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Ask Max: No sound output from a PowerMac G5

Asked on 04/12/2007:

No matter what I try, I can't get any sound from my G5 Mac. I have checked the preferences and they all seem to be correct. I am simply trying to get simple alert sounds and the start up sound. iTunes would also be good!

I do not have any external devices connected, other than my keyboard and my router. I bought the machine second hand and have not had any sound from day one.

I have so far, replaced the front fan and internal speaker and reset the PRAM.


The lack of sound on your Mac could have a few different causes. First check the audio settings in System Preferences. Click on the Sound preference and then click on the Output tab. At the bottom of the screen verify that the "Output volume" slider is all the way to the right and the "Mute" checkbox is unchecked. Above the volume slider is a two-column list with "Name" and "Port" at the top of each column. If everything is working as it should the list should have "Internal Speaker/Built-in Audio" listed. If that is shown try plugging in a pair of headphones to the front plug and the listing should change to "Headphones/Built-in Audio." With headphones plugged in you should be able move the Balance slider from right to left and hear corresponding beeps in the headphones.

Now if nothing is listed at first but headphones show up, then your internal speaker port probably is damaged. If the list always shows headphones plugged in, your front board may be damaged or have a jack tip stuck inside. If the listing never changes even when you plug into the line jack in the back of the G5 then your whole audio chipset on the logic board is probably to blame. You can try updating the firmware. I have not heard of an audio problem fixed by firmware but give it a shot. The last step would be to use a USB audio adapter and Multimedia speakers. Try the Griffin iMic 2 and some budget speakers.

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