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Static sound coming from the Thunderbolt Display speakers

34266 Views 99 Replies Latest reply: Mar 3, 2014 7:38 AM by jond007 RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • xmlsnocat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This is crazy but turning off our dining room light eliminates the static completely. It's gone now.

    Our dining room light does flicker occassionally. Will investigate further on what's causing it.

  • vodnar Calculating status...

    I have the same problem with my new Thunderbolt display connected to 2011 MacBook Pro. I did a couple of similar tests like you did, the noise is still there (when audio is playing and approximately 30 seconds when it stops)

  • seris Calculating status...

    You will not believe it but the buzzing was driving me crazy and I saw this discussion on it... I turned off the room light, et voilà, the buzz just went away!!!. Turned it on again and the buzz appeared back agin. It is definitely crazy...

  • jorhh Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Same here, however, the static sound is rather quiet and stops about 10 secs after any audio was played through the display's speakers.


    My best guess: it's basically the "static hiss" of the speakers and amplifier built into the display combined with measures to save power. Once the display detects any audio signal is "sent" to its speakers, it powers up the amp and speakers (thus adding a low-level "static hiss" to the sound), plays the sound and - after the audio signal has stopped - "waits" for another few seconds before powering down the amp and speakers. (Just like any recent Apple laptop does.)


    However, I do agree that the "static hiss" is quite pronounced (i. e. audible) for such a piece of advanced technology.

  • ozyr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have a MBP 2011 and the TB display. Have noticed static noise just in the 2nd week of use, and it is doing it more and more each day. Doesn't matter what I do. It can even be up and running with no programs active, and it will make the hissing sound for about 30 seconds at apparent random times. I've noticed a faint electronic 'pop' just as the hissing starts. I've only got a few days, so I wonder if I should return this thing, or just get my money back and go back to the Dell monitor I had.


    Note: playing any sound does not stop the hissing for me!?


    Reading the stuff on here does not make me feel good right now.

  • ozyr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Received replacement display today, and behold, same darn static issue. Question now is to just put up with expensive monitor with bad sound, or return for $$$ and wait a year or so for next Apple monitor update!?

  • MAD SCI Calculating status...

    Lets see if i can shine some light on this situation. I am a audio/ Producer studio rat, and YES this is a BIG issue. I have a proffesional studio and this new laptop is killer. BUT I can not use it in a proffessional environment b/c this noise is horrendous.

    I have come to these conclusions.

    1. there is always a very slight noise coming from the mini jack port on any laptop.

    2. This noise we are hearing with the thunderbolt port is not slight. As i mentioned above it is "horrendous." big difference



    3. The noise happens when plugging in my USB hard-drive that has a power supply. thunderbolt doesnt mattter,lol

    4. The noise happens when connecting my new 40" LCD into the thunderbolt port.


    My most profound finding is that this appears to happen when the outside(ground) of metal part of the cable even touches the laptop case. This is with both usb and thunderbolt cables. since this is huge. I am going to go to the length of unplugging the ground wire on the circuit board of my tv so it doesn't get fed into the cable and see if that works. lol


  • MAD SCI Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    So my specific problem stemmed from my new TV. I just found an IEC that had a broken ground prong. So when I plugged my TV in with the cord that is not grounded. Viola. NO MOTHER****** NOISE !!! YAY !!!


    Signal Flow

    Furman Elite Power conditioner

    Out of the TV via HDMI into the MBP 17 (Quad Thunderbolt v8,3) with the official cord(

    My sound is through an Apogee Duet. Which connects from the Firewire 800 port.

    Then out to the speakers


    Note: the Furman, and the Duet did not dampen the "noise" at all. So those are not super special only audio guru tricks here. It should work with anyting. Simple, remove Ground from offending unit. 


    I am soo excited to share that it was THAT simple, i have yet to completely see how far this trick will go. I still have a usb hard drive that adds noise like crazy. Plus there is still the normal low level digital computer thinking noise that comes out of the "motherboard line out" which seems to be in all laptops still to this day. I guess filtering ground noise is not common practice in our world yet. See thats what I wish would change about the world today. So many people, just doing par. Just enough. Whatever happened to thinking about all the possibilities and making things bullet proof. cummon America.


    NE ways. Please report and post back with confirming or denying experiences.



  • ozyr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Well Mad sci, interesting to see what fixed your display. I actually went as far as turning off everything in my house - and I mean everything, and plugging the monitor straight into the wall (bypassed any surge protection and such). Nothing else plugged into the computer, just my MBP and the 27" TB Monitor. Static hiss was still there, clear as crud.

    I am rather annoyed also that Apple does not call me back as promised on this - have called and talked with too many people so far, and they always states 'will contact engineering and get back to you'. I'm still waiting...

  • MAD SCI Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ozyr, I feel your pain. I have the paper still clipped to my fridge that I got from the genius bar. Dated 18-jun-11.  They too told me the same thing. I am waiting my phone call too. Thats why I handle most everything myself. I dont have time to go to the genius bar when these guys are just about as capable as any well read seasoned mac guy. In my situation the only thing they were really capable of doing was replacing. I was offered a new computer bla bla. That wouldnt fix anything, duh. I was in the apple store and tested my setup with a bunch of different computers there. Same issue, (with all the thunderbolt units). its probly because its 1 port with a bunch of different perhipherals going down the same pipe. They are all tied together. Its a hardware issue and Apple probly wont recall, unless we the people make a huge scene, revolt, class action style.

    Really though I want one of these thunderbolt HD arrays, but there is no way im gonna be able to tell its noise free until its plugged in with all my equipment. Pain in my rectal cavity.


    For now, Find the right power cord. haha I mean make one. Carefully dremel off the ground prong. See if that works. If it doesn't. I still have more ideas.


    -Best of luck to ya

  • ozyr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Problem now is, it is past my return date. 1st person I talked to said they would extend that, but I have doubts. Also, I really like the display, just not the sound issue. Not sure what to do. Will probably try calling Friday (when I can), and see if they can still allow me to return this thing. Thanks for the words, advice and such. Just wish Apple would acknowledge this TB Display sound issue - and work on a fix. :|

  • tekkietekkie Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just ran into the same problem the first time I tried using facetime with the TB monitor


    I found a solution though, make sure that the sound output in system preferences is set to display audio, if I change it to internal speakers of the MBP or to my USB audio device which I have my speakers hooked to I get the feedback noises as soon as I change it back to dislay audio it goes away even during the facetime call its completly repatitive.


    or the other option inside facetime is to change the sound input to the MBP built in but that may not working depending where you have it placed, I didnt try to change it to my line in as I didnt have a microphone near me but I have a feeling that may also work.


    not the best solution but at least its a way around it


    hopefully there is a fix coming for it though

  • 393801916 Calculating status...

    +1 – experiencing the same problem.


    @apple: please fix this bug!

  • Decoyed Calculating status...



    I just purchased a Thunderbolt Display and when I have Skype conversations or listen to music via iTunes I get the static and the audio eventually goes out. I wonder how these $1,000 monitors passed their QA process which this type of flaw.

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