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2010 Mac mini has low, low sound. Please recommend an external speaker to increase volume. I tried Creative Pebble, quality was fine, but volume remains low. I bumped the audio to 96.0 kHz to no avail.Am I stuck with insufficient volume?

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  • Which port do you want to get sound out to an amplifier? hdmi or optical or copper or ethernet or bluetooth? You’ve got quite a few options tbh...
    – bmike
    Aug 23, 2020 at 22:40

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The sound from the Mac mini won’t be that strong to begin with because they use a laptop speaker and it’s very tiny to begin with!

Mac Mini Speaker

See iFixit

https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Mac+Mini+Mid+2010+Teardown/3094

To get more volume I recommend using external amplified speakers. Regular computer speakers will work or you can plug it into one of those Bluetooth portable speakers with an INPUT port. I did this with my MBP and a really cheap audio cable (I think they are 3.5mm plugs).

I did some research on the Creative Pebble (original one) and they are USB powered so there’s not a lot of power. In this article from PC Mag, they say “it’s a pretty limited system” and they are a “notable upgrade over laptop or phone speakers.” To me, that sounds like a very low bar to jump over. For more volume, you need more power like what the Bluetooth speakers or plain amplified speakers that you plug into the wall for power will give you.

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  • The power of the internal speaker has no bearing on the audio out socket, which is either standard Line out or S/PDIF. Otherwise I agree that powered speakers are the only way.
    – benwiggy
    Aug 24, 2020 at 9:41
  • Where did I make the statement that it had a bearing? Aug 25, 2020 at 14:49
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For the best quality output, I’d go with S/PDIF optical out from the Mac mini.

Most any sound bar or inexpensive amplifier can then convert digital to analog as needed.

So maybe $50 all in for amazing sound quality and volume. You could spend more or less of course.

Apple has put hardware DAC on the Mac Studio and several recent portable Mac lines as well.

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  • The adapters are assembled and fit tightly, but no sound at all from Bose speakers. The Bose hooked via its cable into Mini is barely louder.
    – jlsdds
    Sep 2, 2020 at 2:12
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    I did not have success wi5h the adapters unfortunately. But, I needed this for Zoom meetings primarily. I went into the Zoom configurations and adjusted volume thru that. Lo and behold, it works for everything. Volume works fine. I’ll just find a home for the unused adapters. Thanks for the help.
    – jlsdds
    Sep 3, 2020 at 19:56
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I have the same problem....I have mine run to a CROWN SL-II pre-amp driving 2 CROWN 375 watt per channel amps and 1 CROWN 250 watt per channel amp feeding 2 pairs of JBL L-150's and 1 pair of JBL L-100's

When I use the cd my amps are set at 4 (out of 10) and pre amp is set at 4 (out of 10)

Very good listening level (a little loud for some)

Mac Mini volume set on MAX and I have to set power amps at 10 and pre amp at 9 and still don't get the same DB level

Now...if your gain is set THAT high and you have any problem you can kiss your tweeters goodbye....plus you are over working your amps.....

The only reason I bought the mini was for a music server and I’m disappointed it’s not meeting my needs. I'm buying a Dell laptop with a 500 gig SSD and use it instead.

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  • Welcome to Ask Different. There’s some information here. Explaining how Dell hardware has a better amp than the mini might help others. Seems with a high equality amp and preamp you could manage to approximate clean analog and skip the DAC I mentioned, but to each their own - repurposing some venerable gear can be very rewarding.
    – bmike
    Jul 9 at 20:22
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    Jul 10 at 6:42

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