few computers, iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple Watch 1&5, iPad Pro 11"
    Rep Power
    The Late 2013/Mid 2014 MBP Retina models have known issues related to audio. In most cases, it's related to the digital audio port being shorted or filthy dirty,. This causes the internal speaker to not even show up because the computer thinks a digital output is connected.
    The other common issue relates to the Cirrus audio chipset. The actual chip is elevated from the board, and is soldered on balls of solder. The actual chip is reliable, but for a few reasons, the solder can crack, which leads to sound distortion that can't be fixed unless you remove and reseat the chip on a fresh solder connection. It's actually a pretty simple fix, but it requires a hot air soldering gun. Issues from cracked Cirrus joints can vary from weak speaker power, to static during ALL audio that is played.

    3.0GHz 10x Mac Pro 6.13.46GHz 6x Mac Pro 5.12.66GHz 4x Mac Pro 4.12.2GHz i7 15" MBP 15.12.3GHz i7 15" MBP 11.32.8GHz i7 13" MBP 11.12.66Ghz i7 15"MBP 6.22.4GHz 15" MBP 5.12.4GHz 13" MBP 7.1

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