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Question: Volume triggered Muffled Speakers - 2016 MBP 15” Fault (w/ Video Demonstration)

Hello all,

I’m having an unusual problem with my Late 2016 Macbook Pro 15” with Touchbar (model shipping 17th December 2016).

Whenever playing audio that reaches a certain volume the internal speakers would become muffled. When lowering the volume the sound continues to be muffled. The only way to get clear sound is to either:

  • Restart my Macbook
  • Plug in headphones and pull them out again
  • Type ‘midi’ into spotlight to enter ‘Audio MIDI Setup’ and change the audio frequency (Hz) of the Internal Speakers output.
  • Killing the ‘coreaudiod’ process within terminal or activity monitor and restarting it.

Increasing the volume again will result in the audio becoming muffled again.

In this video I demonstrate the problem in detail.

I find this problem unusual as I’ve searched extensively for a resolution and cannot find anyone else with the same problem. I realise there was a problem around launch with bootcamp audio drivers breaking the speakers. However I had never used bootcamp and this problem started in the past week.

Here are the things I’ve tried

  • I’ve reset the NVRAM/PRAM (on multiple occasions) [Via. boot keypresses & terminal]
  • I’ve reset SMC (on multiple occasions, however as there is no confirmation I’m unsure if it really processed)
  • I’ve formatted & reinstalled OSX Sierra (version 10.12.5)
  • I’ve formatted & Internet Recovered OSX Sierra (version 10.12.5)
  • I’ve downloaded an older version of OSX Sierra (version 10.12.2) and installed it.

Yet, the problem remains.

I decided to install Windows 10 via. Bootcamp and the problem no longer occurred. However after some use it started occurring. I believe it is harder to trigger the muffled sound as Windows 10’s maximum volume on the MBP 2016 is lower.

Apple Diagnostics report reference code ADP000 ‘No issues found’.

I’m tech savvy, however am stumped at what is causing this.

Hopefully some of you have some ideas?

At first I thought it was a software issue however after trying everything outlined above I no longer think this is the case. Do you think I should take my mac in for warranty? This is a last resort as I’d hate to be without my mac for a week.

See the full demonstration on YouTube here!

Keywords to help others search for this problem.

Poor Quality Sound, Low Quality Audio, Sounding Distant, Sounding Hollow, Sounding Underwater, Low Pitched, Distorted, Deep

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016), macOS Sierra (10.12.5)

Posted on Jul 16, 2017 5:09 AM

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Sep 18, 2017 5:23 AM in response to matt_90 In response to matt_90

Same computer, same problem. Similar things temporarily solve the problem.


Opening Audio MIDI setup for example and changing the hz of the output will fix the problem unless the volume moves again. (image shows headphones, because I'm currently using them, but problem is not with headphones)


User uploaded file

Sep 18, 2017 5:23 AM

Question marked as Helpful

Nov 24, 2017 6:33 PM in response to matt_90 In response to matt_90

My 15" MBP with t/bar speakers muffle the same and besides reinstalling the OS I have the same issues. Playing with the midi Hz works for only about a minute if I'm lucky.


I'm wondering if there is anything else? If the midi Hz adjustment fixes it, I'm guessing it's a software issue right?


Do I just need to visit Apple store? Which is over an hour away 🙄.


Quite disappointing considering the cost of the machine isn't it?

Nov 24, 2017 6:33 PM

Question marked as Helpful

Mar 4, 2018 11:09 AM in response to Rob_Sims In response to Rob_Sims

I am having these same issues. So frustrated. This is the first of many Mac devices that I have wanted to throw in the garbage. Due to the lack of communication or attention from Apple... and that it is not covered under a recall as of yet, I am considering starting a Class Action suit. This is ridiculous. I purchased this machine for work. Part of my work is audio editing. As you could probably understand this problem is costing me quite a bit of frustration and hardship. PLEASE FIX THIS OR AT LEAST REPLY WITH A SOLUTION APPLE.

Mar 4, 2018 11:09 AM

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Question marked as Helpful

Sep 18, 2017 5:23 AM in response to matt_90 In response to matt_90

Same computer, same problem. Similar things temporarily solve the problem.


Opening Audio MIDI setup for example and changing the hz of the output will fix the problem unless the volume moves again. (image shows headphones, because I'm currently using them, but problem is not with headphones)


User uploaded file

Sep 18, 2017 5:23 AM

Reply Helpful (23)

Sep 20, 2017 6:33 PM in response to Bryan Bassett In response to Bryan Bassett

Bryan, you just saved me a trip to the Genius Bar. I ran into a the similar type of issue about six months ago with my Late 2016 15' MBP, though in my case, only the right speaker sounded muffled. I actually had run bootcamp beforehand, so I thought I must have blown out the speaker like other users were complaining about late last year. I took your advice and switched the output's hz--now the right speaker sounds just as clear as the left one. Thanks for the tip!

Sep 20, 2017 6:33 PM

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Sep 22, 2017 6:05 AM in response to matt_90 In response to matt_90

Went to apple store. They need to take the machine for 3-5 days. I can't do that right now since this is my work machine. BUT - w/apple care+ I can have them ship me a box, and send me my machine when i'm ready with a loaner at work.


The tech agreed that there is some hardware problem. He said because of the redesign of the macbook pro, there will be problems.

Sep 22, 2017 6:05 AM

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Question marked as Helpful

Nov 24, 2017 6:33 PM in response to matt_90 In response to matt_90

My 15" MBP with t/bar speakers muffle the same and besides reinstalling the OS I have the same issues. Playing with the midi Hz works for only about a minute if I'm lucky.


I'm wondering if there is anything else? If the midi Hz adjustment fixes it, I'm guessing it's a software issue right?


Do I just need to visit Apple store? Which is over an hour away 🙄.


Quite disappointing considering the cost of the machine isn't it?

Nov 24, 2017 6:33 PM

Reply Helpful (6)

Jan 1, 2018 5:35 PM in response to dogsonic22 In response to dogsonic22

Issue started around June 2017. Seems I was the first to report it online 😕


Bought a Windows laptop and booking a Apple Appointment soon for repair.


Warranty passed, but reported this to apple directly a month prior to expiry was told they'll cover warranty from the time formally reported to apple directly (not on forums).


In Australia we have consumer law that extends warranty for high value items dependent on value and fault. But generally a 2 year Australian Consumer warranty. I'd suggest seeing whether such a law exists in your country. Otherwise speak to someone higher up at Apple. It's unfair this fault isn't covered as little as a month out of warranty on a high valued product.


Firmware updates are most likely to fix an issue like this, software updates update firmware these days. As no updates (in 7 months) have managed to fix this it's certainly a hardware fault.

Jan 1, 2018 5:35 PM

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Jan 3, 2018 3:06 AM in response to nicholasfromcarina heights In response to nicholasfromcarina heights

@nicholasfromcarina It happened to me, too. I found this 2 weeks after purchase. And I searched a lot about this issue. And finally I got the right key word, "MUFFLED."


I showed your reply to an engineer here, and he fixed my MBP '17 15 inch in just the same way as you mentioned. Thank you so much. I really was relieved to see your comment, and I am sure the engineer figured out how to fix mine thanks to you. It just took two days to get mine.


I appreciate your comment.

Jan 3, 2018 3:06 AM

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Jan 3, 2018 8:59 AM in response to matt_90 In response to matt_90

I'm having this same exact problem! It happened out of nowhere for the first time. I was watching a video on youtube and suddenly the sound got muffled and I thought it was a problem with the video and it was not.

All the temp solutions here worked (plug the phone and change the sample rate) but as soon as i turn up the volume, the sound get muffled again. In my ignorance, i really don't think it is a hardware problem, and I hope we can have a software (firmware?) fix for this. I'm using a Macbook pro 2017 15" TBar

Jan 3, 2018 8:59 AM

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Question: Volume triggered Muffled Speakers - 2016 MBP 15” Fault (w/ Video Demonstration)