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MacBook Pro 16 speakers


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Absolutely BANGING

Never had bass like this from a laptop. Taunt, precise, detailed. Sound stage is massive. Highs are a bit excitable but it adds to the energy.

They are so entertaining. I have some special Berlin audio equipment on my desk and I have to say this LAPTOP is just as much fun. Can't quite believe I am saying this, so if you have a chance to try one out in a shop make sure you turn it full blast and play some Swedish rock through it

What a bomb she was!

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Hi Andrew. Yes the new speaker design is sweet but don’t get carried away by the sound. Those machines are a nightmare for audio editing tasks. There are 2 huge threads on MacRumors and many videos on YT about the intense audio popping that can be noticed inside Logic, FCPX and many other apps.

I am experiencing this issue myself on a 2019 15 inch unit and the only solution is to use an external audio interface (or headphones). Apple is aware of this issue for almost 10 months now and has done nothing to fix it.

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35 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

No issues here yet. What's the gist of the cause? Electronic / GPU noise interference or is it software / codec related?

According to Apple this is software related but it could be hardware as well. A fast way to replicate this is to open a project in FCPX, enable audio skimming and then hover the mouse pointer above any clip in you library's browser (play/stop commands in timeline will also produce a pop). Here is a video i made about this:

 

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Agreed! The previous Touch Bar 15" MBP blew me away -glad to see it may be even better on the 16".

Now, the bad:
As much as I have enjoyed the quality of sound for fun from the recent big MBPs, I don't know what Mac OS is doing to achieve it. If you play music or whatever through Bootcamp, you'll notice the sound is not as good in the Windows implementation on the same hardware so there's *something* that Apple is doing in software. And that means I can't trust it for critical mixing. Great for music, movie, and otherwise fun uses, though.

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To be fair you can't trust any small speaker for "critical mixing". You've got reference desktop studio monitors for that and can get quality for a very good price these days. Small speakers colour the sound too much.

Does seem Apple is applying some digital enhancement to the internal audio. The answer is to use a high quality USB DAC and external speakers for everything serious and leave it to the internal speakers to entertain you, for casual use.

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Using laptop speakers as a reference for how consumers might be hearing your audio makes sense.  Recording studios used to have a small speaker with an in-line compressor to simulate what the audio would sound like over the radio.

Beyond that though, yeah, you need decent speakers.  .....or horrible speakers to go with the old "if it sounds great on this it will sound great on anything" approach of things like the original NS10 monitors.

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I'm not saying that I... ugh. What I mean is... hmm... lol.

@kye knows what I mean.

I'm an audio-engineer, first, by training. I have multiple DACs, interfaces, passive and active monitor switchers, three sets of mixing monitors, etc.... I used to use my old HP workstation laptop for referencing, then my 17" MBP, but don't on my 15" MBP. When I see Apple and Microsoft ads showcasing their hardware with someone doing critical recording or mixing work without all the accoutrements, I cry a little.

Still like what I hear coming out of those MBP speakers -I just don't trust what's coming out of them.

That's all.

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6 hours ago, kye said:

Using laptop speakers as a reference for how consumers might be hearing your audio makes sense.

It doesn't.

Critical mixing should be done on reference monitors, then once the audio is out there in the wild, a gazillion different variables are at play and you shouldn't even waste a second of time trying to tune something for "a small laptop speaker"... Because it makes it sound bad on 90% of the other speakers, including some very good systems.

Believe me when I say, make your audio mixes, grading as good as they can be on the best monitors and screens you can lay your hands on, and call it job done.

6 hours ago, jpleong said:

Still like what I hear coming out of those MBP speakers -I just don't trust what's coming out of them.

That's all.

I agree it feels to me like a sound stage expander, and extended treble is being added to the mix on a MB16, so you have to use USB DAC but the issue of balance isn't specific to the MacBook 16"  - it makes no sense to trust any laptop speaker at all even one without digital FX. All ultra thin or portable speakers colour the sound heavily, whether acoustically or digitally. They are just not designed to be used for professional recording or mixing work. The marketing will of course try and spin it the other way.

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12 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

I agree it feels to me like a sound stage expander, and extended treble is being added to the mix on a MB16, so you have to use USB DAC but the issue of balance isn't specific to the MacBook 16"  - it makes no sense to trust any laptop speaker at all even one without digital FX. 

They have that Sound Enhancer function in their Music app, is it possible they've snuck it in as a general overall option on the output now?

Apple bought a company called Camel Audio a few years back that made audio plugins and one of them was called CamelSpace which offered an enhancer function similar to an Aphex Aural Exciter which sounds like the effect you are describing. 

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On 6/9/2020 at 5:05 PM, Andrew Reid said:

Absolutely BANGING

Awesome. 

Im seriously considering getting one almost maxed out as I want the flexibility. Thinking of plugging it into a GPU and external monitor for desktop but not done my research.

How is it as a machine? Someone told me it has “thermal issues.”

 

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I don't know if it's digitally enhanced or just very clever acoustics. It isn't applying a DSP to USB or line out. That would be suicide!

Here's a pro audio bent review of it:

https://medium.com/binary-quavers/a-review-of-apples-16-inch-macbook-pro-for-musicians-audio-engineers-4f92f8da4b82

Quote

 

In terms of hearing, while the previous generation of MacBook Pro speakers weren’t exactly shabby — with Apple claiming 58 percent more volume, 2.5 times louder bass, and twice the dynamic range — the built-in speakers on the new 16-inch MacBook Pro are nothing short of astonishing. The six-speaker system provides a decent enough stereo field with a surprising amount of amplitude, with the dual force-cancelling woofers apparently extending the lower range of the bass by half an octave in a manner that doesn’t cause the system to rattle around in an unsettling manner.

While the resulting sound of the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s audio system isn’t something you’re going to use for serious work, it’s good enough to play something to another person without having to first apologise for tinny, tiny laptop speakers. Likely as not, the other listener will probably be as impressed as you were upon first hearing the output.

 

 

2 hours ago, Oliver Daniel said:

How is it as a machine? Someone told me it has “thermal issues."

The benchmarks suggest the thermal issues are fixed.

The 15.6" i9 model did get throttled but not the 16"

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3 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

Believe me when I say, make your audio mixes, grading as good as they can be on the best monitors and screens you can lay your hands on, and call it job done.

Unfortunately that logic doesn't quite work.

Take dynamic range for example, if I make my monitoring setup the best it can be then it will naturally be able to hit huge dynamic peaks with zero distortion, and so I will then write / record / mix / master to use whatever dynamic range I feel is applicable to my artistic vision.  Then I publish that music and people listen to it on systems where the dynamic range isn't nearly as capable and the quiet parts are too quiet and so they turn it up and now the loud parts are a mess of clipping and tonally-related distortion.

Take the below image of a studio setup, it has four pairs of monitors, including the small black cubes in the centre.  If it was simply a matter of choosing the best monitors then they'd only need one (or maybe two, if one set had different strengths and weaknesses).

Chilton-QM3-24-8-2-Mixing-Console-1-1.jp

or this one..  their main monitors are hugely expensive and built into the wall, so they can obviously afford to have very high quality monitors, yet there's also a pair of NS10s on the mixer as well.

d8TaX5HXeXZb3EOLJsqnClCE8brYspOgbCnu1jWi

Same here:

mange-studiobild-2-korr-1920x720-640x426

Here's an article from Musicradar on how to make your music sound good on small speakers.

https://www.musicradar.com/tuition/tech/10-ways-to-make-your-mixes-sound-good-on-smaller-speakers-635899

Quote

Dialling in lots of sub bass in the pursuit of 'more bass' might help when listening on big speakers, but the perceived weight of a bassline actually lies in the low-mid frequencies. Using small speakers during the mix process will help you enhance and refine those areas.

In the pursuit of bass, this is another excellent example of how bigger more capable systems can give you leeway that the average home system cannot provide.  In fact, for this application there are excellent plugins that use psychacoustic principles to give the illusion of bass on small speakers, one example being Maxxbass.  According to SOS, "The Waves Maxxbass plug-in, which I reviewed back in SOS February 1998, enabled smaller loudspeakers to produce a greater sense of bass depth without requiring any more amplifier power or stressing the speakers."

If the logic is to just get the best monitoring possible, then why not just mix on headphones?

The answer is that headphones are vastly superior to speakers, they have very flat frequency response, they don't get exposed to the acoustics of the room so give a much more faithful rendition of the audio, they can go much louder without distortion, and they are lighter, cheaper, can be used in any situation, and can be taken with you everywhere.  For exactly this reason they are too good a source.  I've written and mixed tracks on headphones and they sounded great, but then I listened to them on speakers and they sounded awful, and so I then spent days of extra effort to get them to sound good on the speakers as well as the headphones.

The difference between colour grading and audio mixing/mastering is that in colour grading the state of your consumers replication is going to be relatively known, in the sense that they'll likely conform to one of only a few video standards (which essentially provides standardisation on DR), and is also going to be quite unpredictable in terms of the colour shifts, or the brightness contrast and other settings, which means there's no point in trying to anticipate their playback experience.
Audio on the other hand, has no standards of things like DR or frequency response, with consumption ranging from an iPhone speaker with poor DR and FR, to high quality bookshelf speakers with high DR and low FR, poor quality floor-standing ported speakers with low DR and high FR, and people who have put money into it and have a better setup than most recording studios.  However, you can be pretty sure that there will be correlations between your audio and who is listening and what kind of system they have.  The latest pop music is more likely to be heard on a bluetooth speaker than a huge system, whereas classical may be heard on basically anything.  However, putting effort into making the audio good on a set of small bookshelf speakers while not being completely crippled on a larger system is likely to pay off, as anyone with a set lesser than that is likely not going to complain because they're used to their setup being sub-optimal.

This isn't the way to go....  :)

Nola-Audio-Grand-Regerence3-1.jpg

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So Apple has confirmed Apple Silicon based macs based on ARM are coming. I wonder what this means for Pro Apps and Resolve on the newer macs. Apple said Adobe’s complete apps, including Premiere and Lightroom, will be supported.

They better include hardware acceleration for 10-bit 422 H264 and HEVC.

The latest iPad Pro apparently can handle GH5 footage with ease.

Exciting to finally see high performance ARM hardware with large thermal and power envelops to work in. 

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Some Macs already have the T2 chip, which I couldn't find good info for, but read somewhere that it decodes h265 in hardware.  Not sure about encoding, or about h264, but that could be a read advantage when the packages utilise it.

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