Why does the audio coming out of MacBook Pro (M1) headphone jack sound so bad?


I Dj weddings and sometimes I don't need my Controller, so I DJ from Traktor (3.8) and come straight out of the 1/8 jack on my MacBook into my PA. 

When I go into my PA, the sound is horrible. Lots of digital artifacts and there is nothing I can do about it. I tested this with the same file but coming out of the Traktor Control S4mk2 and the artifacts are gone and it sounds way better. 

Is it just the gain staging of the output of the headphone output on my Mac? If so, in this scenario, should I just buy a compact external sound card for these situations?



  • Uwe303
    Uwe303 Moderator Posts: 2,551 mod


    digital artifacts can more be an issue of a too short buffer setting, I don't know for Mac if you even can set it with the internal audio interface. But a small external interface with core audio drivers would definitely a better solution in my opinion.

  • red_nick
    red_nick Member Posts: 55 Newcomer

    Yes you should use a proper soundcard.

    Headphone output isn't the same thing as line level on the PA. Also, depending on the PA, it may be expecting a balanced signal

  • Uwe303
    Uwe303 Moderator Posts: 2,551 mod

    correct hp outputs are made for lower impedance - it´s always a compromise to use it as line out.

  • Fotis Leon
    Fotis Leon Member Posts: 51 Member


    You really can't use a headphones soundcard for anything else than headphones.

    It's cheap and isn't design for a good signal, its designed for convenience.

    You have to use an external usb sound card. Even a cheap one, is better that headphones jack!

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