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I'm afraid I may have irreversibly harmed my internal speakers, or sound system in general.

Yesterday, I was trying to find a way to hook up my electric guitar to the computer. I, logically, thought that going through my amp and running the amp to the macbook line-in was the best course of action.

What came through my external speakers was just muffle-ly cracked noise that were very unstable sounding. After failing to get a decent sound, I found that my sound in general sounded really weird.

Now I get sound through the headphone jack, but it has odd sound artifacts around any sounds that are played, and when removed the internal speakers do not make any sound at all (but APPEAR available on the system and I can still adjust the volume). Here's what I've tried so far:

  • Tickling the sensor in the phone jack, managed to turn the red light on and off several times. No effect.

  • Hardware reset (by holding the power button for a while... could not hear the system "dings" though, due to the absence of sound)

  • Logging in to Linux partition. Same problem there.

  • Changing sound inputs a couple times and starting up and shutting down garageband with new and old projects.

Any other ideas? Or have I permanently harmed my sound system?

EDIT: Wanted to add that this macbook is past warranty and there's no apple stores nearby anyway. So I won't be taking it to a retailer.

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How loud was the amp at? – Nathan Greenstein Jan 14 '11 at 17:07
@NathanG: Probably 11. – Robert S Ciaccio Jan 14 '11 at 17:17
Haha, OK. Sounds to me like OP may be in the market for a USB sound card. The Griffin iMic is cheap and works. It's got a 1/8 line in and out. Link here: Amazon here:… – Nathan Greenstein Jan 14 '11 at 18:11
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Given that you changed OS's -- to the linux partition -- and still had the same problem, it sounds like a hardware problem.

If you did damage the hardware, don't worry -- you're not completely screwed. This may be the best excuse to upgrade your audio hardware with an external sound card.

Creative has some great ones that I have used along with Adobe Audition. However most of them are PC only... but in their professional brand (E-MU), they have some great ones for mac.

Creative's professional brand, E-MU is what I currently use. Details here:

Amazon link here:

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This sounds, likely, like what I should do. But despite the lack of sound on the system... I can hear sound, albeit not of the best quality, when I have headphones plugged in. The only thing I can figure is that I must have damaged the speakers themselves, on the laptop. – Kayle Jan 14 '11 at 18:55
@Kayle: if the speakers themselves are damaged, they're not particularly difficult to replace yourself. has step by step guides on replacing just about anything in your macbook. – Robert S Ciaccio Jan 14 '11 at 19:20

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