MacBook speakers, hands down, are the BEST laptop speakers on the market. There is a reason MacBooks are the number one choice for musicians to create and edit their music.
With countless hours spent studying how MacBook speakers are so good, I’ve read many articles and done my research to understand why the speakers are so good.
Why Does the MacBook Sound So Good
MacBooks are designed with 3D Spatial Audio technology, which gives them quite an impressive sound. It creates a surround sound despite the small speakers built inside the latest MacBook Pro models. Apple uses an audio trickery that convinces the brain to hear sounds side-to-side, below, behind, and above.
Spatial Audio was originally invented for the AirPods Pro. Now, it’s been used in MacBook Pro to provide the same surround sound quality in any audio, such as music, movie, and soundscape app. It’s even more practical when watching VR and playing games.
In this article, I’ll cover many important topics, including how good MacBook speakers are, better features than other laptop speakers, reasons music sounds better on Mac, and whether iPhone or MacBook speakers are better, so keep reading.
How Good Are MacBook Air Speakers
Apple says its speakers are good because they provide superior audio that makes users feel like they’re listening to real sounds. Apple has been focusing on psychoacoustic tech, creating speakers inside MacBooks that sound so good, especially on the new M1 MacBook Pro 14-inch model.
The latest MacBook Pro models are designed with a top-quality audio system with much-improved bass and better microphones. The 16-inch and 14-inch models feature a sound system consisting of 80% more low-pitched frequency. The speakers also have force-canceling woofers and larger tweeters that sound deeper than the previous models.
The YouTuber Dave Lee in the above video, complains how even expensive 16-inch gaming laptop speakers are FAR behind the sound a 13-inch MacBook produces.
I own an M1 MacBook Air and an M1 iPad Pro, and I can tell you that both speakers are good enough by themselves. There is no need to buy Bluetooth speakers. I usually use the speakers at 60% power, which is more than enough.
The studio-quality sound of today’s MacBook mics offers a 60% more improved signal-to-noise ratio than the old versions. As a result, you can get a much clearer Zoom call or anything in particular regarding decent audio quality. The following are the main specs of the MacBook Air audio:
- Dolby Atmos playback.
- Wide stereo sound.
- Stereo speakers.
- 3.5 mm headphone jack.
- 3-mic array with directional beamforming.
The speakers on the MacBook Air are located beneath the keyboard, you may notice speaker grills on your MacBook’s side, but these are only a part of the design. However, the speakers’ approximate positions are on your laptop’s right and left sides.
If your MacBook speakers start to sound worse, likely, they are dirty. Read my article about how to clean MacBook speakers to make them sound new.
Does MacBook Pro Have Better Speakers Than MacBook Air?
The MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro offer fantastic stereo sound, while the Pro offers a more dynamic range, but the new MacBook Pros are on a different sound level. The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro feature a six-speaker sound system with 80% more bass. In addition, the speakers include two larger tweeters, and four force-canceling woofers that Apple says can go half an octave deeper.
If you prefer more features, you can choose for MacBook Pro for a better set because it offers more.
Although both models have decent microphones and speakers, the MacBook Air features a 3-mic system and stereo speakers. The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, has similar speakers but provides a higher dynamic range.
In terms of volume, you need to turn it up on Mac Pro to match Mac Air’s level. However, you may find the sound a bit better with Pro than the tinnier sound of the Air. Since hybrid work setups will continue even in the post-COVID era, investing in a notebook with superb mic quality is best.
“The all-new MacBook Pro adds a sensational six-speaker sound system, in a stunning new design. The new MacBook Pro simply has no equal and is by far the best pro notebook we’ve ever built.” -Greg Joswiak, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing of Apple.
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Here’s a comparison between MacBook Pro and MacBook Air audio by Apple:
|MacBook Pro||MacBook Air|
|Stereo speakers with high dynamic range|
Wide stereo sound
Support for Dolby Atmos playback
Studio-quality 3-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming
3.5 mm headphone jack
Wide stereo sound
Support for Dolby Atmos playback
3-mic array with directional beamforming
3.5 mm headphone jack
If you asked me whether MacBook Air is better than MacBook Pro in terms of overall sound quality, I would say that the sound is much clearer and louder on MacBook Air.
In my experience, the maximum volume of the MacBook Air is about 20% louder than that of the MacBook Pro. However, I have both models, and I prefer using the Air for watching movies to my Pro because it has more bass and pleasing sound.
The speaker in MacBook Air is only one but larger, while the speakers in MacBook Pro are two smaller ones with a total size of that in Air when combined. It may be the main difference when it comes to bass output. However, MacBook Pro models have different speakers and can be better sounding than MacBook Air; it all depends on how you use them.
If you want to fix your MacBook to make the speakers sound better, read my article about getting a MacBook fixed to know how much you need to spend.
Why Does Music Sound Better on My Mac?
Music sounds better on MacBook because of its integrated onboard audio system. It uses a sound card to produce higher-quality audio output than other laptops or devices. The dedicated sound card makes Macs more crisp and amplified, especially when listening to any genre of music.
The better hardware in MacBooks gives them a higher quality digital-to-analog converter and headphone amp. So if you notice a difference between your Mac and your Windows PC or mobile phone when listening to music, the DAC or amp in Macs significantly makes the difference.
MacBooks have high-quality built-in speakers that are boxed in a conducive enclosure, allowing them to draw more power. In addition, the Planar Magnetic speakers are also completely flat, which helps save space without affecting overall audio quality. Currently, MacBook is one of the best-sounding laptops you can find.
With all the given aspects, it’s good to generalize on some important things, such as:
- Apple understands how audio works. It’s demonstrated through the quality they put in older Mac models. From their iPods to MacBook Pro models, they have experience with audio. Apple products may be expensive, but they are the most reliable regarding quality features and specs for listening and producing music.
- MacBooks only get better over time. The stereo speakers are not huge with audio equipment but come in a small package that is easy to carry anywhere. The 16-inch MacBook, while chunky, is FAR easier to maintain than studio-quality speakers.
- The audio quality of MacBooks is the best. For instance, the M1 MacBook Pro has a fantastic audio experience. The MacBook Pro 16-inch got even better in microphone quality, which has become more important post-COVID.
Based on Apple’s expertise in audio quality, I would say it’s worth investing in a MacBook if you’re looking for a high-end laptop that can deliver studio-quality sounds. Nevertheless, the continued progress of this brand in providing industry-leading devices goes beyond sound quality.
I remember playing a song on my Mac, and my friend looked at me in surprise and then diverted his attention to the ultra-thin laptop where the beautiful sound was coming from. The speakers were quite impressive in terms of balance and quality. The music was like coming from both sides, creating an absolutely incredible surround sound.
Not sure if you need a DAC for a MacBook Pro? Discover the truth in my article.
Are iPhone or MacBook Speakers Better?
MacBook speakers are better than iPhone speakers because of their bigger size, more conducive enclosure, and better controller through the sound card. In addition, MacBooks have better hardware than iPhones, so they can produce clearer highs and lows, including a thumping sound that iPhones don’t have.
However, the huge difference in audio quality is understandable since MacBooks can handle a high spectrum of sounds. The higher range of sound allows Mac to distinguish the high, mid, and low, producing audio with more dimension. If you want to see the difference, use your headphones with your iPhone and your MacBook.
Connect your headphones with your MacBook Pro and notice the difference in volume, depth, and quality of the sound compared to your iPhone. Then, play the same music on your laptop and see how your headphones produce louder music, more bass, and clearer sounds than when using your headphones with your phone.
Want to see the differences between the speakers. I just recorded an audio comparison between my M1 MacBook Air and my iPhone 13 mini, which you can watch above.
Apple gadget owners may have noticed the improvements in their iPhones and MacBooks through the years, particularly in the overall audio quality of speakers and headphones. However, if you’re still listening to your iPhone, you will have a much different music experience with your MacBook because of the higher-quality audio output.
Advantages of Sound Cards on MacBooks
iPhones only have integrated circuit boards, while MacBooks have a dedicated sound card to create a better and more genuine sound. So it’s unfair to compare these two devices since they have different components designed to match their sizes and capabilities.
MacBooks are designed to have reliable components to improve sound quality, while iPhones seem like features are crammed to create an all-in-one, single stereo system.
Perhaps, you’ve noticed how different Apple Music sounds on your Mac and iPhone. Streaming music on a MacBook sound much better than on an iPhone. This difference happens even if each device sets the EQ settings to default. Even if you select both on the high-quality setting, it’s noticeable how the sound is much clearer on Mac.
When I say it sounds better on Mac, I mean it’s more surround sound and deeper bass. While Bluetooth headphones don’t change their sounds no matter the device used, audio software certainly makes a difference. In addition, Apple said before that Bluetooth headphones do not support lossless audio, explaining the difference in audio quality between the two devices.
Sound Check Feature in New macOS or iOS
Another thing is the Sound Check feature that Apple enabled by default on their devices. You don’t necessarily have to turn this feature off to notice a huge difference. Here’s the thing, Sound Check does not go into your song files and modify them. Rather, your iPhone will scan the songs to determine their loudness, then store the information in an ID3 tag.
If the Sound Check feature on your phone is turned on, it will automatically read and adjust the music playback volume according to the normal volume set by the ID3 tag. On the other hand, if the feature is turned off, the ID3 tag is ignored. Meaning it will not adjust the volume of the music files. Sound Check is enabled on new macOS or iOS installations unless you disable the feature.
If you have accidentally got an Apple Music subscription, read my article about Apple refund accidental purchases and see how you can get a refund.