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Apple 13 & 15-inch MacBook Pros see Boot Camp audio failures

updated 06:55 pm EDT, Mon September 7, 2009

New MacBook Pros exhibit Boot Camp sound problems

Apple's latest MacBook Pro offerings appear to have an ongoing speaker audio-failure issue when running most varieties of Windows in Boot Camp.

Several Owners of Apple's latest MacBook Pro offerings in the 13- and 15-inch screen sizes have reported speaker failures when running Windows via Boot Camp. The problems have affected many gamers who use Mac OS X for daily computing, then switch to Windows to play games. The problem appears to have begun with Boot Camp v2.1, which was launched in June, while the recent v3.0 release, designed for Snow Leopard, has not alleviated the widespread issues.

According to posters on Apple's support forums, the latest 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros exhibit the issue with Windows XP, Server 2008 x64, Vista x32 and x64, and Windows 7 RC x32 and x64. Users have complained of very low sound volumes from the built-in speakers, even at full volume, along with a red light emanating from the speaker jack. Several systems are also unable to recognize microphone input. Although the specific source of the problems remains unknown, user reports suggest the Cirrus Logic CS4206A sound driver could be the culprit.

Forum posters, starting on page 10 of the forum, have posted workarounds that outline a user-hacked replacement for the Cirrus drivers which requires command-line work in Windows to resolve the issue. Frustrations have run high in the forums, due to Apple's lack of response to the issue -- the 270+ posts have not yet received any comments or help from Apple representatives in the three months the issue has been commented on.

Failure to address the issue in Snow Leopard's Boot Camp 3.0 revision has also caused negative sentiment from posters, some of whom describe themselves as first-time Mac buyers who bought the new notebooks expressly because of Boot Camp support for their Windows games. Particularly when gaming, lack of sound support is a large detriment to the experience.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. ilovestevejobs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It just doesnt work!!

    Seriously, Macs just don't work right out of the box. Stupid people who bought Mac think they can play games as well.

    Buy a Windows computer. A better all round gaming experience IMO. Anything else like use the internet buy Mac.

  1. Dash_Merc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Stupid Trolls

    Please ignore the troll. Constructive criticism is the key to getting people to at least listen to you or respect your opinion. Did you notice how nobody before me bothered to reply to your comment, and how I simply rolled right over it with some useful information?

    Yes, I'm a month late here.

    In my experiences with BootCamp, ever since upgrading to a 15" MacBookPro (my first-generation white 13" MacBook CoreDuo was perfectly happy), I have had sound issues of some sorts, as well. I'm running 10.5.8 on a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo/2GB RAM/200GB HDD, with Windows XP Professional SP 3 on the BootCamp side. Since using Windows on this Mac, I have had various problems, most notably with crazy sound cutouts, distortion, feedback, and interesting Bluescreen dumping events when using FL Studio. It seems the combination of my newer hardware and Windows SP 3 (it got worse with the SP 3 "upgrade") is the problem. Basically, while Windows and OS X play nice over a network, on separate physical devices; neither are content to play nice with one another on the same playground.

    I bet the real problem is an underlying refusal to actually work with one another on these issues, leaving Apple to struggle to keep up with Microsoft's software sabotage of BootCamp, and Windows users to suffer when all they wanted was to be open to both churches of computing.

    Based solely on my experience and opinion (not having read the forums), I'd agree that it's a sound driver issue. It sounds to me like the audio is probably being mainly routed through the optical output (the red light is the digital audio signal attempting to feed itself to a falsely-detected optical audio cable). I bet if somebody took an optical cable and plugged it in (and routed it to a proper optical-compliant digital audio amplifier), they'd hear decent audio.

    I would be willing to bet the problem is probably non-existent (or not as bad) with Windows XP SP 2 on these new macs, as well. SP 3 pretty much ruined everything for me, and the only feasible downgrade path is to reinstall...which I'm not interested in doing right now.

    It is my opinion that Microsoft should communicate with Apple and get a solution to this problem very soon, because they still make money off of the people who use (legitimate copies of) Windows on Apple hardware, too.

  1. Dash_Merc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Also, laptop audio hardware has ALWAYS been underpowered. External USB or Firewire audio devices tend to work out better.

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